The Genius of the Beast

Friday, February 19, 2010

Howard Bloom ponders the questions raised by the Great Crash of 2009: Is global capitalism on its last legs? Is the era of American leadership over? Has the West begun a decline into a new Dark Age? Does American civilization deserve to survive? In The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism he insists that global society has only begun to realize its full potential, and he describes the crisis as an opportunity for the whole human race.


Howard Bloom

Comments [56]


Someone please inform Bloom that there are not 16 kinds of quarks.

Leonard, usually you have good taste in guests but this guy is a nut.

Feb. 22 2010 08:48 PM

whaaat the _ this guy is so full of _. poor leonard. messianic? the universe as capitalist? the usa being the only mongrel state? we are the most advanced model of human societies huh. but at least am/satellite radio isnt the only one showcasing self obsessed raving lunatics. leonard youve been a pleasure

Feb. 20 2010 12:43 AM
maggie from nj

I don't know a lot about physics, but I know enough about physics to realize that fact. Mr Bloom hasn't reached this point yet.

Feb. 19 2010 02:37 PM


meant to ask if there was great depression 1998.

Feb. 19 2010 02:02 PM
GW from Bronx

to Jgarbuz

Every single point you make in favor of Capitalism can also be used against it Every sing crime you accuse Communism or other economic system of creating has been committed exhaustively by Capitalists, beware the tendency to utopianize your logic.. no need to detail the debate in this forum... but so called "wealth" is relative and defined by the beholder ... just like beauty. What you see as wealth is only held by the power of your system to enforce it as such.

Feb. 19 2010 01:44 PM
dizzy5 from upstate Manhattan

I feel bad for Shirley Caesar.

Feb. 19 2010 12:59 PM
John from Brooklyn

WNYC should sponsor a singles party for quarks.

Feb. 19 2010 12:52 PM
Monica from NYC

What happened to scientific rigor ?

Feb. 19 2010 12:50 PM
the truth!! from BKNY

Wasting time with this weirdo....NEEXXXXT!

Feb. 19 2010 12:49 PM
Mike C. from Tribeca

Tune in next week, when Sonny Bono will expound upon the internal combustion engine and its relevance to the invention of the dugout canoe.

Feb. 19 2010 12:48 PM
eleni from NYC

HOW disappointing. It sounds like he's winging it. Most of historical points are either twisted or completely wrong. The obscure bank in some small village in Austria and its financial woes as the final straw that broke the banking industry and Wall Street made me laugh.

Feb. 19 2010 12:46 PM
oja from NYC

Hmm... He seems to know so much and so little at the same time.

Feb. 19 2010 12:45 PM
Jgarbuz from Queens, NY

To GW re: post 18

Inventory can go up and down in value depending on whether it can be sold or not. If something cannot be sold above its cost of production (for whatever reason) it represents a LOSS of wealth. It doesn't matter how many man hours of labor went into producing that thing; nor does it matter how useful or utilitarian that thing may be. If nobody wants to buy it, it is worthless, and hence a loss of wealth. Wealth = total profits. It does not equal some "accumulation of labor" or whatever. The Marxist theory of "surplus labor" supposedly stolen by the capitalist is hogwash, and why Communism never worked from day one, except as yet another slave system. Not unlike the earlier slave systems that characterized early civilizations before the natural peaceful method of wealth creation that we call "capitalism" emerged when a degree of peace allowed it to. But most of the time, societies were at war to steal each others goods and resources, which is what did not let capitalism blossom fully earlier on.

Feb. 19 2010 12:44 PM
Paul from Ridgewood NJ

I think the promo about the song "We Built this City" coinciding with the start of "The Lopate Show" says more than anything Bloom can say about harmonic convergence. Ha.

Feb. 19 2010 12:42 PM
mikke from Brooklyn

this reminds me of "communists" who refuse to accept that the Soviet Union was a communist state, b/c they "didn't do it right"; this is practical utopianism at its worse...when mr bloom was in his bed for 15 years was he also starring into a mirror.

Feb. 19 2010 12:41 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

If Bloom rejects the Second Law of Thermodynamics, maybe he has some other laws of physics he'd like to reject on the way to rejecting climate change.

Feb. 19 2010 12:41 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Just heard the part about god/s--I half expected Bloom to say his was Mammon!

Feb. 19 2010 12:39 PM
Paul from Ridgewood NJ

Hmmm... Regarding the current recession/depression: I guess we should have done nothing and let it run its course. Maybe we never needed the FDIC or the SEC. Yikes. Given enough data, you *can* predict everything. With no data, however, you *can't* predict anything. Some kind of paradox here? I think my head will explode. Who knew.

Feb. 19 2010 12:38 PM
Mike C. from Tribeca

Hugh Sansom - T answer your question, "Absolutely not, absolutely not." ;^)

Feb. 19 2010 12:38 PM
peter from brooklyn

for the first time in months, i can't listen to the rest of your show. this man is a babbling fool.

Feb. 19 2010 12:36 PM
eleni from NYC

I'm sorry to inform everyone that an obscure bank in trouble in No Where, Austria was NOT responsible for the 20thC great Depression in the US. IT was caused by irresponsible commodities trading and inept American farming practices to rally the market between '29 -'31.
Wall Street traders aka "suitecase farmers" went to the mid-west along w/ the gov't. armed with stimulus $$ and empty promises. When farmers worked the land down to nothing, there was no longer any thing to trade on the market and just like that. The Market collapsed

Feb. 19 2010 12:36 PM
eastvilliage from eastvillage

Was your guest considered a genius as a child? He implied he was studying science at the age of 10 and had all sorts of fellowships. Did he get a Ph.D. in sciece or something else? And why was he bedridden for 10 years?

Feb. 19 2010 12:36 PM
KM from manhattan

I agree Leonard! I like my private thoughts and believe it is those that will create new ideas and technologies.

Feb. 19 2010 12:35 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Bloom needs an iPad "to the nth degree"? No wonder he needs to justify his consumerism in cosmic terms! But personifying the universe (& calling it "she"??!!) is ridiculous. And he falls into the common fallacy of looking only at the successes (like persevering 30 years to make the iPad) & ignoring all the failures around it. He also chooses to define materialism & consumerism in terms that facilitate his defense of them (what's the opposite of a straw man?)--their opponents are talking about people mindlessly buying things they *don't* need, just to have them. On their own terms, they have a Bloom isn't addressing.

And Ford paid his workers more so they could buy the products they were building for him. He did it out of self-interest, not any sense of "fairness."

Feb. 19 2010 12:33 PM
Jennifer from Queens

Thank you, Jeff from NJ. This guy is the definition of a blowhard.

Feb. 19 2010 12:33 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

@ Mike C -- Stuck in bed where is the question -- what institution?

This guy dropped some orange sunshine in 197something and still hasn't come down.

Power to him -- great to hear totally off the wall nonsense. But damn.

Can I get interviewed about my theory of communist space alien control of the Republican Party beginning with George H. W. Bush???

Feb. 19 2010 12:33 PM
victoria kaulback from Brooklyn

wonderful wonderful Howard Bloom. Shows how broadly and deeply you need to study before you should open your mouth. Also shows how the truth is always seen as heresy.

Feb. 19 2010 12:33 PM
Jgarbuz from Queens, NY

Capitalism is not an "ism." It is the natural system of wealth creation. Before capitalism, there was no wealth creation, except for a very tiny elite of slave holders. Slaves were expendable machines who could be sacrificed and destroyed at the whim of the owner.

But it was nomadic merchants, like Abraham, who were conduits of trade between Egypt and Mesopotamia, who accumulated wealth from the profits made in his trading. The accumulation of wealth by roaming tradesmen meant that women had to stay home to guard that wealth for the family, and so she had to be faithful to the patriarch so that the wealth didn't end up in the hands of some strange man. So capitalist society was very patriarchal until recent times.

Feb. 19 2010 12:33 PM
HS from Bronx

OK I am a Native American and I cant take this any more
8000 people a day killed? thats 2,920000 people a year where are those millions of bones at the base?

All these slanders against our civilization to justify the barbaric invasion of europeans is as insane as this guy is and utter lies to boot.

The way some guys dance with the devil of Nazi "race think" frightens me

Feb. 19 2010 12:32 PM
mikke from Brooklyn

this is almost as good as kurt anderson's analysis of capitalism

Feb. 19 2010 12:32 PM
the truth!! from BKNY

epileptic fits? Nice, remember to be respectful Howard, you have a diverse audience listening.

Feb. 19 2010 12:32 PM

pardon me,but doesn't 31 + 67.5 = 98.5 ?

was there a recession in 1998 ?

Feb. 19 2010 12:31 PM
John-Paul G from Elizabeth, NJ

Haha, Leonard you said "screwed." I think I appreciate the slang. Not the term I would have expected in this but I think it gave extra emPHAsis to his point.

Feb. 19 2010 12:31 PM
Mike C. from Tribeca

"I was stuck in bed for fifteen years."

Who woulda thunk it?

Feb. 19 2010 12:29 PM
A from Manhattan

Parody, or just off his meds? Maybe it needs both to explain the combination of error (about history, biology, physics, Marx . . . ) and the tone of utter confidence.

Feb. 19 2010 12:26 PM
mikke from Brooklyn

the british still bought the cotton slavery built along w/ a lot of other european countries

Feb. 19 2010 12:26 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

The British abolished the slave _trade_ in 1807. They abolished _slavery_ in 1833.


Feb. 19 2010 12:25 PM
Chris from Brooklyn

Doesn't the universe before the big bang represent a point of infinite organization? And while we see extraordinary organization on a small scale today, this is compensated for by vast disorder throughout the rest of the universe (heat, etc.). Entropy exists, stars burn out, oil turns into heat and carbon, etc.

Either way, this has nothing to do with the iPad, sorry (Except that producing an iPad probably leaves waste products behind on several continents, ergo, entropy). Steve Jobs is not going to lead me to the promised land, that is completely absurd.

Feb. 19 2010 12:24 PM
GW from Bronx

Things = wealth Financial accounting 101
its called inventory.... its counted as wealth
so therefore labour DOES equal wealth. Notice how when unemployment is high wealth is low. When employment is high so too is the general Wealth. The 7 wonders of the ancient world were not built by venture capitalists they were made by labor ... just like I pads.

Feb. 19 2010 12:24 PM
Mike C. from Tribeca

I love it when you repeat your April Fool's Day shows.

But seriously I will order his book from the library. The world needs more eccentrics.

Feb. 19 2010 12:23 PM
Nick Lento from NJ

Bloom is delusional.

The mataphors with the quarks etc are bizzarre.....meanwhile he's not even talking about what we commonly call "human nature".

He attributes to an economic system the reality of technology.

We didn't need capitalism to discover the steam engine etc.

This man is an ideological fanatic who sees capitalism as some kind of god.

Reality is far more complex than any "ism".

Feb. 19 2010 12:20 PM
Phil Henshaw from NY

The fact that "accumulative labor" is the heart of economies, also points to how accumulative order is the heart of natural systems. What pushes both economies and natural systems to loose control and collapse when they over-accumulate is something I've studied in developing a general physics of uncontrolled systems.

One can really define the problem and necessary dimensions of the solution quite simply, as J.M. Keynes did. You'd understand his solution better in simple personal terms.

When a mom & pop store has grown to the point it's environment is less and less responsive, it's better for it to use the profits for something other than expansion. That's his notorious "Widows cruse" proposal. That it would be fortunate if those with accumulated investment funds were to spend their excess earnings, now that the earth is decreasingly responsive to being rearranged and exploited by us ever faster.

Feb. 19 2010 12:19 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Bloom should familiarize himself with "America Right or Wrong" by Anatol Lieven to get a few insights on what is so utterly false about his delusions.

Curious that Bloom should cite Ford's anti-Semitism (certainly an established fact) when Bloom himself delivered an anti-Arab slander regarding "Muslim imperialism" but not the vastly greater and more damaging imperialism of the Christian west.

E. O. Wilson on SocioBiology -- WILSON HIMSELF rejects the genetic claims of his 70s thesis. IF I remember correctly, he did so on the Lopate Show some months ago!

Feb. 19 2010 12:19 PM
GW from Bronx

He so passionately seeks to justify his mania...
my only beef is this childish obsession with Apple inc and the equation of the Ipad with a Navajo sand painting. Indeed this guy would even argue that the Ipad is superior. The frenzy and tone of the voice gets more and more shrill as he is challenged ... sure sign of a conflicted logic. He has no idea of what he is talking about with regard to Asia and it's civilization, (it's more like we consume ethnic minorities) Apparently, anyone can write a book no matter the facts, history or sanity of the author. Rather then being qualified to make sweeping assessments of history , this character is merely an ethnocentric fool. Steve Jons leading us to the promised land from the Chinese? Where are all those IPads and Ipods being built? Apple fan boy does economics... what a joke.

Feb. 19 2010 12:18 PM
Steve from Queens

Capitalism and access to the Internet are spreading in China and yet we do not see any growth in liberal democracy (like some predicted), rather the opposite, in nationalism and xenophobia. Why is that?

Feb. 19 2010 12:18 PM
Jgarbuz from Queens, NY

The Bible was the first regulator of capitalism, as it demanded a day of rest for workers, and that they be paid in a timely manner. Now Marxism is totally flawed from the get-go, because Marx believed that labor is the source of wealth. But that is not true. Labor is the source of THINGS. Wealth is the accumulated profits made from SELLING those things above the cost of labor and other factors of production that went into producing them. That is, wealth is created in trade, not simply in the making of things. It is the merchant, a.k.a. the entrepreneur or capitalist who is able to pull together labor and capital and innovation that is the captain in the creation of wealth.

Feb. 19 2010 12:17 PM
jtt from nyc

Wasn't this nation's early wealth built by slave labor on stolen land?

Is that ok?

Feb. 19 2010 12:17 PM
jeff from nj

what is this guy talking about, marx was very impressed as to capitalism achievments....This guy would not last 4 mins in an arguement with marx

Feb. 19 2010 12:17 PM
tired of this from brooklyn

Aren't capitalism's failures obvious by now? We can reasonably hold its prerogatives responsible for climate change, the threat of nuclear war, the displacement of masses -- getting rid of it all together would be a rather modest challenge, all things being equal. Less apologism from this market toady would be... better.

Feb. 19 2010 12:16 PM
Benjamin from manhattan

I wanted to inform the listeners that this guest doesn't know his physics. I know he doesn't need to, but it isn't good to spread mis-information. Corrections- there are only 12 known quarks (not 16) and photons had been around far before the first supernova. My credentials- I am a physics graduate student at Yale University working in High Energy Physics.

Feb. 19 2010 12:16 PM
Timothy from Williamsburgh

Oh, HOWARD Bloom. Not Harold.

Does he get that a lot?

Feb. 19 2010 12:14 PM


I am going to switch my radio to something else.

I really don't like people who try to take a system of human behavior and try to make it into something more than what it is. Give me a break, the cosmos??

Feb. 19 2010 12:14 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

So capitalism should be messianic ... like Lloyd Blankfein: "We are doing God's work."

Let's take that messianic myth to its illogical conclusion -- the apocalypse and annihilation.

Feb. 19 2010 12:13 PM
Mike C. from Tribeca


Feb. 19 2010 12:12 PM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

So Howard Bloom offers a ultra-anthropomorphism -- a right-wing Gaia hypothesis.

Bloom's incoherent nonsense will be viewed (if it is viewed at all) in 20 years as "Dow 36,000" is today.

As for Bloom's claims about entropy. Take it from a former physicist -- Bloom is dead wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.

Feb. 19 2010 12:11 PM
Andy from Brooklyn

"How does this connect...."

It doesn't Leonard. This is the silliest discussion.

Feb. 19 2010 12:10 PM

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