Mar 17 • 1HR 1M

How big business sold America the myth of the free market

A conversation with Erik M. Conway about his new book with Naomi Oreskes.

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Volts is a podcast about leaving fossil fuels behind. I've been reporting on and explaining clean-energy topics for almost 20 years, and I love talking to politicians, analysts, innovators, and activists about the latest progress in the world's most important fight. (Volts is entirely subscriber-supported. Sign up!)
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In 2010, historians of technology Erik M. Conway and Naomi Oreskes released Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, a book about weaponized misinformation that proved to be extraordinarily prescient and influential.


Now Oreskes and Conway are back with a new book: The Big Myth: How American Business Taught Us to Loathe Government and Love the Free Market. It's about the laissez-faire ideology of unfettered, unrestrained markets, which was invented and sold to the American people in the 20th century through waves of well-funded propaganda campaigns. The success of that propaganda has left the US ill-equipped to address its modern challenges.

Erik M. Conway
Erik M. Conway

On March 8, I interviewed Conway at an event for Seattle's Town Hall, where we discussed the themes of the book, the hold free-market ideology still has over us, and the prospects for new thinking. The organizers were kind enough to allow me to share the recording with you as an episode of Volts. Enjoy!