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Can we turn our insecurity into power? Consumer debt stands at $17.29 trillion and many Americans are drowning in debt, with the average household owning over $100 thousand. The climate crisis, threats to democracy, and global wars add more worry to our already stressful lives. In her new book out from House of Anansi Press, “The Age of Insecurity: Coming Together as Things Fall Apart”, writer, filmmaker, organizer, and the 2023 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Massey Lecturer, Astra Taylor uses mythology, psychology and the history of capitalism to break down the different kinds of insecurities we face, and explore how our insecurities help capitalism flourish. Without it, the system would cease to function, she says. In her years of work as Co-Founder of the Debt Collective, which emerged from Occupy Wall Street, Taylor has used debt as a tool for bringing people together and organizing. She is the author of The Age of Insecurity: Coming Together as Things Fall Apart, Democracy May Not Exist But We’ll Miss It When It is Gone, and The People’s Platform (winner of the American Book Award), and the director of What Is Democracy?, among other books and films. In this wide-ranging discussion, Astra Taylor and Laura Flanders discuss the history of capitalism, the rights of debtors, and what we can do to lessen insecurity and expand security both as individuals and as a society. All that, plus a commentary from Laura.
“There is a debate here about motivation and what motivates us, and we are constantly being told that if people are too secure, that society’s going to collapse and that we can’t afford to invest in other folks. And I really want to challenge that idea.” – Astra Taylor
“. . . When you start talking about with others, you realize you’re actually in the same boat and you start coming together to demand change, to demand debt cancellation, to demand the provision of these public goods. Debt actually can become a source of power.” – Astra Taylor
- Astra Taylor: Co-Founder of the Debt Collective & Author, The Age of Insecurity
Portions of this interview are featured in our episode, “Debt, Democracy & Disarray: Astra Taylor on “The Age of Insecurity“.