Show Notes


Join The Higherside Chats podcast as host, Greg Carlwood, discusses “The Cancer of Capitalism”, with philosophy professor and author, John McMurtry.

We have watched the disease that is Private Fractional Reserve banking and the “profit or bust” mindset slowly erode and infect nearly every aspect of life- from the exhausted environment, to the march of the military industrial complex, to the lives spent in unfulfilling jobs just to pay off the debt that got them there. Our societal and personal motivations are so warped by this green monopoly money that people regularly debate what behaviors truly reflect human nature and what can be credited to the crack-like addiction we have to this cycle of greed, debt, and consumerism.
While it is a lot to unpack, and may of us recognize this destructive and sociopathic system cannot continue, we need the communal equivalent of a full medical evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment plan, before much can be done.

Today’s guest, John McMurtry has authored several books including, “The Cancer Stage of Capitalism”, is a retired professor of Philosophy, expert in Value-theory, physician of finance and doctor of the debt based system of rule.

2:12 To kick things off, John begins by expanding on the metaphor of cancer he often uses to diagnosis the current conditions of our economy and society. As he explains, Fractional Reserve banking is likely the original disorder and very much a key part of the cancer system. According to McMurtry, the cancer system is the disease, and the disease is: transnational money sequences, which have escalated to superseding all life needs.
12:01 With transnational money sequences acting as a cancer to society, and their ability to metastasize being aided through Fractional Reserve banking and trade treaties, Donald Trump’s ability to capture the attention of disenfranchised victim’s of this cancer is due in large part to the mainstream media’s blackout of this topic. A dispossessed society, feeling unheard has witnessed the corporate media’s refusal to acknowledge their fight against a cancer system that will ultimately, by it’s very nature kill them. Along with a defeated society, another tentacle on this cancerous octopus is the military industrial complex. Acting as a means to commit eco-genocide, this faction of the cancer equation, spearheaded by among others the hawkish Hillary Clinton, has been a constant blemish bankrupting society and negating all life needs, as cancer does.
20:01 John elaborates on the dichotomy that “The most suppressed issues of our epoch is the war between life capital on one hand and money capital on the other.” After covering how the money system operates, what it’s achieved and how it’s come to form as this cancer stage, McMurtry explains there is a deeper question to be examined. The concept of rationality itself, or self-maximizing choice and preference, comes into play in these philosophies and is the foundation for understanding the the complex web of life and money capital.
26:42 In John’s book, he refers to economics as a pseudo-science and has a section with the heading: Methodological Censorship in the Academy. Listen as Greg and John discuss they ways the school system has been set up to influence our thoughts on economics and how the teachings are skewed to hide a lot of critical points of McMurtry’s work. He also describes the deeply entrenched systems in place throughout our government to allow this corporate corruption and cancer to continue to metastasize throughout our society using treaties and transnational money sequencing.
38:47 While many of us can see the things that need  in order to preserve life capital above all else, but the real question is how do we get there? As a philosopher, McMurtry is able to see the things that ultimately decide what’s happening with our principles. As John explains, his work is based on understanding the regulating principles, or in scientific terms the laws, the governing aspects of society and the economy such as the life and money sequencing values.
43:40 With everything involved in the war between life capital and money capital, it’s easy to see how the system is designed with various pseudo-levels that parcel the population into segregated schools of thought, and allow us to vote and debate while the real influence is beyond our reach. As John explains, although we may see a swap in branding or figureheads through elections, the governing principles haven’t changed. He continues by discussing the governing principles as applied to an individual level and living in a way that is life coherent.
49:42 While everyone can agree that living a more principled life is a good thing, many argue that capitalism is responsible for pulling people out of poverty and fueling technological advancement. With some saying isn’t capitalism to blame, but rather the centralization of things to blame, Greg and John discuss the Libertarian ideology and as it applies to living as life coherent and adhering to the life value principles. As John explains, it is the public sector, faced with the charge of working for the people that is responsible for many technological advances or at the very least a predecessor to many private sector advances.
58:00 The privatization of the medical and prison systems have caused a huge problem within the system people are operating in. John provides a great example of how the governing principle of the money sequencing values has hampered the growth of technological advancement in the medicinal field because, maximizing results and efficiency, undercuts the bottom line. And maintain the bottom line, means prioritizing money over life coherency.
1:01:50 To take this philosophy to other real world examples, Greg and John discuss New Zealand, as a great case study for some of the underlying capitalist issues, during the mid-80s into the 90s. They go onto to discuss the possibility of collapse and whether this unsustainable system is actually nearing a breaking point. They also examine the rolls and motivation of both Clinton and Trump, their domestic and international agendas, and their attempts to propagate a failing system.
1:18:15 One of the core concepts examined in the Zeitgeist movies is the argument of nature vs. nurture. Are people inherently good, but trapped in a system that forces them to ignore life value? Or, is greed bound to prevail in any system? As John explains, the best way to understand depends on what game you’re playing.
1:29:30 When considering long term security for new a system, it’s easy to struggle with understanding how this can be achieved while preventing the rise of nefarious forces like we currently have. Greg and John discuss the ways in which the new rules should be written to ensure centralization doesn’t lead to corruption.
1:46:20 True human nature can be deduced down to understanding the principles that we live by. When our principles are dictated by money, human nature reflects these principles. Whereas, as Greg and John have explained, if the fundamental principles are shifted to life coherency, so too human nature will shift. Unfortunately, these principles are deeply ingrained throughout every facet of society, and are therefore incredibly difficult to circumvent.
Want more John McMurtry? Check out Global Research, where you can find tons of archives, or read his most recent publication “The Cancer Stage of Capitalism”.
Want to hear more THC? Become a plus member and gain access to the additional hour as well as the THC forums! If you want to stay connected to The Higherside Chats, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check out our YouTube channel, find us on Reddit, or review us on iTunes. Thanks for the support, and until next time.

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17 Responses

    1. And in reference to Mr. McMurtry analysys…yeah the system is fucked, royally. And the luxury, nice as it may be, to travel those “roads less traveled” and learn at the feet of giants is a gift. I hope he appreciates it. And while he didn’t sell a book today, he sold himself. Far better i’d say. Peace Greg ;]

  1. Water has come up so many times, and I keep thinking that it is too bad this was recorded before Standing Rock really took off in the news.

    This John McMurtry seems a kind and gentle soul in whom intelligence and a reasoning mind has not been wasted by way of an immovable cultural conditioning. He took an education from beyond the academy and out in the world of humans still in touch with their uncorrupted nature. I like how he delineated between rural and urban people around the world, and I must say it’s sad that I can be as rural as I am, living in a county without a traffic light, and American media has turned this into a place of urban minded people, many ready to take you, excused by their religion of libertarianism, and playing by its rules.

    …ways in which the new rules should be written to ensure centralization doesn’t lead to corruption.

    I think the way it is generally done in these disjointed states of America is systematically opposite. Our corruption leads to whatever centralization we get.




    P.S.: The audio was not too bad on my computer speakers. Thanks to you Greg, and to your audio elves.

    P.P.S.: I will look forward to Daniel Pinchbeck, as I have been a fan since he introduced me to the concept of the gift economy. My curiosity is piqued by what you said about the interview, Greg.

    1. Thanks! And great points, I agree with your assessment on John. I just think he’s a good, smart guy. A solid counterpoint to the libertarian mindset. Glad the audio didn’t drive you nuts.

      As for Daniel Pinchbeck, I want to be really careful to not get in this accusatory place so many alternative people tend to get in, but something about him has never really sat well with me. I hear a hell of a lot of people lumping him in the false guru nexus along with Russell Brand and the like too. (The foreword and intro to his book where written by Brand and Sting, coincidentally) He’s not a bad guy, and if I were to be wrong, I’d feel really shitty- but I was not super kind to his positions.

      The thing about deceivers, is that they usually have these very impressive connections, grab you with a little bit of raw truth, and then subtly tweak the message to fit the agenda of the people who really write their checks.

      I’ll let the interview speak for itself, but these are my main areas of contention:
      -Being a mouthpiece for very conventional liberal climate change positions. Namely, that all the changes are because of the damage “we” have done to the planet.
      -When I say “Is it really us doing the damage or the corporations that have the resources to actually destroy the environment and have limited our energy/transportation options to what’s most profitable for them historically?” he responds with, “Well I’m not sure blame gets us anywhere.” ….Oh, we’re going to fix the planet without addressing Monsanto, Standard Oil, Nestle, and Big Phrama….yeah, okay.
      -He gets served up as this leading alternative voice, but his book has quotes like this: “I could look at the connections between the Bavarian Illuminati, the Freemasons, the Yale secret society Skull and Bones, and so on. I could consider the
      nihilistic worship of power as something occult and, in Steiner’s terms, Ahrimanic. I don’t think it will be helpful. Conspiracy theories have a hypnotizing, fixating quality. They can be profoundly disempowering.”

      Also, his people contacted me for an interview, not the other way around. So it’s these things that bother me. He seems to want to call out all the problems we have, blame humanity as a whole, not point fingers at any of the guilty parties, and then tell everyone we’re working on the solutions. Maybe coincidence, but it sounds pretty textbook for a false prophet.

      There’s a very good chance he’s just a normal guy trying to do the best work he can, in an honest fashion. I don’t know. I should never try to make claims about a person being connected or disinfo- but all that aside, I just heavily disagreed with his approach. We’ll see. Maybe I was just being a dick.

      1. Thanks for that reply, Greg.

        We always must struggle, it seems, with the words we use, as they are never up to the true task of communications. Not when we want to be closing in on what’s true in the highest sense. I hope I err on the side of generosity in any exchange. Now I look forward more than ever to the upcoming interview. BTW, I am also a fan of Russell Brand and the Trews.

        What chance any of us are normal guys? As persons, what is perceived will always be on a scale between pure heart to towering ego. One aspect is real, and the other, total bullshit. When we are willing to cop to our own bullshit, it comes easier to find heart, wherever we look. The corporations, like ego, are the unreal, and any battle with unreality will only strengthen its illusory powers.

        “The world rests upon the bedrock of satya, or truth.
        Asatya, meaning untruth, also means ‘non-existent,’
        and satya, or truth, also means ‘that which is.’
        If untruth does not so much as exist, its victory is out of the question.
        And truth, being that which is, can never be destroyed.
        This is the doctrine of Satyagraha in a nutshell.”
        ~Mahatma Gandhi



  2. Hi Greg,
    Thank you for this very thoughtful episode. Dr. McMurtry was so clear in presenting his thoughts and observations and his life capitalism resonated with me. It is so seldom that a positive approach is presented to a huge problem. We gotta start somewhere. I will be interested in discussing this with friends.
    I would like to recommend a possible guest- Nancy Isenberg, writer of a book that has just kicked my gullible butt, “White Trash. The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America.” Wow. I would love to hear her talk about her book. She is another clear concise communicator in her writing style. It’s been sewed up since the rich dudes bought all the good land on land grant day one.
    Thank you for so many great podcasts. I have read a couple of early books of Daniel Pinchbeck and liked 2012 and felt I got something out of it but haven’t been watching much, though reality sandwitch sometimes can be worth a look.
    And Chris Knowles! I love to listen to Chris. And Gorden.
    Anyway, thanks so much, today was great. My brain usefulness feels bigger.
    Sincerely, Delorus

    1. I second the request for Nancy Isenberg. I’ve really had to rethink my attitudes and prejudices toward poverty since hearing her work….and I consider myself pretty liberal-minded on the matter. Always gotta be questioning those premises – we need clear minds to bring down the control systems so we can create human systems instead.

    2. Nice, I’ll give “White Trash. The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America” a read. It seems as though racism was used as a political tool during slavery and it will be interesting to dive into this subject.

  3. Great episode.

    For years I’ve been telling people that there is really only one way to accomplish real change in a desired direction. You have to first paint of picture of where you want to ideally wind up. You then need to make an honest assessment of where you currently stand. Then formulate a road map of how to get from point A to point B.

    A far more simple way to put this is that you’d have to take your thinking cap off to imagine that the best way to accomplish a goal is by aiming for some pseudo-related abstraction. With regards to this specific topic I simply say if you make money the end goal then money will be all that you can get. Any happiness or health or well-being that comes along with it will be purely consequential.

    If we want systems that promote: health, happiness and well-being then we need to set those as our goals. Anyone who argues that the best way to achieve well being is by making money the goal, is either lying or lacks the ability to reason.

    As far as Zeitgeist / Venus project I’ve never been a fan. They do a decent job of identifying the problem but when it comes to solutions they seem to throw around the extremely vague concept of meritocracy in a manner reminiscent to Obama’s “hope and change” slogan. Meritocracy sound great until you ask “who determines what has merit?”. We essentially live in a meritocracy right now, at least that is how the so called “capitalists” and librarians talk about money. They make it sound like money is some magic infallible determiner of merit.

    Once again, great episode. Loved every minute of it.

    As far as sound quality goes, Greg have you ever thought of sending a recording device to guests so you can conduct the interview on the phone but then edit the episode with the higher quality sound from the recording device?

    I’d love to see an app to help with that on skype as well. So you conduct the interview and the app records the sound locally so that you can send the MP3 file afterwards and eliminate streaming issues with lower bandwidth or interruptions.

    Anyway… keep up the great work.

  4. Welp.
    He’s right.
    It’s ‘that point in the timeline’.

    SO you know.
    Even though near-latest TARL (see how these all intertwine?
    they call it – VinculæriumÆthyreumne when the reality does this)

    We see the next steppes made of
    foster automatic-permaculture and virtue and no-holds-barred-transparency-consciousness
    a way of perpetuating the meme of transparency and all-out-aggression towards predators

    do you think anything else will change it all?
    it’s just a game.
    so we need to play by the Proper Rules is All.

  5. I wasn’t looking forward to listening to this, but honestly, if this was my last THC Plus podcast I downloaded ever – it won’t be – I think it would be one of the most important, the best and most intelligently explained podcasts that “ground”, to use the guest’s words, knowledge, logic and wisdom into accessible data that one can use for one’s self in the real world and not just the world of ideas. Considering the subject matter was on economics and systems – a subject matter I struggle to pay attention to when listening to “experts using jargon” – I understood all the questions which were well informed and intelligently put and I understood all the answers which were eloquently and intelligently answered.
    Discussing the capitalist economic value system in terms of the behaviour of the disease of cancer is an analogy or metaphor that helped me enormously to understand the basis of Dr McMurtry’s philosophy and analysis.
    One protocol in the fight against cancer I have heard of is to starve the disease by withdrawing all the resources available to it in the human body. This delicate procedure depends upon the collaboration of the knowledge, logic and wisdom of expert carers and the discernment, focus and determination of the diseased human so that the body does not die in the process.
    If I could extend this analogy outwards; in a recent podcast by Freeman Jack of Autonomous Media – podcast found at:
    Freeman Jack discusses briefly the propaganda of Apartheid – how apartheid was a political tool applied on “new” economic continents such as the USA and South Africa as late as the 1920s. Freeman Jack made the claim, and perhaps Dr McMurtry may or may not be able to substantiate this claim, that Apartheid came about not out of white supremacist racism as we have been told over and over – quite the contrary – it was the same old technique divide and conquer mechanism to break the solidarity of essentially Irish, black and Asian slave workers who supported one another and withdrew their labour in a general strike to leverage their life potential by securing certain needs that were denied them. I see this withdrawal of labour as starving the economic cancer system of resources – starving the beast.
    It begs the question, did the authorities came down hard and whack everyone for collapsing their system by introducing a divide and conquer field effect of raising the life chances of the white peasants while reducing the life chances of everyone else; by opening up the `new world’ countries to economic migrants kept poor in the west; by slapping a big ban on certain behaviours and isolating groups of people; propagandising the western economic migrants in cruelty and hatred would be relatively easy; same thing today in different times although I think humanity is now getting the picture in huge droves, however, one wonders if the military corporations will try to pull off a world death racket as a parting gift and if it can even succeed now.
    I picked up some fine definitions and formulae such as technological determinism and a `need’ being something without which a life would be reduced. Dr McMurtry didn’t seem like your typical academic philosopher because he made his subject matter highly accessible as well as eternally relevant. Thank you very much.

  6. I really enjoyed hearing John McMurtry’s perspectives.

    I have a favorite’s folder with homepages of alternative financial authors I read or follow. I find it fascinating Catherine Austin Fitt’s company Solari uses the Sun or solar armillary logo. While Nomi Prins using the black cube/Saturn logo. It seems like a financial crips vs bloods turf war. If CAF or Nomi Prins ever come on THC, I wish Greg would ask them about it and ask what the different teams represent in the finance and banking world.

  7. Always a laugh to hear a philosophy professor talk about economic forces, and as usual their wrong. However, for a leftist he did hoist up fair criticism on both wings of the same bird that is American politics.

  8. Is it even possible to have a meaningful discussion about fractional reserve banking, media control etc without exploring the organised jewish agenda? Whether you are talking about the revolutionary left or the capitalist right, both are overwhelmingly led by Jews, doing what they perceive as good for Jews.

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