The World in Time

Eugene McCarraher

Friday, December 06, 2019

Mammon, by George Frederic Watts, c. 1884. Photograph © Tate (CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0).

“The history of capitalism in America has been a tale of predation,” historian Eugene McCarraher writes at the beginning of The Enchantments of Mammon: How Capitalism Became the Religion of Modernity, “an ambitious but inexorably grotesque and destructive endeavor in the manufacture of beatitude, and that story is arguably winding down to its conclusion. What better time to trace the outlines of that history and inquire into the possibilities that lie dormant in the present?”


In the latest episode of The World in Time, Lewis H. Lapham and McCarraher discuss and unpack the author’s argument that “we should welcome the demise of our misenchanted way of life as an opportunity for repentance and renewal. But redemption can only come if we tell a different story about our country and its unexceptional sins.”


Lewis H. Lapham speaks with Eugene McCarraher, author of The Enchantments of Mammon: How Capitalism Became the Religion of Modernity.


Thanks to our generous donors. Lead support for this podcast has been provided by Elizabeth “Lisette” Prince. Additional support was provided by James J. “Jimmy” Coleman Jr.

Discussed in this episode

More Podcasts

July 21, 2017

The World in Time:

Michael Kazin

Lewis Lapham talks to Michael Kazin, author of War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918. More

Photograph of “Video Typewriter” by Thomas J. O'Halloran, 1964.

January 15, 2021

The World in Time:

George Dyson

Lewis H. Lapham speaks with the author of Analogia: The Emergence of Technology Beyond Programmable Control. More

June 15, 2011

The World in Time:

To End All Wars

Lewis Lapham talks with author Adam Hochschild about the struggles of the antiwar movement in World War I–era Britain. More

Maris Pacifici, the first printed map to depict the Pacific Ocean, Abraham Ortelius, 1589.

August 04, 2017

The World in Time:

Simon Winchester

Lewis Lapham talks with Simon Winchester, author of Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World’s Superpowers. More

February 14, 2020

The World in Time:

Richard J. King

Lewis H. Lapham speaks with the author of Ahab’s Rolling Sea: A Natural History of Moby-Dick. More

May 31, 2019

The World in Time:

Brenda Wineapple

Lewis H. Lapham talks with the author of The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation. More