Susan George in the Shoes of the Corporate Elite
In episode three of this interview series, Susan George explains how she managed to write How to win the Class War - The Lugano Report II from the perspective of the very people she opposed all her life, the 'Davos Class'.
Also watch part 1 (The story behind the book) and part 2 (What could people learn from reading the book) of the interview series with Susan George.
Was it difficult to put yourself in the shoes of the commissioners?
Susan George: "Well, to get into the mentality of people who I have opposed all my life, all my working life - I have been opposed to the Davos class, to the Commissioners and I have been on the side of the people who were being oppressed by them, those people - so either my readers know it or they don't - most of my readers are going to know that anyway, and they are going to get the irony of answering the Commissioners' question in the terms of what the Commissioners want to hear.
It was exhausting in Lugano one and, this time I had a little more practice.
"You asked if this is difficult. Well, I would say it is exhausting, because, in a sense, you are balancing all the time between your own point of view but what you also see as being their point of view. So that I have to imagine. I feel I can imagine it, because I used to know a good many people like that. I can still see very well from a class point of view how they behave and how they think. Let's say, it was exhausting in Lugano one and, this time I had a little more practice, so I was more, perhaps, at ease.
"But every book is like a pregnancy. It always takes me about nine months to do something, once I have decided what I'm going to do, and I've done a good bit of research, but it still takes quite a while. I am very careful with my writing. I revise, revise and revise.
Every book is like a pregnancy. It always takes me about nine months.
"The other thing I do - which is gratification as I suppose you could say, I am just giving myself a lot of satisfaction, but - at the beginning I quote passages from the first Lugano Report where the working group is predicting what is going to happen and saying 'you've got to watch out for this in finance'. And I say - and I am quoting from the book written in 1999 - 'we (that is to say 'we, the working group') are surprised that there has not been a financial crisis yet'. Because they saw all the signs were going to build up to a crisis, which actually didn't happen until 9 years later.
"For the short ecological section - I do not spend a lot of time on this - they noticed already that there was going to be much more unpredictable weather. It was climate change, it wasn't just climate heating up. It was really change of an unpredictable nature. And as for societies, that inequalities were growing and will probably continue to grow.
"I am just quoting myself 10 years ago and as the working group says 'we were far more often right than wrong'. So, that is just giving myself a little pat on the back...:) "
In Part 4, the next and last edition of this interview series, Susan George will talk about What effect this book might have.