Concluding this interview project, I found that the interview process was a good experience and led to some interesting ideas presented by each person interviewed. While the last two interviews were very similar in their perspective and conclusions, the first interview varied the most. One of the most prominent threads was the concept of consumption being one of the biggest facets of capitalism which gives a differing perspective from the more business-oriented discussions in class. The other notable one is that each interview demonstrated a pointed critique of capitalism but all come to different conclusions on the state of capitalism.
The first interview with DD was the most critical of capitalism and most willing to condemn capitalism as a system. Her answers showed the generational divide with her family but also a divide with the other interviewees who are much older. The answers she gave in regards to the consumerist aspect of capitalism placed emphasis on how it is how she most experiences capitalism but presents it as a negative effect of the system.
The second interview with BP was very interesting because unlike the first interview her perception of other systems, specifically communism, was informed by personal experiences with people who claimed to represent a communist revolution. Her general distaste for the idea of communism seems to also inform her conclusion that despite its failings capitalism is the only system that could exist. Her answers also bring back the concept of consumerism but from a more positive perspective. She explains how her life changed from poverty in a country in Central America to a middle-class one in the United States and this change in economic status seems to inform her conclusions as well. One aspect that connects to the first interview is that both point specifically to people in the higher classes being partially responsible for the issue with capitalism today.
The third interview with EP is similar to the second interview in the sense that both do not outright condemn capitalism but so critique it in small ways. He was the most unsure of his answers and debated what his stances were throughout the interview but presented interesting answers. Notably, he also brings in consumerism as a facet of capitalism he sees often and expressed that he moved up in economic status which made him feel unsure of his criticism of capitalism. While he does not go into depth about it, EP also points to the people of a higher economic status being potentially bad actors in the system.
Overall the project provided an interesting insight into how people perceive capitalism and how they relate it to their personal lives. Notably, each of these interviews provided some insight on consumerism which we hadn’t discussed in depth in class. Unlike much of the academic material, we read these interviews felt as though there was insight into how people react to living in the system and how for some they have no experience with other systems, and others only had negative experiences with other systems. Between these interviews, there is also a generational divide because the youngest interviewee had the most outright negative opinion while the older ones had a generally more neutral opinion.
All of my interviewees expressed discomfort to some degree for various reasons but mostly in regard to the idea of being interviewed about a subject they felt uninformed on. When I asked further on certain answers they gave there was hesitancy to elaborate further or a pause to further think about their answers. This was an understandable response and I encouraged the interviewees to give their answers as they saw them. It was a good experience interviewing these people but I do wish that I had provided a bit more variety given that my last two interviews were similar in some ways.