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The communist manifesto for a capitalist world

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David Simon from American Library Association (Flickr)
David Simon from American Library Association (Flickr)

David Simon is best known as the creator of HBO's much-loved crime drama The Wire, whose uncompromising depiction of inner city life in Baltimore has won a dedicated following of fans. The candid treatment of sociopolitical issues in The Wire is informed by Simon's experience as a journalist and a writer during the 1980s and '90s, and he has given voice to his concerns once more in an op-ed for The Guardian.

Describing the United States of today as "a horror show," Simon speaks of the fracturing of the country's population into increasingly polarized and discordant groups. With free market capitalism serving as both the economic system and policy decision maker in the US, he says, values such as compassion are falling by the wayside in the pursuit of the one quantifiable metric of success: profit.

His solution isn't radical — as an outspoken critic of the status quo, Simon has to regularly point that he's no Marxist — but it does urge a return to considerations of the broader social good. In Simon's eyes, there's no pure ideology or philosophy that works; it is the struggle between left and right, between collectivism and individualism, that produces the best results. In short, balance is the answer.