Glenn Loury: Tales of Sex, Drugs, and Capitalism

The economist and podcaster discusses his new memoir Late Admissions: Confessions of a Black Conservative.


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My guest today is economist and podcaster Glenn Loury, whose new memoir is titled Late Admissions: Confessions of a Black Conservative. Born in 1948 and raised working-class in Chicago's predominantly African American South Side, Loury tells a story of self-invention, ambition, hard work, addiction, and redemption that channels Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography, Richard Wright's Native Son, Saul Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March, and Milton Friedman's Capitalism & Freedom. The first tenured black economist at Harvard, Loury emerged in the 1980s as a ubiquitous commenter on race and class and was offered a post in the Reagan administration. Then a series of scandals involving affairs, arrests, and addiction threatened the end of his personal and professional lives. Late Admissions is an unflinching look at Loury's failures and successes, written by one of the most popular academic presences on YouTube.

0:00— Introduction

1:34— Why write a memoir now?

4:17— What is a black conservative?

7:47— Glenn Loury's background

15:10— Addiction and self destruction

17:00— 'A hustler and a player'

21:34— Crack, Infidelity, and the remarkable Dr Linda Loury

25:44— Loury's downfall in the late 80s

28:38— Recovery, self-knowledge, and making amends

36:32— 'Rise Above It': a MLM scam with real lessons 40:40- Loury's career and legacy in Economics

45:08— College students and protests

49:00— Affirmative action and conservatives

52:30— Equality, childhood development, and cultural influences

57:21— The Black Experience and healthy cultural discourse

1:02:22— Immigrants as beacons of hope

Read more: A transcript from Nick Gillespie's conversation with Glenn Loury in the August/September 2024 issue of Reason

Previous appearance: Glenn Loury: 'We're Being Swept Along by Hysteria' About Racism in America, June 24, 2020

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