In the last few years, George Orwell’s writing and thinking have come to seem ever more timely. But they are also much misrepresented. As BBC Radio 4 marks the 70th anniversary of his early death, BBC documentary-maker Phil Tinline takes five words that resonate through Orwell’s work, and tests out what light they can shed on our problems today.
Throughout the 1940s, Orwell grew alarmed at the rise of the ‘oligarchical collectivists’ – the cadres of unaccountable technicians and managers on whom superstates – and large organisations – depend.
Free market economics was supposed to have upended all that – so do Orwell’s anxieties have anything to tell us about today’s corporations and big tech companies as well as resurgent authoritarian states? The conservative writer Ferdinand Mount, who once worked with a thinker who shaped Orwell’s ideas, argues that the oligarchs are back.
Series contributors include: Abduweli Ayup, Nick Cohen, David Dwan, Maurice Glasman, Joanna Kavenna, Robert Jay Lifton, Dorian Lynskey, James Millward, Ferdinand Mount, Jean Seaton, Joanne Smith Finley, Timothy Snyder, Mihrigul Tursun
Presenter/ Producer: Phil Tinline