This was the pointed question posed in a recent article on the website of Forbes, the proud and unapologetic mouthpiece of capitalism. In the words of the article’s author, Igor Greenwald: “Capitalism has been the dominant economic system in the Western world for, give or take, 400 years. And in that virtual eye blink in the grander scheme of things it has produced more wealth than all the prior economic systems put together ... But nothing—not even the bestest thing ever—lasts forever. Stuff happens. Things change. Systems work until they don’t. How close is capitalism to the end of its useful life? What comes next?”

The answer to this question once seemed like a no-brainer. During the years of the postwar boom, college was sold as a kind of normal stage of life for young Americans, and attaining a degree from a public university was a sure way toward a higher salary. It was often quite affordable as well, thanks to things like Pell Grants and a greater amount of public funding. Those days seem far away now.

The following interview, conducted in October 2012 by journalist Arash Azizi, was originally published in the Farsi-language journal Mehrnameh, the leading journal of humanities in Iran. In it, John Peterson gives a basic overview of the history of political parties and class interests in the United States, which shows that the U.S. political spectrum has not always been "the same," and that things can and do change, often dramatically.