Economic Update: Addiction, Capitalism, and 12 Steps

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On this week's show, Prof. Wolff provides updates on car loans, sales showing falsity of "recovery" claims, airline profits vs service, the G-20 meetings coordinate global austerity, July 4 and capitalism, and the misleading debate over raising minimum wages and losing jobs. On the second half of the show, Prof. Wolff is joined by Dr. Harriet Fraad who will talk about the connections among addictions, capitalism and 12-step programs.


Showing 5 comments

  • commented 2017-07-14 00:06:41 -0400
    - to Paul above: AA is not religious — it is spiritual — a big difference. And BTW, your comment sounds like an ad…just saying… AA has been around since 1939, and has cured thousands; how many has the drug you’re pushing saved? I think the above anecdotal evidence of 5-8% rate is rather speculative. Try actually going to a local AA meeting; maybe you’ll learn something.

    - but to address Dr Wolff’s talk: appreciated the reference to colonialism on this July 4th, and the historical similarity of those times to our’s, where we are also suffering under an oppressive capitalistic system that needs to be overturn. Those times required a violent revolution; I don’t think that is a solution for today. Rather, I think the revolution needs to be in our politics and, more particularly, in our laws. But the corporate machines seem to have an invincible legal armor; and ever since Citizens United, that armor is only getting stronger, with dark money flooding into the political system, corporate control of the political system seems stronger than ever. Is there any hope of a way to turn this system around, short of violent revolution?

    I would say yes, if we can begin to advance our rights based on our local legal communities. This is the one political, and economic, front which corporations can never totally control. They are trying economically, to be sure, but real communities can never be politically astroturfed indefinitely. What is this legal strategy based on? Community Rights. For more information, please see:
    The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF.org), and their highly informative video: “So Your Community is Going to be Fracked, Mined, Factory Farmed, or fill in the blank” https://vimeo.com/60490244

    I hope you will consider doing a show on CELDF’s lega strategy, and how it could mesh quite well with a strategy seeking to reverse the negative effects of capitalism. In fact, CELDF’s executive director, Thomas Linzey, lives in central Pennsylvania, so you might be able to have him on your show.

    Best regards,
    Rick Casey
    Lafayette, CO
    I listen to your show on kgnu.org, our rockin’ local radio station in Boulder….:)
    PS – sorry for reposting; please delete first anonymous post
  • commented 2017-07-13 20:34:08 -0400 · Flag
    Nice talk this week. Couple of comments:

    - to Paul above: AA is not religious — it is spiritual — a big difference. And BTW, your comment sounds like an ad…just saying… AA has been around since 1939, and has cured thousands; how many has the drug you’re pushing saved? I think the above anecdotal evidence of 5-8% rate is rather speculative. Try actually going to a local AA meeting; maybe you’ll learn something.

    - but to address Dr Wolff’s talk: appreciated the reference to colonialism on this July 4th, and the historical similarity of those times to our’s, where we are also suffering under an oppressive capitalistic system that needs to be overturn. Those times required a violent revolution; I don’t think that is a solution for today. Rather, I think the revolution needs to be in our politics and, more particularly, in our laws. But the corporate machines seem to have an invincible legal armor; and ever since Citizens United, that armor is only getting stronger, with dark money flooding into the political system, corporate control of the political system seems stronger than ever. Is there any hope of a way to turn this system around, short of violent revolution?

    I would say yes, if we can begin to advance our rights based on our local legal communities. This is the one political, and economic, front which corporations can never totally control. They are trying economically, to be sure, but real communities can never be politically astroturfed indefinitely. What is this legal strategy based on? Community Rights. For more information, please see:
    The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF.org), and their highly informative video: “So Your Community is Going to be Fracked, Mined, Factory Farmed, or fill in the blank” https://vimeo.com/60490244

    I hope you will consider doing a show on CELDF’s lega strategy, and how it could mesh quite well with a strategy seeking to reverse the negative effects of capitalism. In fact, CELDF’s executive director, Thomas Linzey, lives in central Pennsylvania, so you might be able to have him on your show.

    Best regards,
    Rick Casey
    Lafayette, CO
    I listen to your show on kgnu.org, our rockin’ local radio station in Boulder….:)
  • commented 2017-07-11 14:53:59 -0400
    Hi Chris,
    To answer your question, here’s an excerpt from the Atlantic article:

    In his recent book, The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry, Lance Dodes, a retired psychiatry professor from Harvard Medical School, looked at Alcoholics Anonymous’s retention rates along with studies on sobriety and rates of active involvement (attending meetings regularly and working the program) among AA members. Based on these data, he put AA’s actual success rate somewhere between 5 and 8 percent. That is just a rough estimate, but it’s the most precise one I’ve been able to find.

    But i agree that there is no substitute for social interaction and acceptence by a peer group.
  • commented 2017-07-11 14:14:48 -0400
    Paul. Maybe so many doctors and other health care professionals refer their patients to AA is because it works. Please don’t quote recovery stats for AA that you can’t back up. AA does not track the recovery of it’s members so where do you get your numbers? Treatment centers are not AA. Maybe these drug treatments do help some people moderate and AA’ers would say “Our hats off to you”. But people don’t come to AA to moderate. They come to quit. But that’s just the beginning. A life of recovery offers so much more than just not taking a drink. I’ve often heard people who have recovered in AA say they wouldn’t substitute a pill for what they’ve found in AA – even if it did work. They haven’t made a pill yet for spiritual healing and I doubt they ever will.
  • commented 2017-07-10 16:21:26 -0400
    Hi Professor Wolff,
    I agree with Dr Fraad on most of her statements, but the original 12 step program has it’s roots in religion, and that is dangerous; I regard all religions as dangerous.
    There is an alternative to, say alcoholism, in the following article that I wrote a while back, with a link to The Atlantic:
    AA: The 12 steps are so deeply ingrained in the United States that many people, including doctors and therapists, believe attending meetings, earning one’s sobriety chips, and never taking another sip of alcohol is the only way to get better. Hospitals, outpatient clinics, and rehab centers use the 12 steps as the basis for treatment. But although few people seem to realize it, there are alternatives, including prescription drugs and therapies that aim to help patients learn to drink in moderation. Unlike Alcoholics Anonymous, these methods are based on modern science and have been proved, in randomized, controlled studies, to work. http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/03/the-irrationality-of-alcoholics-anonymous/386255/
    Probably Dr Fraad is aware of this, but treating alcoholics with Naltrexone or Nalmefene seems to work a lot better (78% reduced their alcohol intake drastically, or stopped altogether) than the chancy 12 step program; it has been estimated that the success rate is between 5-8%.
    Just thought I’d let you kow :)
    Keep up the great work; I love economic updates.
    Cheers,

    Paul
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