Economic Update: Solving Old Economic Problems

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On this week's Economic Update, Prof. Wolff provides updates on Vermont brewery becoming a worker coop, profitability proves nothing, Trump knocks "fiduciary rule," immigration reduces crime, Pelosi endorses capitalism. Major discussions of applying Hegel on masters/slaves to employers/employees and contrasting FDR to Trump.


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  • commented 2017-02-13 07:48:58 -0500
    God bless Trevor Hill. So glad he put this question to Pelosi. I too saw the video, and when Hill uttered the word “capitalism”, Pelosi immediately became flustered. I don’t say that lightly, her reaction was immediate. Then it’s as if she realized she was on camera and soon began to stammer out her answer. Her response, which was nothing short of capitalist apology, no longer flies. No Mrs. Pelosi, not everyone in this country is capitalist. But then again she’s a Washington insider, she’ll never get it.

    I think Hill and many of other anti-capitalists might have a better chance of having a meaningful discussion with Trump himself (IMO not a real Republican) than with an establishment Democrat. Why do I say that? Because at least Trump spoke of workers and jobs and things like that, things that HRC and other establishment Democrats, at best, feigned fealty, if they spoke of it at all.

    I’m also glad Prof. Wolff talked about pensions and 401ks, the latter of which is, as Wolff himself stated, a do-it-yourself pension. Indeed very few regular Americans have a deep enough understanding of the financial game to wield profits to their accounts. I know I don’t, and that’s not for a lack of trying. Of course if we remember that our Wall Street financial game is one filled with formulas that no one really knows or understands, and terminologies that no one outside of WS knows or understands, then to expect regular Americans to be able to understand it enough to manager their accounts properly is ludicrous. But the bigger question is, should we be expected to become financial “experts” in order to have a retirement? I know that’s something I’m not interested in, and I and my future shouldn’t be subject to punishment if I don’t.

    As for the Hegelian master/slave dialectic, indeed the master needs the slave. Perhaps more. Because as I listened to this, I was reminded of something Howard Zinn wrote about in The People’s History of the United States, when he said regarding white settlers in the 1500s and very early 1600s: “As for the free white settlers, many of them were skilled craftsmen, or even men of leisure back in England, who were so little inclined to work the land that John Smith, in those early years, had to declare a kind of martial law, organize them into work gangs, and force them into the fields for survival.” It’s clear that, generally, the early white colonist was a very lazy individual and would much prefer to spend incredible sums of energy, time and money on acquiring slaves rather than doing work for themselves, which might have been of lesser effort.
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