Global Capitalism: August 2015 Monthly Update

Capitalism, the Vanishing Middle and the Poor

Co-sponsored by Democracy at Work, Left Forum, and Judson Memorial Church

These programs begin with 30 minutes of short updates on important economic events of the last month. Then Wolff analyzes several major economic issues. For this August, these will include:

1. Puerto Rico joins Detroit, Greece, etc. on capitalism’s list of victims
2. Why workers’ coops are key to the new “socialism for the 21st century”
3. Today’s assaults on workers’ pensions: analysis and real opposition


Showing 3 comments

  • commented 2015-09-06 15:26:45 -0400
    Sorry for the double comment., Don’t know how it happened.
  • commented 2015-09-06 15:21:19 -0400
    Prof. Wolff talks about markets in general, but he means capitalist markets. The markets under feudalism were not capitalist markets; prices and quality were strictly controlled by feudal law. Severe punishment awaited anyone who cheated a customer. In Cuba and other “real existing” socialist countries, markets were controlled by rationing and by law. It is quite possible to have a socialist market, it just won’t be a “free” (in the capitalist sense).
    As for the distribution of goods within ancient tribal societies, Prof. Wolff i quite correct. Tribal unity and loyalty required a considerable degree of equality. Also, members of the tribe were all related by “blood” (genetics) or marriage or adoption, which contributed to solidarity. But there was still inequality; the best hunters always had the choice of the best pieces of meat, and the rest of the tribe had to divide up what was left. But in dealings between different tribes, exchanges were done in a way to get the best deal possible, just like in a capitalist market.
    Maybe it’s time to bring back the old Marxist slogan “From each according to their ability; to each according to their need.”
    Also, let me thank everybody involved in bringing a Comments section to this website. It’s something I have been asking for for a long time. If it’s done right, it can add a lot of interest to our discussions.
  • commented 2015-09-06 15:21:19 -0400
    Prof. Wolff talks about markets in general, but he means capitalist markets. The markets under feudalism were not capitalist markets; prices and quality were strictly controlled by feudal law. Severe punishment awaited anyone who cheated a customer. In Cuba and other “real existing” socialist countries, markets were controlled by rationing and by law. It is quite possible to have a socialist market, it just won’t be a “free” (in the capitalist sense).
    As for the distribution of goods within ancient tribal societies, Prof. Wolff i quite correct. Tribal unity and loyalty required a considerable degree of equality. Also, members of the tribe were all related by “blood” (genetics) or marriage or adoption, which contributed to solidarity. But there was still inequality; the best hunters always had the choice of the best pieces of meat, and the rest of the tribe had to divide up what was left. But in dealings between different tribes, exchanges were done in a way to get the best deal possible, just like in a capitalist market.
    Maybe it’s time to bring back the old Marxist slogan “From each according to their ability; to each according to their need.”
    Also, let me thank everybody involved in bringing a Comments section to this website. It’s something I have been asking for for a long time. If it’s done right, it can add a lot of interest to our discussions.
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