Global Capitalism: July 2015 Monthly Update


Winners and Losers in Today's Shifting Capitalism

Co-sponsored by Democracy at Work, Left Forum, and Judson Memorial Church, Global Capitalism begins with 30 minutes of short updates on important economic events of the last month. Professor Wolff then analyzes several major economic issues that include:

  1. Greece and the choking of Europe's welfare state
  2. Capitalism's shift from "old centers" (north America, western Europe, and Japan) to "new centers" (China, India, Brazil, etc.) brings harsh politics
  3. Financing workers coops as a better way forward

Showing 4 comments

  • followed this page 2016-10-20 14:04:33 -0400
  • commented 2015-08-11 10:20:10 -0400
    Thank you Mitch Smith for your approval and suggestions. I am sure Rick Wolff would be appreciative of the relevance of your references to the possible consequences of establishing workers’ cooperatives, from Sopolsky’s biological dimorphism to Zimbardo’s “situational forces” to the ethnic factionalism of Kobane as potential problems and obstacles, rather than presuming WSDE’s to be a panacea. Hopefully workers would see the enlightening insight of being cognizant of the limitations of communal organizations as represented by your reference to Dunbar’s number.
    Finally, your suggestion that corporate institutions need not be abandoned resonates with the concepts of “Socially Responsible Business” and “Corporate Social Responsibility” articulated by Muhammed Yunus the Bangladeshi Nobel Laureate for his innovations in rural micro-credit programs that have proliferated under altruistically motivated Non-governmental organizations with large-scale corporate structures.
  • commented 2015-08-11 03:31:32 -0400
    Thank you Zahiruddin for your concise insight. I agree.

    Richard Wolff gives us another way to think – this is important. Starting with the worker co-operative.
    You can also look at Zimbardo to understand the depth of trouble caused by deep hierarchy in corporate and national structures. From Abu-Graib to Wall street to the Whitehouse.
    Also look to Robert Sapolsky on the nature of male hierarchy – and the alternatives.
    Then look to Kobane – many are looking there for answers.
    For myself, I look tyo the corporation as a way forward – but it must be changed to “incorporate” more than the profit motive. It must be constituted to include much that is now external – for example: the well being of all who participate in it – including their dependants: the Old, the Young, the Sick and the Injured.
    Wolff assumes that the worker-directed-enterprise will be enough. But I conclude that it needs codification in the corporate constitution to allow for both standardisation, repetition and local variance.

    We also need to fully accept the “Dunbar Number” .. there are limits to any human collective – this limit is prescribed by our own brains. A single human cannot track the socio-economic mappings for more than 300 hundred others. We fool ourselves to believe that computers help with this.

    The Western legislative systems recognise this – it is called “Anti Trust” – and it should be exercised to observe the Dunbar number.

    It is clear that any organisation that exceeds that number will split into factions and classes.

    A corporate constitution that regulates the splitting and merging of collectives will be a massive leap forward in the harmony of humanity.

    Rather than hate the “Corporation” let us embrace it and complete it?
  • commented 2015-08-06 11:31:03 -0400
    As always, we have an engaging, lucid and insightful commentary on the state of the global economy. Broad brushstrokes of historical trends frame the details of significant issues and events. The audience is captivated by how they are located in the picture.
    No presentation can say everything, but for an even wider audience this presentation resonates with the replication of the events and issues that are described in detail. National and international economic and political organisations all over the world echo the machinations of European and U.S. policy makers, often with the very same institutions and politicians being involved. We are given the means to regard the world for audiences in other parts of the world, to see how they are situated in the dynamic of global capitalism.
    The Troika strangles Greece with one tentacle while reaching across the globe with many others. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) sponsored by China poses a counter to its parallel, the U.S. dominated World Bank. We can now watch the AIIB with the foreknowledge of the behavior of the western counterparts.
    Politicians and governments in Europe and the U.S. face conflicts and choices for their own motives, replicated in a multitude of variations, in tandem or at cross purposes, with politicians and governments everywhere else. We can ask the same questions about the conflict between sponsors and voters in different places.
    The treatment of the Pope’s recent statements is an instance of a comment in a global context that is paralleled by views from a variety of religious perspectives. Just as we are waiting on what the Pope will say to his hosts in the U.S., we can reserve judgment on various, conflicting convictions being espoused and pursued in the name of Islam in the Arab world, in Asia and Africa. Similarly we can anticipate the actions of the conservative Hindu political party that now rules in India.
    Worker’s cooperative enterprise is thematic to the looking forward aspect of this presentation, and that has parallels of experience everywhere. It provides a positive vision in an otherwise disheartening panorama of declining well being in the West fueled by exploitative conditions in poor countries and the ongoing surge of migration and human trafficking. We are left with difficult questions of how to organize and mobilize political will, as opposed to the chaos of individuals struggling to survive, each in one of many types of desperate conditions.
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