Economic Update: Capitalism and Democracy

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On this week's Economic Update, Prof. Wolff provides updates on Puerto Rico, slave labor in the cocoa fields, worsening UK inequality, leaders imposing austerity on others, Canada's Girl Guides among tourists to shun US. Major discussions: rising US wage inequality; connection and opposition between capitalism and democracy; key differences between capitalist and worker-coop enterprises.

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  • Paul Cohen
    commented 2017-03-27 19:45:50 -0400
    The comment about there being a very few people who own and control our big corporations got me thinking. I do own some stock but certainly not enough to control or even influence any corporation. But from time to time I get a notice of a stockholders meeting and an invitation to attend – usually at some distant city where the cost to me of attending is, if not more, at least a significant percentage of what my stock in the company is worth. I’ve never been to one of these meetings of course.

    But I am offered an alternative – to sign over my right to vote to the management. Or some times I am given a list of names of candidates and perhaps a few words about their experience and asked to vote on these proposed board members. I generally toss this opportunity in a convenient basket and forget about the issue.

    My shares do not make any difference, but perhaps the combined shares of a large number of shareholders would. Is this possible? I don’t know. It would be interesting to find out.

    If some organization that could be trusted to be working in the public interest wanted, I suspect there would be quite a few small stockholders who would be willing to sign over their proxies to that organization instead of tossing them into the basket. Perhaps at times that organization could make good use of this combined power.

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