Economic Update Episode List: Season 11

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Season 11

Season 11 began in January 2021, and will run through December 2021.


EU_S11_E27_Capitalism_Shrinking_Popularity.png

Capitalism's Shrinking Popularity

No Guest

July 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 27)

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On this week's show, Prof. Wolff discusses French voters abstaining (66%), and rejecting party establishments in the face of social crisis; Seattle City Council helps tenants with law changes as conservatives seek to recall progressive Council leader Sawan; growing US economic inequality cuts mass consumption and thus hurts US economy; June 2021 polls show capitalism losing, socialism gaining among US adults including Republicans; Washington Post columnist seeks to ban billionaires as bad for society.


The Challenge of Progressive Unionism

Guest: David Van Deusen

July 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 26)

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On this week's show, Prof. Wolff discusses Wall Street money corrupting US elections and the facts of a declining US capitalism (wage stagnation driving inequality, rising health and education costs, falling real social security benefits, unequal wealth of people of color vs whites, gross worsening of US income and wealth inequalities). On the second half of the show, Prof. Wolff is joined by David Van Deusen, President of Vermont state AFL-CIO, to talk about the victories of progressive unionism.


Inflation & Labor Shortages

No Guest

July 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 25)

Watch on YouTube | Read Episode Transcript

On this week's show, Prof Wolff talks about the social effects of inflation and the lack of accountability on the part of employers. Capitalist employers set prices with the only motive of maximizing. Employees, the vast majority, must live with inflation but are excluded from decisions setting prices. Employers scream “labor shortage” to get the government to force workers back to work at low wages. Employers also recover from economic crashes while undercutting workers’ efforts to do the same - and that's how capitalism works.


EU_S11_E24_How_Capitalism_Shapes_Our_Food.png

How Capitalism Shapes Our Food

Guest: Mark Bittman

June 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 24)

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In this episode, Prof. Wolff presents updates on the economic aspects of the Covid pandemic: lockdowns vs vaccines, scientific debate vs corporate advertising, long-term vs short term costs, the billionaires made by profiting from vaccines, and false claims of vaccine profiteers. In the second half of the show, Prof. Wolff is joined by former NY Times food-critic Mark Bittman to discuss his new book "Animal, Vegetable, Junk."


Insurgent Working Class & Organization

Guest: Prof. Manny Ness

June 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 23)

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In this week's show, Prof Wolff presents updates on the efforts to finally add dental, vision, and hearing coverage to Medicare, the effects of Trump's tariffs on China, and the contradictions between capitalist profiteering and healthcare. In the second half of the show, Wolff is joined by Professor Manny Ness to discuss worker insurgencies and political organizations in the global South today.


EU_S11_E22_Center_Cannot_Hold.png

The Center Cannot Hold

No Guest

June 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 22)

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This program begins by analyzing the political monopoly (aka "The Center") operated by the GOP and Dems in the US: its organization and dominance until the last few years. The monopoly deteriorates as both GOP and Democrat coalitions suffer splits and cracks opening opportunities for radical political shifts and perhaps new parties. The context of a declining US capitalism facing mounting unsolved social problems adds to the winds of change as do pressures to resort to repression. Wolff affirms that the Center cannot hold.


A "Living Wage"

Guests: Prof. Carlo Fanelli and Prof. Bryan Evans

June 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 21)

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On this week's show, Prof. Wolff comments on how and why "consumerism" matters and on why Biden's "progressive shift" is both like and unlike (far more limited so far) FDR's. Wolff then interviews two Canadian professors of labor studies, Carlo Fanelli and Bryan Evans, on the stakes for labor in fighting for a "living wage.


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Labor & Capitalism's Rise & Fall

Guest: Prof. Michael Hillard

May 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 20)

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On this week's show, Prof. Wolff discusses Congress Bills H.R.51 giving statehood to Washington, DC, and H.R.1 countering GOP efforts to restrict voting; and Biden's tax reforms to help pay for new and expanded government programs. In the second half of the program, Wolff interviews Prof. Michael Hillard on the role of labor in the dramatic rise and fall of Maine's paper industry, a parable for the economic difficulties facing the US today.


Valuing Work by Women of Color

Guest: Prof. Nina Banks

May 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 19)

Watch on YouTube   |   Read Episode Transcript

On this week's show, Prof. Wolff discusses Bernie Madoff's $ 82 billion swindles and capitalism's incentives for swindling, the economics of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, US government's racist housing policies, and refuting the defense of capitalism as "lifting people out of poverty." On the second half of the show, Wolff is joined by Professor Nina Banks to talk about economics and correcting the undervaluing of community building work by women of color.


Capitalism vs. DemocracyEU_S11_E17_US_Capitalism_Nationalism.png

No Guest

May 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 18)

Watch on YouTube   |  Read Episode Transcript

On this week's show, Prof. Wolff presents an analysis of how and why capitalism is an undemocratic economic system. The first half is devoted to the micro-level, namely to the organization of the enterprise (factory, office or store). Its undemocratic character is exposed using examples and empirical evidence. The second half has a macro-level focus that shows how capitalism's generation of growing income and wealth inequality impels the employer class (a small numerical minority) to use their money politically. Their practice undermines real democracy leaving only its empty forms.


How US Capitalism Uses NationalismEU_S11_E17_US_Capitalism_Nationalism.png

No Guest

May 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 17)

Watch on YouTube   |   Read Episode Transcript

From 1945 to 1990 we were told a great struggle pitted capitalism against socialism/communism (chiefly the USSR and China). Yet still today, US leaders demonize Russia and China despite the end of communism in the USSR and a huge growth of capitalist enterprises in China. The explanation lies in US capitalism's long history of using nationalism (i.e. foreign dangers) to justify tax-payer funded government actions to protect, subsidize, and support major capitalists' dominant position in the US economy.


A Green 3rd Party for the U. S. 

Guest: Dr. Jill Stein

April 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 16)

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On this week's episode, Prof. Wolff talks about Rolls Royce's $400,000 cars, unionization defeat at Amazon, why Biden boom is just hype, and progressive wins in the New York state budget. On the second half of the show, Wolff welcomes Green Party leader Dr. Jill Stein to discuss the achievements and goals of an anti-capitalist 3rd party.


Workers Successfully Take Over Their WorkplacesEU_S11_E15_Marcelo_Vieta_(1).png

Guest: Prof. Marcelo Vieta

April 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 15)

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On this week's show, Prof. Wolff discusses how the US home rental market is failing over 20% of all renters, and the basic flaws in Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure proposal. On the second half of the show, Prof. Wolff interviews Prof. Marcelo Vieta on his studies of workers' success in taking over enterprises mismanaged by capitalists.


Marxism's Ongoing Relevance

No Guest

April 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 14)

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After clearing away the Cold War debris that blocked discussion of Marxism's insights since 1945, we focus on Marxism's core contribution to (1) thinking about and (2) changing modern capitalist society. That contribution is class structure and class struggle. Marxism explores how class struggle exists in capitalism, how it influences all of social life, and how it changes over time. Marxism also envisions the end of class struggles as its social change goal now.


When Economic Systems FailEU_S11_E13_Rob_Urie.png

Guest: Rob Urie

April 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 13)

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On this week's episode, Prof. Wolff talks about the structural failure of Biden's American Rescue Plan, Nigerian mass workers' movement, private electricity for the US rich, big vs small business struggles, and why opposition to lockdowns only prolongs Covid. On the second half of the program, Wolff interviews author Rob Urie on criticizing capitalism.


Dems' Self-Promotion vs. Hard Economic RealitiesEU_S11_E12_Bob_Hennelly.png

Guest: Bob Hennelly

March 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 12)

Watch on YouTube   |   Read Episode Transcript

On this week's show, Prof. Wolff discusses the US coal industry decline, Brazil's Covid disaster, economic surge after Covid, and Elizabeth Warren's wealth tax proposal. On the second half of the show, Wolff interviews investigative journalist Bob Hennelly on the gap between Biden regime actions and pronouncements, and the hard realities of economic depression and "food insecurity.


Finally A Tiny Sales Tax on Stocks

Guest: James S. Henry

March 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 11)

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On this week's show, Wolff talks about the taxing of CEO pay in the US, the immoral and self-defeating vaccine policy, and LeBron James speaking out on social issues. On the second half of the show, Wolff interviews attorney James S Henry on the struggles for a stock transfer tax in New York, the US and globally.


People to People: Horizontal Social ChangeEU_S11_E10_Marina_Sitrin.png

Guest: Prof. Marina Sitrin

March 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 10)

Watch on YouTube   |   Read Episode Transcript

On this week's show, Prof. Wolff presents updates on the Texas energy catastrophe, the 'Robinhood/Reddit' Wall Street incident, college workers organizing, Hollywood's dependency on China, and how New Zealand used total lockdown to beat Covid and support its economy. In the second half of the program, Wolff interviews Prof Marina Sitrin on pandemic solidarity and horizontal social action.


Socialism and Puerto Rico

Guest: Senator Rafael Bernabe

March 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 09)

Watch on YouTube   |   Read Episode Transcript

On this week's EU, Prof. Wolff presents updates on worsening US inequality, universities borrowing more, billions earned by hedge funds in 2020, Bezos "charity" giving, Macron and French conservatives' anti-Americanism, and Communists after 1945 vs Proud Boys now. On the second half of the show, Wolff interviews socialist Senator Rafael Bernabe from Puerto Rico.


EU_S11_E07.pngThe System Implodes: Amazon, Evictions, Tax Abuses & Minimum Wage

No Guest

March 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 08)

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On this week's show, Prof. Wolff discusses Amazon's profits; New York state's eviction crisis and capitalism's reproduction of poverty and inequality; New York's stock transfer tax; raising the minimum wage; and the subsidizing of billionaire's big sport businesses.


EU_S11_E07.pngWhy Capitalism Reproduces Inequality & a Solution

No Guest

February 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 07)

Watch on YouTube   |   Read Episode Transcript

The extreme economic inequalities of both global and US capitalism are not new or exceptional. Capitalism reproduces inequality and repeatedly blocks or reverses redistribution efforts.Inequality stems from capitalist enterprises' internal organization: a tiny minority, employers, with dominant, unaccountable power enriches itself at the expense of all others, the employee majority. To overcome capitalism's inequality requires democratizing its enterprises' organizations.


The US Political Right in Anger & Mourning

Guest: Prof. Arlie Hochschild

February 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 06)

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On this week's show, Prof. Wolff presents updates on the radical policies of Berlin's city gov't and its Die LInke Party; why raising minimum wage to $15/hour is too little, too late; how bans on evictions and utility shut offs fight Covid-19; and lastly, he argues for the urgent need for a changed China policy. On the second half of the show, Wolff interviews Prof. Arlie Hochschild on her 10 year study of the US political right.


EU_S11_E04_Women_Better_Sec.pngHistory's Lessons on Capitalism's Failures: Germany & US

No Guest

February 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 05)

Watch on YouTube   |   Read Episode Transcript

On this week's show, Prof. Wolff evaluates capitalism by how it deals with Covid-19 and talks about Boeing's latest fatal crash. The second half of the show is dedicated to a major discussion of the causes of Hitler in Germany as offering clues to the rise of Trump and the assault on the Capitol.


EU_S11_E04_Women_Better_Sec.pngWhy Women Have Better Sex in Socialism

Guest: Prof. Kristen Ghodsee

February 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 04)

Watch on YouTube   |   Read Episode Transcript

On this week's show, Professor Wolff explains where the government is respected and empowered, nations have effectively contained the Covid-19 pandemic. He gives examples including New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, and China. Alternately, where the government is demonized, disrespected, distrusted, the pandemic has been devastating. Examples of this include the UK and the US. Wolff argues that a rational economy includes both less and more government-regulated private enterprises plus state-owned and operated enterprises according to which performs best to meet society's needs. No fundamentalist "either/or" arguments are justified. Finally, he says how private and government enterprises are internally organized - hierarchical or alternatively democratic worker-co-op - is equally important.


EU_S11_E03_Economics_Lesson.pngThe Economics Lesson Taught by the Pandemic 

No Guest 

January 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 03)

Watch on YouTube   |   Read Episode Transcript

On this week's show, Professor Wolff explains where the government is respected and empowered, nations have effectively contained the Covid-19 pandemic. He gives examples including New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, and China. Alternately, where the government is demonized, disrespected, distrusted, the pandemic has been devastating. Examples of this include the UK and the US. Wolff argues that a rational economy includes both less and more government-regulated private enterprises plus state-owned and operated enterprises according to which performs best to meet society's needs. No fundamentalist "either/or" arguments are justified. Finally, he says how private and government enterprises are internally organized - hierarchical or alternatively democratic worker-co-op - is equally important.


Noam Chomsky on Prospects & Tasks as 2021 Begins

Guest: Noam Chomsky

January 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 02)

Watch on YouTube   |   Read Episode Transcript

This week, Professor Wolff gives updates on President-elect Biden's economic advisor "team", how Argentina's women's movement leads the defeat of the government and Roman Catholic Church oppositions to win legalized abortion and now targets other basic social changes, and how the deepening inequality of US wealth and income cause and reflect the growing gap between stock market prices and the depressed Main street US economy. The second half features an interview with Noam Chomsky on political and economic realities and possibilities facing us in 2021.


EU_S11_E01.pngExternalities & Capitalism's Inefficiencies

No Guest

January 2021 (Season 11 - Episode 01)

Watch on YouTube   |   Read Episode Transcript

This program introduces the economic concept of "externalities." Those are the real costs of employers' business decisions that employers do not pay for or take into account: costs "external" to businesses' profit/loss calculations. Examples include costly damage to the environment, to employees' private lives, etc. Those real social costs are external and additional to capitalists' private costs. Therefore, capitalists' investment decisions based on comparing costs and revenues do NOT take into account the real, external costs. Thus their decisions are not "efficient." Capitalism never was the efficient system its apologists claim.


 
Other Seasons of Economic Update


Season 11   |   Season 10   |   Season 9   |   Season 8

To view older seasons, please visit our YouTube channel. 



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Showing 2 comments

  • Victor Sciamarelli
    commented 2021-02-02 07:23:00 -0500
    Professor Wolff offered another brilliant Economic Update on February 1, 2021. I would like to add something to the discussion on the minimum wage and wealth tax.
    Rather than look at the wages of the poor, I sometimes ask people about the wages of the rich. For example, imagine you have an excellent position such that, after you pay taxes and bills, you have $400,000 to put aside each year as savings: How many years will it take to accumulate $1 billion? I add, don’t try to do the math just give me a gut reaction. Most people said between 30 and 100 years, a few around 200, one person said 1,000 years, but nobody came close to the real answer which is 2,500 years: Saving $100,000 per year will take 10,000 years to reach $1 billion.
    We talk of billionaires, but earning $1 billion per year means you earn $2.8 million every day. And earning $15 per hour, or roughly $30,000 per year, means you need to work 93 years to earn what the billionaire earns in one day; and work 33,300 years to earn $1 billion.
    I mention this not to add confusion with more numbers but to point out that, in my estimation, few people have a real notion about how much wealth the richest among us like Bezos are really sucking out of the economy for themselves. Many people are smart and creative but they don’t earn nearly as much; something else is going on when a handful of people can grab so much for themselves.
  • Liz Phillips
    published this page in Economic Update 2021-01-11 11:00:38 -0500
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