On this week's episode of Economic Update, Prof. Wolff provides updates on mistreated homeless, keeping millions from voting, 'I, Daniel Blake,' 3000 water systems like,Trump's foreign employees, unequal retirement USA, Sen Whitehouse on anti-science. Major discussions of (1) economics of broken infrastructure, and (2) raising capital for worker coops.
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I signed up on this forum yesterday and the first post here was my first post.
Who was I condescending to in that first post?
I noticed your post and posted a thought about it which according to you
was “continued condescension”.
Is your first inclination is to try to punish someone you imagine has done
you harm in words to improve them so they know what it feels like? ( to be
you ) Honestly, I did not intend to harm you, insult you, or condescend to
you or anyone else here by making a first comment or reacting to what
comments have been made.
I do think the economic system grows out of the political system, in the
same way I believe the economic system ought to serve the people, not
just exist as the framework of the rules of a game of monopoly to create
winners and losers. At the risk or seeming condescending, which I have
no conscious intention of doing, I think there is no economic system without
a state or some analog of it, economic and military power center. That
power center can and will react to protect itself and that seems to be a
productive model to use in terms of analyzing the system to bring about
To react to your comment about money, money like language. news,
education, information, etc … seems to me to be tools the state uses to
protect itself. Particularly fiat currency for example is a way to maintain
control over an economic system that might be vulnerable to internal
or external “attack”. In other words I put economics as a subset of
sociology, not sociology as a subset of economics.
The challenge of the system these days seems to be to how to condescend and play dirty tricks on the people to make them blame themselves, to make them tired and ineffective, to set them at each others throats, and generally kick the anthill of any possible challenge to their power, any challenge to their real system that is inside our imaginary feel-good TV system.
Like when I first began listening to Richard Wolff one of the themes he riffed on was that we can change the tax laws, as has been done many times before, but the people in power will always find a way around whatever constraints are put on them. They have the resources, the time, and can hire the expertise, and even corrupt the officers or rules of any system to get what they want, and if none of that works they can still always resort to violence, starvation and terror.
I don’t mean to be arguing in favor of doing nothing to fix the electoral system, but I read the first edition of Greg Palast’s book “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy” way back somewhere around the time W. Bush’s first “win”. It is not like that information has been hidden. For some reason it just has never resulting in changes in the electoral system.
And, his last movie, which was pretty good, came out at about the same time as the 2016 election … surely not early enough to inform and mobilize enough people to do anything about it. Palast also completely ignored the “shenanigans” within the Democratic Party which resulted in the nomination of Hillary Clinton.
Even after that, I think anyway, that Hillary could have gotten that extra “umph” from putting Bernie on the ticket. There were/are a lot of ways to look at this situation.
One thing is for sure, if it does not get covered by the main network news, it doesn’t exist. That much is pretty certain. Look at the placing of Donald Trump in the public’s mind in the least election … and the deliberate dismissal of Bernie, and the odd more or less negative tone they covered Hillary Clinton with. There are a lot of ways the system can employ to maintain and protect itself.
Why must conversations on the Internet always be this way? You are really
acting the condescending know-it-all.
The military hierarchy was around and financing itself long before there was
capitalism or even economics for that matter … before Marx even coined the
term. Are you aware of any of Michael Hudson’s work on the evolution of
socio-economic systems? We have seen the rise of Western civilization
and its acceptance of the simplified model of capitalism because it serves
the military state by leveraging more individuals and rewarding them
better than other systems. It doesn’t change because it doesn’t need
1. There is no competition from other systems. The competition is
between states … like sports teams, they all play the same game.
2. There is no demand for change from the disenfranchised because
they do not feel enough pain.
3. There is no demand for change from the disenfranchised because
they do not perceive enough benefit.
4. There is no demand for change from the disenfranchised because
they are also monitored, dominated and controlled.
5. Finally, they do not offer enough advantage within the current system
to warrant being more than “prolls”.
Are you someone whose job is to take up time and space on the chat
boards and ensure there are no real discussions or exchanges of
information by trying own the conversation? I would request, at least
if you are going to address me that you take a more humble tone,
befitting our actual understanding. You had basically two sentences
of exchange with me before you start putting on airs of superiority. Even
if you did have something to teach, that kind of arrogance precludes it.
– The big problem for us is they saw how to get control of governments
— through debt by promoting wars.
It is the wars that allows capitalism, the more efficient version of
mercantilism, and before that feudal and tribal barter and trade deals
to rise to the top – and the corollary to that is if “WE” ever hope to do
better than capitalism …
1. We had better have something that makes socio-economic
systems better and more efficient – a reason to change.
2. We had better realize the place that militarism has in its success.
To that end, it may be that things move/evolve as fast as they can and
that what we have now is efficient and we are stuck at this level because
we have no idea what improvements we can offer to the system.
Think about this, what the internet wise-guys offer is always some way
to make their own lives better, to assuage their own pains and deficits,
never a global grasping of the whole system and the economies of
scale that can come about by utilizing the value of the mutations of
ideas that occurs when you have more and more educated people with
more and more diverse combinations of skills and disciplines.
One problem is how you make that known and understood to people
who believe there is already enough change and improvement in their
lives and see progress as part of the problem instead of taking hold of
it in terms of systems analysis.
I can tell you one thing, and that is when you waste your time trying
to talk Marxism – anywhere – you might reach a small number of people
who have almost mull influence and power, and you can piss them off
and spend the rest of your lives bickering at each other, or you can
learn how to rationally discuss and collaborate to build a more objective
model of the problem, outside of and bigger than their pathetic egos.
— Ignorance has been elevated to the level of the divine
So, instead of taking some kind of above it all posture, think about your
own contribution to that problem – and do not bother replying to me if
you are going to argue from authority – I do not recognize it and I see
no evidence of it.
The whole discussion about capitalism is worthless. First, discussions never lead to change, and discussions about capitalism are too abstract – they are a waste of time. Politically what can make a difference is demanding specific rights, and if you notice that has been decoyed into a discussion about immigrants, minorities, gays, muslims, etc to put everyone at odds with each other so they do not really look at universal human rights.
That is the key … teach people to think abstractly and globally.
1) Taxation…but they own the govt so they can lower their taxes or get a subsidy
2) Inflation…if you do no work; and therefore live off interest/dividends, then inflation is a threat. They control the bankers who run the Fed.
3) Unions…organized mass movements get them VERY worried.
Therefore all unions must die.
Notice most states that enact Right to Starve (Right to Work…barf legislation) exempt police and fire unions. Imagine their surprise if the cops won’t shoot the teachers and the fireman won’t save their vacation home (of course if you are black/brown/poor you are already in grave danger or jail).
I’ve met Flint Sit-downers and I thanked every one of them for their courage. I believe the last one passed away this year.
My suggestion for mass protest…Every person with an even numbered address does not pay their rent/mortgage in even numbered months. Same goes for the odds…think they might notice? How do you foreclose and evict that many people? There is a reason they have to silence labor leaders…
“As long as he owns your tools he owns your job, and if he owns your job he is the master of your fate. You are in no sense a free man. You are subject to his interest and to his will. He decides whether you shall work or not. Therefore, he decides whether you shall live or die. And in that humiliating position any one who tries to persuade you that you are a free man is guilty of insulting your intelligence.”
― Eugene V. Debs, Works of Eugene Victor Debs
One was the discussion about Jomo Kwame Sundaram, one of RD Wolff’s friends and students, and the other was the discussion about Emotional Labor. My late mother, a divorced women with a lot of consciousness had an understanding of these issues and the male domination of the economy and used to talk about this, but could never do anything about it, and sadly nothing has happened about it while she was alive.
It was a travesty, nothing short of the genocide of the Native Americans or African Slavery the theft of so many people’s lives lived and labored in support of a system that pretends to value these people, but as we see society change in response to what is really valued, we can see that emotional labor, and women’s labor is not valued at all.
The discussion on this subject is rich and barely tapped or understood, but it was very encouraging to hear Wolff talking about these subjects.
This is my first post here. I am thankful for the podcasts and the ideas. Our world is long past something being done, at least some experiments and open discussions on these issues … billions of people’s lives and the meaning of their lies hang in the balance on these barely perceived economic issues.
Step 1) The Rich are exempt from paying taxes.
Euphemisms: “job creators” “small business owners”
Step 2) Allow the Rich to lend money to the government for a handsome profit. Euphemisms: “treasury bill” “treasury bonds” “fiscal cliff”
Step 3) After the Rich avoid paying taxes and collecting interest on treasury bills, hire a scam artist called Trump. Trumps job is to initiate a “Public Private Partnership,” where the Rich lend money directly to the contractors themselves, cutting out the government as middleman.
The circumstances that existed at the inception of economic society is long gone forever. China now knows how and why Art.1 Clause 8 of the US Constitution (copyright and patents temporary monopolies) is necessary and valuable. The shipping containers re-purposing which Dr. Wolff hates may be valuable and useful in China or some rodent infested area where the mice eat and live in wood frame houses but cannot do so in a steel box.
Co-ops are a great idea but Dr. Wolff needs to actually make one work in order to acquire the knowledge and insight into the reality of human nature, so as to evaluate their viability.
20 co-operating college educated adults are not the same as 20 recently released felony inmates.
Dr. Wolff would better serve the general population by developing a legal strategy to checkmate the government and the unfair corporations. Developing co-ops would draw big bulls eyes on them. The bulls eye needs to be on the withheld wages that are being transferred to the vastly over-compensated CEOs and the corporations they run.