Economic Update: What "Capitalism's Decline" Means (REPEAT)

[S10 E46] REPEAT

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This week's show is dedicated to a discussion of the signs of US capitalism's decline. US history as the passage of US capitalism from its birth, through its state-supported growth and expansion, to its global peaking from 1945 to 2000. Wolff presents the causes of its ongoing decline this 21st century, and then offers a conclusion on the right, center and left political responses to decline.


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Showing 2 comments

  • Sonny Wiehe
    commented 2023-01-01 18:32:50 -0500
    Once again, the fallacy of Professor Wolf’s sermon is that the progressive left policies that were tried after the stock market collapse of 1929 never actually worked. Sure, they were tried. But they (WPA, ration cards, etc) yielded no broad success stories. It was actually victory in WWII that brought the U.S. out of economic depression. Had we lost, we would have likely been in the same shape as the German Wiemar Republic after WWI. Indeed, our debt-to- gdp ratio in 1946 was 114% (a record up until the 2020 pandemic). However, we smartly allied ourselves with Russia in WWII and were both victorious. And to the victor, go the spoils. The U.S. reaped, with a military vengeance, those spoils internationally for almost 30 years— with Russia playing a new “cold war” role of our perpetual political adversary which allowed the insane build up of the U.S. military industrial complex whose only real goal was protecting global corporate investments.

    But, eventually even the spoils of war become scarce. So the recipe was attempted in Vietnam when our U.S. economy, once again, turned sour. However, that meal didn’t end up so tasty. Our collective debt ballooned out of control. In response (and by emergency order) the U.S. jettisoned the gold standard behind its singularly dictated global reserve currency, the U.S. dollar,—-and the U.S. has been in an economic death spiral ever since. The illegal and failed invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were simply the latest (and vain) attempts to resurrect the WWII recipe for economic stimulation via military “Shock and Awe” domination. With the current cumulative net operating debt at $31.5T, U.S. citizens are paying over 1 billion dollars a day simply to cover that debt spending by global elites. It is clearly unsustainable. Yet Americans allow their current neo liberal government to pile on ever more debt in hopes of replicating a former recipe for which we no longer have the essential ingredients. Multiple and vain attempts at reproducing our once successful recipe have only yielded economic insanity. What is it called when you try the same thing over in over and get the same results—yet unwittingly expect a different outcome? Yes; that would be the American people.

    Yet the Professor argues that left leaning, neo liberal agendas are the answer to economic prosperity? Haha. History has never proven that to be a successful tact. In fact, the premise (which is in operation as we speak) has proven itself to be an utterly laughable proposition. The only sizeable economies that have been successful with ultra left, repressive, communist economies are ones such as found in the USSR and the Peoples Republic of China. Personally, I reject that rancid, dead-end meal.

    Rather than yearning for communism, I believe our best hope is to return the U.S. back to a functioning Republic (government of the people, by the people, and for the people) – rather than allow it to continue to be run by a economic cartel masquerading as the Federal Reserve “Board” whose main objective is to cater to the profit motives of the military industrial complex at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer. As John Lennon and Yoko Ono famously sang, "War is over, if you want it. If you don’t, then enjoy your meal!

    Cheers!
  • Edward Dodson
    commented 2022-12-21 16:02:26 -0500
    Important insights into the reasons by any empire declines is found in the book “Power and Privilege” written by Gerhard Lenski, published in 1966. He describes how hierarchy and privilege arises once people begin to settle in one place. Rules for allocation of land and natural resources are needed. While initially such rules are established based on fairness, all settled societies eventually come to establish private property “rights” to nature, and those who come to rule over the majority become the primary beneficiary of the rules of law they impose. The U.S. history is no exception, and the laws of this nation have been written to secure and protect monopoly privileges. Rent-seeking is rewarded. Production of actual goods and needed services is penalized, on the other hand, by the combination of having to pay rents to those who control nature as well as taxes required to provide public goods and services.
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