A country that suffered through a pandemic despite its massive wealth. A country that spent trillions of dollars to fight a war abroad, while all kinds of debt and lack of support has kept the average American citizen in a rut. How do we make sense of these realities and what can we expect moving forward?
Professor Richard Wolff spoke on these troublesome trends in his September Global Capitalism Lecture: US Capitalism’s Decline Accelerates. The lecture is available on our YouTube channel for you to hear Prof Wolff’s observations of the world’s most influential economy, declining in influence and reputation around the world.
What are the signs of a system in decline?
In 2020, the percentage of people in unions rose for the first time in many years. But the true number of people in unions went down. How? Millions lost employment during the pandemic’s lockdowns and financial fallout. A system that continues to devalue the wages and well being of its workers loses the respect of its people and of the world.
“The way U.S. capitalism works is that workers are basically presented with this ugly choice. You either accept low wages or you're going to risk having no wages at all.”
In 2020, the American people struggled with the loss of time and loved ones to COVID-19. In this battle against a pandemic, political leaders let down the public big time- cowering to big capitalists while millions suffered without proper support, care and safety measures.
The United States also announced it would end their war waged in Afghanistan, signaling the loss of geopolitical strategy, taxpayer money and American & Afghani lives for nothing but big defense contracts.
“The United States was defeated. This isn't a withdrawal, this is a defeat...The price tag? 8 trillion dollars… Had the 8 trillion been spent on [fixing problems] in the United States, we wouldn't be declining. We would be in much, much better shape. Instead, eight trillion dollars was spent to move hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops through Afghanistan to unload uncountable bombs, and bullets, and missiles, and tanks on this already poorest country in the world.”
Finally, the U.S. is declining relative to the ascendancy of China. Not only is China growing faster in economic power (GDP) than the U.S., but real wages have decreased in the U.S. while in the same period of time, China’s real wages have quadrupled. China may not compete militarily, but they are looking to defeat the U.S. in social welfare and economic power.
For more details and insights on the state of Global Capitalism, watch Prof Wolff’s full lecture on our channel today.
Producing these lectures has always depended on audience donations. Consider donating to Democracy at Work with a monthly or one-time gift. Our monthly supporters are invaluable to us, in that they allow us to plan for the future, and commit to bringing you more media from an anti-capitalist and pro-workplace democracy perspective. Thank you.