Global Capitalism: August 2016 Monthly Economic Update

“Economics of this Presidential Campaign”

 Co-sponsored by Democracy at Work, Left Forum, and Judson Memorial Church

These programs begin with 30 minutes of short updates on important economic events of the last month. Then Prof. Wolff analyzes several major economic issues. For August 2016, these will include:

  1. What are the economic "plans" of Trump, Clinton, Stein, and Johnson?

  2. Are these plans real or symbolic; do any have a chance in Congress?

  3. What key issues are missing from the campaign and why?

Our goal: to develop all participants’ understanding and ability to explain current economic events and trends to others. When time permits, we open the floor to questions and comments.

If you primarily access the videos of the monthly updates posted here on YouTube, we ask you to join our attendees who contribute at least $10 at each event to help defray costs of producing, video-taping, and distributing these videos. Contributions to Democracy at Work are tax deductible (we gladly provide receipts at the event or can mail one of requested). For those able to contribute more than $10, our special thanks.



Showing 5 comments

  • Richard Viscasillas
    commented 2016-08-25 04:11:35 -0400
    Excellent discussion of the politics of denial in the USA. I’ve always wondered why the major party candidates have always focused on what I considered to be “non-issues” in their platforms. Professor Wolff’s theory makes perfect sense, we are a traumatized nation. The average American wounded by the reality of their declining standards of living since the 1970s, would rather not know the truth – that their standard of living is going down faster now than ever – and continue on in some kind of propaganda induced dream state, oblivious to the fact that they are being taken for fools and suckers by the elite. Trump’s acknowledgement that there is a problem is encouraging, but his solution of scapegoating immigrants, calling for getting rid of the estate tax and cutting business taxes while renegotiating “deals” with other countries is not.

    What are those facts that the people and their leaders wish not to think about, let alone try to do anything about? First and foremost the fact that Capitalism has proven itself over and over again to benefit mainly the people at the top (the 1% as occupy wall street pointed out). The populace doesn’t want to embrace this fact, so we suffer from cognitive dissonance whenever we are confronted with the hard cold truth that our economic system is not working for most of us, The treatment for this Cognitive Dissonance is to bury one’s heads in the sand and pull the levers for the establishment candidates hoping for some Horatio Alger miracle to trickle down to us while in the pit of our stomach we have a queazy feeling that we should expect the worst.

    If we weren’t born with that winning lottery ticket in our hand, maybe if we play along and don’t rock the boat we might make it into the 1% and achieve economic salvation one day before we die. This fairy tale is perpetuated by the lack of knowledge on the part of the citizenry. Without knowledge, we lack the courage to do anything about the problems. This benefits no one but the elite who likewise choose to ignore the big problems. Greed and fear are the two primary motivators. The elite want to take as much of the pie as they can (the greed) while leaving only enough to prevent a revolution from happening (the fear).

    Rather than voting for Jill Stein of the Green Party, who has the populace’s best interests at heart, we don’t even get to hear from her because she is barred from the debates and gets marginal TV coverage from the monopolized networks (owned by 6 of those 62 people who have more $ to than the bottom half of the world’s population). Jill Stein would confront the hard issues and actually try to do something about them.

    To start with she would stop the endless wars to nowhere promoted by the warmonger class (who make up a good deal of the 1% both in and out of the military industrial complex) saving a trillion $ a year in wasteful spending on illegal wars of aggression. The fact is we are on the verge of provoking Russia and China into a nuclear WWIII scenario if the Neocons and neoliberals are not stopped. The crazies are running the insane asylum. If we remain in denial of this fact we might have more urgent problems than a falling standard of living to worry about. History has shown that war pulls capitalism out of crisis so the lunatics figure we need another war to avert the economic catastrophe that is bearing down on us like a herd of elephants.
  • Kim Goins
    commented 2016-08-18 14:33:30 -0400
    Getting the Facts On Labor Participation Rate
    Prof Wolff comment that “According to the BLS we have somewhere between 8 -10 million Americans out of work” is misleading. In fact our Labor Participation Rate is 62%. Which means 38% of adults don’t have jobs. According to Donald Trump our real unemployment rate is 42% – which isn’t far off from the truth. Another good labor statistic is the “non-institutionalized unemployment rate;” which I heard was about 33%.
  • frank van looy
    commented 2016-08-18 07:58:42 -0400
    Dear pro I wish you would bring Australia into your Lecture orbit ,our dairy farmers are in big trouble they had a co-op for many years and for some reason someone persuaded
    them to list the manufacturing part of the dairy onto the stock market to raise funds.
    Suddenly out of the blue asking them to return there milk dividend because the board of directors of the company had stuffed up big time.I think the director’s and share holders got theirs.
    The dairy farmers some of whom t treat there animales as pets who also have over the years have improved there breading stock cows are having to sell them for meat.
    The government have offered loans which is not what is needed more dept
    What is at the beginning of this story is the fact that Woolworth and Coles who supp\ly 85% of the dairy products in a countrey of only 22mil people have been selling milk at below cost at a 1$ per ltr for years.
    Professor Wolff I hope this gets to you one of your lectures on the ABC would save the farmers…….. Ps I gave your fund 10$ now you can help us pleas
  • Marc Hudgens
    commented 2016-08-16 13:25:46 -0400
    <blockquote>Is there a transcription available anywhere? Or could YouTube’s autotranscription feature be turned on, at least? Thanks.</blockquote>

    @woozle, that’s a good idea actually. I like it. I’d like to see a PDF icon or similar on the webpages of his EUs where one can click on it and download the PDF. Or just read it online, either way. Consider reaching out to Prof. Wolff with this idea via his Contact page and offering it as a suggestion.

    On NAFTA, yes it did throw a gut punch to Mexico. No doubt. But what also caused mass migration happened much earlier – American corn surplus. Decades ago, at or around the time Earl Butz was Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture and who infamously proclaimed ‘get big or get out’ to American farmers, the US produced obscene amounts of corn. They still do that to this day. So much that they dumped a lot of it on Mexico. This drove corn prices down so far that it was cheaper to buy American corn than to buy it from the local farmer. This put the Mexican farmer out of work, and guess what he did to earn money – left for America (i.e., immigrated) to find work and, as I’ve heard numerous times, send money back home to Mexico. So the illegal immigrant phenomenon America is enduring is largely the fault of America and its pathological clinging to capitalist extremism. This phenomenon is exactly like what Prof. Wolff talks about re Walmart in Mexico now, that it puts local Mexican business people out of business.

    Re Walmart, on a documentary about it I saw many years ago (High Cost of Low Price or something like that), what also happens here stateside is also proven destructive by this corporation. What happens is when Walmart decides to build in a rural area in American, especially if it decides to build a supercenter, the property values of surrounding businesses plummets dramatically. Why? Because it’s expected that Walmart will drive those smaller local companies out of business and also drive anyone else out who buys those foreclosed shops to put up their own shop. Walmart is and always has been a cancer to the American economy, and there is nothing being done about it.

    (Apologies ahead of time if my attempt at using HTML codes at the top of my comment doesn’t work. I’ve always struggled to understand that kind of stuff.)
  • Patti Leary
    commented 2016-08-13 22:10:13 -0400
    I have to disagree with the “real wage” part of this lecture. In 1967, when min wage was $1.25/hr, I was living in Mission Beach (San Diego) in a nice little beach house with dutch doors and two parking spaces right out front. In the winter, the beach and bay were virtually barren of people – so it was ALL MINE! I worked 25 hours a week, same as my husband. We owned a VW camper ($1K then, $40K now), he drove a Suzuki motorcycle and I commuted to high school on my Vespa, and our rent was $100/mo. We were a 1 min. walk to Mission Bay and a 2 minute walk to the Beach at Mission Blvd and San Jose Place. Years later, they had knocked our little beach house down and erected a 3-story box. To rent that place now would be at least $10,000/mo. To live in what remains of those tiny original beach houses would be at least $5,000/mo. 25 hours/wk at $1.25, even if you inflate it, would not give us the lifestyle we lived then. I figured that minimum wage would have to be at least $121/hr at FULL-TIME for me to experience any facsimile of the same lifestyle, which would still be impossible because it’s an over-crowded mess now and the diversity has been lost (only wealthy East Coast immigrants/rich investors can afford it now.) Same thing happened in other places I’ve lived: NYC, Boston, Philly, Chicago, San Francisco, Saratoga Springs, NY. Minimum wage would have to be closer to $300/hr to $1000/hr for me to live in any of my old “stomping grounds.” So, as you speak of “real wage,” I tend to think you’re assuming Davenport, Iowa or El Centro, CA, as your starting point.?
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