Weekly Roundup: January 11, 2023

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.

New this week: Capitalism “working” as intended, profit drive leaves socially important projects behind, it’s harder to be unethical in a co-op...

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!

Economic Update: What's Wrong With Capitalism?

The year 2022 produced a daunting, long list of serious problems associated with the economy (inflation, rising interest rates, stock market decline, deterioration of the environment, war, labor uprising, etc.). More than ever, the victims and critics of the problems of 2022 identified them as symptoms of a systemic problem, namely the capitalist system. On the one hand, capitalism is working as it always has, but that is now a problem. At its center capitalism prioritizes profit and profit maximization and we show how they are the core causes of the system's dysfunction now for all but a tiny minority at its top.

Wolff: “I want you to understand I'm not saying it's wrong in how it works. I'm saying there's something wrong when it works as it's supposed to when it works.”

Capitalism Hits Home: Waking Up to the Falling American Empire

In this episode of Capitalism Hits Home, Dr. Fraad dissects a harsh reality: the American empire is falling and the signs of its decline are everywhere. High divorce rates, low wages and high unemployment, mass shootings, shortened lifespan, election denials, price gouging, and war are all side effects of this American decline. We are not the empire we once were. When will we wake up to this reality?

Fraad: "The U.S. corporations decided in the late seventies that now the technology enabled them to export jobs. Now that there were faxes and computers and fast jet travel, they could export their manufacturing to countries with low wages and no ecological protections and pensions and sick days. All those things that unionized American workers fought for, they could evade."

Ask Prof Wolff: Why are National Infrastructure Banks Necessary?

A Patron of Democracy at Work asks: "Dear Prof. Wolff, can you explain the value of a National Infrastructure Bank?"

This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response. To learn how to ask your own questions to Prof Wolff, click here.

Wolff: “The national infrastructure bank is a way of funneling money at a low interest rate into those projects that would otherwise not be done even though they are much more valuable than other things. This is an example of capitalism having a problem. It's not good at making big long-term socially beneficial Investments because there's nobody in the position of getting a fat profit from it.”


Ask Prof Wolff: Ethics in Capitalist vs. Cooperative Enterprises

A Patron of Democracy at Work asks: "Greetings Prof Wolff, my question is one of ethics. How does a collective remain competitive in a dog-eat-dog capitalist environment when the expectation is that a worker-owned enterprise would be presumed to follow the law? I'm not saying all privately-held enterprises are corrupt but it follows that if a given firm were to cut corners, all other competitors would have to follow suit to continue to exist. And what of deregulation? Are there examples whereby ethical principles are an existential threat to coops under capitalism?"

This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response. To learn how to ask your own questions to Prof Wolff, click here.

Wolff: “They might... But a worker co-op would involve many more people in making the unethical decision. In a capitalist business a tiny group of people have the power to make those decisions that are unethical. In a worker co-op the whole work group does. I think our chances are better with the larger community.”

Learn more about d@w latest book, Stuck Nation: Can the United States Change Course on Our History of Choosing Profits Over People?

by Bob Hennelly





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