Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.
New this week: Economic Update, Capitalism Hits Home, Cities After..., Global Capitalism, Ask Prof Wolff & Wolff Responds...
Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!
On this week's show, Prof. Wolff talks about the sharp reduction in US population growth; how "lockdowns" are the anti-Covid policy everywhere, some gov't run and focused while others are private, haphazard, and unfocused. In the second half of the show, Prof. Wolff is joined by Fabian Scheidler, author of The End of the Megamachine: A Brief History of a Failing Civilization.
Scheidler: "Even capitalism cannot be eternal, and there are many signs which could show that we are already in a transition phase. And of course in a transition phase ,the system becomes chaotic, and in the chaotic system, social movements can play a huge part, because the system will flip to one side or another side.”
In this episode of Capitalism Hits Home, Dr. Fraad continues an ongoing critique of the for-profit health care system in the US and examines some of its deadly effects. Overdose numbers are far higher than in any other rich country and could have been avoided if it weren’t for the collusion between drug companies, pharmacies, doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies. Dr. Fraad looks at what other countries have done to mitigate the effects of their own drug epidemics, and calls for a more humane and just approach to addiction and treatment in the US, if only capitalism could get out of the way.
Kevin: “What's the point of making a commodity out of a life necessity? So some people can accumulate billions while other people die?"
In this episode of Cities After, Prof. Robles-Duran talks with Andrew Ross about his most recent book, Sunbelt Blues: The Failure of American Housing. Robles-Duran and Ross build on ideas from the previous episode by looking at the history of suburbanization in the United States and exploring how the entertainment fantasy industry has helped shape the utopian image of American Suburbia. This podcast zooms in on Central Florida, home of Walt Disney’s dreams for building perfect cities.
Ross: “That's the story of the financialization of housing, which is causing a human rights crisis. It's not just a housing crisis. This is a human rights crisis all over the world."
Prof Wolff explains the failures of capitalism in the United States to provide the most basic needs for its people during the pandemic. Are we supposed to accept that this country cannot protect public health, provide food, decent work or housing to its people?
Wolff: “What could be more urgent? What is more profoundly required of any economic system, capitalist or any other, than to take care of that public health? If you don't guarantee people that they're going to be healthy and alive, you're proving that you're not an adequate economic system."
A Patron of Economic Update asks: "How would a socialist-style enterprise such as a worker co-op or WSDE relate to investors/banks/capital? Would the co-op or WSDE still be considered a socialist enterprise in it's relationships externally versus the internal structure? How does the socialist philosophy/ideal reconcile the need to raise funds via investors/shareholders? And would it still be considered a socialist venture? What is the alternative to raising funds for a worker co-op or WSDE other than investors/capital?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.
Wolff: “We have to keep two things separate. One, how you organize the workplace and number two, how you acquire the capital (the money) that is part of what a functioning workplace workplace needs.”
A Patron of Economic Update asks: "As we look through history and the present political culture it seems that it has been easier for the right to organize than the left, and easier for the enemies of the left to throw a wrench in their organizing. The example comes to mind of the nationalists in Italy during WWI who wanted Italy to join the war and even though they were in the minority they won out in the end because the majority factions, which included leftists, were too disorganized to sway the country in their favor. Is there something within the ideology of the right that makes it easier for them to organize or is this a case of a correlation without causation?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.
Wolff: “The employer class is highly organized from the beginning, and the workers have nothing comparable. They're not in charge. They are kept from being in charge. They don't have the structural pressures to organize themselves. That's left to somebody else.”
In this Wolff Responds, Prof. Wolff talks about the awakening of the American working class and their fight for justice. Working class conditions have gotten worse over the last few decades, with stagnant real wages, economic crashes, inflation and a crippling pandemic that has left many unprotected and feeling unsafe. As the working class works longer and harder than ever and only the rich get richer, what are our options? Prof. Wolff has some ideas.
Wolff: “You're seeing quitting. You're seeing strikes as an angry working class says “We've had it. It's enough. We're gonna do something now, and there are three choices before the working class.”
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