Weekly Roundup: February 2, 2022

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.

New this week: Economic Update, All Things Co-op, Global Capitalism, Ask Prof Wolff & Wolff Responds...


Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!


Economic Update: The Socialism Issue

On this week's show, Prof. Wolff talks about the recreation of `company towns' (eg., Kalamazoo, MI) by the richest US capitalists, Biden and the reality of US jobs lost, how and why the US follows UK decline, and rising mass alienation from established political leaders and parties. The second half of the program features a discussion of socialism without Cold War taboos.

Wolff: "Socialism, this other of capitalism, has been around a long while- seems to be coming back now in various parts of the world-something about which a level of nonsense is spoken in the United States that's downright embarrassing to me.”

All Things Co-op: Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

In this episode of All Things Co-op, Kevin talks to blogger and podcaster “The Blockchain Socialist” about how blockchain technology can serve as a mechanism for worker cooperatives and the Left. Though often tied to cryptocurrency, blockchains can also function as a means by which cooperatives maintain data sovereignty, can engage with various economic actors outside of traditional capitalist structures, and can enable scalability, while retaining democratic governance of enterprises. Though blockchain is not going to fix every problem, it does offer up many interesting opportunities to shift away from traditional, hierarchical capitalist institutions.

Kevin: “Technology generally can be this liberating force, and what we're seeing through the development of blockchain and even cryptocurrency to a certain degree are these testing grounds of what it will be to have greater amounts of control from greater amounts of people in the things that they collectively produce and consume.”

Global Capitalism: Richard Wolff Responds to Biden in COVID Year #3

Prof Wolff responds to recent remarks made by U.S. president Joe Biden, who is looking for the misleading, positive statistics in a self-destructing economic system. 

Wolff: “What a remarkable way to enter the third year of an ongoing economic and public health disaster.”

Ask Prof Wolff: Credit Unions vs. Banks

A Patron of Economic Update asks: "Are credit unions preferable to standard banks for those of us who are eager to help move America to a socialist system? Or am I just fooling myself?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “All those people could have been mobilized, and they could have protected credit unions and made them a collective, cooperative alternative to a top-down, highly-concentrated, super-rich, private, big bank system.”

Ask Prof Wolff: Why Profit-Driven Healthcare Fails Us

A Patron of Economic Update asks: "I’m curious how any attempts at worker self-direction and cooperative economics can be leveraged for building a new healthcare system (hospitals in particular) in the shell of the old. How can we address this highly disorganized and highly privatized, massive chunk of our economy and ensure it’s done in a politicizing way (rather than the very depoliticizing means of self-resignation)? Can worker cooperation be realized, or is federal and state policy and corporate largesse (and the brutalizing logic of administrative bureaucracy) too deep for this to be systematically realizable even on a local scale?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “Our health care system leaves a lot to be desired, and the reason is it is a profit driven system. We have been privatizing our health system at breakneck speed over the last half century, closing public facilities and converting them into private profit driven entities. And that profit motive is built in now to health care.”

Wolff Responds: The Ukraine Crisis

In this Wolff Responds, Prof. Wolff reveals the truth behind the growing tensions between the US, Russia and Western Europe. This is yet another example of distraction politics. The Biden administration is seeking to deflect attention away from the domestic issues it is confronted with, while also attempting  to squeeze Russians out of the European energy market and move Americans in. But is whatever is happening in the Ukraine worth a war between 2 nuclear powers like the US and Russia? This question, Wolff argues, begs an answer. 

Wolff: “Mr. Biden and the Democrats need to distract all of us from the failures of the Democratic Party domestically. And many times in U.S. history, as in that of other countries, nothing works to distract attention so much as a nice, scary, foreign kerfuffle, and that's what the Ukraine in large part- not all but in large part- is about.”

Wolff Responds: Sorry, Mr. Biden, Competition Does NOT Cure Inflation

In this Wolff Responds, Prof. Wolff pushes back against President Biden’s recent statement in which he blames monopolies for the current inflation and calls for an increase in competition. Monopolies have always existed under capitalism, with and without inflation. Competition is built into the capitalist system and creates monopolies. History has shown us that neither competition, nor monopolies solve inflation. Inflation can, and should, be brought under control through governmental policy, but it will never go away until the system in which it exists is dismantled. 

Wolff: “Celebrating competition is a little odd, since competition is what produces monopoly. Or if you like this sort of language, capitalism is a system in which competition undoes itself.”

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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