Weekly Roundup: February 22, 2023

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.

New this week: Manufactured Poverty, Cross-Border Resistance, BlackRock, Is the Military-Industrial Complex Fascism?

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!

Economic Update: Inequality’s Insidious Spread - COVID-19, India, Insurance

Prof. Wolff presents updates on India's extreme inequality and its lesson, employers squeeze employees with "non-compete" job contracts, and how the profit motive distorts the concept of insurance. In the second half of the show, Wolff interviews Dr Stephen Bezruchka on how deeply and globally inequality endangers health with special attention to the US and Covid-19.

Bezruchka: “To achieve our poor health status [in the US], we spend almost half of the entire world's health care bill. It's a $4.1 trillion economy in the United States for 2021. That's one sixth of our total economy spent on healthcare. And it's certainly a great economy for providing jobs and huge pandemic profits. But it hasn't provided health.”

Capitalism Hits Home: Inflation & Manufactured Poverty

Dr. Fraad continues her discussion of the personal effects of inflation. In a country that bombards all of us, even our youngest children, with images of wealth and prosperity as a symbol of worthiness, it is humiliating to struggle to make ends meet. Our culture blames the individual for being stuck in a cycle of poverty, yet most of our policies push people further into hardship. It’s easy to feel despair and want to give up hope, but, as we wake up to the reality that our government and workplaces don’t have our backs, we can join together with the masses—our fellow employees—drawing inspiration from the recent wave of labor protests and unionization efforts across the US and demand better conditions.

Fraad: "In our society, if you don't have money, they blame you. It's as if it's your bad decisions.”

Cities After…Urban Activisms at the Border with Fonna Forman & Teddy Cruz

Prof. Robles-Durán interviews Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman about their work with public institutions and community partners on both sides of the US/Mexico border, in San Diego and Tijuana. Cruz and Forman’s work is deliberately situated at the intersection of formal, often exclusionary, American institutions and grassroots community organizing. By building coalitions, the interplay between various groups—researchers/political scientists and migrants/community organizers becomes more collaborative and less top-down. Their goal for creating community stations is to build public space that is “not about beautification, but public space that is deliberately injected with co-curatorial programming in perpetuity.” In this conversation, Cruz, Forman, and Robles-Durán discuss changes in border politics since Trump, asylum policies and climate change, working with formal institutions and creating “cultural coyote” organizations, the challenges they face while working at the local level, and more.

Cruz: "This network of sanctuary spaces is really about constructing citizenship, mobilized by new forms of cultural action, where critical pedagogy is central to reorganizing sensibilities, changing hearts and minds, understanding that the border wall is a self-inflicted wound, not only separating us from the other, but really altering, undermining our own social, environmental and economic resources.”

Ask Prof Wolff: Fascism, Keynesianism, and Military Spending

A supporter of Democracy at Work asks: "As we see billions once more go to Ukraine, as we have seen trillions upon trillions go to wars since WWII, isn't it correct to say that Military-Keynesianism is fascism? Technocratic fascism? If so, why? And if not, why not? A Boeing factory in every state, not to mention other military contractors that pay off the coin-operated politicians signifies fascist to me." This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response. To learn how to ask your own questions to Prof Wolff, click here.

Wolff: “Do we have a coming together of military and government in Keynesian economics? You bet we do. Is it getting tighter and closer over time? I think it is. Are we quite yet at the government to enforce capitalism the way it happened in fascism? Not yet.”


Ask Prof Wolff: BlackRock, Homeownership and Reverse Mortgages

A supporter of Democracy at Work asks: "Based on the content that I consume, my expectation is that factions of the 1% like BlackRock intend to own all family housing in America and rent it to us. The prices of homes going down paired with higher interest rates makes the game even more favorable for those who can buy these properties in one payment. My question is, how will these parasites intercept houses from young people who are expecting to inherit their parent's home? Is there a mechanism for them to do that?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response. To learn how to ask your own questions to Prof Wolff, click here.

Wolff: “That's happening all over the country, and it's a way of passing the wealth of one generation, not to the next, but to the banks who are in the end working together with the investors who are buying up the property- often buying those kinds of houses, the reverse mortgage houses from the banks in deals that they've worked out. Look, it's happening all over capitalism.”

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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