Weekly Roundup: March 22, 2023

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.

New this week: France on strike, economic nationalism, gender roles, what’s wrong with the housing market?

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!

Economic Update: How Austerity Paves the Way for Fascism

Prof. Wolff interviews Prof. Clara Mattei on her new book "Capital Order: How Economists Invented Austerity and Paved the Way to Fascism."

Mattei: “Austerity is advanced and advocated for by all of the economic experts, our mainstream colleagues, as a necessary tool to achieve economic growth and balance budgets and to tame inflation. But really, what you see, if you adopt a class analysis lens, is that what matters here is something much deeper and something much more essential to preserve the very foundation of the possibility to even have capitalism in place, which is the fact that people cannot try to overcome wage relations.”

Capitalism Hits Home: The Impact of Gender Roles - Care Work, Mass Violence & the Way Forward

Dr. Fraad continues to explore the ways our upbringing within gender roles impact our relationship to society, and specifically, why it’s mostly men who commit acts of mass violence. Women traditionally occupy the role of “care worker” and learn to relate differently through the act of caring. Those care occupations, however, are some of the lowest paid and are highly undervalued. Other countries, such as New Zealand and Sweden, are exploring different ways of addressing both how children are raised in relation to gender as well as how to pay care workers a wage that reflects the skill and value of the work. Dr. Fraad looks at how these countries are making positive change and explores what we can learn from them.

Fraad: “On the basis of looking at male work and what is the pay for male work and what are equivalent skills that are involved in women's work and care work and in assisting work, they raised caregivers pay 30.5% across the board in New Zealand...That was a revolutionary move.”

Cities After… The Problems with Supply and Demand in the Housing Market

There is a widespread belief that the central culprit of the housing crisis in most metropolitan regions around the world today is the lack of supply. This notion has been well spread by mainstream media outlets and urban professionals, such as urban planners, architects, housing developers, and real-estate agencies. For those disseminating this idea, ending the housing crisis is straightforward: more and more housing needs to be built. In this episode of Cities After…, Prof. Robles-Durán contests this belief, explaining that this solution is built on the false notion of a stable market free of externalities and inherent contradictions. Addressing the housing crisis solely through supply and demand dogmas makes little sense in the era of real-estate financialization and mega-landlords. There is a much deeper systemic issue brewing than simply an unequal relationship between supply and demand.  

Robles-Durán: “The development of advanced speculative financial instruments is rapidly allowing the treatment of homes closer to pure exchange value in the global financial system. A house is just a commodity that can be accumulated and hedged for others in the pursuit of profit. Like many other derivatives or commodities, housing is a speculative instrument and this is its main purpose. Simply put, the housing of people is not its main business.”

Global Capitalism: A General Strike in France

Prof Wolff describes the labor struggle in France, their strategies and the anti-capitalist element of the protests over pensions.

Wolff: “In France, the unions long ago learned a lesson not all that well learned in many other countries that the arguments are never what win the case. They're important. They're worth developing. They're worth publicizing. And the French are doing all of that. But you've got to get the bodies out on the street. And that's why the unions declare all seven or eight of the different federations of unions in France agreed together, cooperating to have a general strike"

Ask Prof Wolff: Does Our Education System Reinforce Capitalism?

A supporter of Democracy at Work asks: "How could the education system transform under a worker-cooperative economy? What would schools look like for young children to young adults? How would it compare to a capitalist education system, which at least in some part, is designed to make us into workers for capitalists?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response. To learn how to ask your own questions to Prof Wolff, click here.

Wolff: “It's not just teaching the ideas that capitalism is the greatest gift since sliced bread, and it's not just that capitalism is presented as efficient and fair and all of those obvious ideological things which our education system in the U.S certainly does. It's not so much that. It's the more subtle ways that capitalism subordinates education…”


Ask Prof Wolff: What Is Economic Nationalism?

A supporter of Democracy at Work asks: "I would like Prof to explain what the meaning of Economic Nationalism is and provide examples of past and present systems." This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response. To learn how to ask your own questions to Prof Wolff, click here.

Wolff: “Traditionally the debate has been between protectionism and free trade protectionism sometimes called economic nationalism and free trade sometimes being called as it was in the  last 30 years globalization.”

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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