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In the first half of this week's show, Wolff evaluates US capitalism as a system of production and distribution of goods and services. In the second half, he compares the evaluation with the very different self-image of dominant voices within US capitalism. His conclusion: US capitalism has peaked and finding it very difficult to face its decline.
Wolff: "A society with modest economic production and really awful, unequal distribution. How has it done on... public health, safety, food, clothing, shelter and so forth? Well, the record of the United States is not good.”
Prof. Harvey talks about the ever rising mass - the rising quantity of money, debt, GDP, military expenditures, greenhouse gas emissions, plastic waste, etc. - and asks what are the qualitative transformations and the costs of the ever expanding mass. He cautions that the degree of expansion needed to revive capital to its pre-pandemic levels is not sustainable given the finite resources of our planet and a capitalist economy with its endless drive for profit and accumulation, and argues that an alternative system is desperately needed.
Harvey: "I'm very pessimistic in a sense about the future of capital at this particular moment, because I think the mass which is required to revive capital accumulation in the style to which it was going before the invasion, before the pandemic. For that to happen, it seems to me there's an almost impossible task of restoration.”
Cinar, Larry, and Kevin talk with Hazel Corcoran and Jared Blustein from the Canadian Worker Cooperative Federation. Hazel has been the CWCF's executive director since 1995 and Jared is a founding worker-owner of The Allium, a plant-based worker co-op in Calgary. The group discusses the unique landscape of the Canadian worker cooperative movement, touching on issues around building the solidarity economy and Canada's national legislation on cooperatives. Jared and Hazel speak to both the benefits of operating within the worker co-op framework as well as the challenges their organizations face in a largely capitalist economy.
Blustein: "I always really try to focus on the idea that it's not just necessarily what we're consuming but it's more around how we're consuming. It's not just what we're doing but it's how we're doing it. And I don't think that just picking one option out of a basket is going to make you not implicit in a variety of contentious societal realities…”
A Patron of Economic Update asks: "Curious if you have any comment about the 'grand legally binding leftist coalition' announced in Canada recently. It resembles politics we see in Europe but is new for here. Any comments?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.
Wolff: “It may help teach the American people not only that their own democratic elections aren't as democratic as other peoples’, including our neighbor Canada, but that there are real costs particularly for progressives in being denied the influence they ought to have.”
A Patron of Economic Update asks: "I was wondering what Prof. Wolff’s opinion is on this video (youtube.com/watch?v=xguam0TKMw8) in terms of the accuracy and prediction. It's from billionaire Ray Dalio talking about economics and the US decline and the future. I'd love to get your take." This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.
Wolff: “We are following a script here built into the system, and right there is where Ray Dalio falls a little short, because you need to analyze how the way the system is organized produces these outcomes.”
Learn more about [email protected] latest book, Stuck Nation: Can the United States Change Course on Our History of Choosing Profits Over People?
by Bob Hennelly