Weekly Roundup: April 19

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.

New this week: AI & ChatGPT, NIMBY/YIMBY politics, the healthcare struggle, China’s phase of capitalism

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!

Economic Update: Today's Medicare for All Battle with Dr. William Bronston

Prof. Wolff discusses US deaths from Covid, poverty in the US labor force, US and Canada cooperate against immigrants, US warfare vs China's peacemaking, Amazon profits from cutting back on "free" shipping. In the second half of the show, Wolff interviews Dr. William Bronston, advocate for single-payer health care in the US.

Bronston: “People in this country are so isolated, so alienated, so incapable of identifying with the commonwealth of their brothers and sisters of the rest of us in society, that it cripples us from being able to challenge the barbarity of the commodity monetized system of illness and death in our society.”

Capitalism Hits Home: Signs of a Declining Empire

Dr. Fraad draws on decades of experience as a psychologist to remind us that change only happens when we face a problem fully. We as a society must reckon with the fall of the American Empire and the shift in economic and global dominance if we want to find stability and real solutions to the issues we face.

Fraad: “We will not control this under capitalism. We need an accountable socialist government. We need to stop buying our government, stop having the best democracy money can buy, and actually have a democracy.”

Cities After… From Exclusion to Gentrification: The NIMBY-YIMBY Politics

Prof. Robles-Durán examines the histories and ideological underpinnings of the NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) and YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard) urban development movements. On the surface, these movements may seem to have opposing politics. However, by looking closely at their evolution and participation, it becomes clear that both have been co-opted and obscured by politicians and the media in order to serve the corporate elites and capitalist developers. As the story goes, the NIMBYs are staunch elitists that block progress by resisting change and innovation. The YIMBYs are promoters of growth and prosperity— they are inclusive, environmentally friendly and champions of affordability. But, as Prof. Robles-Durán explains, they do not really embody these virtues. He reveals the elitist and conservative principles that exist within both NIMBY and YIMBY ideologies, and shows why these terms should not be used in the progressive lexicon of urban action and housing activism. 

Miguel: “Not in my backyard and yes in my backyard or NIMBY/YIMBY should not be part of the progressive lexicon of urban action and housing activism. Let's leave those to the capitalists, and most importantly, fight them because we can do better than capitalism.”

Global Capitalism: Is China the Final Phase of Capitalism?

Prof Wolff explains why China could be the final form of capitalism before societies finally decide to move beyond the fundamental conflict of this system: employers and employees.

Wolff: “It’s at best one kind of socialism to play around with what is still a capitalist workplace. And it's another kind of socialism that says that workplace itself has to be revolutionarily transformed if we're going to get beyond the burdens, the flaws and the failures of a capitalism that works for ever fewer people."

Ask Prof Wolff: AI & ChatGPT - What are the Economic Impacts?

A supporter of Democracy at Work asks: "I am writing to seek your insights on the rapidly evolving artificial intelligence (AI) landscape, particularly with regards to its implementation by profit-driven companies. It is evident that AI technology has the potential to bring significant advancements in various sectors. However, there is a growing concern that AI's deployment by corporations focused solely on profit maximization may exacerbate wealth inequality, eliminate jobs, and displace workers. How do you view the current state of AI evolution and its impact on the labor market, especially considering the role of profit-driven companies in shaping AI development?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response. To learn how to ask your own questions to Prof Wolff, click here.

Wolff: “You will lose lots of old kinds of jobs that the new technology will make obsolete and you will gain jobs that the new technology will help create. What becomes strange is the imagination that you can know beforehand which is the net gain or loss. You can't. We never could. The glib assurances we don't have to worry are fake. The grim decided statements if you like that'll all be terrible equally so. We have pluses and minuses and the trick is to weigh them, which is what I want to do now.”


Ask Prof Wolff: Lessons from France’s Pension Struggle

A supporter of Democracy at Work asks: "In view of the French retirement proposals and the argument that fewer active workers are supporting more retired workers, can you address how changing demographics will affect world economies? I don't see that declining birth rates will change. It seems to make the current form of capitalism even more sustainable." This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response. To learn how to ask your own questions to Prof Wolff, click here.

Wolff: “Millions of French people are in the streets for months now saying to the president you're not going to balance the budget you mismanaged on our backs. And you know the struggle in the United States is coming. [It] will have its own form but it's the same issue.”

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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