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This week on Economic Update, Prof. Wolff discusses nurses’ suicides as results of our profit-driven healthcare, sanctions and their effect on inflation, US states where 40% of workers earn under $15/hr, and US corporate profits triple from 2008 to present. In the second half, Wolff talks with host and journalist Chris Hedges about Ukraine and the end of the US empire.
Hedges: "Refitting Soviet bloc countries with NATO military equipment was a multi-billion dollar bonanza... But try and provide that kind of historical context within the mainstream media and of course you're shut out because it is, you're right, it's all emotionally driven, it's about self-adulation... I just want to be clear, I condemned at the inception the invasion of Ukraine."
"One out of four American women take antidepressant drugs." In this episode, Dr. Fraad addresses how mental health is diagnosed and treated in the US. Human suffering and misery have been systematically categorized as disorders for which treatment with medication is needed and prescribed by psychiatrists. She argues that the collusion of medical doctors, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and hospitals driven by their quest for profits, are to blame.
Fraad: "As a practitioner who's been in practice for 47 years, I have helped numerous people out of miserable situations and out of the human misery in which they found themselves, usually for good reason. And I totally reject the disease model, the medicalized model that gives psychiatrists prestige and lies that there's brain diseases that we don't have."
Prof. Robles-Durán talks with Laura Raicovich, NY-based writer and art curator, about the roles that the global oligarchy plays in art museums and cultural institutions. They discuss how cultural institutions have never been the neutral, inclusive spaces they often market themselves as. Rather, these spaces, both public or private, rely heavily on private funding by elite donors and wealthy board members. Robles-Durán and Raicovich look closely at these complexities within major art institutions, such as the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, consider the dark money that funds these spaces, and highlight some organizations that are trying to reimagine cultural spaces with equity and care at the forefront.
Raicovich: "There has to be a national conversation about what culture means in the United States. In this distillation of time and space and wealth and power, what we have is the need to counteract that with a far more diversified cultural sphere."
A Patron of Economic Update asks: "My original understanding of your position and approach to creating more worker coops was that it could NOT really be successfully done by any government forcing changes in the internal structure of enterprises. I have heard that during Stalin's time that was tried, but failed. My understanding of your position was that, while the government could help in some ways, any large increase in the number of worker coops would have to occur by people deciding themselves to get together and forming worker coop structured businesses. But some of your recent videos seem to indicate that you are not against having governments mandate and force such changes in internal structuring of enterprises. Please create a video where you make your position on this very clear. I personally am totally against capturing government and having governments force internal structure changes." This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.
Wolff: “We have a history throughout our country having the government stimulate, subsidize, support capitalist enterprises all over the place, which is one reason why we have them all over the place. There was never never a comparable effort to support, to develop, to facilitate, to subsidize worker co-ops. We never had a government that said, for example, that there ought to be a competition that everybody could participate in. Let us have capitalist hierarchical top-down enterprises the way we're used to and side-by-side with them worker co-ops so that people could experience the difference.”
Two Patrons of Economic Update ask: "Can you please explain the difference between the government borrowing money (from the corporations/rich/other countries) vs. printing money? What are the differences between government bonds for financing infrastructure projects or public goods, and borrowing money from corporations and billionaires for those same projects and services? What if bonds are bought by rich people and corporations to get the tax write offs?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.
Wolff: “No wonder, eventually, this system blows up as the mass of people watch themselves squeezed ever more by a government that is serving the rich and powerful in this way, which is a little bit hidden. But once you study it, you can see exactly what's going on.”
In this Wolff Responds, Prof. Wolff talks about the economic climate of the last 2 years - a major public health disaster coupled with an economic crash has left so many Americans jobless and desperate. Now high inflation and rising interest rates suggest another recession is looming. Capitalism is failing Americans repeatedly. It's time to consider an alternative.
Wolff: “The social conflicts, and divisions, and angers and rages are getting worse by the hour. What's going on is a failure of an economic system made worse by the inability or the refusal of those in power to admit it, and to face it and to deal with it. No, no, no- from President Biden on down, we're in an economic recovery.”
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