Weekly Roundup: April 26, 2023

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.

New this week: New world economy, corporate academia, treasury bonds, artificial intelligence & democracy

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!

Economic Update: The Emerging New World Economy: A New Empire, a Multipolar World, or a Post-Capitalist System

Four key changes drive a new world economy emerging from the old. First is capitalism's transition from neoliberal, globalizing to nationalistic capitalism. This includes the shift of capitalism's center from western Europe and the US to Asia and the global south and also includes the deepening economic inequality inside most nations. Second is the end of the stale, old debate between private and state capitalism (misnamed as capitalism vs socialism) in favor of private + state capitalism hybrids. Third is the post-peak decline of the US empire. Fourth is the urgent question of what comes next: a new empire, a multipolar world, or a new post-capitalist system that replaces employer-employee workplace organizations (private and public) with democratically run worker cooperative organizations.

Wolff: “The question is, will this working class turmoil congeal into its own notion of where the future lies? Because if they do, they will be able not only to reshape the world economy as it emerges, but they might be able to finally realize their dream of an economic system that didn't position a tiny number of people at the top, making all the decisions, gathering the wealth and shaping the world economy to their desire.”

Anti-Capitalist Chronicles: The Corporatization of Academia

Prof. Harvey reflects on how universities in the US have shifted and evolved under advanced capitalism to function more and more like corporations. The ethos of the academic model is no longer about universities paying professors to teach, but rather that professors earn their keep by making money for the university. We are seeing increased bureaucratization, a push for entrepreneurialism among professors, and a growing corporate managerial structure. This reorganization of education around monetization has left professors disillusioned and despondent and cannot be sustained.

Harvey: “I'm here to earn money for the university. So, the whole kind of idea of the university not as a place of reflection and knowledge and creation and all the rest of it, but as a moneymaking machine becomes seen."

All Things Co-op: The Artificial Intelligence Dilemma

Kevin, Larry, and Cinar discuss the artificial intelligence renaissance going on today and its implications for a cooperative future. Artificial intelligence seems to be here to stay and we have to figure out how to engage with it. The ATC guys focus mainly on the issues of values and alignment, questioning if we should instill our essential human values of fairness and democracy in AI or simply let it run free? Under capitalism, however, the values we actually uphold as a society are not rooted in democracy and kindness. What are the consequences of AI being developed in a hyper-capitalist culture and what are the possibilities for its use in a possible post-capitalist cooperative future? 

Cinar: “At one point when the internet came up, there was this same conversation around this, the liberating, democratizing power of the internet itself. And remember, you're going to have access to all this information so you can make decisions properly and everything. We haven't really seen that pan out too much, right?”

Ask Prof Wolff: Who Do Politicians Really Serve?

A supporter of Democracy at Work asks: "It seems like you believe capitalists aren't just greedy and evil but in a system requiring them to do what they do. Is this also true of politicians who vote for and carry out incredibly destructive policies to human lives and the environment?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response. To learn how to ask your own questions to Prof Wolff, click here.

Wolff: “Here's what is generally not available in our politics: a position for a politician to really go against the capitalists of the donor class. He can't. She can't.”

Ask Prof Wolff: How Treasury Bonds Help Corporations and the Rich

A supporter of Democracy at Work asks: "Please explain the role of the bond market (US Treasuries) in the failure of capitalism and democracy." This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response. To learn how to ask your own questions to Prof Wolff, click here.

Wolff: “It’s a much more expensive way to raise money for government services than to tax corporations and the rich. The treasury bond is therefore a subsidy for corporations and the rich. They're the ones who get out of the taxes because they're the most able to pay. And they're the ones who benefit from the treasury bond because it's a substitute for paying taxes that keeps the money in their hands and earns them interest even though it makes running the government that much more expensive.”

Wolff Responds: France's Working Class Is Challenging Western Capitalism

Prof Wolff explains why we can find hope & vision in the struggles of the French workers and the political storm of their country.

Wolff: “This is not a pension reform, this is a pension rip off.”

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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