Weekly Roundup: June 22, 2022

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.

New this week: Economic Update, Anti-Capitalist Chronicles, Ask Prof Wolff & Wolff Responds...

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!

Economic Update: The System is the Problem

In this week's show, Prof. Wolff talks about insurers defrauding pensions, record highway deaths, inflation and risk, interest rate rises, Massachusetts to vote on millionaires tax, Starbucks CEO as dictator, and Mitt Romney's sudden concern with "fairness" exposed.

Wolff: "Workers don't have control over prices. Employers do, employers who are 1% of the population (if that) have the power to raise the prices that the other 99% have to pay without having any role in deciding what they are. There's nothing democratic about an inflation. The only thing you might call democratic is who suffers the most from it." 

Anti-Capitalist Chronicles: Path Dependency, Ukraine, and Nuclear War

In this episode of Anti-Capitalist Chronicles, Prof. Harvey explores how geopolitical conflicts escalate into war, both historically and today with the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Harvey looks at NATO’s role in escalating this crisis, lessons to be learned from the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, and the looming possibility of nuclear war and its global impact. Mutually assured destruction will continue to be a threat until the West and NATO decide to de-escalate, demilitarize, and negotiate rather than to continually operate offensively. 

Harvey: "The missile crisis in Cuba was a very close thing, a very close thing. And a lot of people were making some very bad decisions around it. I think we are closer to that kind of thing in Ukraine, and a lot of people are making some very bad decisions about it."


Ask Prof Wolff: Is Systematic Change Possible?

A Patron of Economic Update asks: "Prof. Wolff, do you believe the equality we seek can be brought about by the swift and sudden collapse of corporate fascism, a civil war, or by an evolution in the culture through constant promotion of Marxist/socialist thought? Would the latter be likely to produce the desired change within our lifetime?"

This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “The big question if ever there were a big question… We need it all. Yeah, we need the collapse of the institutions that are keeping this system going, we need struggles with those who want to keep this system, and we need to develop the consciousness that knows how to respond when the system breaks down… Coordinated would be better than not.”


Ask Prof Wolff: Student Debt & Inflation

A Patron of Economic Update asks: "Prof Wolff, can you explain the relationship between debt and inflation? Would canceling $1.7 trillion in student debt cause inflation to increase, as is reported in the media, or would canceling it actually cause inflation to decrease?"

This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “The debate of our political leaders is, in terms of economics, simply nonsense… because the relationship between a debt whether it goes up or down and inflation is very complicated. No simple one-to-one relationship works like that… If you cut the debt of students in a massive way here's what's going to happen. They are now going to be able to buy things they had not been able to buy before. Example: sign up for more education. Here's another one: they buy a home. Here's another one: they get married. Here's another one: they have children. All of those things will have positive and negative effects on inflation of this product or that product you can't know that in advance, you can't even predict it with any reliability.”

Wolff Responds: Supply Chain Disruptions...a BS Excuse

In this Wolff Responds, Prof. Wolff challenges the widely used explanation for inflation: supply chain disruptions. Supply chain disruptions happen all the time and businesses deal with them on a daily basis, with specific purchasing teams whose role is entirely based on expecting and anticipating these disruptions. Instead of blaming the supply chain, we must face the harsher reality—companies are jacking up prices to make up for losses from the last two years, and the system cannot handle it. This is a systematic breakdown, a decline of the capitalist order, and it’s time to look for real, sustainable solutions.

Wolff: “What we're seeing is a great many companies trying to make up for a lost two years: the pandemic, the economic global crash of capitalism in 2020 and 2021, those did a real number on all kinds of businesses. They couldn't make (in most cases, there were some exceptions) they couldn't make the kinds of profits they were used to they had planned on. They had borrowed money, presuming, and they've got to make that up. And the fastest easiest way to do that now is to jack up prices. But as businesses always do when they raise their prices they tell you it's somebody else's fault.”

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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