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Economic Update: Capitalism's Shrinking Popularity
On this week's show, Prof. Wolff discusses French voters abstaining (66%), and rejecting party establishments in the face of social crisis; Seattle City Council helps tenants with law changes as conservatives seek to recall progressive Council leader Sawan; growing US economic inequality cuts mass consumption and thus hurts US economy; June 2021 polls show capitalism losing, socialism gaining among US adults including Republicans; Washington Post columnist seeks to ban billionaires as bad for society.
Wolff: “What we're doing is we're cutting off the basis of the economy, because we have concentrated so much wealth in the hands of people who don't spend it on goods and services, who save it, who play in the stock market with it, who move it abroad, and all the ways that do not help the American economy here. That's a cost of inequality that we should understand."
Capitalism Hits Home: Why Has Britney Spears' Pain Riveted America?
On this week's CHH, Dr. Fraad is joined by psychotherapist and author Tess Fraad-Wolff to talk about celebrity pop artist Britney Spears. Spears' plight captures our attention because she personifies American suffering. Her exploited, adolescent, coy, sugary sexuality presents her as an object of men's desire without her own desire, earning millions that her boss-father-slavemaster appropriates. Spears represents the gender regression of the Right Wing. We identify because Britney's father's strategy is the strategy of US capitalism to control the American people: isolate, medicate, and appropriate. No wonder we are riveted.
Fraad: "A disability lawyer summed up the strategy which applies both to Britney Spears and to the American public. The strategy is to isolate, medicate and liquidate the assets. So you isolate them, you medicate them, and you exploit them on the job and isolate them to the point where they don't realize it... Now, this is a really important thing because Britney taught us a political lesson: how to get out of our isolation. As long as she was isolated, she could be ruthlessly exploited, but when she went public on June 23rd... they created a mass movement and a mass awareness of her enslavement, and with that mass awareness, they created such publicity that Britney became informed of her rights.”
All Things Co-op: The Great Resignation
In this episode of the All Things Co-op Podcast, Larry, Cinar and Kevin talk about the so-called "Great Resignation." After discussing what may be behind this change, the trio discusses what cooperatives might have done differently, and how different we would be able to deal with things like a global pandemic in a cooperative society.
Kevin: "COVID has thrown the doors open to a lot of different things. We're seeing how much control our employers have. We see how locked in we've been to a lot of these different jobs, and we see the competition that we're already engaged with and going to continually engage with... So when you're presented with that, the future of work in the before times, the "before the pandemic late stage monopoly finance capital" just isn't appealing to a lot of people. And I think you're seeing a lot of people who are just quitting and saying I'm done with this, and if we were a society of cooperatives... I don't think that you'd see this."
Global Capitalism: Is China Capitalist, Socialist or Communist?
In this clip from the most recent lecture "The Challenge of China [July 2021],” Prof Wolff discusses the definition of socialism in the context of modern-day China and what definitions we use to guide our own thinking.
Wolff: "The question is "Would/will the People's Republic of China move in the direction of democratizing their enterprises: state-owned, private, domestic, foreign or not? Will they hold on to socialism with Chinese characteristics, in terms of what they have now, or will they move to a different definition?" That's an open question for the People's Republic of China, but let me be clear, it's an open question for everybody in all capitalist countries, with all socialist political organizations. Which way are you going to go depends on what definition of capitalism versus socialism you work with, and you may not be conscious about it, but you're making that choice whether you're aware of it or not."
Ask Prof Wolff: Lessons for the Left from the 20th Century
A patron of Economic Update asks: "What lessons does the left still need to learn based on its efforts and failures from the 20th century?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.
Wolff: “The left has to come to terms with the differences within the working class in order to forge it as a unified political force, and it has to get away from the idolization of the state. The state is not the solution. The transformation of the society is just as important as anything having to do with social policy or the role of the state.”
Wolff Responds: Food Prices Rise but not $7.25 Minimum Wage
In this Wolff Responds, Prof. Wolff comments on the increases in food prices in the US and the effects on the American working people who have already paid the highest costs of this economic crash.
Wolff: “This is somewhere between pathetic and obscene. There is no excuse. If this is the best that the capitalist system can do, if this is the best that the Democratic party- in control of both houses and the presidency- can do, then neither that party, nor that economic system deserves anyone's continuing support. It's long overdue to raise the minimum wage.”
Wolff Responds: Economics of Defeat Afghanistan, Iraq
In this Wolff Responds, Prof. Wolff comments on the economic significance of the recent US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the withdrawal from Iraq.
Wolff: “The two wars together [cost] trillions of U.S dollars. Trillions that might have been spent on the infrastructure we now say is terribly dilapidated here in the United States, on building up a public health system that might have been able to handle COVID… You and I can both come up with all the things that might have been done to make the United States a better place, a safer place, than losing two 20-year wars.”
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
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