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Economic Update: Marianne Williamson on US Politics
Prof. Wolff presents updates on the decline/fall of Boris Johnson and the parallels with Trump; the Sri Lanka collapse and its lessons; Match Corp secretly funding sides in "culture wars" to keep customers, and the latest from UK's Conservative party. In the second half of the show, Wolff talks with Marianne Williamson on the basic social divisions of US politics.
Williamson: “I don't see the proper description as left versus right. I see the proper description as neoliberal corporatism anti-democracy versus democracy and the well-being of our people. People who are the working people in the United States but basically the average citizen of the United States is being screwed by the same forces whether they are on the right or on the left”
Anti-Capitalist Chronicles: Capital's Double Consciousness
Prof. Harvey continues his discussion of Brad DeLong’s new book, Slouching Towards Utopia, in which DeLong notes the contradiction between an emerging middle class over the last century through technological innovation and stagnant levels of happiness. To explain this dilemma, Harvey looks closer at how these technological advancements shape labor and function under capitalism. He argues that the purpose was never to lighten the load of labor, it was solely to increase profitability. Therein lies the central contradiction of capitalism: capital is great at creating new products, ideas, possibilities, and lifestyles, but it simultaneously produces alienation. It is no wonder that there is a deep dissatisfaction with our society. Alienation is a natural byproduct of capitalism when the ever-growing advancements are designed to produce more surplus rather than improve working people's lives.
Harvey: “Innovation is not designed to create happiness. It's designed a lot of the time to facilitate one's needs and desires, to stimulate desire and all of those kinds of things. It's certainly about doing all of that, but it's not about making the world better for people. And it's not about improving their lives in any way. It's about trying to actually create a world in which more profit is to be had, and that is why it's there”
All Things Co-op: The Issue of Inequality
Polls show that most Americans think economic inequality is a problem, but if you listen to right-wing capitalist apologists, you’ll hear that economic inequality is either not that big of a deal, a consequence of economic freedom, and/or actually a good thing. In this episode of All Things Co-op, Cinar and Kevin pick apart these arguments, look at how wages are distributed in co-ops today, and talk about how inequality could be handled in a cooperative society.
Kevin: “If you had a system that wasn't forcing people to choose to spend the majority of their lives doing something they wouldn't do, that the lives of those people, even the ones that might not have as much stuff, is still a higher standard of living”
Stuck Nation: Using Capital for Community
In this clip from our live Q&A with Stuck Nation author Bob Hennelly, Bob advocates for credit unions, and shares a story that demonstrates how capital can be used to contest the 1%.
Hennelly: “We don't have to be alienated from money, but it's the capitalist value system of individuation not acting in collective community concern that we have to avoid”
Ask Prof Wolff: The Impacts of a Wage-Price Freeze
A Patron of Economic Update asks: "My question is about the wage-price freeze concept. If we are to assume that workers would have their wages frozen after decades of stagnated real wage growth and a collapse in purchasing power and we freeze prices how they currently are, then how would workers be able to pay for necessities when such a huge gap in wages and prices exist? Isn’t the problem that wages are so low that we cannot afford rent, buy a week’s worth of food, pay our bills, or stay out of default on student loans (of which I am in real danger of doing)? What would the effect be if we implemented a price freeze but left wages alone?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.
Wolff: “You could freeze prices, but not freeze wages. Let them be pushed up as far as workers can achieve. Then you would be able to stop the inflation because prices couldn't go up and accomplish a second different objective, which is to redistribute wealth from the top.”
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