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Prof. Wolff presents updates on successful unionization at Trader Joe’s, lottery tickets disguised as regressive taxation, gasoline inflation brings record profits to big oil companies, and pharmaceutical industries' ad campaign to block the government's plan to buy medications in bulk and pass savings onto the public. In the second half of the show, Wolff interviews Vijay Prashad on his new book with Noam Chomsky on the fragility of US global power.
Prashad: “If we look history in the eye now, what we see is a depletion of economic power in particular and the United States substituting military force for economic power, and that is an extraordinarily dangerous situation for most of the world.”
Cinar and Kevin talk with Erik Esse, the producer of the new documentary The Co-op Wars. The Co-op Wars traces the history of the food cooperative movement in the mid to late 1970s in Minnesota's Twin Cities. The rapid development of the food co-op network in the area prompted a split between anarchist "hippies" and Bolshevists who styled themselves as the “Cooperative Organization” and set about taking over the People's Warehouse by force. The film provides powerful lessons for cooperative organizations and activists today. As Erik and the ATC guys dissect the film and its implications, they touch on the role of traditional politics, the limits of "third-worldism" in the first world, the mainstreaming of co-ops, the potential influence of COINTELPRO, and much more.
Erik Esse: “The fact that they were co-ops at some level was almost a coincidence. And I think this has resonance in other places where there's co-op networks or movements in that it's a vehicle for something else. It's not co-ops at the center. It's a vehicle for farmers escaping oppression or Mondragon Basque nationalism or something else. And so this is a vehicle for people getting their food and having this countercultural alternative space.
In his live event on the anniversary of his book release, journalist Bob Hennelly talks about the importance of cooperation. Not only will it be needed to address climate change, but it has already been a proven source of progress in our history, a history we should remember.
Hennelly: “One of the problems is our history is framed around great white men. What you're brought up with in the conventional upbringing school that individuals make a difference. So we don't really have a really good labor history piece. That's one of the important things that I do, that [my book] Stuck Nation tells.”
A Patron of Economic Update asks: "Can you imagine that journalist cooperatives could exist, function well, and possibly help us out of some of our current problems? (Maybe such have existed, or do exist, but I just am not aware of them?) We know that the present media system is ethically bankrupt, where corporate or government (or quasi-government) directed agencies distract, manipulate, and lie to us, to suit agendas of an anti-social and powerful class of people. Because of that situation, we also know that we need another way to gather, disseminate, and archive information, which would tend be more truthful and pertinent (as well as interesting and broadly available). I envision co-op news/information cells existing in most communities (or regions), around the planet, publishing digitally, and interconnected in a network. (I see funding, almost necessarily, via a nominal member/subscriber fee, with broader and historical information available for free). What do you think?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.
Wolff: “There is a logical way for this kind of news gathering to be a stimulus, a catalyst for other kinds of co-op formations in local areas- other kinds of co -ops that can help this news co-op and can be helped by the news co-op in a burgeoning of cooperative efforts to change the basic direction of the country.”
Professor Wolff discusses the class nature of inflation and economic policy in the US. He explains who sets inflationary prices, who is most affected by those prices, and what the Fed could do to counter the rising prices and alleviate the economic burden placed on those most affected.
Wolff: “[Raising interest rates] is supposed to be a solution for inflation. Does it punish capitalists and employers for raising prices? No. Does it penalize employers for raising prices? No. The first thing an interest rate hike does is make life more difficult for the poorest people amongst us and for the middle class.”
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