Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!
Economic Update: Record Homelessness Defies US "Solutions"
Prof. Wolff gives updates on China's changed global economic strategy, California's struggle over higher minimum wages, Boston Mayor siding with Starbucks' strikers, and “regulatory capture" issue again as Philip Morris hires top FDA tobacco scientist. In the second half of the show, Wolff interviews Rob Robinson, formerly homeless community organizer, on today's record homelessness despite decades of programs to "solve" the homelessness crisis.
Robinson: “The landlords certainly aren't going to lower their rent; they're greedy capitalists. They want as much as they can make, right? They're going to keep taking and taking and taking. Wages again aren't rising that fast. The boss doesn't want to pay any more than he's already paying, right? So, you know you're running into two things that are bumping heads with one another. What has to happen is at some point this system has to really implode itself. It's not going to work.”
Anti-Capitalist Chronicles: Facing the Stick of Dynamite in the Ukraine-Russian Conflict
Prof. Harvey reflects on the current Ukraine-Russia conflict and shares his conflicting feelings about the ongoing war.
Harvey: “What we're seeing is a battle between those two economic systems being fought out in the background to the actual military battle that's going on in Ukraine itself.”
Ask Prof Wolff: Western Capitalism’s Decline
A Supporter of Democracy at Work asks: "Hello Professor Wolff, I’m not sure how familiar you are with Canadian economics but things are very bad here. The average home price in 1980 was $47k ($163k adjusted for inflation), in 2000 it was $119k ($190k adjusted for inflation). Between January 2020 and March 2022, the average home price soared from $504,350 to $795,952. The average home price in my town, with a population of 100,000, is $1 million now. My entire generation has been bought out of the housing market. The annual average earnings of full-time employees in Canada is a little more than $54,630. Average hourly wages in Canada have barely budged in 40 years. Now, the Bank of Canada increased interest rates to 8.1%. We’re told this is due to supply chain management issues, bottlenecks. Yet corporations are making record profits. Canada is experiencing neoliberalism on crack. What’s the solution? Do we need more unions? What can be done? Why are they increasing inflation now?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.
Wolff: “[The minimum wage] is worth less today in terms of what it can buy than it was back in the 1930s when it was first instituted. This is beyond words a failure of a system. We have to change it from the bottom up. There is no alternative. We've tried reforms. We've been there. We've done that. It didn't solve the problem.”
Ask Prof Wolff: Pollution - Capitalism’s Creation, Everybody’s Problem
A Supporter of Democracy at Work asks: "GDP accounts for what we produce, but abjectly fails to take into account what we destroy to produce it, nor does it accept in its estimation the vast value of the natural world, and how this plays out on the numerous beneficial aspects affecting humanity and especially, the environment and climate change. How would the cooperative democratic system deal with this problem?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.
Wolff: “Now, the profiteers make the decision. We all live with the results. And that is one major reason why moving from capitalist, hierarchical enterprises to democratic worker co-ops is the agenda for social change, here and now.”
Wolff Responds: Biden Offers Crumbs of Student Debt Relief
Prof. Wolff critiques Biden's Student Loan Forgiveness Plan. He argues that the program is inadequate and doesn't solve anything. Higher education continues to be unaffordable for so many, and points out that the system is grossly unfair for students who have no choice but to borrow. Lastly, Wolff explores some of the social consequences that the debt relief plan are likely to yield.
Wolff: “We don't pay people enough in our culture to enable them to afford to get the education that would make our economy work better, would make their lives better, would make the lives of the rest of us better. A better educated population is more productive, more creative [and] more fun to be part of, but we're making it difficult. And we're not changing that by what the president has done. He isn't bringing down the price of higher education- not at all, and he isn't changing the basic economics of the mass of our people to help them afford an education. In other words, this is not a solution to the basic problem.”
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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