Weekly Roundup: September 15, 2021

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.

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

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!


Economic Update: The Rational and Irrational in Anti-Vaxxers

On this week's show, Prof. Wolff presents updates on the complexities of anti-vaccination movements, the long decline of religion in US capitalism, Disneys’s shift to serve the richest, lessons from AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka's leadership, and failures of GOP, Dem leaders to stop last 75 years of decline of manufacturing in the US economy (driven by corporate profitability).

Wolff: "We have come to learn... that corporations are continuously using the government to push something that's profitable for them, whether or not it's healthy, or safe, or good for us. So, being suspicious about government mandates is perfectly reasonable. Ditto, being suspicious about Big Pharma drug companies... I think much of the opposition to vaccination is rational, but I think the response to those suspicions: that's irrational. Because the way to react to this problem is not to forgo the vaccination that can save your life and that can make you less of a danger to the people closest to you and to the community in which you live."

Anti-Capitalist Chronicles: The Primary Abstractions of Capital

In this episode of ACC, Prof. Harvey discusses some of the contradictions that Marx uncovered as he examined the abstractions of capital. He explores the contradiction between the rate of change and the mass of value, and the crises that emerge from the two. Harvey points to the crisis of housing as a contemporary example.

Harvey: "At some point or other, we have to address the way in which capital is functioning as a global system right now and the rules by which it is governing. And it is the abstract rules of motion to which we are forced to adapt, and the only way that they can be dealt with is by complete agreement that this system is no longer functional in relationship to environmental questions, social provision distribution of wealth, and the like."

Cities After... Post-Pandemic Urbanization: Spectacles, Speculation & Tourism - Pt 2

In today's podcast, Prof. Robles-Duran will continue to discuss Post-pandemic urbanization trends by taking a deep dive in the speculative global rent markets and their exacerbating social ills. For help with this, he is joined by Dr. Jaime Palomera from Barcelona’s radical research cooperative La Hidra who will help focus a conversation on a striking report that they published two months ago titled “The Social Impacts of the Rental Market”, done in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Barcelona and the Institute of Government and Public Policy at the University of Barcelona.

Palomera: "Housing in the present condition and especially the rental market, makes you vulnerable. The rental market is designed in a way that if you're a tenant, you are in a vulnerable and precarious position."

Global Capitalism: US Capitalism’s Decline Accelerates

Professor Richard Wolff spoke on these troublesome trends in his September Global Capitalism Lecture: US Capitalism’s Decline Accelerates. The lecture is available on our YouTube channel or on your favorite podcast player for you to hear Prof Wolff’s observations of the world’s most powerful economy, declining in influence and reputation around the world. 

Wolff: “Had the 8 trillion been spent on [fixing problems] in the United States, we wouldn't be declining. We would be in much, much better shape. Instead, eight trillion dollars was spent to move hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops through Afghanistan to unload uncountable bombs, and bullets, and missiles, and tanks on this already poorest country in the world.”

Ask Prof Wolff: China VS. a Myth of Stolen Technology

A patron of Economic Update asks: "I recently watched a great news segment about China's acquisition of western tech by China. You have spoken on this point in the past, could you reiterate that the tech acquired by China was not stolen, but as Saagar stated "China's ability to weaponize western greed." This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “No one required them to come to China, to make deals in China, to profit from China. They did that because they chose to. It's how capitalism works. It's not about greed. It's not about weaponizing anything. It's normal, capitalist business.”

Ask Prof Wolff: Demoting Profit from the Bottom Line

A patron of Economic Update asks: "Dear Prof. Wolff, Douglas Lane, on the Zero Books podcast, recently summarized a critique of worker co-ops from "a Marxist perspective," saying that "market forces" determine that co-ops can only reduce work hours or raise wages if the enterprise remains "profitable." If profit is the surplus value that owners extract from labor, and co-op workers are the owners, in what sense must a worker co-op be "profitable"? In what sense does profit even enter into a worker co-op? (Maybe he was confusing "profitable" with competitive?)." This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “Is profit the kind of perfect signaling device that the defenders of capitalism want to say it is? My answer is immediately a resounding no. Using profit in the way we teach it is a good way to keep capitalism going.”

Wolff Responds: US Capitalism Unprepared

In this Wolff Responds, Prof. Wolff comments on the tragic and avoidable deaths that resulted from the flood waters of Hurricane Ida. 

Wolff: “The list of what we are unprepared for here in the United States, a wealthy country, is truly stunning these days… The only question that matters is how long will the American people permit this combination of corporate landlord and government complicity in not doing what a civilized society would have done long ago.”

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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