Weekly Roundup: September 28, 2022

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.

New this week: Economic Update, Anti-Capitalist Chronicles, All Things Co-op, Global Capitalism & Ask Prof Wolff...

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!

Economic Update: The Harm Done by Economists

Prof. Wolff talks about the unionization drive among minor league professional baseball players, high poverty rates among US families working full-time year round, and the economics of discrimination against pregnant women. In the second half of the show, Wolff interviews Prof. George DeMartino on the harm done by the economics profession and why it denies doing so.

DeMartino: “We have taken it upon ourselves to be the harm accountants: to decide what policy is going to benefit what people and harm what people, and therefore what policies should we advocate and which policies should we not advocate. It's a paternalistic ethos where we're the ones that think we should make the decisions. Who's excluded from this conversation? The people whose lives are about to be devastated by the policies that we advocate."

Anti-Capitalist Chronicles: Beyond Reorganization of Production

Prof. Harvey considers a looming question: is capitalism too big to fail? He speculates on what approaches may lead to a successful socialist alternative. Is it a reorganization of the productive forces? Or redistribution of wealth? Or both?

Harvey: “The path to socialism can only be defined by what might be called a kind of redesign of the whole system rather than simply laborers taking over the means of production and becoming the managers.”

All Things Co-op: Shifting to a Cooperative International Order

In this special All Things Co-op season finale, Kevin traces a brief history of international relations, discusses the rise of international law and the failure of the UN to address our current global dilemmas, and speculates that a cooperative, rather than competitive, international order is necessary to create a sustainable, peaceful world.

Kevin: “This inability for the Security Council to do its job owes to the fact that the United Nations system assumes that, in order to ensure international peace and security, it must empower the great powers to do so, and in this sense it relies more on the competitive aspect of international relations than the cooperative."

Global Capitalism: At the Crossroads of a New Economic System

The economic rivalry of our time is shaping up between the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China. But this isn’t the Cold War of socialism vs. capitalism. China is a different, hybrid breed of the Communist party, state and private capitalism- one that might be the last capitalist empire we ever see. Richard Wolff compares two countries at the crossroads of our era: between capitalism and system change.

Wolff: “Nowhere is there a major economic sector in which the workers democratically own and run their own enterprises. That, Marx said, is where the system will go after capitalism. That's the issue for the next system. We're not at that point yet. What we are at is the fading of the either/or dichotomies between private and state capitalism that were the 20th century U.S versus USSR story. Those have been superseded by the combination run by the party that is the Chinese resolution of the thesis of private capitalism, the anti-thesis of state capitalism and the synthesis that the Chinese have now shown us is the ticket to being the next, and probably the last, empire that capitalism will have been able to produce.”

Ask Prof Wolff: Can Worker Co-ops Be Truly Democratic?

A Supporter of Democracy at Work asks: "We agree that capitalism is imperfect and that it separates people into the employer and employee classes. However, resources needs to be planned, coordinated and managed otherwise chaos ensues. In many cases, resources are best handled in bulk to attain efficiency and affordability, and that gives rise to the need for concentration of control.Given that people are really not born equal, what system can then best balance all of the above?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “Everybody has capabilities. They just differ. And a worker co-op should study how to bring them out, how to help people find what they're particularly good at and then integrate all of that. Everybody's knowledge should play a role in the decisions.”


Ask Prof Wolff: Religion and Capitalism

A Supporter of Democracy at Work asks: "In his book "One Nation Under God: How Corporate American Invented Christian America, Kevin Kruse talks about an alliance between American capitalists and conservative religious leaders, going back to the 1930s. This alliance pushes capitalism in churches under a biblical veneer of 'free-market Gospel.’ Capitalists supply the money, and the churches supply the voters as well as a moral gloss on unregulated capitalism, resulting in the enormous political power that we see in the 'Religious Right.’ Do you agree with his ideas? Is this sort of alliance unique to America or does it happen in other capitalist countries?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “We don't just rely on the church to teach people ways of thinking that endorse capitalism. We have schools that do that. We have mass media that do that. We have an enormous apparatus of intellectual indoctrination that celebrates capitalism as the Christian churches and in this country, the Jewish synagogues and the Islamic temples as well.”

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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