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20th century socialism is now behind us. Socialists continued to evaluate both its achievements and failures via extensive self-criticism. A changed socialism has emerged, focused on a transition of workplaces from top-down hierarchical capitalist structures into democratic worker cooperatives. The powerful appeal of worker co-ops as grounding a new 21st century socialism is presented.
Wolff: "What the worker co-op does is democratize the power and the wealth by putting it in the hands of working people. If you want the economy to work for the people, you got to put them in charge. If you want democracy to be genuine and not just a formality of voting, you've got to put the people in charge, and they have to be in charge of the economy."
In this episode of ACC, Prof. Harvey examines what is happening in China today, the many changes taking place within (the formation of a billionaire class, uneven geographical development between metropolitan cities and rural areas, a cultural revolution), and highlights its impact on and relationship to the global economy.
Harvey: "There seems to be almost a revolutionary reconfiguration going on in China but as Giovanni would say, it's not a done deal. You can't tell. You don't know where this may go, but it is going in a different direction now than it was just six months ago"
Prof Wolff offers some understanding of how and why the US has struggled with COVID. The stressed, desperate people looking for freedom have latched onto the pandemic as a sight of struggle, with the wrong goals. This is a clip from September 2021 Global Capitalism Lecture: “US Capitalism's Decline Accelerates”.
Wolff: “This is a sign of a population that is so upset, so stressed, so angry that they don't think through what they are doing. They grasp the first opportunity. These are all signs of a system in decline"
A Patron of Economic Update asks: "Hi, I once heard a Professor of Political Science at Columbia named Todd Gitlin interviewed. Professor Gitlin was once the second in command of Students for a Democratic Society during the late 60's. As I understood it, he argued that the dogmatic and extremist leftists of that era actually helped the capitalist elite. They made it very easy for the capitalist elite to label them as "dangerous" and also may have alienated some folks who may have supported them had they not presented as so rigid and self-righteous. Perhaps, it is like the South American poet Jose Ortega-Gassett once wrote that "The road is how you walk it"...I was wondering if Professor Wolff would be interested in commenting on this." This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.
Wolff: “In the end, words like extreme and dogmatic are like the word beauty. It's in the eye of the beholder. It has something to do with how you think about a problem, and we don't all have to agree. And we certainly should never allow the enemy to tell us whom we should exclude from amongst us in the debate, because that advice and that commentary should be the most suspected of all.”
A Patron of Economic Update asks: "Dear Prof. Wolff, Could you talk about the various effects of overwork on the economy, From the perspective of workers, the employers who push it, and the economy as a whole. I would also like to ask about the various responses to Overwork such as the Chinese “lying flat" movement, and Japanese hikikomori (who have withdrawn from society) and Karoshi (death by overworking)." This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.
Wolff: “What is this overwork? Where does it come from? What's it about? Well, it comes from the logic of capitalism.”
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