Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.
Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!
This week's show focuses on an analysis of capitalist colonialism that begins with the passing of Queen Elizabeth as a monument to the passing of the British Empire itself. Wolff discusses the differences between pre-capitalist and capitalist colonialism, the goals of capitalist colonialism, the development of a world economy, examples of India, US, and Kenya, the centrality of independence for ex-colonies, and neo-colonialism.
Wolff: “It really is an expansion that absorbs one way or another what it's expanding over. Because what's notable about Britain is its empire was the first modern capitalist empire."
Prof. Harvey uses Marx’s theory of historical materialism as a means of tackling large societal problems such as climate change. Marx asserts that there are seven distinctive aspects of society which coexist and coevolve in relation to one another. These elements—technology, relationship to nature, labor process of production, reproduction of labor power, mental conceptions of the world, structure of state, and social relations—make up the totality of a society. Historical materialism asks that we not assume one element is a silver bullet answer to a problem, but rather that we look at the ways in which each element would have to shift in order to address the issue.
Harvey: “Technology, relation to nature, social relations, production structures, and mental conceptions of the world, and administrative and social structures- all of those elements are part of the totality of what a capitalist society is about. So that is the, if you like, the simplification which we're going to make about historical materialism.”
In honor of National Co-op Month, Kevin speaks with Kevin O’Brien, co-founder of the Union Co-op, Worx Printing. You may have seen Worx Printing at the Democracy at Work online shop at https://democracy-at-work-shop.myshopify.com/. In this interview, O’Brien discusses his path to starting Worx, globalization and the apparel industry, the benefits and importance of the union-coop model, best practices for running and sustaining a business, and more. You can find more about Worx and support their work at https://worxprinting.coop/.
O’Brien: “I get why capitalism hates unions. I think that the only reason to oppose a union is because you don't want other people to have their fair share, and that's really what unions are trying to do at the end of the day is just make sure that everyone's treated fairly and equally."
Prof Wolff reviews some history of empire to speculate on future empire struggles.
Wolff: “You have enormous contrast between these two: desperation on the one hand and euphoric economic progress and wealth on the other. And as has happened so often in history, that extreme was the hint (not that anyone got it) that the reverse might be the future. And that is what I believe is going on.”
A Supporter of Democracy at Work asks "After we win over capitalism, how do we keep it? Human history tells me highly skilled sociopaths always rise to the top. To not repeat Russia's mistakes, how would we go about it?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.
Wolff: “Locating that power in a transformation at the base of society could have been, should have been what the Russians did, and could have gone a long way to prevent the accumulation of power- let alone how it was used that we associate with Stalin.”
A Supporter of Democracy at Work asks: "With so many types of insurances provided in the capitalist system, such as house, car, business, content insurances, and so on, would a democratic-socialist society need to provide such services through institutions or would the government take care of the unexpected incidents' cost?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.
Wolff: “It's not me or even a socialist position that [insurance] is wasteful. This is a position that many institutions here in the United States and in many other parts of the world have also agreed to. Let me give you two examples…”
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