Weekly Roundup: October 13, 2021

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.

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

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!


Economic Update: How US Workers are Really Treated

This week on Economic Update, Prof. Wolff pays homage to Mikis Theodorakis, Greek musician and political hero, and discusses Starbucks workers in Buffalo, the economic fallout of Supreme Court's anti-aborton act, what Hurricane Ida fatalities show, and the $8 trillion cost of US wars since 9/11. The second half of the show features an interview Leila Roberts and Tess Fraad-Wolff on the harsh realities of US treatment of workers.

Wolff: "We make such a thing in this culture of being treated appropriately, of having power, of being a free people. But to hear Leila and you talk, right away, the first thought in my mind is "What kind of freedom do you have if you're worried every minute that you're going to lose this job?"... You're not free at all. You're imprisoned.”

Anti-Capitalist Chronicles: Chinese Property Markets & Affordable Housing

In this episode of ACC, Prof. David Harvey talks about the crisis of affordable housing on a global level, with particular emphasis on China and the US. Harvey argues that providing affordable housing for people cannot be accomplished by the private sector as it conflicts with the capitalist profit motive, and it therefore requires an anti-capitalist approach. 

Harvey: "The question of affordable housing on a global level, everywhere is a very significant issue. And it cannot be done through the private sector. It absolutely cannot be done, and every time there is some attempt to fix things up so the private sector can, somehow or other, do something rather with it, it goes wrong.”

All Things Co-op - Cooperative Structures and Organizations

In this first episode of Season 5, Larry, Kevin, and Cinar share their thoughts on the status of co-operative organizations, the need for more overtly political co-operative organizations, and how big a role co-operative organizations should play in attempting to build the institutions that could serve as a part of an institutional challenge to the status quo.

Cinar: “​​How do we really create that kind of ecosystem, for the lack of a better word, where you have all these elements that are supporting one another and building off of one another? I think there's a movement in that direction.”

Ask Prof Wolff: Talk of Inflation and How It's Being Used

A Patron of Economic Update asks: "I am still struggling with the concept, terminology and reality of inflation. A little reading tells me that inflation is actually an increase in the supply of money mainly through the creation of debt by banks. It seems to me that there would be a "natural" increase in the supply of money because of an increase in population, workforce and productivity but not an increase in prices. Price increases are caused by owners, suppliers, distributors as a means to increase profits under the guise of "inflation" as terminology. The problem of price increases is further exacerbated when the increase of the supply of money is invested in stocks, assets and financial gimmickry, in effect stealing the increased productivity of the workforce. Am I on the right track?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “If prices are rising, it's because employers are raising them… Inflation is no mystery. It’s part of the age-old struggle between the class of employers and the class of employees.”

Ask Prof Wolff:  Making Schools Democratic and Cooperative

A Patron of Economic Update asks: "I am very interested in the labor movement and am curious about your opinion on co-ops within academia. I recently emailed Noam Chomsky and asked him what he thinks about the idea. He replied that the problem would be how to survive in a market society, as we don’t want universities to be selling products. I then asked if he thinks universities would be able to survive on federal grants and he replied, 'wouldn’t come close.'" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “​​We can set up education as a cooperative venture among the teachers [and] the rest of the staff, working in ways they can collectively decide to do: rotating activities among them, giving the non-academic real power, alongside the academic, recognizing their different competencies.”

Wolff Responds: Pandora Papers' Lessons

In this Wolff Responds, Prof. Wolff discusses the Pandora Papers and what can be learned from the recent exposé. The documents incriminating politicians and billionaires reveal that the people who run this stage of capitalism are secretly enriching themselves at the public’s expense.

Wolff: “​​They have hidden [the money] out of fear, in part, that when we know it's there (as we now do) we will be interested in getting it to serve the population and not to be held on to people who are already the richest people in the world. That's the thing to keep in mind.”

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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