Weekly Roundup: October 19, 2022

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.

New this week: Economic Update, Capitalism Hits Home, Cities After... & Ask Prof Wolff

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!


Economic Update: The Economics of Colonialism Pt. 2 - The Neo-colonialism Variation

Prof. Wolff presents a brief summary of last week's Part 1 as basis for analyzing how WW2 provoked the political independence struggles that changed colonialism into neo-colonialism; how and why political independence is not, by itself, a break from colonialism; why neocolonialism lasts into the present and positions a rich minority of each former colony as the ally, collaborator, and agent of continued entrapment of the former colony within global capitalism. Modern neocolonialism likewise positions a poor majority that seeks real economic independence alongside political independence. The politics of most countries in the world - who are mostly ex-colonies - is a deep class war between that neocolonial minority and its majority/adversary.

Wolff: “We are now an independent country. We have our own government. We have our own currency. We have our own etc, etc, and we sit in the United Nations, for example, as an independent, equal voting with other countries and all the rest. But the real issue was: did colonialism stop? That was the crucial question, and the answer to that is unambiguous: no. It did not."

Capitalism Hits Home: Individualism is a Capitalist Deception

Dr. Fraad argues against capitalist values like individualism. Too often those in charge, the "great male heroes,” receive all the credit for achievements built on the backs of so many. Fraad suggests that freedom through connection, gratitude for those who do the work to build our lives, celebration of our common goals and interests and our power to realize them are the real motivators and values of our society.

Fraad: “We learn about making it as an individual effort. "You can make it if you really try." Nobody gets ahead alone. We all need help. Individualist thinking is a capitalist deception. Everything we do, everything we live in, every place we go required some kind of cooperative work.”

Cities After…Office Spaces as Homes - Pt. 2: Hybrid Work and Work From Home

Prof. Robles-Durán discusses the impacts of the hybrid work and work from home models which have exploded as a result of the pandemic. These seemingly unstoppable trends have rattled municipalities worldwide with never-seen office space vacancy rates (above 90% in some business districts) while record homelessness and the urgent demand for more affordable housing skyrockets. Robles-Duran theorizes about some of the capitalist dynamics at play here, dystopian consequences, and possible contradictory outcomes.

Robles-Durán: “Rather than distancing workers from the dehumanizing experience of office work under capitalism, that experience is voluntarily filtered into their bedrooms. I dare to say that working from home has had no progressive social benefit. If anything, it has made exploitation a little bit more tolerable.”

Ask Prof Wolff: IRAs & Risky Investments

A Supporter of Democracy at Work asks "Can this financial system ever get away from the stock market (Wall St. casino)? I'm watching my IRA go further and further down the drain. Is there a better system we can use?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “The only reason we do any of that is because we live in a profit-driven capitalist system which wants everything to be a profit-making business. But it's wise not to do it on the most basic things and a pension for all of us as we get older is one of those basic things.


Ask Prof Wolff: The Landlord Problem

A Supporter of Democracy at Work asks: "Does there exist any movement to abolish land-lording? Seems like the existence of landlords is a major part of the problem. Workers are doubly exploited. First, at work where they are not paid what their work is worth, and again, in the home where they are charged more than their dwelling is worth. An alternative could be, in addition to those that own their own homes, cooperatively-owned buildings where the tenants only pay for utilities, maintenance costs, and taxes, and/or a public housing system where housing is operated like a public utility and governed democratically." This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “It can be done. One of the ways is to eliminate the middle man: the landlord. Have the people's government build and run the housing. Have the people, in a cooperative way, run the housing: paying for it a modest rent. And why would it be modest? Because it wouldn't have to include anybody's profit, because you would have taken the profit, the capitalism, out of it. Is that an option? Yes. All over the world that is being used.”

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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