Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!
Prof. Wolff presents updates on students' solidarity with workers at Smith College; US car industry manipulates supply/demand to inflate prices, profits; Teamsters strike, solidarity defeat Sysco Systems; Starbucks provokes its 250 unionized stores, and why rising wages do not "cause" inflation. In the second half of the show, Wolff interviews Prof. William I. Robinson on global capitalism and its multiple crises he calls "terminal."
Robinson: “The good news is there is a global revolt underway. Class and social struggle around the world is intensifying. It's heating up.”
Prof. Harvey considers the role of religion in various political movements with particular attention to the growth and impact of the Evangelical movement in the US today. Religion has often been at the center of political movements, with black churches during the civil rights movement and the Theology of Liberation in Latin America in the 1970s. Harvey explores these histories and considers the importance of theology in building and holding social movements together.
Harvey: “There's a need to have within a political movement some notion of meaning, some notion of the meaning of resistance, of life, and all the rest of it. That makes for the importance of some sort of religious doctrine central to what politics can be about.”
Larry and Kevin talk with Joshua Preiss, professor of Philosophy at Minnesota State University, Mankato, about the notion of the American Dream, fair rates and just work, this American economic ideology and its relation to economic reality, Adam Smith and the framework of the "Well Ordered Society," the current Winner Take All economic arrangement, the dire consequences of the winner take all dynamic, and some real structural changes that could bring about just work for all. Dr. Preiss has published papers ranging from Milton Friedman’s notion of freedom, the relation of finance capitalism and democratic freedom and, most recently and the focus of this conversation, Just Work for All: The American Dream in the 21st Century.
Preiss: “My methodology in the book is contextual and comparative, and I give reasons for why, but I don't present a vision of perfectly free or just society, the perfect end game, in part because a lot of people might disagree about the perfect end game but still be able to get on board with it being comparatively just to do more powerful labor unions or even a job guarantee- super radical transformation of economy in the bargaining power of worker. They might be able to get behind that even if they disagree about the end game.”
Prof Wolff describes how the U.S. is moving away from globalization and encouraging economic nationalism, especially to compete with China. He argues that these past elections should have given Americans a choice in this policy, instead of both parties limiting our options.
Wolff: “This was all kept off the election. No question about whether, really, do we want to go in this nationalist direction... This is a momentous issue. It's going to affect all of us for the rest of our lives. It should have been on the ballot.”
A Supporter of Democracy at Work asks Prof Wolff, "My question is regarding global south countries that are (1) highly indebted to foreign institutions like the IMF, and World, other countries and are stuck in a debt trap, and (2) are highly dependent on remittances from expat workers, as well as exports to meet their balance of payments problems. Just to meet their debt servicing commitments, they end up having to borrow more. How can these countries escape their balance of payments problem? Does either increasing local taxation of working classes or the local elite help? If not, then what would?"
Wolff: “You may discover, almost by accident, that in the long run you're better off not borrowing and relying on your own resources. And the best example in the world right now is the People's Republic of China. Having made a Communist Revolution in 1949, they were cut off from credit the way most socialist and communist countries were, and they had to do it on their own. And they went after their rich people.”
A Supporter of Democracy at Work asks: "How different would teaching economics be in a world full of coops? What would be the same/different?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.
Wolff: “The economics curriculum that I went through as a student at Harvard, at Stanford, and at Yale, and that is the norm to this day in the United States, is incredibly narrow. It's all about capitalism. It teaches students economics as if the only way to imagine or organize an economy is in a capitalist way.”
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