Weekly Roundup: November 24, 2021

Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work.

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


Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!


Economic Update: Chris Hedges & US Prisons

On this week's show, Prof. Wolff presents updates on South Dakota leads US to become world's #2 "tax haven,"  pandemic's economic shock cut by very uncapitalistic means, why employers want the govt to pay workers to go back to work, and how libertarians mistake puppets for puppeteers. The second half of the show features an interview with Chris Hedges on lessons for us from US prisons and prisoners.

Hedges: "The mercenary quality, the heartlessness, the viciousness of unleashed capitalism... is especially evident when we look at the lives of the vulnerable.”

Anti-Capitalist Chronicles: The Coercive Laws of Competition

In this episode of ACC, Prof. Harvey examines 2 schools of thought within the Marxist tradition, one that focuses on the falling rate of profit, and the other that explores the rising mass. Harvey argues that both schools miss an important contradiction that separates each of them from the other: the role of competition. The coercive laws of competition are crucial for both falling rate of profit and rising mass. He explains why.

Harvey: "Competition forces the abstractions of capital to become real within the production process and within the market... Capitalism as a system and capital in general is supposed to be about competition, but capitalists themselves hate competition."

All Things Co-op: Cuba's New Cooperative Legislation

In this episode of All Things Co-op, Cinar, Larry, and Kevin bring back Camila Piñeiro Harnecker to discuss new legislative developments in Cuba that specifically focus on growing worker cooperatives. They briefly discuss the history of worker cooperatives in Cuba, the previous limitations on cooperatives, and the recent removal of those limitations. While US media paints recent protests in Cuba as a call for neo-liberal capitalism, Piñeiro tells us that this is really just a new phase in the "human experiment" that is Cuba's revolution. A new generation of Cubans are looking to reacquaint socialism with worker control and looking to vest that control in worker co-operatives rather than the solely in the state or party.

Camila Piñeiro Harnecker: "We know there is no social transformation, the type of social transformations we want to see, without the values of solidarity and equality. So, cooperatives play a key role in reproducing those values, because as we know, the way we organize our workplaces... has a great influence in the type of relationships we establish among ourselves. That's one of the reasons why I am a defender of cooperatives in Cuba and any country that wants to look for an alternative society, because I see them as schools of solidarity, of equality, of working together in building together a better future for everyone.”

Global Capitalism: The Problems with China's Economy

Prof Wolff comments on the problems the Chinese version of "socialism" faces today. Their dependence on international exports, relationships with international corporations and a lack of civil liberties are hurdles for China to face in the near future.

Wolff: “The Chinese government being a government of communists, at least ideologically opposed to capitalism, critics of capitalism, suspicious of capitalism, have a problem in having invited and enabled an immense, private, capitalist sector that can, and already has, bumped heads with the Communist Party and the government. How that plays out is a big problem for the future of China and one for which a solution is not yet clear yet.”

Ask Prof Wolff: Strikes & Worker Co-ops

A Patron of Economic Update asks: "Under worker cooperatives are strikes necessary and do they happen?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “The history of capitalism has  been the history of strikes, but worker co-ops raise a very interesting question. There isn't the division between employer and employee. That's the whole  point of changing an economy from capitalist to worker co-op based: to get rid of the endless  conflict, the endless struggles that are always besetting capitalism.

Ask Prof Wolff: The Municipal Bond Racket

A Patron of Economic Update asks: "Hello Prof Wolff, I’ve heard complaints before of the perpetual hamster wheel that cities are on with regards to municipal bonds and Wall Street. Are you aware or is there any model of governance that is possible in a large city, or any city for that matter, to not have to sell municipal bonds to get money to operate, and therefore have to pay back at an interest rate and/or worry about credit rating or defaulting and having the city descend into chaos?" This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “​​​​Would you rather be taxed, or would you rather give that money as a loan with the government having to pay it all back to you and pay you interest in the meanwhile? You know which one you'll choose. And that's what, indeed, corporations and the rich have done, which is why municipal finance- this vast system of municipal borrowing- has exploded in the United States.”

Wolff Responds: Price vs. Wage Inflation

In this Wolff Responds, Prof. Wolff explains the difference between rising prices and wages. He argues that prices are rising faster than wages, decreasing the purchasing power of most Americans, who are falling further and further behind. 

Wolff: “​​It's the old class struggle. That's right, between employers and employees. That's what's going on, and when you hear about inflation then wages, that's what the issue is.”

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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