Weekly Roundup: August 4th, 2021


Check out the latest content from Democracy at Work!

 


Economic Update: Best Years of US Lie in its Past

On this week's show, Prof. Wolff talks about Chipotle Mexican Grill blaming its price increases on its workers, economist Arthur Laffer's claims that many poor, minority workers are "not worth $15/hour" and false claims that lower taxes help economic growth while higher taxes hurt it. On the second half of the program, Wolff interviews August H. Nimtz, Jr. on today's crisis of a declining US capitalism, its impacts and implications.

August H. Nimtz, Jr.: "The best that capitalism has to offer working people... that's behind us...I think it explains... the phenomenon of "polarization".... And it's this shrinking economic pie, and once the pie is shrinking, there's a tendency on the part of people to think about "How can I get the best of what's left, the declining amount for my group, for my tribe, my people, my nation, my workplace, my factory and so on?" And so yes, I think this phenomenon that political scientists have difficulty in explaining, the polarization, the deep polarization within U.S politics can be traced to the crisis of capitalism. And Trump was a product of that."


Anti-Capitalist Chronicles: The Monopolization of Everything

In this episode, Prof. Harvey asserts that capital is becoming ever more centralized. We are seeing the monopolization of housing and rental markets, Pharma, media, and the means of distribution. The monopolization of power is inevitable in capitalism. However, according to Harvey, there are significant barriers to the continuity of capital accumulation. People are growing dissatisfied with the current economic conditions, a political system does not work for the benefit of the population, and are more and more at odds with the ruling ideas. We have a crisis of ideology, a crisis of economy, a crisis in the environment and a crisis of the future in terms of demographic possibilities.

Prof David Harvey: "We are moving right at this point into a situation of monopolization- a situation of monopolization of power, a monopolization of class power. And that monopolization is going to have to deal with the fact that almost everybody is saying "The economy is not working for me. Politics is not working for me. We have to have an alternative"."


Global Capitalism: The Dangers of a U.S. - China Cold War

This is a clip from the lecture "The Challenge of China [July 2021],” Prof Wolff explains how the U.S. political decision to ratchet up nationalist and anti-communist sentiments against China is dangerous for both country's economies and more. Can we learn from historical examples about the dangers of initiating conflict and the benefits of keeping a positive trade relationship?

Wolff: “It is my hope that we do not let petty political calculations of scapegoat artists like Mr. Trump, and like Mr. Biden sometimes threatens to become, undo a cooperative mechanism.”


Ask Prof Wolff: Side Effects Always Matter

A Patron of Economic Update asks: "If the U.S. government wants to reassure people about the safety of getting vaccinated, why doesn't the government enable the VICP (Vaccine Injury Compensation Program) for the COVID vaccines and announce that it has done so?  Is it capitalism that prevents this step?  How?"
This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “The business class loves that the government gets blamed for all the things that go wrong instead of the business community… This is great for the business community but it has its downside and one of them is that when you need the government to come in and vaccinate people against a dread disease you have developed such suspicions among the people, such hostility, such a demonization that they won't cooperate. And then we're all threatened… Doing something to at least address the little corner (namely compensation if you have a negative side effect, which is always possible in any medical procedure) is a useful corrective, but it's small potatoes against this craziness of demonizing the government.”


Ask Prof Wolff: The Small Family Farm Issue

A Patron of Economic Update asks: "Small or family farmers are struggling to survive amidst industrial agribusiness. Can they? How would they fit in, in a system based on democracy in the workplace?"
This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: I like an economy that has lots of diversity in it. I don't want big monoculture. I'm willing to have less choice [in food options] in order to have a bigger choice about the kinds of farms around me... The notion that everything else has to go the way small farms did (namely disappear or becoming marginal because the big profiteers have to run the show) that's gotten us into a lot of trouble including the kind of food we eat.”

 

Ask Prof Wolff: Demonizing Socialists

A patron of Economic Update asks:  "What is your response to recent discourses on the US government including socialists as so-called 'Domestic Violent Extremists' (DVE)?  Are we being faced with McCarthyism 2.0?”
This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Wolff: “Others took [McCarthyism] up and used it to destroy many parts of the American left wing... I am here to tell you that the last 10 years of the United States are unequivocal proof that the direction of change is in the exact opposite way. More and more people are discovering the many kinds of socialism that they find worth looking into, worth considering, and worth approving as they vote for socialists and learn about that system.”

 


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


www.democracyatwork.info/books

 

 

 


 


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