Dear professor Wolff, Please allow me to approach you in this way with a question. Being hit badly by the past economic downturn in the Netherlands, I couldn't resist spending a great part of my time studying the unpleasant results coming out of that downturn, several of them leading to an enormously skewed wealth distribution. Your program is one of my favored sources of insight and information, for which I want to express my gratitude to you. Another person I met in my pursuit is the Australian mathematician and Steve Keen. I have seen him developing models for simulating the time evolution of several economic models, one of them the, his words, Islamic Economy, which replaces the money creation by debt with one that originates from the purchasing of shares, and where the role of interest is being played by dividends. That one also leads, starting with particular parameters, mirroring a typical capitalistic behavior, to a downturn of production and shared wealth. My question to you is: Could it be that an economy based on WOE's, when modeled, would have a different outcome? Could for instance the ownership of the employees play the role of shares and the promise of labor by those owners as a promise of dividend, or might there be perhaps another mapping of paramaters onto this model, that leads to a more pleasant development. I would be more then grateful if you could find the time to expand on the mathematics or description behind an economy, based on WOE's, and especially on an estimated prediction of the development of such a model. Yours sincerely, Gerard Veltman, Groningen, The Netherlands
Hi Prof. Wolff, In one of your podcasts, you'd mentioned that the poorest 1% of our nation are undocumented immigrants. Is there a source you could refer me to, so I may investigate further?
I was wondering what your opinion is of tipping in restaurants. Many servers make as little as $2.13 an hour and consider patrons that do not tip extremely rude. How has capitalism contributed to this phenomenon? I've read that restaurant owners claim that it allows them to charge less for food on the menu, etc. It seems to me that the restaurant industry has managed to exploit a social norm (adding gratuity to a check) to absolve from themselves any complaints concerning wage by their employees. What do you think?
Professor Wolff, I enjoyed your discussion of the real estate business. I would be interested to hear you discuss the radical concept of a government granting a Right of landholding to each citizen or family. There could be different categories for rural and urban land, and all the parcels could be relatively small. Is this or something like it being done anywhere, or has it? Also, I'm interested in the concept of limiting land ownership. If you could only cut down trees and drill oil on the lands you have to live on, then you're less likely to cut those trees and dump that oil in the river, no? What if we put limits on land ownership of individuals, and companies? Have any approaches like this been tried?
Automation is displacing more jobs each day. This tendency will increase as we approach singularity. Some people, such as Ray Kurzweil, think this will happen as early as 2035. My personal fear is a disruption in the circular flow of economy : households provide labour, and corporations provide goods and services. Profesor Ha Joon Chang believes such a quandary can be solved through a social arrangement and that in the long run such thing will be solved ( see link ) , I have my qualms. Even if a social arrangement can be made, but then the problem becomes how to force the government into enact such changes, for it is not uncommon to see the government act on its own benefit while leaving a large sector of the society marginalized. Reference Ha-Joon Chang: "Economics: The User's Guide" | Talks at Google https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5j5EW933Kw Minute 44:30 to 47:45
I have made an observation that i would like to be reviewed by Richard. In one comedy show, from Croatia, called "Our little clinic", there was a scene: Guy says: "I have a problem. I need three maids but only for one I have enough money." Other guy responds: "Make a competition for three maids. Reward the best one by paying it salary. Other get nothing. You get work of free maids by the price of one." Competition is main component of capitalism. The competition is dependent on reward witch means that there higher performing workers should be paid more then lower performing workers. There are two ways archive that: First: by increasing the paycheck of higher performing workers. Second: by lowering the paycheck of lower performing workers. If they look for decreasing cost of production they would be tempted to choose the second one. In that case the main character of competition is just an excuse by employer to lower the paychecks of his employees, and also an mask for doing so. Do you want competition in economics? Do you want higher quality work to be rewarded? In that kind of system the difference between higher and lower performers might be difference whether you can earn enough to survive. In other words workers are not working as much for earning money then for hope that they might earn money. There is an psychological experiment: use food to train an dove to pick an button. That is classical conditioning. Then lower the rate by witch reward, food, is given to the dove for picking the button. The dove starts picking button even more than it use to. Why would lowering the reward for doing something increase the need to that same thing? Could it be anxiety? I don`t know but that psychological effect reminds me on capitalism. Why is that?
American Chartered Bank was recently purchased and merged into MB Financial bank. I have read that MB screwed the CEO, and the CEO screwed his bankers, who were equity shareholders at American Chartered Bank. I would love to hear more on this topic.
Would you comment on the recent demonetization of currency in India? Also, on a somewhat related note, what's your opinion of fiat currencies like bitcoin?
Thank You for all you do!
What are your thoughts on the ever increasing automation of our workforce?
Dr. Wolff and the whole Democracy @ Work team, I'd like to thank you for the work you do and material you release. I find it to be very valuable, and it had caused me to start reading some of Marx's writing. My Question is about basic income, or universal basic income. In multiple countries there are basic income experiments going on currently, others are planning to initiate BI experiments. The research sounds promising http://basicincome.org/research/. Do you think that BI is a viable strategy to help provide economic justice? Is there just a lack of political will and understanding on BI in the United States, or you think that the idea is flawed?
Hello Prof. Wolff. Just want to start by thanking all the work you and your team do. Spreading the concept of Co-Ops and the even thought it may not be a panacea, it will solve a lot of the ailment afflicting the failure of capitalism. Not sure if you have in your many updates address the specifics of the sham of the debt-to-GDP ratio. Being that we're not under a "War Economy" experts keep talking about the need to lower the deficit. Below I have added the article from "Business Insider- America Is Not Drowning In Debt: These 5 Charts Destroy The Biggest Myth About The US Economy" that provide a very good explanation in my opinion that the assets to liabilities ratio of us companies outweigh the worry that "our national deficit" cannot be repaid in a prudent manner, a combination of higher taxes and higher capital investment (cascading into decent productivity growth) under a Co-op socialist system could fix in a few years. If could please address this manner when possible, I would gladly appreciated. link, http://www.businessinsider.com/america-is-not-drowning-in-debt-2013-4 Thank You. PS. Hoping to get a group of people inspired to listen to the podcast so we can have you over in Denver, Colorado.
Greetings to the whole team. I can not remember if you have talked about Cooperation Jackson on your programs. It is an organization in Jackson MS focused on the development of economic democracy by building a solidarity economy anchored by a network of cooperatives and other types of worker owned and democratically self-managed enterprises. While they run many important programs, I would like to draw your attention to the Community Production Initiative. This project is working on building a Fabrication Laboratory (Fab Lab), a center for computer coding and 3D printing. What I love about this idea is their singular focus on the creation of economic democracy while wrestling commodity production away from the capitalist mode of production, and not just 'job training' or creative development. I urge you to talk about this important development for the African American Community on your show, they are currently fundraising for the Fab Lab and they need a total of $600K before the middle of January. My hope is that likeminded listeners may visit their website and help build this important development in one of the poorest states in the nation.
I have heard that Marxism itself is not opposed to small business ownership, but when I see marxist speak they appear to attack all enterprise. Can you clarify?