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What do you think of Modern Monetary Theory

I've only recently looked into this. I understand that it is a staple of the "Green New Deal". From what I have gleaned from a very brief introduction to it (Modern Monetary Theory), it dismisses classical schools of economic thought, which includes Marxian. Could you touch on this subject in one of your talks just to explain from your more learned understanding just exactly what point they are trying to make, and if you "buy" their teaching.

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Is skilled labor an exploited class?

We know that Marx asserted a clear and fundamental proposition in his Capital I, contending that labor will not be employed by capital unless it can generate more value than it is compensated with. From here arises a major political conclusion about exploitation of labor by capital. But let us not forget, Marx was imposing assumptions on his model and his proposition holds true within the abstract framework under those premises. The most important one, that there is perfect competition and a "free market", as perceived and defined by original liberal political economists (i.e. a market free from all forms of rent). In reality, though, rentier classes are the ones dominating and controlling markets. One of those rentier classes, I venture to say, is the skilled workers. Skills will inevitably beget monopolistic powers to their possessors, unless education could be democratized, at least to the extent that supply of all skills approaches to its demand. Considering this tendency, it is no longer a surprise to see why the working class does not behave as a united class with uniform interests and political aspirations, especially in developed countries with high levels of technological progress. I know that Marx was aware of these implications, but since most Marxists never go beyond his very first volume of Capital, his profound analysis is often reduced to an unrealistic view of capitalist society, therefore undermining his materialist method and substituting it with an idealistic one. What do you think about the implications of monopoly and rent in the Marxian view of capitalist society, particularly that of skilled labor and the way it is being even further monopolized by erecting barriers to entry such as extortionate tuition fees and abolishing public education?

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How did the town of Marinaleda survive the global financial crisis?

The Andalusian town of Marinaleda was once a poor farming community, until 1971 when the radical socialist Colectivo de Unidad de los Trabajadores (Workers Unity Collective) was elected. The new government revitalized the failing economy and implemented socialist economic policies. When the global financial crisis hit Spain, the town managed to have full employment all whilst the unemployment rate of the rest of Andalusia was 30% of the active population. My question is how did this small communist town in Andalusia thrive through a crisis that crippled the economies of it's neighbors? some sources: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/20/marinaleda-spanish-communist-village-utopia http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/26/world/europe/26spain.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all http://www.critical-theory.com/story-marinaleda-communist-village-world/

Thank you for reading

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What, do you think, led to the economic stagnation in USSR?

Thank you for your work!

During some of your talks you sometimes mention USSR and that it succeeded in industraliazation of a underdeveloped country, in a short amount of time, despite the horrible humanitarian and economic catastrophes of WWI, civil war, and WWII. You also mention that later, in the 70s, the economy of USSR stagnates, with consequences such as deficit of consumtion goods and growing discontent.

Since USSR was an attempt to create an alternative to the estabilished capitalism system, I beleive we need to learn from it's successes and failures. Therefore I would be very interested in your thoughts on why USSR initially had economic success, and what changed and led to the economic stagnation?

Many thanks in advance!

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Global

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Global impacts of free markets

One of the constant challenges I get when I discuss the limits of capitalism is that "globally there are big improvements in education and poverty due to the free market". What is your view of this?
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Global rise in nationalism

Since your German is pretty good, i thought i would share this article with you (i am interested in your thoughts on the subject) https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Politische-Oekonomie-des-Krisennationalismus-3786906.html?seite=1

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Socialism Via Co-ops?

I agree with you that a change in the mode of production from employer/employee capitalism to worker ownership, operation, and management of the workplace is socialism in action. However, doesn't that solve only part of the problem? Aren't there other requirements for comprehensive, viable systemic change? A few of them that come to my mind are: (1) working class acquisition of dominant political power; (2) the world-wide liberation of workers from wage slavery;and (3) de-militarization and an end to imperialism.

(1) In the U.S., an entirely new constitution establishing genuine democracy and equal representation under the law is sine qua non. (2) An isolated socialistic country, even one as powerful as the U.S. might be, would have great difficulty functioning as socialist society in the context of a global economy still dominated by capitalism. (3) The power of the military must be drastically curtailed, meaning that a controlling majority of the military rank and file must join with workers in opposing the power of bourgeois forces fighting to preserve their power.

I would also comment that the world does not have much time to derail the juggernaut of global capitalism that is rushing toward the dual precipice of nuclear war and climate catastrophe. Is the time required to develop an economy based on WSDE's  enough to avert these looming tragedies?

Thank you.

posted an official response

The reason we at democracy@work.info stress the transition from hierarchical capitalist enterprises to workers self-directed enterprises is NOT because that can or will make all the other changes needed for a new, better society. It is rather because nearly all socialisms to date (and they are many and varied) have typically excluded or marginalized enterprise reorganization, the micro-level of social change without which the macro-level changes socialists champion cannot be secured or cannot long survive. That is one lesson from the socialist experiments of the 20th century we need to learn. We want to add enterprise reorganization - the democratic transformation of the productive base of society - to the agendas for social change of today's social movements.

I must also admit that I dont know - and doubt anyone does know -in what order social transformations occur. Does the micro-level need to preceded the macro...or vice versa? Can something begin in one country and spread to others or must change occur simultaneously in multiple countries? Because we do not and cannot know, we proceed as best we can along multiple paths and in response to opportunities and popular thinking and movement. I also dont know what amount of time we have, as you put it. So again, we proceed as best we can.

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Adidas to crank out 800K t-shirts per day using "sewbots".

I guess paying Jamaicans their relatively new minimum wage of $51/week is too much... Adidas is moving into low-rent Arkansas with machines that can cut fabric and piece together t-shirts in four minutes, human-free. You can be they'll label them "made in America". http://www.innovationintextiles.com/technology-machinery-equipment/automated-sewbot-to-make-800000-adidas-tshirts-daily/

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Why don't you discuss the interrelation of capitalism and modern slavery.

In a recent online lecture, you said something to the effect that slavery had been eliminated and/or that slavery as an economic institution had passed. While slavery is no longer the dominate institution (if it ever was), it is far from eliminated. In fact, according to the top experts, there are more slaves in the world today that any other time in history. Experts conservatively estimate 27-29 million slaves. These slaves work for nothing and will be hurt or killed if they try to leave, fitting the traditional definition and differentiating them from the hundreds of millions of sweatshop workers. See, e.g. Disposable People by Kevin Bales, the Free the Slaves website or the Antislavery International website. That modern capitalism allows this and even benefits/profits from it is a topic worthy of consideration.

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Can socialism help NCAA athletes get compensation?

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/edge-of-sports-with-dave-zirin/id280938935?mt=2&i=1000385951288

posted an official response

One way that a transition to socialism might help comes from its bias in favor of labor as against capital. What that means, for example, is that taxes to support state activity should come from income that people earn by virtue of their property rather than income that people earn by their labor. Athletes work at the sports they do - and especially NCAA athletes. Income from property (interest, rents, profits) are diversions of wealth produced by laborers and transferred to owners of capital. That bias against capital income is what socialism offers athletes who seek compensation for their work.

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An Economic Update session on the need for legislation for WSDEs?

I'd like to suggest an Economic Update session on the need for legislation to simplify, incentivize, or even allow the formation of WSDEs. Many believe that existing corporate law allows the formation of WSDEs just as easily as forming an LLC or other corporate structure. I'm not so sure considering that half a dozen states have now passed legislation streamlining the process and apparently solving the problem of certain obstacles. WSDE access to bank loans is one of the problems as I understand it as well. Therefore I would very much like to see an Update covering these questions.

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Chicago Public Schools to pay $850 million in interest on $500 million loan

https://www.illinoispolicy.org/chicago-public-schools-to-pay-850-million-in-interest-on-500-million-loan/

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what do you think of Swiss taxing for automatic cashier?

what do you think of Swiss taxing supermarket /grocery store replacing employees by automatic cashier? And why do you think this comes out while no one cares when it happens in other industry?

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Alternate funding of UBI

I've heard you discuss UBI in the past and one of your major concerns with it as a concept is wage earner resentment. I was thinking on another subject recently and inadvertently came up with a funding model which would potentially resolve this problem and wanted to know what you thought of the concept and its viability.

The model is premised on major actions and everything else seems to logically flow from these.

1. Do away with minimum wage but set an executive pay cap of 100 times average worker pay.

2. The creation of "community interest" shares within companies which make up a fixed proportion of shares, if new shares are offered or created a proportional number must be allocated for community interest. All municipalities a business operates receive an equal portion of these shares which are used to fund a Universal Basic Income.

My thoughts are that this mechanisms would improve worker wages due to the first change and provide the economic groundwork necessary to establish cooperatives with the second. Attempts by businesses to manipulate governments to improve their profits simply feed back into the UBI and it encourages citizens to focus their purchasing and business activity into local and regional businesses who will tend to divide their community interest pool amongst fewer municipalities. This tendency would encourage shareholder flight from larger national/multi-national companies toward smaller regional ones and likewise cooperatives. I'd love to hear what you think

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