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Professor Wolff receives hundreds of questions per week covering a wide array of topics, from economics and politics, to historical movements and current events. While Professor Wolff does his best to reply to some questions on Economic Update with Richard D. Wolff, he's received more questions than can be answered individually. Prof. Wolff will now provide video answers to his favorite questions on this page.
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What is this new currency that Trump is suppose to put into effect.

and how does it impact the little savings I have. I am 75 and for the first time in my life I am very unsure about my beloved America

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Good people, good institutions?

I am far from decided about what a good system of economics, because I am exploring the role of the individual that is imbued with free choice. Institutions are made up of people and its people that make decisions with consequences. What is these individuals made good choices for the benefit of people rather than the profit motive which I do not see as mutually exclusive, therefore the institutions in effect see good. Even if the people were fired, if there were enough people not to go a long with certain business practises, they would end. So do we not want to create an economic system that does not coerce any one to do anything but rather to focus on developing people to make moral choices with courage wealth be damned or rewarded? Would the ills of capitalism be dissipated and have a true free enterprise system where people are free to associate and organize as they please and as they see fit with their morals, even if it means less wealth? What is your view on individual agency and morality of the individual?

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Are you aware of the serious gaps in the insurance liability coverage Uber and Lyft drivers carry?

There are huge questions about amount of insurance coverage carried by drivers for the shared ride services. Uber and Lyft claim they will honor all insurance claims brought by their drivers, their clients and any people or property injured or damaged for accident that occur while the driver is transporting his passenger. Who then is responsible for injury or damage caused by a driver between the time he accepts an assignment through the company’s ap and the time the client has enters his car? If the shared ride service denies any responsibility, does the driver carry enough personal insurance to pay for serious injuries to pedestrians or other drivers? Even if the driver’s personal insurance honors any claims, does he have enough coverage to pay the medical and property damage costs? What happens if you are struck by a driver who is economizing by neglecting to tell his insurance company that he is using his car for a business activity. He may truly believe he doesn’t need to get commercial insurance coverage or he may just be in denial. Either way, as a trusting client or even an unwitting pedestrian or driver, you may find yourself paying out of pocket for injuries or property damage you incurred. Even if Uber or Lyft accept responsibility, what are an injured party’s chances of reaching a fair settlement against such enormous corporations? Even if a shared ride driver tries to do the right thing by purchasing commercial insurance coverage, the premium is likely to be so expensive that driving part-time for these services is unrealistic. The following article explains the problem in more detail – Here is link to article that examines other serious questions about shared ride services – While we’re at it, what kind of liability coverage do the thousands, perhaps millions, of delivery drivers carry while making pocket money by delivering pizza and other food orders or merchandise orders using their employers’, or especially, their own cars?

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I would like to hear more about the British Labor party.

I listened to Corbin's recent address to the labor party over and over. How is his government going to differ from past Labor governments?

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What will make the media start to cover the public’s needs rather than those of the corporate elite?

When the enormous Equifax data breach was made public on September 7, it was heavily reported by the media for days. Only a week later, Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts, introduced the FREE bill. FREE stands for Freedom from Equifax Exploitation. The bill begins, perhaps for the first time, to address the abuses of the credit reporting industry. In particular, the FREE bill would require Equifax to allow the unlimited, on-demand and free ability to freeze and unfreeze individual credit histories. One or two days after every major news outlet reported the FREE bill, all mention of it dropped from sight. This desperately-needed legislation will no doubt die a slow and quiet death in committee. I’m accustomed to the continuing failure of our legislators to act in the public’s best interest while representing the corporations, the banks and the super wealthy. But, so much of the blame for this travesty belongs to our mainstream media. If the news outlets were to give the FREE bill as much attention, and especially continuous coverage, as it does natural and manmade disasters, the story might start to gain traction. Then our newly-energized legislators might finally remember who they are really supposed to be representing. Obviously, news reporters will explain that it is their job to cover the breaking stories like Hurricanes Irma and Maria and the wildfires in California. But I suspect there is more to the deafening quiet surrounding the FREE bill. Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one (A.J. Leibling). Freezing credit and personal information is an essential weapon in protecting us from these data breaches. The way the system works now, freezing and unfreezing one’s account costs at least $ 10. When applying for a car loan or a mortgage, an applicant needs to unfreeze his or her credit history in each of the three major bureaus. This costs at least $ 30. And, it would cost another $ 30 to re-freeze the accounts. FREE would greatly simplify the process and cost nothing. It seems like a reasonable requirement. After all, should Equifax be profiting from the hardships caused by its own incompetence and negligence? Unfortunately, FREE represents a major threat to Equifax’s business model. Besides losing all those $ 10 fees, if everyone gets into the habit of freezing their histories, it would threaten Equifax’s ability to sell its data in bulk to businesses. As it stands today, the credit reporting industry has too much power over all our lives. And, it obviously thinks the records in those databases – all our personal and financial information – are its personal property to use in any way it sees fit. This cannot be allowed to continue. Decades after the memory of the recent natural disasters and the Las Vegas shooting have disappeared, damage from the Equifax leak will suddenly appear like a time bomb going off. Think of young people in college or newly-graduated. Most of them have their limited credit histories on record in the bureaus. The Equifax hackers can sit on all this data and let it age. Ten or twenty years from now, many of victims will hopefully be making much more money. Also they will own more wealth in the form of savings accounts and investments. It is then that the hackers will strike leaving the victims with no clue where it all came from. Frank W. Abagnale is an expert con man turned security expert. He wrote a memoir about his exploits and misdeeds entitled, “Catch Me If You Can” which was later made into a popular movie of the same name starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Mr. Abagnale knows well the implications of data breaches like this one. He knows the importance of taking every precaution to protect personal and financial information. Yet, even he couldn’t protect his own family from being victimized. After one of his sons applied to college, he was advised that a credit card account had been opened years earlier in the boys’ name. And, the bank issuing the credit card wouldn’t even allow his son to close the account. It required the influence of Mr. Abagnale’s contacts in the financial industry to get the account closed. This might help to illustrate how insidious and daunting is the problem we are facing.

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Dear Prof. Wolff, can you analyze the recent trend toward Arctic collaboration?

Is Arctic collaboration truly a concern for the climate or is it a good old-fashioned lab grab? I see a lot of Universities sponsoring study abroad programs to Iceland, but I'm wondering if it's just for economic gain. Reference:

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Is democracy inherently a socialist system? Democracy in capitalism is an oxymoron I think!

Democracy in a capitalist system is an oxymoron I think now based on the following ..... “We may have democracy or we may have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” ~Louis Brandeis, Supreme Court Justice ... .... so then I wonder now is democracy inherently a socialist system?

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Could you talk more about the mass killings that occurred under Stalin?

I enjoyed your discussion about the 100th Anniversary of the Soviet Revolution. However, one thing that was conspicuously absent was any discussion of what my conservative/libertarian friends always mention: mass killings and oppression. Sure, you said words like "human rights" a few times, but I wish you would have more directly and explicitly addressed the history of Oppression in the Soviet Union. I'm a socialist, I'm not a right-winger baiting you with the, "Stalin was a killer!" line. I just wish (and expected) you would have addressed the killings in particular, so I am more informed when these admittedly horrendous topics of analysis are brought up in conjunction with the economics of the Soviet Revolution. Thanks, I love your work!

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(suggesting an analogy. comment?)

Imagine this childhood scenario: In an elementary school class of 30 children, one child, Susie, has a birthday. On that day, Susie’s mother sends her to school with a box of 30 cupcakes – one for each child in the class. In the morning, rather than doing so herself, the teacher assigns one of the larger kids, Johnnie, to carry the box around the room and distribute the cupcakes. Come the end of the day then, we find that Johnnie personally has 27 cupcakes and the rest of the class is fighting for a taste of the remaining three. (90% for Johnnie, a fraction of one percent for each other child) imagine this adulthood scenario: The national government decides that, in order to facilitate commerce amongst its citizens, a medium of exchange – money -- needs to be issued. Rather than doing so itself, it assigns this duty to a private central banking system (a.k.a. “Wall St”). Come the end of the day then, we find that over 90% of the money stays with Johnnie Wall St and cronies, while the rest of the country struggles for a taste of the remaining sliver. Time for some fundamental changes in policy? What do you think?

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Why don't big businesses support Medicare for All?

The corporations are always complaining about lower taxes to compete internationally. I would think they would love to get rid of the cost of Healthcare for their employees as well. I recognize providing healthcare gives them some control over their employees. Is that why?

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Professor Wolff,

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Why did USSR collapsed if it was better than Capitalism..??

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Studying Economics

I'd like to get my masters degree in Econ. Given your knowledge and opinion of the economics in the academic scene, are there particular insitutions or professors you would reccomend studying under?

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About Jee Main 2018 Entrance Exam

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why can't professor wolff say Target???

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