I wrote this when it was first introduced: The NICA Act, or the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act, is aimed at improving the election process in Nicaragua. It was first introduced to the US House of Representatives in 2016, but was unable to stay relevant because of the 2016 election. This week, it has been reintroduced.
Nicaragua recently elected president Daniel Ortega of the FSLN. There were no foreign observers allowed, and right-wing liberal opposition parties have claimed that Ortega would be president regardless of what people voted for—that the election was rigged by and for the FSLN.
As a result, the United States has threatened to revoke all future investments to the Nicaraguan Government until they have what the US government will consider "free, fair, and transparent" elections. These investments would be, unless revoked, going towards Nicaragua's subsidized food and transit for low wage workers, free education, free health care, and other incredibly important pieces of Nicaraguan leftist programs.
Every single political party in Nicaragua, the OAS, global trade unions, and ALBA have voiced their opposition to this. This includes the political parties who were complaining about election rigging in the first place. The Sandinistas, the other socialist parties, the Nicaraguan Opposition Union (coalition of mostly right-wing and fascist parties, but also Nicaragua's Marxist-Leninist party) have all opposed it.
This will only negatively impact the Nicaraguan proletariat. And in the words of the OAS representative for Nicaragua, "impoverishing a country will not bring democracy."
Here are some resources for it:
- The actual bill: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1918?r=1
- "Condemnation of US threats against Nicaragua" from the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign: http://www.nicaraguasc.org.uk/news/article/235/Condemnation-of-US-threats-against-Nicaragua (This is what was quoted above)
- "ALBA members denounce proposed NICA Act" from the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action Group: http://nscag.org/news/article/178/alba-members-denounce-proposed-nica-act
- "US Legislators Toughen the "Nica Act" from the Havana Times: http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=124614 (I have not actually read this one, but they are generally credible on Latin American news)
There are some other news sources talking about it, but they are all in Spanish, and I'm not sure you speak/read Spanish.
Dear Prof. Wolff: I’ve been a KPFK volunteer (and sometime radio personality) for some forty years, and am anxious to meet you this evening in Los Angeles. I’d appreciate your touching on these (related) issues, during your talk: 1. How, in modern history, American currency has been based on debt (such as banking “acceptances”), rather than on actual assets. 2. How, the banks and the “Fed” create money “out of thin air,” an odd, and arguably dramatically inflationary, practice (sometimes amounting to $ Billions or even Trillions). 3. How “Founder,” Alexander Hamilton may—in financial terms--not have been a friend of the new United States of American, and how his policies were strongly opposed by figures like Jefferson and Jackson. 4. How England’s prohibition of the American colonies issuing its own paper currency may have been a more important issue that “taxation w/o representation.” 5. How, the quasi-governmental entity, Federal Reserve Board, may have played a very egregious—even dangerous—role through American history, including connections with international bankers, and how the American public is forced to pay interest on any currency which is issued by that body. Cordially, DrTCH
Hello Professor Wolff, I am subscriber to the democracy at work YouTube channel. Her I've been washing enthusiastically every week for the past about six months. I was Saul the most recent video with your colleague who is talking about US labor movement history. He mentioned specifically The CIO and the Teamsters. And then you summarized by saying that generally the strategies of the labor movement in the US have failed over the past half century. ( Full disclosure I am a member of the IWW here in the triangle--Raleigh/Durham-- of North Carolina) and then you called for new strategies and more radical and militant labor movement. What would fit nicely to expand on this is to talk about the history of the IWW and some of us wins for example like the eight hour workday and the fact that it was the first all inclusive union to include people of all races in the US. Our local branch has grown very rapidly and suddenly over the past year and especially within the past six months. And when talking to people from other branches the sense that we get is that that phenomenon is countrywide at least . So in summary my ask of you is just basically a brief mention of the IWW history and our state in mission him as the one big union, a union for all workers, that believes in organizing industrially. And then just someway to say basically that we're back and we're growing. In solidarity, Grant Frisbee From Durham, NC
Mr Ballmer has spent millions to make it easier to understand US government spending with his personal project USAfacts.org. But all this data is government data, some (or all) of which come with their own restrictions (i.e. unemployed people that are counted as unemployed are those actively looking for work - and don't include those who've given up searching.) Keeping that in mind, what are your thoughts on the objective usefulness of this system and the conclusions you can draw from it? Of course it isn't presenting the whole story, but from what it does present, how best can it be used if at all? https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-07/steve-ballmer-s-plan-to-make-america-great-involves-excel-spreadsheets
"Doughnut Economics" by Kate Raworth, Sr. Research Associate, Oxford University; She addresses the same issues as Dr. Wolff, has a very refreshing, interesting approach. Here is a link to an excellent interview: https://youtu.be/l4FOTzG8nM4 This article from The Guardian gives a good synopsis: Old economics is based on false ‘laws of physics’ – new economics can save us https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/apr/06/kate-raworth-doughnut-economics-new-economics?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Copy_to_clipboard
Dear prof Wolff, in one of your recent videos you raised the question if coops can compete with capitalist enterprises and you said they can. I would go even further here: they must! As long as cooperatives are founded only for the purpose of sustaining oneself or your own local community, nothing will fundamentally change. Capitalism can only be truly beaten, if we outcompete it. We have to win the game for which they have written the rules. Only then, capitalists will have to admit that capitalism is pointless. Although this is hard and requires a lot of know how and strategy, I think we don't deserve socialism if we can't do this.
There are 40 million deaf and hearing impaired people in the US. Many millions more world wide. Please Mr. Wolff, add captioning to your TV broadcasts so we too can follow your programs.
Why do all these old cat ladies have to spend taxi money to buy kitty litter? Why not sign them up for a subscription service and deliver it to their door? There is no need to make trips to the grocery story for items that never change - there are no decisions to be made. Here we can draw the line between regular commodity purchases and impulse buys. Subscriptions can be handled in a 'Just-in-time' logistics model to avoid investment in new equipment. Rent a U-Haul just for the day my neighbours want their food delivered and empty it the same day. Eventually, the friendly neighbourhood fashion consultant will choose clothes from the internet, delivered in the same U-Haul. In this way, we can turn Walmart into a convenience store.
Here in Norway the No-camp against the EU is comprised of mainly leftists, the most radical opponents of membership is SV and Rødt, which is the former communist party. The reason for this is the ever more intrusive legislation coming from Brussels to impose neo-liberalism on us. Many of theese legislations are camoflaged to be protecting workers or protecting environment, but when Union lawyers go through them the so-called protections are more laxed then our existing legislation. And Brussels law supercedes national law. Unions here in norway and the rest of the EU are fed up with the corruption in Brussels, the EU commision has almost all the power yet the members are not elected by the people. The open borders policy of the Shengen agreement is deeply problematic as it leads employers to hire cheaper eastern european people from Romania, Poland and the baltic states. Often theese people are leased through several intermediaries and there has been several reports of workers with more than one work contract. One that is legal in Norway and one that they actually work under. They are also difficult to recruit into unions as they are only temporary, and are thus expendable. All of this is destroying unions, good paying jobs and the thee-part coopertation. (Workers unions, Employers unions and government. This is only a few of the reasons the left in Norway want OUT of the EEC and prevent full membership of the union
I was listening to your Economic Update podcast from February 17th, when I heard you discussing a study which revealed that Public Education, when adjusted for demographics, was more beneficial than Private education. When I searched for the study, (https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/studies/2006461.asp) I found that it seems to Be just the opposite. According to that report, Private schools in general performed better than Public schools. I was wondering which source you used to make this claim, because as a student, knowing what education is best for me is something I'd like to be knowledgeable about. It's a quick read, but it would help to get your opinion.
'Private Prisons': Aurora, CO: "Your choice, PURELY your choice; WORK 8 hours per day @ $1.00 per DAY *AND* you get to SHARE A CELL with a CELLMATE. If you DON'T want to work (8 hours a day for 5 days a week for $1.00 per DAY, WE have a SPECIAL TREAT for you - you will get a 'Private Room' all to yourself - a CELL in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT. PURELY YOUR CHOICE. DON'T FEEL ANY PRESSURE AT ALL!" Richard - your country's USE of PRIVATE, FOR PROFIT PRISONS is NOT simply a National Disgrace, it is a GLOBAL DISGRACE! Here's a link: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/03/geo-forced-labor-lawsuit Grant Madison (Winnipeg, MB, Canada) GM27CAP@MTS.Net
There is only 5 more states that need to pass this piece of legislature before congress wll have a Constitutional Convention. If it passes the convention it will add the right wings Balanced Budget Amendment to our constitution. How severe do you think this would damage our economy? http://www.balanceourbudget.com/
I understand a lot of your ideas stem from Marxian theory or, Socialism, but due to the red scare it is very difficult to talk about. Do you think it would be beneficial to change the word which we use to describe your economic goals instead of fighting tooth and nail over the meaning of the word? Reason I bring this up is because often I fight over the definition of Socialism without hardly touching on the substantive discussion (I don't normally use the world socialism because of this).
A Complete Socialist Suggestion.
Origin of public relations.
The purpose of this writing is to try to cause you to agree with its very leftist and radical positions as judged by present standards. I would hope that in the not too distant future these opinions would generally be considered moderate middle of the road and the truth. These opinions would attempt to promote the conditions for inclusively everyone being equally serene. That should be attractive to the many and therefore be middle of the road.
Policies for other conditions should be considered extreme. Allowing a small segment of the people to be different by being extremely and needlessly wealthy is very extreme. I deplore that we are in the grip such an extreme situation?
One would naturally lean to being logical in order to be persuasive. Being a logical composition is good for making the composition defensible in a debate an activity where logic is deemed quite important. I want to persuade people as much as possible and as many people as possible. I have read that emotional manipulation is considered actually much more effective at changing minds than impeccable reason.
I understand that once one has an established political opinion or sentiment it is unlikely to change overnight. I however over the years have cautiously tried to keep an open mind. There is a risk to that as some might regard my mind as a place to place garbage. Over the years I have often been exposed to new perceptions and fresh logic and this has caused some changes of perspective and opinion. It is important to strive for an expanded understanding of the truth. Sometimes this can lead to being exposed to opinions that one is instinctively opposed to. Sometimes one can occasionally learn something new that seems meaningful and reasonable, but this is not necessarily always the case.
The Birth of Public Relations
Woodrow Wilson became president of the United States by successfully using the very important platform plank of keeping the United States out of World War I. After World I started the American attitude became more favorable toward the British and the French and the German adoption of unrestricted use of submarines and the sinking of the Lusitania added to that. Also America had made large loans to Britain and France. All of this caused Wilson to have a change of mind about the war and he then allowed a massive onslaught of film, posters, print media and a public speeches campaign. Thus making, an emotional appeal primarily to the feelings and attitudes of the public. Wilson formed the Committee on Public Information in 1917. This had a propaganda function. The public and Wilson changed their minds about the war and the public relations industry was born and the government easily applied a previously unpopular policy and the government learned that emotional appeal can accomplish that which reason possibly can’t. This at the time was dramatic new information about humanity.
I think that my message is based soundly on reason and, I would have it no other way. I will do my best not to miss an opportunity make it appealing to emotion as well as to reason. I intensely wish to do what works. I do primarily wish to persuade. I wish to see established a system within which people may live serenely whether they want to live in a relaxed manner or choose to be more intensely pursuing their goals. The system should not introduce stress to people’s lives but they ought to remain free to take upon themselves as much stress in their life style as they want to handle.
Education or work
The policy of the government should reflect that a highly educated populace is of great value to society as well as to the individual. Therefore an unemployed individual could be paid to be a student and the person studying would be getting paid better as he/she progressed in learning and was getting better qualified for employment. If not blessed with employment there would always be the certainty of a position as a paid student at the level of education next past that already attained. work would be existing as needed to be done in relation to society’s need for the results of it and educational opportunities would be available as individual people needed.
As production and computer technology advances it becomes that only a portion of the population is needed to produce that which is needed and wanted by the people as a whole and this is getting more so as time progresses. This makes not having a job a more present likelihood. The paying of students engages them in an activity of great value to society and to industry. It makes individuals become capable of great gifts to the populace at large. It would make their activity much more useful than collecting welfare and cancels a need for them to engage in criminal pursuits.
Unemployment insurance would not be needed and the population would be very well educated. Employment would be exactly as needed whether it be large or small. The educational institutions would be expanded or reduced to match demand. When demand for education in needed sectors was falling it could be made more lucrative. If a particular course had more students taking it than society was deemed to need that would be a reason to introduce a charge for the course. The prices and rewards of courses and tasks of employment would be respondent to the needs of society and the demand or lack of it by employees and students. This would be done by making use of the natural economic law of supply and demand to set the prices and rewards of courses and tasks of employment.
What the people need Keeping the populace, occupied with needed work projects or education projects, medically cared for, housed, and fed, and would not require ever-growing productive resources for an ever-growing market for ever-growing profit. Providing the populace only with what it needs to have for its well-being is all that is needed.
The purpose of the economy would not be to provide profit opportunities with the side effect of random distribution beyond the real needs of the populace thus unnecessarily depleting finite resources. It would be to distribute resources as needed more precisely.
How people would get money
There of coarse is another class of jobs that are never ending. Planting, harvesting, preparing of nutritional goods to be food, cooking, cleaning, distributing, health-care and many others. If we can’t finish these jobs then we can share them. People would not be able to be idle and to also get paid. At a certain age one could be paid simply because he or she was an elder unless he or she preferred to work or study. People could opt to become a student with remuneration, get a job or join an economic organization called a Workers Self Directed Enterprise (WSDE) which will now be explained.
Needed organizations called WSDEs
What is a WSDE?
It is an enterprise providing a product or service as described by Dr. Richard D. Wolff in his books which include, “Capitalism’s Crisis, Deepens, A Cure for Capitalism, Challenging Capitalism, and Capitalism Hits the Fan”, to name a few. WSDEs would be gradually increasing in numbers striving to eventually vastly out number corporations and other capitalistic organizations. A WSDE is owned by all the people that work in it and not others, it includes the production workers, procurement workers, shipping workers and the managers. With regards to Workers Self Directed Enterprises see the writings of Dr. Richard D. Wolff.
The individual employees of the ownership collective are also simultaneously the owners of the enterprise each equal in ownership and voting rights The governance is by all worker owners participating in or being represented on a directorial council by elected representatives to the council on a one vote per member basis. Very major issues could be dealt with by referendum.
For an individual’s retirement
WSDEs could institute pension plans at retirement age. When wage and salary income were no longer being earned by performing labour then income would be replaced by a pension. This would be appropriate in WSDEs where one day the market could be saturated and production reduced or ended. Or at retirement age the requirement to work could be eliminated but the individual allowed to continue participation in the WSDE as a non-working but voting wage or salary recipient. This would be appropriate in industries that can never get the work finished such as food preparation or harvesting crops.
Employment and membership in WSDEs
General employment could be provided by capitalistically organized firms and corporations, government departments, non-profit organizations and professional firms. Also there could be added to those employments as a deliberately encouraged result of government policy an ever increasing array of workers self-directed enterprises. It is thought that WSDEs are more attractive to belong to and work in than are corporations. WSDEs would be promoted because they are democratic and just. When there were sufficient numbers of WSDEs then corporations would be vulnerable to probably naturally arising boycotts by both shoppers and job and membership seekers. This might pressure them to convert to be WSDEs. A WSDE would have a democratic (one vote per member) governance of a democratic work place as opposed to the dictatorial (number of shares matching the number of votes) governance by the shareholders of a dictatorial capitalist corporation. The members of a WSDE would get their income by means of remuneration drawn from the income of the enterprise. If there are errors in the estimation of the expenses and income of the enterprise there may be surpluses or losses to share or hold over. The members would have the right to perform and get paid for any needed labour and would share any collective loss by a reduction of the value of collective capital. They would have the right to share any surplus created by innocent or deliberate error in estimating expense or income. If all the expense and income estimates were precisely accurate all remaining sales income after expenses would match wages and salary owing to the members and the membership could then share a surplus or loss of $0.00. The becoming of being a member of the WSDE would be subject to the approval of the already existing membership. It might be very challenging.
If one wished to temporarily leave the work in the WSDE to further his or her education the student remuneration would not be paid if the education was to the benefit of the WSDE. The WSDE would have to pay the wages or salaries of the student. Student earnings would be paid by the educational institution if the student was absent from work and not collecting wages or salary from the WSDE and therefore was studying strictly for his own benefit as well as society’s.
The effect of labour robots
If the enterprise had acquired production robots and thus eliminated all production wages. The members could then receive a life sustaining sharing of the profit derived from the enslavement of robots. Profit is what a deliberate surplus ought to be called. The remaining few non production wage and salary paying positions could be shared. The ability to create leisure for the workers instead of increased profit for the shareholders would be new and novel as more leisure was always the promise of new labour saving devices that never before ever delivered the promised leisure. There would be a new incentive to create leisure.
If some enterprise’s remuneration were from profit enabled by labour saving innovation and the remuneration of other enterprises that of human labour performed for wages or salaries. To attract worker owners to those firms lacking automation it would probably be found that they needed to increase the percentage of profit offered in remuneration in addition to wages and salaries by increasing the selling price of the product to enlarge the profit return. They might do what they have to, to attract needed new members.
Conversion of Corporations and Capitalist firms to WSDEs
WSDEs could coexist with more conventional capitalistic organisations during a gradual transition time with a long term goal of replacing all corporations and conventional capitalistic firms with WSDEs. Shareholdings of corporations could be deemed to be loans to the collective owner workers to finance the transfer of equity to the WSDE members purchasing the firm. Thus the current employees of the corporation becoming equal owners and simultaneously workers of the corporation would then possess it (that would then be called a WSDE). 100% of the profit of the firm would be paid to the shareholders until the shareholdings loan was paid out. The Features of WSDEs The worker’s self-directed enterprise provides a democratic place to be a worker with security during a career and after it. They at their own discretion by means of the member’s directorial council could provide services that people might have previously looked to governments to provide. They would then at least not be at the mercy of the party in power. These services might involve housing, recreation, health, education, vacation, retirement and transportation to probably not name all. This would be most important when living in the jurisdiction of a non-provident government. A government that provided these services would likely of course provide them uniformly for the entire population.
A more Beneficial Motivation
Workers Self Directed Enterprises probably might have a greater interest in the employment and well being of the members than in the amount of any surplus or profit. When the production work of the firm would be performed by enslaved robots the funds that they would have earned as humans could and would likely be expropriated from the robots as machine profit and be distributed equally to the owner (no longer working at production) workers.
Profit would not be the reason for the being of a WSDE but the well being of the members would be the reason for its being and the provision of its product or service would be the purpose of any WSDE. Until robots are created with a soul they will not suffer mentally by being exploited and will not complain when their earnings are expropriated. The similarity with capitalism is the profit from exploitation but the difference is the exploitation of inanimate machines is not the same as exploiting humans. I however would not want the owner workers to acquire the attitudes of capitalists.
In Capitalism there might be benefits aside from profit but only if they were contributed to and did not subtract from profit. In a WSDE a surplus could add to the well being of the people but all other non-surplus factors of well being could exist even when there is not a surplus or profit. In a WSDE a member would be encouraged to learn as much as possible about his or her WSDE and be as wise as possible. Everyone’s interests being the same. Whereas an employee would be discouraged from learning too much about how he or she is being exploited as employees and employers are in natural conflict
The Effects of Robots
In an age when robots are emerging having a job might be a privilege. Robots and efficiency boosting computers are likely to replace jobs. This would be a bad thing for employees in a Capitalist enterprise but a good one in a WSDE where the object ought to be as much as possible to get the work finished. In a WSDE factory where 1000 members collectively owning and producing in it come to have all their work performed by robots. The members would then be able to reduce their daily work hours to no hours with no change in individual income. If the number of robot’s were doubled then the members would be able to recruit 1000 new members for a membership increasing to a total of 2000 from 1000 with no change in income for each member and an equal income for each new member as long as there was a market for the robot's products. Instead of recruiting new members when doubling the robots, selling prices might be reduced and the market extended or both market and membership increased. Rules might be established that if per member income increases to some certain preset level then it is time to welcome a certain number of new members. It is suggested that there might be a previously existing general rules framework within which to set the rules up.
Not needed inadequate medical policy
A member of society should, one might think be able to predict that being in good health that he will continue in good health. The truth is he cannot know for sure when he might experience an accident or act of malice or a disease attack nor predict how bad it could be nor how expensive. We could purchase medical insurance expensively to have insurance without the restrictions that insurance companies would prefer to have. We could all be paying considerably more than cost so that the insurance companies could be assured of having a profit as they might expect while operating in what they would call free enterprise. Besides receiving enough to cover all liabilities they might want better profits by charging more for insurance to people with poorer health and denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions. An attempt at sarcasm could state that the foregoing is an example of how magically that free enterprise is adapted to taking great care of human needs. Such a system as described above indeed sounds less than satisfactory.
Needed Good Medical policy
Very much less expensively simply because no profit is involved, we could all pay equally, for the benefit of all. We could pay enough to cover all the costs of non-profit medical care for all. This could be thought of as a medical insurance premium to be paid to a cost lowering non-profit insurance organisation. The medical care could be delivered by Doctors and Nurses etc. being medical employees of the government or by private enterprise doctors and Nurses or a competing with each other combination of both. Their private enterprise bills being deflected to and paid by the government.
Medical taxes could be considered insurance premiums that could partially pay for our own afflictions helped to completion by the payments of many others who are fortunate enough to very seldom get sick or we ourselves could be among those that seldom get sick and be paying for the treatment of others not so fortunate. Either way all medical needs would be covered whether they be ours or somebody else’s. We would be able to live serenely not having to worry about unpredictable setbacks and know that loved ones friends and neighbor would be properly cared for. Is this not in harmony with human needs and greatly removing of stress? Do we not want to co-operate to live together serenely instead of competing to be the least miserable? No one would be losing a home or anything because of huge medical bills. No one would be delaying getting medical care for financial reasons. Those needing care would be getting all the care they need.
An emphasis could be put on preventative medicine the importance and facts of it being promoted by an appropriate organization. Medicine ought not to be an opportunity for profit but a universal need for a service as economic as possible for all to share in the provision of. The financial rewards should be large enough to attract a sufficient enough number of individuals to choose a medical occupation by making use of the natural law of supply and demand to set earnings. By being organized and working together we can be far more effective than as individuals striving for our own needs in the individualistic ideals of capitalist medical care. Where not completely established already this should be vigorously and enthusiastically supported. This would be a huge contribution to the serenity of civilization.
Needed Housing accommodation
Now let’s consider housing and real estate. If profit was removed from the real estate business the prices of properties and rents would I think be much less. I think that this could be done by making a special non-profit agency for home occupancy location. Society through a home occupancy location agency would be similar to a land lord but not making a profit. A moderate universal accommodation tax based on size of the premises could be applied to occupation for the purpose of society purchasing houses still owned privately, maintenance, new construction and possibly for general revenue and or for local government revenue. Rules could state that once located that one could remain as long as one wished. There could be a rule that allowed adult children to inherit use of a house or apartment location. Housing could be considered free but taxed as needed. People would be free to apply for vacant locations. The successful applications would be for reasons such as being close to work or school or healthcare or family size matching accommodation size in cases where there were competing applications.
Improvements could be done by the occupier at his own expense and could be enjoyed by the person or his heirs in perpetuity or if the location were left vacant by the occupant any improvement would be recognized and compensated for. If people sharing an accommodation were to split leaving one behind then the one leaving would have a claim for compensation for his/her share of the value of any improvements made during his occupancy in proportion to his or her duration of occupancy compared to the duration of occupancy of the one remaining.
For housing we would simply justly share what was available and collectively buy and build as needed and pay for it with an accommodation tax. No one would be homeless without wanting to be. Having little stress with regard to finding and keeping appropriate housing accommodation would naturally be a huge contribution to the people being able to live serenely.
Needed Food distribution
If members of the populace fall on hard times and starvation threatens and obtaining food becomes an all-consuming struggle for them. The remainder of the population, with some empathy and perhaps an attitude of all of us being in the same boat, might intervene with food. Since I think it is safe to assume that there would always be an intervention, with people’s fate of starving always interfered with and treated as something to be never allowed. Meals provided by means of efforts such as a food bank or Christmas dinner provision programs or meals for poor or homeless people, would all have the stigma of the recipients not winning at the game of capitalism. I suggest that society simply directly and more efficiently provide food for all. That food gathering and producing be an activity of the group and that each individual should receive, lasting a lifetime, a life supporting portion of good food as needed and that this would be considered a right. This would eliminate starvation and using food as a leaver of exploitation. I think that the group is far more efficient than the individual at obtaining and producing food. That would eliminate the stress for many of wondering where the next meal would come from and the stress of earning enough to stay well fed. All would be free to live serenely. A healthy diet for all would have a good effect on the health of all thus lessening the expense of health care. Each member of society from birth would have the same right as the next to eat. All the people of society could and would dine in serenity. An individual would know that even if he was unemployed that he would continue to eat and live. One would never be forced to accept extremely low wages desperately to get food. The quality and bountifulness of the food available would depend on how well the group met its very serious responsibilities of getting and producing food and on the weather and the fertility of the land. We all need to eat and I think that no one wishes anyone to starve. It is not necessary to have the necessity of the need of food to be a motivation to do any kind of work. An assured supply of food would allow for a more a relaxed choice of occupation. The desire to have money to spend would be sufficient motivation for productive or learning activity.
A universal stipend from taxation could be provided to all that would be adequate to acquire sufficient food. The problem that arises is that prior to food the funds could be used for addicted to substances such as alcohol. People that would behave that way might be required to get their funds by making food purchases at a food store. The funds from the government being dispensed by the store only to purchase food from the store. This could even be the universal way of dispensing the funds. This is to eliminate all stress in connection with food. This would I think be a very large contribution to each individual being able to live serenely and in stress-less style. Is this not in harmony with what humans generally want? Would a government that offered this not be preferred?
The author does not have any direct experience with WSDE organizations or rules but suggests that much could be learned from the owner worker cooperatives of Mondragon in Spain. About 200 enterprises are grouped together in one over all organization that grew from six unemployed men in the Basque region of Spain in 1956 to about 100,000 owner workers at present. They had no prospects for employment at that time. Spain having suffered the Spanish Civil War immediately followed by World War II. They setup a worker owned cooperative in 1956 to give themselves an employer. One of the Mondragon rules is that they do not form competing organizations. If the market for say bicycles increases the bicycle manufacturing enterprise expands. It may expand to a different location but still be in the same original organization. It would remain the only bicycle manufacturer in the Mondragon group. If the WSDE was worldwide then by those rules there would be only one bicycle manufacturer in the world aside from capitalist ones. If there were many single industry worldwide WSDEs then there would be great reluctance for the members of WSDEs to get involved in a war. They would likely find it difficult to behave in a hostile manner to their fellow co-operative enterprise members. The social function of countries might be reduced and the dangers of their existence greatly reduced. That and a lack of Imperialistic competition could put a final end to war for good and save a vastly huge amount on unnecessary military resources. An end to the danger of wars would be a vast contribution to humanity living in great serenity. Mondragon competed extremely well against capitalistic organizations and kept its members working in the midst of widespread unemployment. It is a dynamic enterprise. See Dr. Richard D. Wolff re Mondragon.
The Negatives of Capitalism
Capitalism inspires infinite growth by industries using materials from the earth. This is probably not possible on a finite planet. It treats the earth as an inexhaustible source of material. Capitalism Persists in the manufacturing of unneeded and temporarily wanted products. Thus hastening the depletion of the finite materials of the earth.
Capitalism Regards profit as the principal reason for manufacturing, the usefulness of the product being an incidental bonus. Capitalism often ignores pollution if it is considered profitable, preferring to be allowed to pollute if it is considered profitable which it would not be if there was a specific charge to the firm to be paid for the pollution instead of an environmental degradation cost to be borne by the general population in the case of pollution. The obsolescence of manufactured goods is often planned, goods being manufactured to wear out sooner rather than later or at least go out of style. It is more profitable to manufacture and re manufacture as many times as possible rather than having the goal that the manufactured item last as long as possible. Capitalism creates a gap of inequality between employers and employees. The incomes of employees is limited and that is a good thing unless it is too limited. The income of Capitalists is unlimited and that is a bad thing unless it remains quite modest.
Capitalism moves money from where there is less to where there is more. With every transaction a financial slice moves to the upper class and stays there. Capitalism requires an intense stress on each individual with regard to extracting from the economy the means of supporting one’s life.
Capitalism creates competition between employees and also between capitalists. It has been that the competition between capitalists has been the motivation to innovate very many new and useful products that very greatly contribute to the welfare and comfort of the population and it accounts for modern prosperity. There is as well many unnecessary and relatively useless manufactured goods but this competition is thus admired for when it benefits the people. This competitive innovation helps manufacturers deal with the saturation of markets and the maintenance of growth by presenting new products to replace those already distributed very widely. Unsaturated markets provide the sales volume that provide the profits.
Contradictions of Capitalism
In capitalism it is possible to have simultaneously vacant homes and homeless people. In capitalism it is also possible to have simultaneously empty shut down factories and have unemployed people that need and could benefit from having these factories operate.
Exploitation of Nations by Nations
Imperialism exists to increase profit opportunities for homeland capitalists and for them to benefit from the military and political domination of foreign lands called colonies. When the domination is not clearly open and transparent domination then the foreign lands are not called colonies and then the domination is not called imperialism and the dominating country not called imperialist. Lately such subtle imperialism is becoming recognized as imperialism, it is seen that it is such and the operators of it are in spite of that, are appearing to not to be too ashamed of it.
An imperialism based in Capitalism resulted in World War I. (The war of imperialist competition.) The war could have been avoided by combining the empires and designating an imperial colonial government which would have been jointly owned by the previously competing imperial powers. The leaders at the time had a vision of empirical superiority being more important than the lives of young men that were not in any position to benefit from living in an empire. World War I led to World War II (the war of among other things that was the war of private Capitalism against government maintained totalitarian Capitalism which was called fascism, arising after WW I). The very many millions of deaths of the wars can be properly attributed to Capitalism. This alone ought to disqualify the validity of Capitalism.
The Instability that was to be Prohibited
The Great Depression In 1929 began a major depression resulting in 25% unemployment in the United States and elsewhere, the depression lasted until 1941. It was followed by eleven smaller crises until another major, now called recession occurred in spite of being prohibited in late 2007 early 2008 and that recession or depression is still continuing. That means that there was an economic disruption approximately every six years. (In this recession there was recovery for the stock market and the elite but the workers are still waiting for recovery unlike in previous depressions). Examination of the entire record of Capitalism will show the same instability of Capitalism throughout. A roommate that unstable would soon be encouraged to move out.
The Means of Exploitation The employee never gets ownership of the material he is hired to add value to. His job is making raw material into finished material. This material being owned by the employer is sold by the employer. The sum that the employer receives for selling it must be greater than the amount of all expenses including the cost of adding value by the employees. The amount paid for adding value being less than the value that was added, The difference becoming the profit. The expropriation of this value being justified by the ownership of the material. Otherwise there would be no benefit or profit to the employer beyond more justly precise remuneration for managing the firm. A well-managed firm would customarily add a profit into the price which they may well do, if the value is there. (Remember that the employee was only partially paid for adding that value.)
If projected expenses are erroneously overestimated and the income underestimated then there is a surplus. The first one of these surpluses might well have been a welcome accidental error that very quickly became deliberate and called profit. Taking in as much as possible and paying as little as possible for the adding of value became good business practice in what came to be thought the only possible system. How fortunate that the natural only economic system allowed the expropriation of labour’s earnings by means of owning the material both unfinished and finished to result in the benefit of profit. The owners of a firm would I think find that the results of an overestimation of expenses and underestimation of income to be to be a nice fact of capitalism.
The Preference of Fossil Fuel the Freely Available Sun
While there is still Oil and Tar Sands and Coal in the Ground The fossil fuel industry wants the populace to pay for the extraction and refinement of fossil fuels regardless of whether they are causing catastrophic global climate change. They want fossil fuel consumption instead of any capital being applied as an alternative to pay capital costs for individuals to obtain energy for free from nature. That is to say from the sun and the winds that are caused by the sun.
This is not too surprising since the energy companies are just that, energy companies not free energy companies. Striving for profit often is in a direction not to the benefit to of the population. Capitalism’s constant following of profit is not automatically beneficial. As the fossil fuel industry among others has shown.
Capitalism Tolerates Hunger
Hunger The world still at present has the productive capacity to feed the population of the world but under worldwide Capitalism there is starvation among many. Profit is more important, hunger is of less importance.
Classes Capitalism needs that there be classes of individuals, the classes being, employees and employers, in order to function. It also needs that the stress between the classes is simply seen as a necessary manifestation of Capitalism which is to be thought to be the only alternative. The domination of the working class by the investing class yields advantages that enable the accumulation of funds incredibly out of proportion to the intelligence and ability to work hard of the moneyed men.
Bubbling Up Vs Trickling Down
Bubbling up not Trickling Down Increases in trade have brought increased wealth to the elites of various lands and decreased the wealth holdings of the general public, for Capitalism causes money to move upwardly to where there is already more.
For large purchases and the establishment or expansion of business, money does not come into existence to be loaned until the moment it is loaned. When repaid the interest becomes part of the lending bank’s assets. The repaid loan principal disappears and new wealth in account numbers or physical assets is in the hands of the borrower who repaid the loan and also the wealth is enhanced of anyone the borrower made purchases from. Thus money is added to the system. The printing of money is to facilitate currency circulation in the economy until it also ends up at the top and stays there until there is an opportunity for it to attract more money through investment thus requiring even more printing of it. The actual value of the money at the top increases because the volume of it increases even though the value of the individual bills of money decreases because of the printing of it. For the wealthy to keep their wealth they have to be accumulating it faster than it is being devalued through printing. Therefore the work of Capitalism can never be finished at least until the finite quality of the earth is encountered. The lifestyle of a Capitalist may not be all that serene in spite of his or her success.
Kinds of Political Sentiments Of conservatives
To be a conservative one would want to have the so called free enterprise system where by one could own a means of production and with managerial effort and simply by hiring productive labour be able to sell the finished material and receive profit.
A liberal’s view would encompass a similar appreciation of capitalism as a conservative but would be more tolerant of interventions to deal with unemployment, lack of proper financial preparation for income in old age, illness or financial mismanagement. Liberals are like conservatives but more tolerant of variations or defects in human character. A liberal would support some interventions to neutralize the perceived defects of Capitalism.
A socialist’s mind would be more likely to entertain programs to deal with every conceivable financial difficulty that could arise in one’s financial life. A socialist might believe that the government ought to intervene always to neutralize perceived defects of capitalism. When seen as inescapable Capitalism is seen to have natural flaws that governments need to have policies to neutralize. The more that a Socialist regards Capitalism as being es capable the more that that same Socialist would favor change from laissez-faire Capitalism to some other system as opposed to neutralizing the perceived defects of capitalism.
Of Work Place Economic Democracy persons
A supporter of democratic firms might favor that neither private capitalists nor socialists nor any kind of government be in the position of ownership of productive enterprises. They might believe that only collectives of equals of productive and managerial individuals ought to own productive enterprises. One who prefers democracy may believe that majority shareholder appointed dictatorial boards of directors of corporations that are operating on a one share per one vote basis ought to be replaced by one vote per member councils of members that are of equal ownership and also workers. These councils would be composed of elected representatives that represent all the worker owners or all the worker owners in an organisation could be members of the council.
Positives of Worker’s Self Directed Enterprises
The worker owners of a factory would in their directorial role as councilors be most unlikely to move for, let alone vote for, closing up the factory and moving it to a lower wage country to take advantage of lower wages. Such a situation could have kept very many dollars-worth of factories and employment in North America. This is because the membership gets its remuneration from the earned value of the production or service of the owner workers and not from the unearned profit of the shareholders. Therefore there is not an advantage to relocating a WSDE. No one in the worker owner’s council would be very likely to put forward a motion to plunder the pension fund. They would be unlikely to favour the introduction of procedures resulting in a by-product of pollution especially if they would have to live in it rather than being in a board of directors located one thousand miles away. WSDEs would dramatically curtail the possibility of individuals getting incredibly wealthy in comparison to the rest of the population. The natural opposition of capitalism to logical and effective environmental policy and sustainable, renewable use of resources would be removed. Money being moved vertically upward by the power to retain profit instead would be moved horizontally by exchange of value. The firm could reduce the number of working hours of the work force instead of laying people off in the face of a reduced market. Goods would move more according to need instead of toward profit. The saturation of a market for a manufactured good would mean the reduction of its manufacture. The finishing of the job would be because of a policy for very long durability of products. This would not mean the end of the end of the particular WSDE that produced it. The WSDE could reduce the production to match the new reduced market and take on the production of a new design. Non-perishable things would be made extremely more durable to minimize resource use and the work needed to produce it. The object would be to eliminate Jobs and reduce resource depletion as much as possible.
Vote for politicians that create vacations not jobs. Jobs should be for getting finished not for being created. Education would be stimulated and widened, greatly increasing the abilities of the population and the contributions of that same population to the whole of society.
I understand budget for a fixed period like 25-75yrs(finite horizon) or so but what does infinite horiozn? How can one budget till inifinity?https://www.forbes.com/sites/kotlikoff/2013/06/14/why-governments-need-to-budget-over-the-infinite-horizon/#ca584b659d52