Hello prof. Wolff, I've come across this expression, the 'petrodollar' as a device to explain the US-Saudi alliance, but I have not been able to find any information on it from sites or journalists I trust. I was hoping that you, as an economist, might perhaps have come across it before and can confirm or deny whether this is an important thing or even a real thing? Lots of love from Denmark.
Title: Restoring the Heartland and Rustbelt through Clean Energy Democracy: an Organizing Proposal Summary - https://ecology.iww.org/node/2220 Proposal - https://ecology.iww.org/PDF/x344543/Restoring%20the%20Heartland%20and%20Rustbelt%20through%20Clean%20Energy%20Democracy.pdf
Of course, I have no problem arguing that there are many openings -- in the Gramscian sense -- where Capitalism is weak, vulnerable and can/should be exploited. Under a capitalist system, workplace democracies are far from widespread and prevalent, and thus instituting them is a direct attack / challenge to capitalism's hierarchical, top-down approach to running enterprises. Ultimately, I see these steps of changing the nature of capitalist management / ownership as a form of 'reformism' similar to and along the same lines of other attempts at making capitalism friendlier, more compassionate, etc. (e.g. 'conscious capital' movements, eco-friendly firms, B-corps and other triple-bottom line accounting initiatives). As the following article points out, cooperatives are a nice maneuver for those who get to take part, but can/will they really lead to transcending the capitalist demands for accumulation, growth and out-competing all comers? http://isreview.org/issue/93/are-workers-cooperatives-alternative-capitalism
Since the great recession, Credit Unions have gained major ground when compared to Banks. And now (at least in Wisconsin) the Bankers are complaining about an uneven playing field. What are your thoughts on these financial institutions? Personally I really like them and I feel they provide a much better service than Banks. Here is the article I read and I wanted to share it with you: http://host.madison.com/wsj/business/wisconsin-credit-unions-ruffle-feathers-as-they-gain-ground-against/article_fefcbb8b-15ea-53dd-a91f-fcc93a21494a.html
Hello Professor Wolff. I have a long-winded question for you. I'm a Public Policy major and I'm in the middle of reading Trumps budget. There is a section about providing $1 Trillion in Infrastructure Support. I've watched your April lecture many times now and have grasped the idea of a PPP but I've found to what I believe is a contradiction. In an earlier section, Trump wants to cut funding to Non-Defense Discretionary Spending and i think infrastructure funding is one part of that. However, when the Budget explains that they want to use PPP's to invest in infrastructure, they claim that more Federal investments are not the solution, yet it says in the next couple of sentences, "$1 Trillion will be met by more Federal funding and non-Federal incentivized funding. While the Administration will propose additional funding, those funds will be used on incentivizing additional non-Federal investments. The budget includes $200 Billion in outlays related to the infrastructure initiative." So my question is what is an outlay and how are these outlays being used in this context of incentivizing corporations to loan money to the government for this infrastructure initiative?
In the provincial election of May 9 2017, the ruling BC Liberal Party won 43 seats, with the NDP winning 41 and the BC Green Party 3 seats. The NDP and Green Party recently signed and ratified an agreement to cooperate as a coalition government with combined seats of 44 (a 1 seat majority in the BC Legislature of 87 seats). The NDP-Green coalition has agreed to work together on electoral reform (move to a system of proportional representation), kick big money out of government, and increase the carbon tax. Both NDP and Green are opposed to the massive Kinder-Morgan pipeline projects and the "Site C" hydroelectric dam project, which would saddle BC rate payers with enormous debt for amost 90 years and provide cheap electricity for private, foreign-funded LNG projects (exporting fracked natural gas to Asia). For progressives in BC and Canada, this is a great day. The ruling BC Liberal party has been called the most scandal ridden political party in recent Canadian history, raking in millions of dollars in unregulated political contributions. The BC Liberals are a right-wing conservative party with strong connections to the federal Conservative Party of Canada, enacting numerous neoliberal policies through their 16 year period of governing.
G'day Professor Wolff, The state-owned public broadcaster over here in Australia has just finished airing a 3-part TV documentary in prime time (and heavily advertised beforehand) that examined the disgusting amount of waste that's produced by Australians, a trend that's been dominant since the end of the 1980s (and still going strong) and lamented that before then Australia was very forward-thinking when it came to recycling. Covered was fresh produce & packaged food waste, plastic waste & what can be recycled, and both the waste & environmental damage created by fast fashion. I literally can't find the words to adequately articulate in text form the obscene level of waste and excess that was shown. One thing that will always stick with me from watching the documentary series is the fact that over a tonne of bananas at least are thrown out by banana farmers every day during harvest season because they don't meet the "cosmetic" requirements set by the national supermarket chains. What I would like to know is: what does this waste look like globally on an economic level and how does capitalism drive it? Here is the link to the ABC's website for the documentary series, called "War On Waste": http://www.abc.net.au/ourfocus/waronwaste/
Angela Merkel recently stated Europe can no longer rely on the US or Britain following Trump's visit. I noticed she did not say "Germany can not rely" but seemingly spoke as some sort of official spokesperson for the whole of Europe. Are we seeing the economic annexation of Europe by Germany through the Euro and if so, how much of it's political will can we expect Germany to start imposing on it's neighbours similar to finance minister Schäuble's interference in Greek policy making?
In 'Property and Contract in Economics: The Case for Economic Democracy' , World Bank economist Prof. David P. Ellerman point out that since slavery was abolished and people can no long be bough and sold, capitalism is basically nothing more than the economic system based on the rental of people. He's not alone it seems in this regard, as some capitalist economists seem to have come to the same conclusion: "Interestingly enough most of society’s economic income cannot be capitalized into private property. Since slavery was abolished, human earning power is forbidden by law to be capitalized. A man is not even free to sell himself: he must rent himself at a wage. Paul Samuelson, Economics 1976 (10th edition)[p. 52]" "One can even say that wages are the rentals paid for the use of a man’s personal services for a day or a week or a year. This may seem a strange use of terms, but on second thought, one recognizes that every agreement to hire labor is for some limited period of time. By outright purchase, you might avoid ever renting any kind of land. But in our society, labor is one of the few productive factors that cannot legally be bought outright. Labor can only be rented, and the wage rate is really a rental. " [p. 569] "The commodity that is traded in the labor market is labor services, or hours of labor. The corresponding price is the wage per hour. We can think of the wage per hour as the price at which the firm rents the services of a worker, or the rental rate for labor. We do not have asset prices in the labor market because workers cannot be bought or sold in modern societies; they can only be rented. (In a society with slavery, the asset price would be the price of a slave.) " Fischer, Dornbusch, and Schmalensee, Economics, 1988[p. 323] Would you agree? Is such an approach useful to tackling global capitalism? Ellerman further postulates that if slavery ought to be abolished, even in the case wherein a worker voluntarily sells themselves for a guarantee of job opportunities (in today's US economy , could you imagine the look on Conservatives faces when you point out the solution to job insecurity is self-enslavement, but I digress) because people can't take on the role of non-human thing, then the voluntary self-rental is also ought to be abolished as well, as tenure doesn't change that fact, and replaced with an economic system based on universal self-employement either individually or jointly in a cooperative, ie economic democracy. Would you agree with Ellerman here then, that economic democracy is a form of neo-abolitionism? If Ellerman is correct, doesn't this give us a new ideological weapon to use against the capitalist PR machine? I mean, if correct, Ellerman just pointed out that capitalism is only slight a rung above slavery in ethics (people are only temporarily treated as things, instead of completely by their employers), which is not exactly something that's easy to shake off. Property and Contract in Economics: The Case for Economic Democracy', David P. Ellerman , http://www.ellerman.org/Davids-Stuff/Books/P&C-Book.pdf
Hello, Professor Wolff. I'd like to know what you think about universal rent guarantee, a housing policy that was almost implemented in France. The idea is to compensate the landlords when their rent isn't paid, to avoid expulsion of poor people from housing. It is funded with a contribution of 2% of the rent from both the landlord and the tenant, and comes with strict rent control. Do you think this idea would help fighting homelessness and ending the housing crisis ?
Prof. Wolff i have listened to many of your lectures online and i find a lot of what you say speaks to me. I also listen to other economists such as Mark Blyth and read some Mises and Adam Smith. I have conducted my own look into capitalism and i find that i agree with you. If we take Marx's C-M-C and M-C-M framework and apply some variable to understand them better we can show the following: MP = CC - (MI+MW) [Profit = End product value - Cost of Production] CC = MI + CL [End product value = Initial investment + Labor Value] MP = (MI + CL) - (MI + MW) [substitute in values] MP = CL - MW [Profit = Labor Value - Wages paid to Laborer] *where MI is investment money for equitable labor, and MW is Money payed to wages or living labor. I am not aware if this has been done before, it seems like a fairly straight forward representation of marxs argument. It points out the inherant flaw of capitalism which is that Labor is necessary for the economy to function and the motive of capitalists is profits. This puts wages and profits in direct competition with each other and to the capitalist increasing profits is the name of the game so we can already see who the victor is. combining that with your EL + LL = TL equation Raw Materials + LL = EL (goods) [Which the capitalists buys] EL + LL = TL [capitalist supplies the goods laborers supply the labor] Cost - TL = Surplus. [Cost is the markets willingness to pay a price that was above and beyond the combination of equitable labor and living labor] This means that in the capitalist system the only way to protect wages is to secure the surplus so that it belongs equally to the investor and the laborer. At the end of the day the cost compensates the equitable goods to the investor as well as the laborer and both own the surplus. This in the long run dismantles capitalism does it not since if a company is to grow they use the profits generated to grow and the equitable goods purchased with cooperatively owned surplus belongs to both the laborers and investors. This changes it from a capitalist enterprise to a socialist one. Have i understood the lectures so far would be my question? Am i missing anything important a subtle argument perhaps or is this understanding good? Because the investor is supplying property and the laborer is supplying Labor
I'm a credentialed teacher working as a substitute for the last four years, and finding it difficult to find a permanent position, since my suject matter isn't a STEM subject. Not to get too deep into it, but I'm not convinced that the way public schools are/have been run are conducive to learning. Too often these issues are left to charters to solve, and all I see as a result are underserved communities and admin dressed like bankers, driving fancy cars, funneling tax money into their pockets. Are co-ops a viable solution? Are they being utilized in this country? How are they being used? Or why aren't they being used?
History shows that tax breaks for the wealthy and the national debt going up coincide. The graft shows it. Arguing that tax breaks for the wealthy does not increase wages, job, or lower GDP, it only goes into the pockets of the wealthy and the social programs and social security are under attack. Minium wage has not increased with inflation. Please explain your view.
Are many of today's Republicans descendants, or the actual people who participated and who payed for Roosevelt's New Deal to bail out America from the Great Depression? And if yes, is that why they are so hell-bent (against all common sense and decency) to erode or siphon off, money from those same social programs, set up during the GD? To get, "their money back."
Please discuss the situation in Venezuela. I have heard it referred to as a failure of socialism. I wish I were knowledgeable enough to respond appropriately. Thank you.