Dr. Wolff, I live in Southern California and witnessed unbelievable levels of homelessness and despair among young people during road trips I have taken throughout the West in the past two years. In the age of the "gig economy" where Uber runs radio spots urging people to get their "side hustles" going, young folk have no security in the present and face a bleak future if Trump and the austerity hucksters have tbeir way. How can the young be reached and, most importantly, be mobilized? The mendacious memes of Paul Ryan, who claims he wants to save Social Security, need to be effectively neutralized (Trumped. If you will).
Are there any studies or statistics you know of that compare the costs of subsidizing (mostly corporations, of course) and workers competing for increasingly scarce and increasingly lower-paid jobs with providing a Guaranteed Minimum Income?
I take your point about splitting society into workers and non-working consumers. That potential political-philosophical problem could be solved by a revolution in how we think about work and about unemployment. I direct any interested people to Ivan Illich's "The Right To Useful Unemployment."
I see no absolute virtue in work for the sake of work. Our society mistakenly conflates purpose and work. There are a vast number of soul-sucking jobs that people, given an alternative, would leave to pursue their dreams if they could, which would benefit us all.
My email: email@example.com
It looks like California has different views on Tax, Education, Religion, etc. Could California benefits by separating itself from the Union? or a terrible idea? who would really benefit from it?
Prof. Wolff, The president suggests that he will impose tariffs on companies that ship their jobs overseas as a method to preserve jobs in the US. I presume if this works, the jobs will be saved but the price of product will go up, thus necessitating higher wages (my guess highly unlikely). To my understanding the alternative is, within a capitalist system, to continue on the neoliberal path to globalization maintaining the status quo of outsourcing jobs overseas. Playing devils advocate, let's say these tariffs are indeed implemented, jobs saved and wages increased...could nationalist type economics be a better alternative to neoliberal economics?
I am in favor for a democratized workplace and fully support co-ops. I am conflicted however in understanding how a co-operative system would deal with capitalist foreign enterprises making cheaper products. Would the co-operative economy be forced to impose tariffs and other protections or are there alternative methods that can make co-operatives successful in dealing with cheaper goods and services abroad?
I am writing a persuasive essay on the superiority of worker cooperatives instead of the traditional employer-employee relationships. I would like arguments in addition to the democracy, equality, etc points.
Dear Dr. Wolff, I agree with your criticisms of Capitalism, and I find your suggestion to democratise the workplace very interesting. I own a very small distribution company in a very small part of the world, and may put those ideas into practice there. However, the solution does not do away with the incentive to out-compete competitors - which I see as an equally problematic issue. This same economic incentive to outcompete competitors can be spun to sound like a good thing, but it is the very same incentive that leads countries to war with each other over resources. I feel strongly that the problem is not Capitalism per se, but the Market System construct. The Market System has it’s own “structural incentives”, and often, a gaming strategy is required by the individual/state/company to “get ahead” in the game of Market. This usually means to acquire wealth for yourself, and taking it from the other guy. Are my criticisms naive? Am I missing something? I did not study economics, but I feel that we need to transition into an “Access system based on automated labour” from a “Market system based on human labour” to really detach ourselves from the same self-perpetuating problems of the Market. I have more to say on this topic, but will end it here for now. Best, Andrew
In your last show you said the defining characteristic of capitalism is the employer-employee relationship. Isn't capitalism also defined by the quest for profits? It seems to me that the employer-employee relationship and the quest for profits originated around the same time, in the late middle ages or perhaps during the Renaissance, around the time of the onset of colonialism. I don't think Roman slaveholders or medieval lords were interested in profits, though they certainly sought to increase their wealth, mostly by acquiring more land. I'd be interested in your thoughts.
Since the American automakers have been threatened by Trump to bring the Mexico jobs back to the US, or else, GM is taking Canadian Jobs to Mexico, see news from Friday, below http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/gm-unifor-ingersoll-1.3955128
great article, in case you had not seen it. Thanks for all you are doing! http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/27/how-to-cut-infrastructure-costs-in-half/ January 27, 2017 How to Cut Infrastructure Costs in Half by Ellen Brown Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. Her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her 300+ blog articles are at EllenBrown.com. Email Photo by zeevveez | CC BY 2.0 Photo by zeevveez | CC BY 2.0 President-elect Donald Trump has promised to rebuild America’s airports, bridges, tunnels, roads and other infrastructure, something both Democrats and Republicans agree should be done. The country needs a full $3 trillion in infrastructure over the next decade. The $1 trillion plan revealed by Trump’s economic advisers relies heavily on public-private partnerships, and private equity firms are lining up for these plumbing investments. In the typical private equity water deal, for example, higher user rates help the firms earn annual returns of anywhere from 8 to 18 percent – more even than a regular for-profit water company might expect. But the price tag can come as a rude surprise for local ratepayers. Private equity investment now generates an average return of about 11.8% annually on a 10-year basis. For infrastructure investment, those profits are made on tolls and fees paid by the public. Even at simple interest, that puts the cost to the public of financing $1 trillion in infrastructure projects at $1.18 trillion, more than doubling the cost. Cities often make these desperate deals because they are heavily in debt and the arrangement can give them cash up front. But as a 2008 Government Accountability Office report warned, “there is no ‘free’ money in public-private partnerships.” Local residents wind up picking up the tab. There is a more cost-effective alternative. The conservative state of North Dakota is funding infrastructure through the state-owned Bank of North Dakota (BND) at 2% annually. In 2015, the North Dakota legislature established a BND Infrastructure Loan Fund program that made $50 million in funds available to communities with a population of less than 2,000, and $100 million available to communities with a population greater than 2,000. These loans have a 2% fixed interest rate and a term of up to 30 years. The proceeds can be used for the new construction of water and treatment plants, sewer and water lines, transportation infrastructure and other infrastructure needs to support new growth in a community. If the Trump $1 trillion infrastructure plan were funded at 2% over 10 years, the interest tab would come to only $200 billion, nearly $1 trillion less than the $1.18 trillion expected by private equity investors. Not only could residents save $1 trillion over 10 years on tolls and fees, but they could save on taxes, since the interest would return to the government, which owned the bank. In effect, the loans would be nearly interest-free to the government. New Money for Local Economies Legislators in cash-strapped communities are likely to object, “We can’t afford to lend our revenues. We need them for our budget.” But banks do not lend their deposits. They actually create new money in the form of bank credit when they make loans. That means borrowing from its own bank is not just interest-free to the local government but actually creates new money for the local economy. As economists at the Bank of England acknowledged in a March 2014 report titled “Money Creation in the Modern Economy”, the vast majority of the money supply is now created by banks when they make loans. The authors wrote: The reality of how money is created today differs from the description found in some economics textbooks: Rather than banks receiving deposits when households save and then lending them out, bank lending creates deposits. . . . Whenever a bank makes a loan, it simultaneously creates a matching deposit in the borrower’s bank account, thereby creating new money. [Emphasis added.] Money is not fixed and scarce. It is “elastic”: it is created when loans are made and extinguished when they are paid off. The BOE report said that private banks now create nearly 97 percent of the money supply in this way. Richard Werner, Chair of International Banking at the University of Southampton in the UK, argues that to get much-needed new money into local economies, rather than borrowing from private investors who cannot create the money they lend, governments should borrow from banks, which create money in the form of deposits when they make loans. And to get that money interest-free, a government should borrow from its own bank, which returns the interest to the government. Besides North Dakota, many other states and cities are now exploring the public bank option. Feasibility studies done at both state and local levels show that small businesses, employment, low-cost student loans, affordable housing and greater economic stability will result from keeping local public dollars out of the global banking casinos and in the local community. Legislation for public banks is actively being pursued in Washington State, Michigan, Arizona, Philadelphia, Santa Fe, and elsewhere. Phil Murphy, the front-running Democratic candidate for New Jersey governor, is basing his platform on a state-owned bank, which he says could fund much-needed infrastructure and other projects. New Money for a Federal Infrastructure Program What about funding a federal infrastructure program with interest-free money? Tim Canova, Professor of Law and Public Finance at Nova Southeastern University, argues that the Federal Reserve could capitalize a national infrastructure bank with money generated on its books as “quantitative easing.” (Canova calls it “qualitative easing” – central bank-generated money that actually gets into the real economy.) The Federal Reserve could purchase shares, whether as common stock, preferred stock or debt, either in a national infrastructure bank or in a system of state-owned banks that funded infrastructure in their states. This could be done, says Canova, without increasing taxes, adding to the federal debt or hyperinflating prices. Another alternative was proposed in 2013 by US Sen. Bernie Sanders and US Rep. Peter DeFazio. They called for a national infrastructure bank funded by the US Postal Service (which did provide basic banking services from 1911 to 1967). With post offices in nearly every community, the USPS has the physical infrastructure for a system of national public banks. In the Sanders/DeFazio plan, deposits would be invested in government securities used to finance infrastructure projects. Besides financing infrastructure without raising taxes, the plan could save the embattled USPS itself, while providing banking services for the one in four households that are unbanked or under-banked. Reliance on costly private capital for financing public needs has limited municipal growth and reduced public services, while strapping future generations with unsustainable debt. By eliminating the unnecessary expense of turning public dollars into profits for private equity interests, publicly-owned banks can allow the public to retain ownership of its infrastructure while cutting costs nearly in half. Join the debate on Facebook Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. Her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her 300+ blog articles are at EllenBrown.com. More articles by:Ellen Brown
Both capitalist and socialist societies seem to struggle with forced compliance, with dictators, coercion and corruption following suit (see Cuba, Russia, U.S. for a few examples). Is there a role for liberty in either system?
If my university were run as a co-op, would workers be able to redirect donations toward the university's greater good? Today Jan 28 2017 Cornell's interim President Hunter Rawlings has announced a "historic, transformative $150 million gift from Trustee Emeritus Fisk Johnson and SC Johnson to endow and name the SC Johnson College of Business." I'll spare you the rest of the drumbeat rhetoric of this press release about how this "landmark gift" will "continue the Johnson family's multigenerational legacy of leadership and support for Cornell." For one lopsidedly well-endowed segment of Cornell, that is, as we in the strapped College of Arts and Sciences and beyond are all too aware. I'm sure the same story unfolds in the academic sector widely, but this version seems especially egregious as a capstone to this week's news. Could a university run as a worker co-op change any or all of this? Thanks.
http://www.cleveland.com/nation/index.ssf/2017/01/iron_workers_pension_cuts_are.html Workers/pensioners who didn't vote were counted as for by default.