Hello – I'm a late-twenty-something who, along with many friends and aquantainces, has become disillusioned by the market giving way to a sense of economic nihilism. I am currently in serious conversation with a few close friends concerning the collective investment in and formation of a housing co-operative. I am personally interested in the viability of taking the housing co-operative a step further into the realm of urban agriculture or some other possible economic endeavor that could come about in such a setting. So, really I'd like to know if the idea of forming a co-operative housing arrangement with the intent to form a co-operative business model from within could come about through the D@W model and, if so does this mean that democracy can root itself not only in the workplace but also in society at-large? Any answers, suggestions or thoughts would be much appreciated. Thank you!
There are Buy American, Fair Trade, Refugee Industry etc buying guides. Has anyone assembled a Co Op? If not, I will.
Dr. Wolff, I understand that MRI studies of people who self-identify as strongly progressive, or strongly conservative, show that the brains of conservatives differ in that the conservatives have enlarged amygdalas, which accentuates their fight-or-flight response. It seems that the Right has no trouble frightening and then mobilizing their people, and that they are very willing to put their differences aside in pursuit of power; witness Mitt Romney condemning Trump as a fraud and then seeking an audience with King Donald to ask for a job. What is it about the Left and their psychological makeup that seems to makes it harder for them to organize and champion their agenda? I would be interested to hear you speak about this with Harriet Fraad; is there a way the Left can gain an advantage from their mental and emotional tendencies rather than be hobbled by them?
Asking because in your Global Capitalism Update, you claim that if companies have to hire Americans, they will have to pay them more than illegal immigrants, therefore causing prices to rice. Would doubling the national minimum wage have the same effect? Thank you.
I would like to know Professor Wolff's opinions on Sociacracy and the overlap with the work that you are doing at Democracy @ Work. Thanks!
Such as markets, type of capitalism, etc. Thank you
In case you haven't seen this, here is an example of 11 "platform cooperatives" which are an online version of cooperatively owned businesses. http://www.shareable.net/blog/11-platform-cooperatives-creating-a-real-sharing-economy
Professor Wolff – I really would love for a large portion of the United States to switch to democratic worker co-ops. The country may have a chance for a huge change in 2020 assuming Trump fails as I expect. We are very likely to go through a recession and from my point of view it looks like his policies will cause even a greater gap in equality. So here is my idea is to be very pro-business in particular for small business/co-ops. 1) Universal healthcare for all that takes away this cost from companies. 2) Free or low cost higher education 3) Improved infrastructure to make it easier for companies to be successful. 4) Dividends are income and taxed as such. Make taxes more progressive. 5) Public banking that favors democratic worker co-ops. With public banking the cost of the government loans would go down. They can give loans during bad times when loans are most needed. Give guarantee loans to worker co-ops to buy out existing companies if the company can be successful. My thought is to make it easier for a company to be successful by reducing obstacles. Easier to get capital, educated work force, and reduced cost to do business (healthcare being one of the largest cost). Setting it up like this companies could be successful but if the money went only to a few they would be taxed heavily. But if they spread the wealth then everyone would be better off. This would also spur the economy because it would give more money to the lower/middle class. When they have more money they buy more and keep the economy moving. Currently there is way too much private debt. So this is another area that would be nice to look at, but might be asking too much.
Deal all, an interesting editorial in BMJ about the negative effects of inequality from an epidemiologist's perspective (with scientific references). http://www.bmj.com/content/356/bmj.j556 [BMJ 2017; 356 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j556 (Published 08 February 2017)] It is nice to see members of the scientific community starting admitting that population health is-importantly-a political issue.
Greetings Proff Wolff and fellow Wolffians. In the search of peace, and with no small amount of introspection, I have come to wonder if it is wise or even morally sound to try and abolish capitalism, and expect others to be up to the moral task of a Marxist economy. Capitalism, like alcohol, is very bad for the individual and society alike. Drunk drivers kill a lot of people as we all know, and capitalism does the same in all the ways you frequently point out. So, there are some who want to drink regardless, same as there are some who want to make a profit regardless. It's a harsh reality for a lot of us, but who are we tell others not to drink? Addiction is very difficult to deal with, and it never bodes well when you take the moral high ground with an addict. And now my question, and thank you greatly for all you do. I cannot overstate my gratitude for your efforts in educating people. Could we have a socialist economy complete with it's own currency on the one hand that guards the society from the profit motive, i.e. transportation, healthcare, education, etc., while there be a capitalist economy for those who love profit simultaneously? Like, you can spend a dollar if you want a Lamborghini, but if you just want a few scripts and a loaf of bread you can spend a social credit or something? I feel like on the moral grounds, people need to be allowed access to their capitalist fix, no?
As most of your listeners, we know you like real examples. It is a French ice -cream company which was bough by English investors a few years ago. They quickly divested themselves out of it and its workers. About 20 (or so) laid-off workers decided to Go Coop, rather than give-up. 2 or 3 years later, they are thriving. (The Coop was on the French news on TV5 a few days ago). Old company name: Pilpa (Carcassonne). New name : La belle Aude. Company Web site: One of the past articles on it: http://www.midilibre.fr/2014/04/21/carcassonne-les-anciens-pilpa-ont-commence-a-produire-leurs-propres-glaces,851069.php>
Dear prof. Wolff, what are your thoughts on Justice Democrats? Could You speak about it on your monthly Democracy at Work talk? Leaving some links for your information. - Edwin. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_Democrats https://justicedemocrats.com/ https://www.quora.com/What-are-your-thoughts-on-the-Justice-Democrats/answer/Ed-Winn-4?srid=uGDib
Chump threatens to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities and states. Is there a precedent or means for those threatened to withhold the very funds collected via various sales taxes?
I understand that around 50% of the population has no connection to the stock market. I assume that the majority that is involved with stocks has an indirect interest through mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc. I understand that fees over time extract tremendous value from the holder. I believe that Dr. Wolff has stated that 75% of all stocks are owned by 1% of stockholders. If the stock prices are going up, my guess it is usually not because companies are making new products such as a new I-phone, but rather through buy outs, reducing labor costs, lay offs, cheating on environmental laws, not paying taxes, speculation, etc. Then to add insult to injury, dividends and profit on selling stock are generally taxed at lower rates than earning from labor.
https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-02-06/why-not-make-economics-a-science While I feel the author is correct in some of his assumptions and his overall points, I can't help but feel like he is mistaking Macroeconomic policy for the return of Classical economics that has dominated economic policy since the 1950's. Lassiez-Faire, Supply Side economics and the return of the "Invisible Hand" have all dominated Macroeconomic policy. I also feel like labeling the 2008 bailout "Keynesian" is inaccurate as I do not believe Keynes would have agreed with trickledown economics. To say Macroeconomic policy has failed in that sense is to continue to fail to acknowledge the criticisms of the branch of populist macroeconomics such as Keynes and Marx as well as many others that have been systematically ignored or in some cases silenced. It seems to me that the article fails to recognize the systemic prejudice inside the field of economics.