Economic Update: Questions about Capitalism

On this week's Economic Update, Prof. Wolff gives updates on Caterpillar tax evasion, Obamacare, slave labor for immigrants, Harvard and slavery...READ MORE

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  • commented 2017-03-17 13:05:48 -0400
    Quite often I hear your program on our local community radio station. Each time I listen I find myself wondering why everyone seems to be missing an important aspect of this disastrous economy. After the personnel department was rebranded ‘Human Resources’ it became obvious to me that the working class was being objectified by the management class and they couldn’t even come up with some intentionally misleading name to disguise it.
    You talk a lot about stagnant wages, and that’s an important topic, but you fail to acknowledge the decades of ‘downsizing’, ‘reductions in force’, and other pseudonyms for failing to refill vacant positions or laying off a large part of your workforce. What no one ever talked about is that the workloads carried by all those former employees didn’t just evaporate with the employees themselves. Remaining workers had those workloads dumped on them without a single penny of financial compensation. Computer technology made office work more efficient, so that management class didn’t suffer the consequences of eliminating their secretarial pools like the workers did. This uncompensated ‘increased productivity’ drove a lot of the market gains that resulted in huge compensation packages for the management/ownership class, but the working class only got a health destroying workload and a butt load of resentment.
    It didn’t help that the management/ownership class responded to their workers complaints by literally waving their junk (bonds) in our faces while calling us ‘losers’ and negating everything we had contributed to their success.
    Yes, wages have stagnated or, as you stated, gone down when inflation is considered for most of us. But our workloads have increased exponentially, and many people simply could not keep up the insane pace. My own example is testament to it. When I started my present job I was told nobody had kept up with it for 45 years, but I was determined. Because I was familiar with computer technology I was able to rein it in after six months. In the fifteen years I’ve been doing this job my workload has been quadrupled and I found out recently that four people used to do what I took over by myself. If I told you what my workload is you would not be able to believe me. It is THAT outrageous.
    The working class is literally being worked to death, probably to lower the amount of retirement money paid out. The biggest reason the business community is trying to get out of employer provided healthcare is because they do not want to pay for the results of their abusive management paradigm.
    The program I listened to today, failed to connect the dots behind the outrageous cost of housing, and the collapse of that market a decade ago. The reason for the lower mortgage standards was to keep the numbers up as people became less and less able to afford a mortgage. OK, that’s long enough. Sorry.
  • commented 2017-03-16 10:14:00 -0400
    Hi Dr Wolff:

    I really appreciate your work. Someone recently asked me what happens with the stock market in worker owned enterprises. I couldn’t answer the question. Have you dealt with that issue?

    Bill Conklin

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