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Professor Wolff receives hundreds of questions per week covering a wide array of topics, from economics and politics, to historical movements and current events. While Professor Wolff does his best to reply to some questions on Economic Update with Richard D. Wolff, he's received more questions than can be answered individually. Prof. Wolff will now provide video answers to his favorite questions on this page.
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Where can I find information about investing in worker cooperatives?

I am going to retire in the near future and I would like to move my savings and qualified plans into less volatile and income producing investments. Worker cooperatives may be attractive as part of my investment plans. Where can I find information about investing in individual worker cooperatives or mutual funds that primary invest in cooperatives? My investment broker, Fidelity Investments does not have research or information about worker cooperatives.

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Commentary on MMT (modern monetary theory)?

Could you please offer your opinions and/or commentary on MMT (modern monetary theory), Hyman Minsky, Warren Mosler, Stephanie Kelton, Randall Wray, Bill Mitchell, etc. and how this explanation of monetary systems might relate to economic democracy and socialism.

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Willful ignorance of the "mainstream left"

So it was just revealed that Obama deported 100,000 more Mexican immigrants in 2016 than Trump has in 2017, yet on all of the articles about that, the VAST majority of the commentary is mocking of Trump (most certainly by people self identifying as "liberal") for not fulfilling his campaign promise to deport a lot more people, while entirely ignoring the fact that Obama deported 100,000 more Mexicans in his last year than DONALD "We’re getting really bad dudes out of this country, and at a rate that nobody’s ever seen before" TRUMP! There is literally no outrage at all about what Obama has done from the "mainstream left", and I think this speaks to a broader issue. The same group of people fail to criticise Obama for things such as bailing out Wall Street, instituting a right-wing devised healthcare plan, expanding the number of conflicts the US was involved in from 2 to 7, etc. What's your take on this issue of willful ignorance, and what do you think are the most jarring examples of it in modern politics? (Here's a news article about the deportations:

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How would worker co-ops respond to the pressures from markets and global capitalism?

Having to participate and compete in global markets would put co-ops under many of the same pressures as top-down corporations, who have responded by outsourcing and wage cuts, etc. How can worker co-ops avoid the pitfalls that would seem to come from the globalisation of capitalism? Would it help, for example, to establish trade with co-ops in other countries favourable to both? Similar to the idea of "socialism in one country", could networks of co-ops in a single nation work together to buy raw materials in quantity, and so on, for mutual benefit? If they saw themselves as belonging to a common group, maybe they could also work together politically to lobby or vote for better conditions for themselves. Can you comment on how this could work?

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Can you please tell your guest she NAILED IT ON ADDICTION TOPIC, but....

Hi, I liked your recent dem @ work podcasts. Can you please tell your guest the pychologist that she really NAILED IT on your last show about addiction related to poverty. Please also tell her that as a white middle aged baby boomer with disibilties and lack of enough $ to afford basic housing, I myself am hoping to find some Fentinyl be uz I would prefer to take a bubble bath and go out in peace rather than live in the street or in my car, which are the only things I can look forward to at this point. I have only hateful republicans for relatives and have no real hope for the future. Some of us older ones need a dignified and peaceful way out of this awful corrupt Oligarchic/ capitalist system. I am not a drug user, but Some of us need a painfree out from living in destitution and pain. Don't be too quick to think that if you take away the pain medicine or that if you keep us alive that somehow you are helping. Death is a nice peaceful way out fir some and please remember that before you ban all the good stuff. I am serious and hope you will make a note of what I have said. Thanks for all your shows. Its so co forting to hear someone who understands what misery some of us older babyboomers are feeling at the moment. I had a jet set life and worked hard for many years. But one big medical issue can destroy years of hard work and leave you in the gutter ....

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How do worker co-ops scale into larger non-capitalist systems?

Like you, I am very interested in worker owned and worker run co-ops as a growing movement, a somewhat more ethical approach to the inherently unethical capitalism. I would love to hear on your podcast how- looking out to the future, how co-op culture could pave the way to larger systems and structures like syndicalism and what the nuances of are of that and what it could look like. There are many alternative systems that co-ops could be the seeds of and what those systems are seems to be a huge pandroa's box to explore.

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Program on Community Choice energy

In California, Community Choice energy is a stealth revolution, sweeping away monopoly utilities like Pacific Gas & Electric and democratizing the generation and sale of electricity. Like public banks, Community Choice energy programs are operated by public agencies accountable to the people, not to shareholders. In addition to reducing greenhouse gases by procuring a higher proportion of renewable energy, Community Choice energy programs stimulate the local economy through the creation of renewable energy jobs and by keeping energy dollars circulating in the local economy. Please invite the California Alliance for Community Energy on your program--we have an exciting but little-known success story to share with the rest of the country (

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Prof. Wolff, what is your stance/thoughts on the matter of Co-op degeneration?

Of the limited writing on Worker Co-ops I've been able to find, much of it is a discussion on the matter of a Co-op degeneracy theory in which worker owned enterprises are said to often devolve into a kind of pseudo-capitalistic hierarchy as a result of external business pressures and internal conflicting or corrupting incentives. My question is simply: what do you think? What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you think it's a legitimate concern? And if you do think it has legs to stand on, what are your thoughts on possibly resolving it?

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Who still believes in Bolshevik Marxism, and how do they explain its 20th Century failures?

I heard you mention in a video there are still socialists clinging to Marxist revolutionary theory and the need for a centralized socialist government to protect the transformation.

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How should I save my money?

Currently I am putting my savings away in passive index funds. Approximately my savings is in approximately 80% stock and 20% bonds. I am 24 years old and only have about $5,000 stashed away in this brokerage account. This account is not insured by the FDIC. I also have a significant amount of money saved in my retirement account that is affiliated with my employer? In truth, I am unsure that I am doing the right thing. I feel another crash looming and am worried about losing my money. What is the safest and most effective way of stashing away money in this jungle?

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Many of us are interested in how stock markets work as well as history of their development.

... are stocks & stock markets beneficial or not & for whom, as well as history of development. Considering Peter Josephs thoughts/work I feel vindicated in my long held belief that stock markets, banks, wars, even gov't, etc., are primarily tools of the 1% etc. to promote the uphill flow of cash to the money-hoarders. I use the term money-hoarders now for several years since what many/most people have in community, family, friends, home, etc. is true wealth, we just have a lot less money then the "1%" who use they time to learn how to collect/hoard money... thus they are money-hoarders. Likely you have already done a talk about how stock markets work... if so please post link to video, etc... ... as you know, to learn how to change or repair something, one needs to know how it works, so we can think about how to change it. In this case we think we need to subvert and end this capitalistic mayhem of making money without producing anything and without work. And... If/when the capitalistic system ends what happens to the stock market and all the investments of the average person will lose. How do we protect ourselves? Considering that the 1% own about 83% of the entire market they have more to lose, amount wise, but we have more to lose in that we have no reserves. They can "weather storms," we cannot. Does that really matter since we could, likely will, rebuild via worker-owned business & localized economies. In a more socialized economy based on local worker-owned business it there a place for stock markets, i.e. current workers moving current investment to local business? reasonable, irrelevant? Do you have investments in stocks? in general... perhaps as we learn to prepare for capitalism's collapse we should move 401k and other stock investments to local municipal bonds, local business, etc., invest in startup worker-owned business? What would you do? What are you doing? Where, in general, if any, are your investments? We very much appreciate your time and effort in teaching us!!! Keep up the good work!

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Would you say that economic growth is driven by scientific research and technological growth?

If science and technology are the driving forces of growth. The result is that the best economic policies encourage science and technology. So is that the argument we should have when we discuss Capitalism and Socialism, especially since socialists are more likely to supports universal tertiary education?

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Can capital be used as a tool to create a new, worker-controlled economy?

I work for an impact investing firm, and we recently interviewed one of our investors who says that he is interested in "investing for a systemic alternative to capitalism." We profiled him on the Huffington Post here - he is familiar with your work. His point was that by investing in worker co-ops, where the capitalist (himself) receives dividends but no voting rights - capital can be utilized as a "tool" instead of a "master." I wonder if you see such strategies as useful, ineffectual, a distraction from more revolutionary methods, or actually harmful. Thank you for all the work you do!

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Can you do a story on the Georgian Democratic Republic?

There's a fascinating book out called "The Experiment Georgia's Forgotten Revolution 1918-1921" that details the short lived Marxist Georgian government that was ruled by Mensheviks, not Bolsheviks, and while Marxist, allowed for free multi-party elections, merged peasant and workers into a single bloc peacefully under their party (the Social Democratic Party) and were creating the groundwork to base their economy on worker cooperatives and labor union control. It was Lenin and Stalin who invaded and destroyed this experiment in democratic socialism. Was wondering if you could give some insight into this and if this could be a model to explore for future socialists?

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WalMart anti-union "employee training video"

So much fodder here for you and your show. Sickening....

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