Thank you for the answer to my previous question Prof. You helped me realize I had been momentarily trapped in regressive financial thinking. I was looking for an economically manipulatory solution based on classic liberal capitalist principles. (I wish there was a way to continue the discussion on the previous question without creating a new post) In my view, neoliberal capitalism is based upon selfish self-interest, built uniquely and exclusively to appeal to humanity's worst impulses, geared and engineered to appease, rely upon and enhance our individualistic tendencies to sociopathic levels. The institutions that arise out of this principle are artificially intelligent systems purposefully designed to alienate its human components from the socially predatory consequences of their actions (effectively a psychopathic hive mind), in the relentless pursuit of monopoly, and/or supremacy, oriented by the singular pursuit of maximal accumulation of wealth. I was thinking it could be possible to find an opposite economic principle to appeal to our "better" social nature instead. One that would guide our efforts and deeds for the "greater good", a similar imperative, an economic incentive that would lead people to maximize well-being instead of financial profit. However, as you reminded me, like Smith's delusion was to suppose an emergent well-being from economic self-interest it would also be a delusion to suppose the possibility of a purely economical alternative to achieve social justice. While studying post-anarchism I have recently discovered Pierre Bourdieu's concept of Social Capital (aka Cultural Capital) and this led me to think about the possibility of finding this capitalist antithesis. A spontaneously driving principle of accumulation of social well-being. In some ways Social Capital seems compatible with Aristotelian ethics and could (potentially) drive people towards an "accumulation of virtue" (knowledge and excellence), acting as an incentive to the increase of their Social Capital by conflating (or expanding) their "self-interest" with a better defined and localized sense of "social-interest" (a better defined version of public-interest, possibly). The sociological "holistic" approach, which considers social groups to be greater than the sum of their parts (something Marx proposed, apparently) if applied in conjunction with the study and measurement of the social capital in communities, organizations, and their individuals, could serve as a kind of metric to better assess the value of such collectives according to their particular social goals. The "Social stock" of a school would rise according to its effectiveness in educating students, while the "Social stock" of a hospital would rise according to the effectiveness of treating patients, and so on. Do you think this would be a valid and worthy avenue for measuring success in a free socialist society?
What are your thoughts about Fiat vs. Crytocurrencies? What role do you think Cryptocurrencies will play in the future of economics?
A link that might be useful in your discussion of the consequences of poverty in the US. BBC 27 AUG 2017: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41065335?ocid=socialflow_facebook&ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbcnews&ns_source=facebook
Would be great to hear your comments during your weekly program Economic Update. I never miss it! Thx. Gil Padilla https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/08/30/spur-lagging-competition-industry-growth-america-needs-tackle-tax-reform/612713001/
Hi Professor Wolff - I'm curious if you're familiar and would speak to the Rojava revolution at some point? The societal structure there seems similar to the type of localized, cooperative (anti-capitalist) system you often advocate and they seem to be doing a good job. I'm also concerned at how long it will last before getting crushed by surrounding enemies (ISIS), or global powers (US). Thanks so much!
Hello. I have just watched a lecture you have given to the carpenters union, and to my (great) surprise the idea of giving businesses to the workforce at the point that the owner leaves is already practice ! I've written a book about economics in general, that made that one of the 3 main economic points to be achieved: companies that loose the starter and have more then 10 employees, will be owned by the workforce, the owner is compensated. However I do not think this goes far enough, because we must also own the soil, and we must destroy the Oligarchy directly, or they will crush everything. We also need a democratic Government, where those elected are on immediate and effective recall by electing them by citizen groups of only 50 persons. I've worked all this out in great detail over the last almost 15 years, and wondered if you would like to have a look. It's free and public domain, although can also be bought, I can send you a free copy if you want. It also comes with fairly complete or say strategic planning for how to change society, from economics to politics but also Revolution and if need be going to arms in such a way as to minimize the dangers thereof (which are of course quite considerable). Thank you. I've also written free democracy software (which was internationally published, GNU/Linux program 'sede'), meant to be used to make company democracy electronic, verified and efficient, perhaps this is of use to you (all free to get with source code). See www.socialism.nl best regards ! Let's take the power, the people take the power !!!
How do communities and/or workers get the capital to start businesses with democratic control (external/internal) and equitable profit distribution? It seems like big banks would not be interested in giving loans to start these people-first institutions in the matter that they'd need to be. My question is this: what role could a national state-banking system play in the transition of a capitalist-owned economy to a community- or worker-owned economy? Keep up the good work.
Perhaps Stuart Varney and FOXX News can explain why Capitalism failed in the between the sheets entertainment dept, when Socialism...did not? :) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/12/opinion/why-women-had-better-sex-under-socialism.html
I believe strongly in single-payer, or at least did.. but then I had some thoughts. The stocks of insurance companies dropping, due to transitioning over, would likely cause a crash of some of the largest stocks in the global market. If the companies fold, wouldn't they need a bail-out -- especially where you have companies like AIG insuring THEM, and the derivatives as side-bets on the stocks. It would take awhile to get single-payer up. 2.5 million workers would lose their jobs, and yes -- the current bill provides for them for two years, but again -- it would take awhile to get those checks to them. And meanwhile, we'd see a jump in unemployment. So we'd have an large industry crash, a possible stock market crash that could risk banks again, and an automatic jump in unemployment. The second worry I have, is how well the economy would be situated to absorb those workers if the economy is in middling or bad shape. Maybe I am getting this completely wrong. I hope I am. If I'm not, please talk to Bernie, if you have any connections. Get him to adjust his plan. We may need more of a public option, to make a slower transition.
I was wondering if professor Wolff would consider his interpretation of Marxian economics as a new school, or how he would delineate it from earlier writers. Also, what his views are on Post-Keynesian economics. Particularly that of Hyman Minsky.
I am interested in writing a novel that delivers two different points. Learning about how socialism actually works as well as painting a different view of the world. So I want to write a chronological story about America from 1776 to today but with a socialist economic system. Can you describe to me how society would be different? How our society would have evolved differently? I think it is easier to imagine how socialism would have started and evolved then to just imagine how today's society would be.
My reason for writing is to merely pass on a bit of information that I believe might merit a mention in one of Prof. Wolff's videos (if and when D@w produces another one). There is a company that we buy delivered organic food from in the UK, the company in question is called Riverford (www.riverford.co.uk) and with every delivery there is a piece of recycled card with recipies on one side and on the other side the owner of the company writes a short page of news on how the company is getting on, factors affecting harvests, economic considerations and anything thats on his mind generally. I had been following a number of Richard's videos on employee co-op's and to my surprise this topic came up on one of our recent news pages from Riverford. I found the writing particularly thought provoking and very relevant to many of the things that Prof. Wolff talks about. I thought it might make a good topic for discussion. Here is the text from the news update from Riverford: "Riverford is currently moving towards employee ownership (EO), with staff due to take a 74% stake in May 2018. This has led to a lot of navel gazing about what Riverford stands for, and how we will protect them into the future. We have visited other values-driven and EO companies, studied their governance structures and research what works and what doesn't. Through this I have almost managed to grow out of my knee jerk antagonism to the idea of some else auditing my virtue. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely; the idea of being your own judge, jury and executioner becomes progressively more dangerous as an organisation grows. I accept that we have reached a stage where we must agree a more objective measurement of how we behave towards staff, customers and suppliers and need impartial means of checking how we are doing (through the creation of an external EO Trust and our new Customer Roundtable); Sainsbury's passed that stage long ago and should have the wisdom to know it." I hope this proves useful or may at least warrant a mention. One other thing it would be great to see some discussion about on D@W is the long term viability of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general - I would love to know if Richard thinks bitcoin is long overdue for a bubble burst when the recession kicks in? Thanks to everyone involved with D@w for your great videos and special thanks to Richard for championing this cause. With best wishes from the UK
I was extremely surprised to discover, on the Worker Coop Directory web site, there are approximately 431 worker coops, *already* functioning, inside the US! So, being curious as to how so many of them could possibly be functioning, well, with so little press over the years, I started calling some of them and perused their web sites, to see chronologically, what steps they had to go through to, become successful. I found many of the people I talked to to be quite receptive to talking about their experiences. One thing that came up over and over again, was the ratio of the number of employees vs the ability to truly function, effectively, over time, as a worker coop, and not have problems like, worker slothfulness, corruption, or other group-related social issues rear up. Many had to either take punitive measures with the people who brought on such conditions, or restructure the coop as a whole, using legal representatives. Aka; lawyers. In other words, as *mutual owners* in a company, some of the employee/owners realized, hey! I can do...whatever I want. Work more. Work less. Cooperation, in the end, became a choice depending on their mood, not because they'd made a conscious effort to *function* for the benefit of all. Because they did...or didn't want to, depending on the day, which is not how a cooperative, is supposed to function. So, what is one to do in that situation? Now, we take the example of Mondragon, in Spain, founded by a Catholic priest, in the 1950s. Wholly successful, still working today, 100k employee owners, and apparently, no one's ever been let go, or fired. Or, if any, not many, in all that time. So, why were they successful, with so many people, but we here in America, haven't been, *as* successful? It's not JUST that ideology erased the ability for us to talk about the concept here in America, it's that because we have not had the history of knowing what a worker coop is, or why it's important, we as Americans have been LAMBASTED from birth to death, with...the Capitalist idea of making a buck, as being the end all be-all end-goal, in life. Indeed, that's all that matters. And, the system reinforces this. So, going from that, to worker coops and socialism is BEYOND shock. It's another world entirely! And THAT is why America is having such a hard time with this. People literally have to re-structure their whole way of seeing, not just economics, but life as they imagine it! My question is, why don't you talk about this? So many people have asked, and you throw out worker co-ops, but you never get into the meat on the bone commentary about how culture has to change to adapt to this way of thinking. Again, why? Or, is this just a given, considering the topic at hand? I've personally talked to CEOs of coops, and they've told me how much this topic confuses them, because they don't understand why people take advantage, once they've been made an-equal owner in the coop. Well, of-course they do! They're still thinking like a Capitalist! It's all they've ever known!
First of all, I saw the recent spate of interviews you did with Stuart "ass" Varney on FOXX, and I congratulate you for not popping that pretentious twit in the mouth for referring to you or anyone with a Marxist message as a "pinko-communist-bed-wetter." Although I would love to ascribe his behavior to that of the masses who still do not "trust" socialism, because of its Lenin-associations with that term, and because of America's seeming black-out history of not discussing the subject for the last 70 years or so, however he seemed to want to egg you on to make you over-react. He also didn't seem to really LISTEN to a thing you said, about restructuring the economy, so that it could benefit all, instead of just the chosen cash-over-loaded...few. Again, is that just a historic response to the topic at hand? Stuart Varney in particular? Or, Foxx news' heads telling him to try to discredit you at every turn, so you don't get, you know, too wide an audience to spread your nasty ideas about socialism and Marxism? In any case, I think it's great you got the exposure, and went on the show so you could reach quite possibly, the largest group of Capitalists, and entrenched thinkers the country has to offer. Now, to my question, do you think it did any good? Are you getting the sense that people are listening to you, and getting the message? Varney has had you on now, what? 3x in the last month? Someone apparently wants to hear what you have to say, sarcasm and biting commentary, not withstanding.
I'm still somewhat confused. For example, I spend 3 days a week, every summer, playing music in a restaurant for 20 an hour. So as I understand it, I've entered a contract in which I sell my labour power to an employer. The employer "consumes" the purchased labor power by setting me- the worker - to perform the laboring activity (play the piano) alongside/with tools, equipment, and raw materials (a piano). Does surplus value exists in this case? Is there a distinction between the surplus value of labour power producing intangible services vs. labour power producing tangible product and how can it be measured? How is this purchase of labour power different from that of a capitalist? And lastly, would there be a necessary change in such purchase of labour power in an alternative mode of production, ei a worker coop? Original question: http://www.rdwolff.com/johnlock/can_you_explain_the_difference_between_labour_and_labour_power?recruiter_id=82586