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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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Isn't capitalism a shortcut to communism?

can't we say that capitalism is a shortcut to communism? By definition communism and capitalism can't be compared but on the opposite we can compare socialism to capitalism yes maybe socialism is more human but less productive thus needs much more time to reach communism with socialism rather than under capitalism, capitalism revolts means of production and develop them exponentially in pursuit of Greed and profits leading to shift the production away from the hands of human labor to be replaced by machines and AI, rending capitalism and its relations obsolete? Moving humanity forward to an inevitable communism?

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Artificial intelligence creating "Digital employees"

First, thank you for all your work. I follow all your videos and share with all my friends , family and anyone who will listen. I'd like to suggest a topic regarding technology companies focused n creating "digital employees". They market it as cute and innovative but they do not hide the fact saying in following video, "the next employer you recruit could be a digital employee." Could I get your opinion on this Prof. Wolff? 

My opinion is it is potentially good for humanity if tech companies and employers create a fund or are charged a tax which I call "Redundancy Tax" whenever a job is eliminated due to technology. Had the government already did this we would be far ahead of the game. But this tax / fund would provide income to the public. If companies want to eliminate jobs, that's fine. As long as they replace lost income with tax. I would even suggest companies be taxed  retroactively a monthly fee if their company previously automated human workers, they should be required to contribute  to a "redundancy fund".  I won't be holding my breath. I realize the chances of that happening are almost nothing. But it should happen if society is expected to support purchasing products and services with a shrinking work force. It's the only realistic solution if one acknowledges that future reality.

You and I know politicians don't have the balls to tax corporations. It's probably more effective an idea if it's instead called an "Automated employee wage fund".  The digital, automated or artificial intelligence employee would still earn an hourly wage, lower than a human wage but it's contributed to the "Automated employee fund".  Which could be given to the public so they would have money to buy products and services. 

Seeing how corporations currently fight against fair wages, it makes me think a future more like what's seen in hunger games rather than star trek, is what lies ahead.

However, if companies did have the foresight and conscience to help the unemployed and underpaid workers, it would give the underpaid income to buy products and services. Which of course in the end benefits corporations and the economy. I realize some say "pay for no work" would create incentives for people not to work. I don't agree. We as people may choose more meaningful jobs in arts or other more engaging careers. Just because one has enough money to survive, doesn't mean that's all we aspire for. And only so many companies will ever be cooperatives. I think cooperatives are excellent ideas. But we can't ignore those non-cooperative organizations and find new ways to make them more socially responsible. Especially since we know many workers will be displaced by artificial intelligence. This "Redundancy Fund" is one very important solution to what is certainly coming in the near future.

That's's my opinion. The video link to the company- Soul Machines, a New Zealand company has created digital human powered by artificial intelligence. Thanks again for all you do.

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Do you think block chain is D@W digitized?

These new technologies are the democratization of data. On the few times I heard you mention bitcoins you have been dismissive. But there is so much more to the technology than that! I really urge you to, if you have not, take a look at these technologies. I think your voice is needed to help shape this technology as it’s basically the democracy @work idea you talk about but in a digital tamper proof way with accountability and democracy built into it!

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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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Analysis about India

Hello Dr. Wolff, I have been following your monthly lectures for almost 2 years now and have learned a lot from it. I now have machinery to be able analyze situations better and have a better understanding of things going on around me. I agree with a lot what you say and of course disagree with some. However, since I moved back to India a few months ago, much of what you say, I feel actually applies a lot in India rather than the states. I feel that the working class in the states are living a highly luxurious life and the wealth disparity is a joke in comparison to what I see in India. I would be great if you can spend a little time in one of your lectures to analyze India. I would be really enlightening for people to hear. I appreciate your work and thank you for it. Dhananjay Ramesh.

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Appalled at the apparent comfort of Marxian analysts to dwell within their own "echo chamber".

In response to this AM's Economic Update (1/28) I write this from a life-long socialist perspective: Shouldn't any dialogue about the relevance and validity of Marxism must begin with (1) a defense of the compatibility between Marxist political thought and democracy and human rights especially the right of individual dissent and freedom of speech, and (2) an honest analysis of why no self-declared Marxist government has arisen to power that did not lapse into a totalitarian state resulting in financial ruin, bloodshed, human rights abuses, political suppression, etc. - and that, in contrast, all the improvements in law, human rights, living standards, technology - in general, all the improvement in the human condition, have come from the free market societies of North America and western Europe.

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infrastructure investment

What are the disadvantages of private equity, especially foreign, investing in the infrastructure of the U.S.A.?

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Living within your "means."

Professor Wolff, You have commented on the following from different angles, but I'd like to address it directly. Specifically, the term, "living within your means." When some economists are interviewed by the media, quite often when addressing the problem of income inequality or the prices of "things" going up, we often hear, "people aren't living within their means," otherwise, they'd be fine. Or, they need to work longer hours. OK. So, what has been the driving vision in America for the last 100 or so years? The "American Dream." House, car, stable job, to start. Whether or not you have children is up to the adults to decide later on, but it's definitely a promoted vision. Translation, added expense, if you're thinking economically. So, if your drive is to acquire real-estate, have the nice car, go on vacations once or twice a year, and perhaps replicate yourself down the road by having kids, you have to have...the stable job, to support all of the above. Something, that we all know, is very quickly going the way of the dinosaurs, and only the chosen few will be allowed into what now has become, an exclusive club. Again, what do the majority of Americans have to do to get those chosen items that comprise the American Dream? They have to often take out LONG And, if your job dries up, or, if you have to take a new job, because the previous Capitalist venture decided you were no longer a "viable member of the work-force" (read: FIRED TO GIVE CEOs and stock holders more profit), and the new job pays LESS, how is that worker then, "not living within their means?" That statement is absolutely 100% false! What are Americans supposed to do, with this dramatic shrinking of work possibilities and protections? That's right, they have to often, downgrade their life. Give up the car or buy a cheaper one. If they can. Give up the house, or get a cheaper one, again, if they can. In addition, have banks reached out to people with decreased income and offered lower rates to help them out? Have car loan originators, like Wells Fargo reached out and offered compensatory terms to help cushion the change in the borrower's economic life? No. Big nation-wide banks, just want you - regardless of your life and its struggles to honor the original terms. End of story. So, what's really going on here? This isn't about people not living within their means, this is about the bulk of the American work force being STARVED TO DEATH economically, by a small amount of people, who don't give a damn, about the rest of us. It's about greed. This needs to be shouted as loud as possible, to get the point across that, people who are working their * off, and want to do nothing other than feed their families and live a good life, and give back to the communities, should be rewarded. Not penalized. Thank you, Donald Bellunduno

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Has South Africa failed to end aparthied and if so why?

When Mandela became president, everyone thought aparthied was over, yet the whites (10% of the pop) own over 80% of the land. Is this a problem with the goverment or just capitalism?

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house hold job, is it really an exploitation of women in traditional family?!

imagine a husband whose wage is 6 eggs. he gives it to his wife. she bowls it. assume the 5 bowled eggs worth 12 eggs. now they each ate 3. now she has eaten as much as her surplus value!

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Does forcibly removing immigrants from a country really raise it's worker's wages?

I suspect this may be an economic myth in urgent need of an educated debunking. Thanks.

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Prof. Wolff, Can we conscionably "take back" manufacturing jobs from other countries?

Workers in other countries have become dependent on the jobs created by US corporations, which have outsourced. If those corporations just pick up and leave, where would that put foreign workers economically? Do "we" have a moral obligation to help them through the change?

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The state and goverments are actually what makes capitalism inefficient?

I came up with this question when prof.Wolff answered a question last meeting in january about socialism being inefficient in Venezuela. So the Austrian school blames the state and the goverments and their strong participation in the market, and for the Austrian school that is  what really causes capitalism to be inefficient.

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How is inflation targeting of central banks related to unemployment and how is it implemented?

I was wondering of the details of the relation between inflation and unemployment and how central banks affect it. Do central banks have a role in pushing down prices? How does it work? If yes, how is it possible to push down prices with monetary policy when we barely saw any inflation with the quantitative easing following the financial crisis ten years ago? Or was it a prevention of an even more severe deflation? Thanks in advance!

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Resource Based Economy

Richard do you have an opinion on the "Resource Based Economy' that I've discovered while watching a popular film called Zeitgeist?

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