Might you in the future do any short Facebook Live events for those of us who would like your commentary about issues in the news in real time? Your long form radio program is wonderful, but is difficult to get through on a busy schedule. Perhaps short Facebook Live events might be better digested and more easily shared with others. Thank you, Dr. Wolff, for all you.
Now that the unthinkable has happened, might it be possible to include n your weekly address, some thoughts on Trump's proposed economic policies so that we might be better informed and to help us organize against dangerous directions he might take our country. A well informed citizenry is essential to a democracy.
Rick, yes you are right with "What Now?". Trump with the support of both houses (and that is the worst possible result of this election) will do exactly the opposite of what should be done in the current situation. Climate good bye, trickle down theory again, nuclear power rising a.s.o. He will lower the taxes especially for people like himself. Well, sometimes I think the wealthy people in the US don't care if the mass could make a revolution. They are living in their gated communities and if the situation gets worse the hop onto their private jets and leave the country. Here in Germany they say that the managers and politicians have already bought themselves land in Canada so that they have a place to go and then can let the rest of the people deal with the problems. I am not sure what will happen to the universities. Trump hates scientist and intellectuals (just like Mao and Stalin did!!!). I have the slight feeling that this election could have been a terrible mistake. But the Democrats made two major mistakes. First Pres. Obama did not deliver what the american people were waiting for. Second they choose a candidate that was as bad as the repulican one. I believe Bernie could have won this easily, even as a socialist. And I think that a lot of people - especially the young (students for instance) - did not vote, because they were not able to decide between Scylla and Charybdis. Regards, Bill
Dr. Wolff, first off allow me to express my deep gratitude for your life's work. I have no doubt that you will soon do a program that looks at how we have arrived at this moment. Might I suggest you include a little bit on Henry Wallace, FDR's 2nd Bill of Rights, etc. and the ongoing response of the liberal establishment regarding said same. Might I also suggest a mention of Edward Bernays, the CPI and the birth of the modern propaganda system. Lastly, this might be a stretch for many, yourself included -- and I do not toss this out without a lot of time spent thinking critically about it -- I'm sure you know about Operation Paperclip, where the OSS scooped up thousands of hard-core Nazi officers, scientists, doctors, etc. "Human beings", like Mengele, Von Braun, Barbie. We even welcomed Col. Ichii with open arms. Question -- Could a case be made that basically the USA has become 4th Reich? The elites just want more more more, which is just psychopathology writ large--they really don't care what system gives it to them it seems. As a transgendered intersexed woman of 57 yrs, who is barely hanging by a thread as I watch it unravelling now, I know that I must fight for the coming generations, just like my ancestors have done before me. There has been too long a time when too many of us have been sleep-walking through life, believing the lie that the struggle is done, all is well. Remember Bill Hicks? "Go Back to Sleep, America!" Are there any savagely brilliant political comedians out there? Oh, my -- I'm veering off-tangent and I have already taken up too much of your time. I will leave you to it and as soon as I secure employ I will start saving some $ to send to you. My hope my prayer my dream is to be a gigging musician w/in the next year and so be able to join the fight that way -- play fundraisers for Water Protectors, etc. I am crying right now as a wave of emotion is welling up at the vision of myself, onstage in my "I fight fascists because they are fascists" t-shirt, tearing into "All Along The Watchtower". I've been playing 3 hours a day for the last year and am going to redouble my efforts because I want to get out there asap so I can stand with my sisters and brothers! Goddess Bless and godspeed to you. Lauren
Hey Professor Wolff ,Above I have posted a link to our prime ministers latest move to curb the flow of unaccounted for money or black money in our national economy .I would love to hear your thoughts on this as quickly as possible. If you want context : Most people of India do not pay taxes because they dont trust our government bureaucracy ,but I think paying taxes is what keeps the economy solvent and protects national goods and services from devaluation(hope I am correct). Also Our politicians and officials wont be as harsh on the rural people because thats their voting base and may also go easy on the oligarchs so only the urbanized middle class will have to bear the cost of this move ,thats what my father said.What do you think ?
I am not a friend of conspiracy theories. But when I am thinking of the fact even the super rich people in the world are beginning to realize that capitalism might be near its end, I cannot help that the idea comes to my mind that the political crisis that we are facing are willingly provoced. Here in Germany the housing prices are rising at a pathological speed. In my hometown 2,000 students cannot find a room at a reasonable rent. People of the lower middle class cannot rent apartments, because the richer ones are paying more than the others can afford. There is too much cheap money in the hands of the rich and they dictate the prices for real estate. Real estate is the only possibility to secure your wealth when the next crisis hits us, because people have to live somewhere and so they have to pay rent. In Germany the number of rented apartments and houses are 3 times higher that the owned ones. But back to my conspiracy. Is it possible that the super rich and the politicians in charge force the chance of going to war? We here in western Europe would be in the middle if Nato and Russia would go against each other. Sometimes I think they don't care because they believe that such a conflict could not harm them.
Hello, I worked my whole working life under capitalism and I only needed my first(out of many) days of unpaid overtime to figure out it may not be the best system in the world, but since I was born in a former communist country and spent my early childhood years under communism you can imagine I have a natural suspicion of alternatives to this system. Since you seem to talk a lot about worker cooperatives on your program as a kind of alternative to both systems I wondered what your thoughts were on experiments with cooperatives and so-called associated labour bodies in former Yugoslavia. http://sdonline.org/57/workers-councils-in-yugoslavia-successes-and-failures/ http://www.slobodaiprosperitet.tv/en/node/870
Prof. Wolff, I came across an article on Truth-out.org titledo "How Urban Governments are Promoting Worker Co-ops." In the article, it discusses the way in which city Governments are supporting the creation of cooperative enterprises and the article mentioned that Cleveland is one of the cities leading the way in promoting co-ops. As someone who lives and works in Cleveland, it was exciting to find that out. As a layman of economics, however, I didn't fully understand the methods cities were taking to promote cooperatives and was hoping you could discuss that further. Thank you.
Prof. Wolff, I may have suggested this before, but let me reinsert this bug in your ear. I'd love to hear a discussion between you and Michael Hudson on the current state of the economy. You agree on many aspects of what lies behind the current crisis. I just think it would be a fascinating go-round.
MY ODYSSEY IN TODAY’S ECONOMY By George N Romey October 29, 2016 This is the story of my near four year long experience through unemployment and underemployment. Although this is my own personal story, I am by no means unique in this situation. Many others my age with my comparable education and work experience have too lived a horror that was beyond their worst nightmare. This is the story of what has been occurring to many middle aged former middle managers; displaced from the workforce and never given the opportunity to again hold a job that utilizes and leverages their many talents, skills, abilities, experiences, and tenacity. Never again able to earn anywhere near what at one time they enjoyed. This is my odyssey of the new American nightmare. First, I am currently 57 years old. Today I am grossly underemployed working several part time jobs while continuing to look for full time work day in and day out. My current wages of about $5,000 to $10,000 per year are more than 90% lower than the $118,000 I made in my last year of full time work, 2012. I have over 35 years’ experience in banking, finance, operations, and management. I hold a BS in business as well as an MBA in business from well-respected state universities. Throughout my entire life I have been deemed smart and ambitious. During college I worked in a steel factory during summer breaks to earn more money rather than join college friends working at the beach. I started my professional career the week after graduating from college and returned to school ten years later to obtain my MBA while working full time. Throughout my life I have changed jobs several times to excel my career, never afraid of a challenge or new situations. Before all this started friends often called me “lucky” and were envious of my life. I certainly knew that in many ways I had been fortunate. I lived in the West Village of New York, traveled often, had unique and wonderful life experiences and maintained a positive, energy infused stance and outlook on life. Those friends and experiences are now distant memories. How do I explain to family and friends what has happened to me when I can’t understand it myself? Unlike many others, I escaped the initial employment slaughter that began in 2008 and lasted through 2011. I was doing financially well while many around me were being thrown out of jobs. Condos and apartments were being lost. Friends were moving back with aging parents. Savings and retirement accounts were quickly drained. Although no one close to me, there were those that I knew of that committed suicide facing financial destitution and little hope for a better tomorrow. The small company I was working for had been bought by new owners that were not particularly equipped to manage the company well. Although I was concerned about their inability to make good decisions, a sour job market discouraged me from leaving. In February 2013 I was called in by the CFO and my boss and let go. I was one of the highest paid employees and the Company was suffering from negative cash flow. I was given no notice but ten week’s severance. While disappointed, I took the firing as a sign that it was time for a change in my life and what would surely be a new and better direction. By this time I was tiring of New York living. I was getting older and a little home with a patio and maybe a small spot to grill was becoming more appealing than a match box apartment in New York. Manhattan in particular is a great place for the young but we all mature and eventually give up the night life (or at least we should). Not to mention the cold winters albeit I had been able to easily escape those on a regular basis. After spending about a month considering my options I decided to move to South Florida as warm weather year round and maybe a more sedate lifestyle beckoned me. In addition, my brother and his girlfriend had relocated about six months ago to the area and welcomed me to stay with them for a while as I got settled and looked for a new job. While I was very much in tune with the difficulty of the job market, I was encouraged that I would eventually do just as well, if not better than before. Friends, coworkers, former customers all expressed their belief that I would quickly land back on my feet. After all, I was smart, experienced, educated and hard working. In my estimation it would probably take me three to six months, and yes it would be difficult, but I had all the confidence in the world in regards to my abilities and any value proposition to a prospective employer. My first stop in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area was to all of the major recruiting firms that agreed to see me after I had sent a resume to them. The meetings appeared to go very well with most of the recruiters impressed by my presence and stating that placing me should not be a difficulty. However, upon following up with each and every one of them I was systematically snubbed and told no opportunities exist and they would “call me” if something came up. By the tone in their voices they were dismissive and not at all encouraging. This was my first sign that the job market had morphed into something unimaginable and illogical. Resumes sent to positions that I had great experience for went unanswered. Follow up calls would tell me that there was a process and if I was chosen for an interview I would be called, otherwise there was nothing to discuss. This matched what so many others in the job market were saying, hundreds of resumes sent and never an interview. The interviews I did secure became bizarre experiences. Rather than discussing my past achievements hiring managers only seem to focus on my ability to make a spreadsheet or read a large data dump, both of which I’ve done but not what I really had to offer. Few times there were questions about my decision making, communication, leadership or organizational skills. Just could I produce a batch of spreadsheets in a hurry? Many of the experiences that I went through went beyond unprofessional and into the land of crazy and nonsensical. I had interviewers not show up, I was interviewed by entry level employees, I had people start talking on the phone while I was trying to talk, I was sent into interviews for a positon different than from what the recruiting firm had said, I had interviewers suddenly start to rant and rave about some odd item. Most of all, time after time I got the “you are overqualified, too experienced, would get bored, wouldn’t fit in (presumably with younger workers) or wouldn’t like this job. Trying to overcome these objections quickly turned an awkward encounter into something worse, like I was a poor old man begging for a few scrapes and crumbs. Suddenly the evil of being overqualified became more paramount than underqualified. This strange phenomena took me for a total loop and even took me months to figure out. In the past it was always trying to prove to a prospective employer that you had the “right stuff” for the job. Now you felt the need to dumb down yourself as not to appear too smart, experienced or ambitious. Unfortunately, when you have decades of experience dumbing yourself down is not an option. Presumably you should be acquiring more and more skills as you progress through life. How can you realistically get someone to believe you learned very little from your years of work experience? What jobs that are readily available to former professionals such as myself are part time working mostly in the field of merchandise and retail support. Jobs include stocking store shelves, promoting products and constructing store displays. All of these jobs typically are no more than twenty hours a week and rarely ever pay more than $15 an hour. Even if one strings three or four of these jobs together they will still end up financially far behind were they were before. The two full time jobs that I did end up in were fleeting at best. One job the CEO decided after three months she didn’t want the position to remain filled and to the horror of coworkers (and me) I was sent off with two week’s severance. The other job was a commissioned sales job trying to sell consulting services to very small businesses. It would take pages to fully explain the depraved business model these psychopaths used but suffice to say it lacked any moral fiber or code of ethics. So other than those two jobs over the past near four years it’s been part time work and sometimes no work. No surprise all savings are gone. I’ve incurred debt to stay alive, most likely I will never be able to repay. I’ve leaned to live extremely frugal never buying an item unless I desperately need it. I haven’t had health insurance in over three years, a very scary thing in one’s mid to late 50s. Most of my clothes are old and worn. I drive an eleven year old car. No dentist in many moons. I don’t eat well only having the resources to buy processed cheap food. The stress alone tears at me every second of the waking day and at night. How I have avoided a heart attack or stroke from this overwhelming stress is beyond me. Somehow I have gotten through these past few years but my time is at end. I’m down to my last $3,000 plus whatever I can make in four part time jobs that pay between ten and fifteen dollars an hour. I rent a room from a very troubled woman. By the end of November I will face total financial ruin and homelessness and right now there is nothing on the job front. Homelessness at age 57 is not an option. I would be treated like, live like and die like an animal. The only other option is suicide, which I have thought about every day of my life since early 2014. I come closer and closer each day to the realization this will be my only out. I have spoken to suicide prevention health professionals; there is nothing they can do. They can’t solve my economic issues and they can’t get me a decent full time job. I think of this very sad, pathetic situation in a surreal way. How can the guy that was always so motivated and tenacious be in this position? I haven’t changed or gotten lazy or addicted to drugs and alcohol. How can the guy that was always so successful, positive and full of life now be forced to end his own life by his own hands? How did this happen? It lacks any sense of logic or reason. Now the bigger picture. As I said above I am not alone. We have soaring morality rates for middle aged, particularly men that are facing the same dire circumstance. Coming back from homelessness is near impossible at a young age, for an older adult it’s a death sentence filled with misery, despair and total degradation. Possibly I’m fortune enough to be able to articulate my experience well and speak for those that have difficulties speaking for themselves. This cruel twist of faith has sent me to various social media platforms along with conducting my own massive research to understand the problem. Clearly our corporate sector no longer values older workers and just as soon dispose of them. The trend is quite troubling. Spend time reading the postings on LinkedIn or Facebook and you realize just how widespread this problem has become. Will workers at age 45 habitually be subject to employment terminations then when unable to acquire a comparable replacement job descend into financial hell, save for those with a spouse with an excellent income or those with family money? Will this be the future for some of the professional class that isn’t well connected or lucky enough to have a specialized in demand skill? I likely won’t be here to witness the start of 2017 as much as I want to live, continue to make a contribution to society, learn, experience new things, make others laugh, engage in new friendships and all the things that make life worth living. Instead I will need to plan out my demise and carry it out with sorrow and pain unthinkable to most. I always saw myself living to a ripe old age or maybe dying in an unfortunate accident like a plane crash. How I got to this current state boggles every cell in my body.
Dr. Wolff, First let me thank you for the work that you do. Since "discovering" you on Youtube, I have voraciously consumed every video I can find about the ills of capitalism, and more importantly, the alternatives that must be developed to save the economies of the world from those that would "kill the goose that lays the golden eggs". I am a native of the Virgin Islands of the United States, an unincorporated territory, owned and controlled by the US of A. We are located approximately 90 miles east of Puerto Rico. Although migrants from Puerto Rico and their offspring, represent about 20%, if not more, of the population, we and the island of PR itself, find ourselves at odds as we compete in an effort to develop our struggling economies. This is like children of the same parents, fighting for crumbs off the dinner table, while the parents actively encourage the contentious relationship. In fact, not too long ago, the international rum corporation, Diageo, pitted us against each other, basically saying they would move to the one that gave them an offer they could not refuse. The Virgin Islands outdid itself, as compared to its usual submissive tendencies towards corporations, by making such a conciliatory deal with the company, that shockwaves emanated throughout the USA, as even Congress people noticed, and actually argued the potential dangers of the precedent that was set by our government. Diageo was promised almost half of the excise taxes that are returned to the Virgin Islands from the USA, the molasses purchases would also be subsidized by the local government, and the plant would be built by the local government, largely due to the floating of bonds by the Virgin islands government, to the tune of 250 million dollars. Not long before that, a similar deal with John Hess(Hess Oil), that was similarly one-sided, came to an end when Hess chose to leave the VI after being told by the EPA, to retrofit their polluting refinery. Rather than doing right by the people of the territory that had been poisoned by them since 1964, they chose instead to leave, as their company shifted its focus to natural gas exploration rather than refining. The economy was devastated as our biggest employer summarily abandoned the territory. Schools and businesses closed, government workers had their salaries cut, and others were laid off altogether, as austerity came to our shores. I say all this to give you a sense of what small economies have to deal with when they do not produce anything of their own. Those in power even refuse to pursue the development of agriculture, even if only to feed their own population. The economy is based on tourism and the ability to attract corporate investment. The problem is that when investors do come, they are able to squeeze every concession imaginable from brainwashed(and/or corrupt) local leaders, usually in the form of tax exemptions. We have virtually made ourselves a legal tax haven, where companies receive sometimes 100% exemption from corporate taxes, in exchange for a few jobs to locals. Now to my question. How should small island economies seek to diversify and develop their economies, to move in a direction of self-sufficiency and stability? I see ourselves heading down the same road as Puerto Rico, Argentina, Greece, and other places. The "vultures" are already circling! I try to inform as many of my fellow citizens as possible, but while I can clearly articulate the problem, I am not an economist, and am not quite as flowing with ideas to put forth as an alternative, to our present mode of operation. I look forward to your response. Rael Sackey
Dear Professor Wolff, I often hear you speak on the potential of unions and collective bargaining and on my way home from work today I had an idea. I'm still young, dumb, and fairly naive, so if this is an unoriginal thought I apologize. What do you think about the concept of a decentralized local or area labor union? Specifically, an unaligned coalition of workers from all trades, professions, and types of jobs who agree to either picket outside of or boycott local stores and companies who treat their workers poorly. For example, those who fear retribution from management can safely report grievances to a union representative confidentially. Then members of said union who do not work at that business could take care of the more active side of things e.g. demonstrating, informing passersby of said grievances, avoiding spending money at said business all while the union members can avoid being perceived as troublemakers and losing their jobs (though of course no company would ever fire someone for participating in collective bargaining). In today's job market, I feel like many people are so desperate for jobs that they would strike break even though it isn't in their best interest. Additionally I feel like most of the larger labor unions today are too timid or corrupt to actually fight for significant gains. Anyhow, I would appreciate any input you could give on this idea, even if it solely consists of "you are simply wrong".
When listening to economists talk it’s usually assumed that economic growth is good and they tell us what we need to do to increase economic growth. But is this because they’re looking only at the economy and not the bigger picture that includes the environment? Does increased growth result in increased depletion of natural resources? Doesn’t zero growth just mean that everyone is getting paid, and shouldn’t we be aiming for zero growth? Is a positive growth rate ultimately unsustainable?
Dear Professor Wolff, Over the past few months I have become more and more interested in Marxist economics and the disparity of wealth. The question I have is what can ordinary people, who are not in positions of power, do about this?
Hello my name is Ali Reda Jeafar and I am a Shia Muslim living in Dearborn Heights Michigan and I have been noticing at my local mosque that the board of directors is really giving the sheik/Imam presiding over the religious center a very hard time in allowing him and his youth group the proper amount of leeway needed to bring about the proper change within our community. The reason I am bringing this up to you is because I would like to know how to go about transforming this religious institution/enterprise into a worker coop because the board of directors seems to primarily be concerned with making and keeping money that they have become opposed to using the center for what it was originally made for, being a community oriented center that can provide all different kinds of services to the youth and elderly of the wider Muslim community. How could one go about making such an institution into a coop, especially if the board of directors is filled with people mostly concerned about making money and keeping their own positions. The head sheikh/Imam of the center is a good man who cares about democracy and uses his what opportunities he can at the Friday sermons to talk about the importance of the community's involvement in the democratic processes of this nation. I look forward to hearing back from you soon :)