Understanding Socialism (2019)
Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA (2014)
The coronavirus pandemic, the deepening economic crash, dangerously divisive political responses, and exploding social tensions have thrown an already declining American capitalist system into a tailspin. The consequences of these mounting and intertwined crises will shape our future. In this unique collection of over 50 essays, The Sickness is the System: When Capitalism Fails to Save Us from Pandemics or Itself, Richard D. Wolff argues clearly that "returning to normal" no longer responds adequately to the accumulated problems of US capitalism. What is necessary, instead, is transition toward a new economic system that works for all of us.
The Sickness is the System is published by Democracy at Work. Professor Wolff generously donated his time and work so that all sales revenue could go to support d@w.
“A blueprint for how we got here, and a plan for how we will rescue ourselves.”
Chris Hedges, American Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, New York Times best-selling author
“A magnificent source of hope and insight.”
Yanis Varoufakis, Greek economist, academic, philosopher, politician, author of Talking to my daughter about the economy
“In this compelling set of essays, and with his signature clarity, intensity, accessibility and deference to historical and present perspective, Wolff has issued not just a stark warning, but concrete reasoning, as to why this time really should be different.”
Nomi Prins, geopolitical financial expert and investigative journalist, author of Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World
“One of the most powerful and incisive voices in America. As an economist he transcends that “dismal science”, he is a tribune of Main St, a voice of the people.”
George Galloway, British politician, broadcaster and writer
“Wolff clearly explains the ways that capitalism exacerbates unemployment, inequality, racism, and patriarchy; and threatens the health and safety of workers and communities - i.e., most of us.”
Jessica Gordon-Nembhard, Ph.D. Author of Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice.
“If you care about deeper measures of social health as Americans suffer the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, you will find here a wealth of insight, statistics, and other ammunition that we all need in the fight for a more just society.”
Adam Hochschild, author of Lessons from a Dark Time, Rebel Cinderella, and other books
“The current failed system has a noose around all of our necks. Richard Wolff offers an economic vision that gets our society off the gallows.”
Jimmy Dore, American comedian, political commentator, and author of Your Country Is Just Not That Into You
Purchase The Sickness is the System
Understanding Socialism is Prof. Wolff's latest and Democracy at Work's second published book.
Understanding Socialism tackles the taboos and unveils the often hidden histories of socialism, but most importantly it offers a way forward: a socialism built on democracy in the workplace. A blend of history, analysis and opinion, Understanding Socialism is an honest and approachable text that knocks down false narratives, confronts failures, and offers a path to a new socialism based on workplace democracy.
Understanding Socialism not only explains what socialism is and has meant to various proponents, it also looks at the past transition from feudalism to capitalism as a model to help us visualize the next transition out of capitalism. Understanding Socialism explores how socialist theory was used and applied to shape the histories of countries like Russia and China principally, and many other countries in smaller but important ways. It analyzes the successes and defeats of those countries, the world's reactions to them (anti-socialism and fascism), and how all of those factors offer important lessons for the building of a 21st century socialism.
Understanding Socialism is published by Democracy at Work. Professor Wolff generously donated his time and work so that all sales revenue could go to support d@w.
"Richard Wolff's book is the best accessible and reliable treatment we have of what socialism is, was, and should be. It is clear, concise, and compelling. In a time in which socialism is more popular than capitalism among the young, we now have a strong and powerful case for why socialism is what radical democracy looks like." - Cornel West
“Rick Wolff puts the social back in socialism by centering the people, the places and the passions that other economists strip out. In the same accessible style that has made his programs and lectures such a hit, he explains his subject in a way that's not only smart, but makes the rest of us feel smart. It's actionable intelligence for the every person.” - Laura Flanders
“There are few economists who are the equal of Richard Wolff, which he once again proves with his latest book. Lucid, brilliant and uncompromising in his dissection of the capitalist system he also provides a sane and just socialist alternative to capitalist exploitation, one we must all fight to achieve.” - Chris Hedges
Why should we pay attention to the great social critics like Marx? American, especially now, confront serious questions and evidences that our capitalist system is in trouble. It clearly serves the 1% far, far better than what it is doing to the vast mass of the people. Marx was a social critic for whom capitalism was not the end of human history. It was just the latest phase and badly needed the transition to something better. We offer this essay now because of the power and usefulness today of Marx’s criticism of the capitalist economic system.
Understanding Marxism is published by Democracy at Work. Professor Wolff generously donated his time and work so that all sales revenue could go to support d@w.
Capitalism's Crisis Deepens (2016)
The crisis that erupted in 2007 continues to inflict immense and uneven costs on modern society. "Recovery" becomes yet another luxury that bypasses the vast majorities in capitalist nations. The articles and essays gathered in Capitalism’s Crisis Deepens: Essays on the Global Economic Meltdown written between 2010-2014 explore the specifics of the deepening crisis as they became clear, caught the public’s attention, or defined a particular historic moment. As the table of contents below illustrates, the organization of the essays, at once topical but also chronological, seeks to enable readers to grasp the crisis as a moving, evolving stage in capitalism’s history. This book makes a great companion to any introductory or advanced course covering economics or the study of contemporary capitalism.
A new historical vista is opening before us in this time of change, Wolff writes in this compelling new manifesto for a democratic alternative based on workers directing their own workplaces.
Richard Wolff is the leading socialist economist in the country. This book is required reading for anyone concerned about a fundamental transformation of the ailing capitalist economy!" - Cornel West
Ideas of economic democracy are very much in the air, as they should be, with increasing urgency in the midst of today's serious crises. Richard Wolff's constructive and innovative ideas suggest new and promising foundations for much more authentic democracy and sustainable and equitable development, ideas that can be implemented directly and carried forward. A very valuable contribution in troubled times." - Noam Chomsky
Bold, thoughtful, transformative-a powerful and challenging vision of that takes us beyond both corporate capitalism and state socialism. Richard Wolff at his best!" - Gar Alperovitz, author of America Beyond Capitalism
Capitalism Hits the Fan chronicles one economist’s growing alarm and insights as he watched, from 2005 onwards, the economic crisis build, burst, and then dominate world events. The argument here differs sharply from most other explanations offered by politicians, media commentators, and other academics. Step by step, Professor Wolff shows that deep economic structures—the relationship of wages to profits, of workers to boards of directors, and of debts to income—account for the crisis. The great change in the US economy since the 1970s, as employers stopped the historic rise in US workers’ real wages, set in motion the events that eventually broke the world economy.
The crisis resulted from the post-1970s profit explosion, the debt-driven finance-industry expansion, and the sequential stock market and real estate booms and busts. Bailout interventions by the Federal Reserve and the US Treasury have thrown too little money too late at a problem that requires more than money to solve.
We must now ask basic questions about capitalism as a system that has now convulsed the world economy into two great depressions in 75 years (and countless lesser crises, recession, and cycles in between). The book’s essays engage the long-overdue public discussion about basic structural changes and systemic alternatives needed not only to fix today’s broken economy but to prevent future crises.
With unerring coherence and unequaled breadth of knowledge, Rick Wolff offers a rich and much needed corrective to the views of mainstream economists and pundits. It would be difficult to come away from this… with anything but an acute appreciation of what is needed to get us out of this mess.” - Stanley Aronowitz, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Urban Education, City University of New York
This book brings together key contributions and underscores different interpretations of Marxian theory generally and of Marxian economics in particular. In facing and trying to resolve contradictions and lapses within Marxism, the authors have confronted the basic incompatibilities among the dominant modern versions of Marxian theory, and the fact that Marxism seemed cut off from the criticisms of determinist modes of thought offered by post-structuralism and post-modernism and even by some of Marxism’s greatest theorists.
From the Yale Series in Economic History.
An Inheritance for Our Times: Principles and Politics of Democratic Socialism (2020)
Edited by GREGORY SMULEWICZ-ZUCKER and MICHAEL J. THOMPSON
“Brought together in this great volume are works by scholars, activists and scholar-activists who address the on-going crisis of socialism. Both visionary and practical, this work offers the readers a glimpse into potential scenarios that can advance a truly revolutionary, democratic, and emancipatory socialism. This volume is the sort of provocative catalyst needed to push those on the Left beyond traditional parameters. More than ever, this approach is needed now." — Bill Fletcher, Jr., coauthor of Solidarity Divided and "They're Bankrupting Us" and Twenty Other Myths about Unions, executive editor of globalafricanworker.com
“Socialism has suddenly emerged as a public politics in the United States. If you want to think about why, and about what socialism could mean in the 21st century post-industrial America, this anthology is an excellent place to start. It contains a few blasts from the past, but many of the essays grapple with how socialism can make sense in a society very different from the one Marx wrote about or Eugene Debs ran for president in. The editors are to be congratulated." — John B. Judis, author of The Populist Explosion and of The Nationalist Revival
Imagine: Living In a Socialist U.S.A., edited by Francis Goldin, Debby Smith, and Michael Steven Smith, is at once an indictment of American capitalism as the root cause of our spreading dystopia and a cri de coeur for what life could be like in the United States if we had economic as well as a real political democracy. This anthology features essays by revolutionary thinkers, activists, and artists—including Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore, civil rights activist Angela Davis, incarcerated journalist Mumia Abu Jamal, and economist Rick Wolff— addressing various aspects of a new society and, crucially, how to get from where we are now to where we want to be, living in a society that is truly fair and just.
A Marxian Analysis of the Economic Crisis and Greece (Greek language, 2014)
The collective volume Economic Crisis and Greece (Athens: Gutenberg, 2011) is an initiative of the Greek Scientific Association of Political Economy and has been edited by Andriana Vlachou (Associate Professor at the Athens University of Economics and Business), Nicholas Theocarakis (Assistant Professor at the National and Kapodistriako University) and Dimitris Milonakis (Associate Professor at the Crete University). The contributors challenge the orthodox Economics which is considered responsible for not being able to predict and explain the current financial crisis.
PDF Format (Greek)
Class Struggle on the Homefront (2009)
Home Front examines the gendered exploitation of labor in the household from a postmodern Marxian perspective. The authors of this volume use the anti-foundationalist Marxian economic theories first formulated by Stephen Resnick and Richard Wolff to explore power, domination, and exploitation in the modern household.
State Capitalism, Contentious Politics and Large-Scale Social Change (1998)
State capitalism is back. It never went away. This book looks at the role of state capitalism in major European and Asian societies. It confronts neo-liberal pieties about the role of markets and private property in capitalist development and radical accounts which see the state as the antithesis of capitalism. State capitalism is a normal form of capitalist development. Its extremes may vary but it has been, and remains, central to an understanding of modern capitalism. This is especially the case in the so called Communist and Communist worlds of Russia and China, and for alternative economies like that of India and the Philippines, which are the focus of this timely and challenging book.