A Cure for Capitalism?

Democracy At Work's slogan, "A Cure for Capitalism," caught my attention. The word "cure" suggests that the system is open to significant reform, that its most destructive qualities can be eliminated, making it better serve the interests of the vast majority. This is Robert Reich's thesis in his book "Saving Capitalism—For the Many, not the Few". However, isn't the only "cure" for capitalism to get rid of it permanently, surgically remove it from the body politic? Marx showed, I think conclusively, that the nature of capitalism guarantees that it can not be restructured to make it equally beneficial to "all of us". In this week's EU, you depicted the transition to a system based on WSDE's as a largely steady and peaceful process whereby workers abandoned their jobs in capitalist enterprises and formed or joined cooperatives. Eventually, the replacement of capitalist enterprises with one structured around  worker ownership of the means of production and, as importantly, upon democratic  self-management. (I might point out that a number of people who do not want to work for an employer choose, if they're able, to form their own capitalist enterprises.) I question how peaceful or gradual this process would likely be. Lenin made the point that no economic system has ever been supplanted by another without the assist of a bloody revolution. As I survey the world today, I would bet heavily that the capitalist ruling class would not meekly fade away. If cooperatives came to to pose a genuine threat to their dominance, what do you think they'd do? Instruct their paid-off politicians to vote for subsidies for WSDE's. Not likely. The struggle to end capitalism, if I may predict the future (which I know you frown upon…severely) won't be gentlemanly or ladylike or bloodless. The working class will have to mobilize and fight. What form that struggle will take, whether it be an armed insurrection or based on non-violent civil disobedience, as Chris Hedges prefers, it will involve sacrifice and, tragically, loss of life.  Such grand historical changes always have.

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  • Will Cooper
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2017-10-16 00:44:17 -0400