Dear Professor Wolff, I have a topic to suggest for you...

...if you have not covered it already? It is the special circumstances of the exploitation of the elderly. They are often in poor health, defenseless and vulnerable; some of them are dying as a result. I myself was evicted by a corporation at the age of 70, and lived in my car for ten months. That experience led me to wonder how such things could happen, and I have learned SO much from the work of both you and Chris Hedges. Thank you, VirginiaL

Official response from submitted

In capitalist societies, especially when they are under pressure, the worth of human beings tends to be calculated in terms of whether and how they are useful to capitalism (as workers, as investors, as buyers, etc.) Once workers age beyond a certain point most of them are "less valuable" and so get treated less well than when they were younger. Whatever wisdom their lives acquired is deemed less valuable (if recognized at all, unlike many human societies of the past) than their reduced usefulness as workers. Likewise, if age brings a shrinkage of disposable income (which, for majorities in most capitalist countries, it does), the value of people as consumers/buyers likewise shrinks and again they become discarded. In non-capitalist societies, older persons were often revered as wise, experienced, leaders, etc in economic systems not driven to calculate human beings' worth in the way capitalism trains people to "evaluate" others.

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  • Virginia Hoyt
    commented 2017-07-19 20:04:44 -0400
    Thank you RDWolff, what you describe is precisely what I experienced. At the time in 2015, I assumed it was just one rogue corporation and that I had done all I could by standing up to the corporation – as some of my friends were dying needlessly. Now I see that the problem is systemic. So I am studying now, as this transition to something more wholesome will clearly require all of us.
  • Virginia Hoyt
    tagged this with Important 2017-07-19 20:04:44 -0400
  • Virginia Hoyt
    tagged this with good 2017-07-19 20:04:42 -0400
  • Richard Wolff
    responded with submitted 2017-07-17 14:39:32 -0400
  • Virginia Hoyt
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2017-07-15 06:29:36 -0400