Richard D. Wolff
Richard D. Wolff is professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a visiting professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, in New York.
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“Free” and “unregulated” markets simply do not define capitalism, and are not marked by anything like “liberty.”
Defenders of capitalism criticize kinds of capitalism that lack the particular adjectives that matter most to them.
Every other economic system in human history was born, evolved, and ceased to exist at some point. The most reasonable expectation is that capitalism will also cease to exist one day.
Inflation deeply affects societies that suffer them, yet no democratic process determines where, when or how employers’ decisions to inflate prices lead to those impacts.
Raising the minimum wage can and should be one basis for a mutually beneficial alliance between wage workers and small businesses.
The obscenely rich have thus driven the U.S. economy and society further from anything remotely resembling a “level playing field.”
The utter failure of private capitalism to prepare for the coronavirus should have surprised no one. Private capitalism, as business school graduates repeat, focuses on profit. The “profit incentive,” they learn, makes private capitalism the superior, “most efficient” economic system available. That is its “bottom line” and “chief goal.” The problem is that to produce adequate numbers of testing components, masks, gloves, ventilators, hospital beds, etc., and then to store, secure, monitor, maintain and demographically stockpile them were not and are not privately profitable businesses.
Capitalism’s political problem arose from its intrinsically undemocratic juxtaposition of an employer minority and an employee majority.
China concluded that in the United States, achieving prioritized social goals happened more when public and private resources were coordinated and focused to do so.
Democratic impulses, similarly provoked and suppressed inside workplace autocracies, have not yet matured into social movements that are strong and focused enough to overthrow autocracy inside workplaces.
There are alternatives to the Federal Reserve’s raising of interest rates and curtailing money supply growth but they are ignored.
Fascism can indeed “happen here,” but in unique fashion.
In reality, markets are useful institutions for capitalists to manipulate for profit.
The role of the state is central to this decline of capitalism in one area and form and its ascent in another area and form.
Jobs, real wages, consumption, profits and investments are growing more in China, India and Brazil than old capital centers.
In China today, like the USSR a century ago, transition to a post-capitalist society has been stalled.
Wolff’s weekly show, “Economic Update,” is syndicated by more than 100 radio stations and goes to 55 million TV receivers via Free Speech TV. His three recent books with Democracy at Work are The Sickness Is the System: When Capitalism Fails to Save Us From Pandemics or Itself, Understanding Marxism, and Understanding Socialism.