Economic Update:  Economics of Socialism



welcome friends to another edition of economic update a weekly program devoted to the economic dimensions of our lives our jobs our incomes our debts and those facing our kids as well I'm your host Richard wolf I've been a professor of economics all my adult life and I currently teach at the new school University in New York City before jumping into the large number of economic updates I have arranged for you today I wanted to make a couple of our usual announcements for those of you who might want to watch this program either for a second time or if you have the opportunity otherwise on television as a television program we are very pleased to make that available to you please go to patreon or e om patreon comm indicate you want economic update the program and you'll be able to see it on TV that's once again patreon.com slash economic update I also want to remind those of you that might be interested in having me come and speak in your University in your Union in your community center your library and so on that I am now represented by a speaker bureau good friends and good people who go by the name speak out now that's all one word speak out now dot o-r-g org if you want to email them you can do that at info at speak out now dot o-r-g and I want to remind you that we maintain two websites that are available to you at no charge 24/7 one of them is democracy at work or one word democracy at work dot info and the other one is our D wolf with two F's com okay so with that behind us let's get into the updates one of the big items this last week was the passage in Congress of a bill apply sanctions to Russia we have applied sanctions to Russia for a while now this is another bill that applies another bunch of them for another period of time there's two comments I have to make about the economics of sanctions the first is that they don't work in other words we have much experience with sanctions let me give you the grossest one shortly following the arrival of Fidel Castro to power in Cuba back in 1959 the United States sponsored a failed invasion to overthrow in when that didn't work the United States applied sanctions and for the next half-century actually a bit more than that those sanctions were always justified on the grounds that they would bring Cuba around would end mr. Castro's regime and so on did none of those things the Cubans found ways to get around the sanctions as the Russians have and as the Russians will one of the consequences of leaving most industrial production in the hands of private enterprises is that it has become very easy for governments suffering sanctions to find more than a few companies are willing to make a little extra profit by wiggling around the sanctions and so they don't work they are mostly a political theater designed to persuade whoever they want to that they're being tough and going after the bad guy but in terms of what they really do it's fake and so let me give you a concrete example it turns out that also this last week the United States Treasury Department that's mr. Trump's Treasury Department levied a two million dollar fine on a company for violating the sanctions against Russia the company in question was Exxon Mobil that's right the biggest oil company in the world a two million dollar fine for violating sanctions let me remind what the annual revenue is of ExxonMobil in 2016 216 billion that's with a B and they got a fine of 2 million that's as if you did something really bad and the government finds you and came to you and said right in your face you must pay this fine 3 cents right now or we will be mighty angry and you would fish into your pocket giggling at every point and give them the three pennies that's what 2 million is to the Exxon Mobil Corporation but the story gets better who was the head CEO of Exxon during the time that it violated this sanctions put by the US government against Russia well a mr. Rex Tillerson you know him he was made by mr. Trump to be the current Secretary of State so let me be sure you all get it we have a Secretary of State who as far as we can tell is in no danger of losing his position who was the CEO at the time that the government mr. Tillison now serves finds his company for violating the law it takes your breath away doesn't it who's above the law not just mr. Trump in his own mind all of these folks aren't they and meanwhile they play the theater of sanctions the next update has to do with medical news oh no not again the insurance bill fights in the Congress that use up our headlines I want to talk about other things that are falling kind of below the radar and in this program we like to bring them right up above the radar I'm right within its purview there's a long-standing question about whether health care doctors hospitals medical device and drug makers and the insurance companies whether they should be private or public in most of the advanced countries of the world they are either public or they are public-private partnerships we we in America tilt the bill all the way over to the private or nearly so of course in a rational society this question of whether anything whether it's medical cares or public parks or the police or you name it should be handled by private enterprises or by the government or to be discussed and decided democratically in terms of the populations belief of which is the better way to get the service provided but we have in America big private enterprises with lots of money among the biggest and with the most other Koch brothers and they spend an awful lot of money trying to get rid of any risk of competition from government enterprises they want to have it all for themselves as private enterprises and so I want to talk a little bit about some examples we're leaving things to the private enterprise is so inefficient so ineffective so immoral that I don't think it would last five minutes in an open public democratic discussion and decision as to whether this should be done privately or publicly here's an example the McKesson Corporation you may not know about it but it's the largest distributor of drugs in the United States the CEO of that company John Hamre gren has been in the news this last week why one of the things McKesson distributes our opioid drugs painkillers that are now causing unbelievable death and destruction across the United States keep in mind the following statistic 90 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses 90 every day well the McKesson Corporation distributes those to and it is required by law to report any suspicious provisions any suspicious number of such drugs being dispensed by a doctor or a pharmacy to whom they distribute drugs they didn't do a real good job of that back in 2008 they were fined 13 million dollars for not doing that properly they promised to do better then they were found guilty again between 2008 and 2013 and so this last January they were required to pay another fine a hundred and fifty million dollars on Jan you in January of 2017 they clearly didn't get the message and we suffer the results by the way mr. hammer Glen the CEO over the last 10 years has taken home somewhere between five and six hundred million dollars as one clever reporter mentioned mr. hammer Glen could have paid out of his own pocket the fines levied against the company and it wouldn't have made a difference to his lifestyle one little bit leaving the distribution of drugs in private hands under us revelation of this sort that I've just provided seems to me beyond inappropriate and becoming downright immoral this is not a good thing to leave to private enterprise because the profits from distributing opioids clearly dominated other considerations for mr. hammer gren and his company another example also in the week this last week by the way if you want more details on the McKesson Corporation go to the New York Times of July 23 if you want this next example more details the towel gene corporation CA LG en e it's the New York Times of July 26th they were subjected to a big fine 280 million dollars for promoting drugs as cancer cures that were not approved by the FBI for such things in other words to make a lot of more money by having a lot more people particularly desperate people who are suffering from cancer put their hopes and more importantly their cash to work or that of their insurers on these unproven unapproved drugs they got into trouble they made billions and they paid a 280 million dollar five leading drug production and distribution in the hands of privates doesn't look real good does it third example comes from England the Bhoots corporation it's the largest public pharmacy it distributes beauty and health aids all over Europe has about excuse me all over Britain and Ireland has over 2,500 stores there it is by the way a subsidiary of Walgreens corporation which is an American company doing pretty much the same thing well it has been charging over $40.00 for the treatment of what is called the morning-after pill if you have unwanted or unprotected sex and you want to prevent conception you can take this pill doing it a few days immediately afterwards and it prevents conception they make this pill available in their upscale pharmacies at over $40 treatment whereas other companies in England that do the same thing but smaller chains typically charge less than half and so women in Britain have begun to complain loudly and the British government gets these complaints that people who desperately need this pill are having to pay extortionate amounts of money in one of their pharmacy chains and they want the government to look into that that sort of thing works in England for those of you who may not aware of it being here in the United States where we don't have this thing boots tried to hold on they did a clever thing they got or maybe they were just lucky to get a conservative women's group to say that nothing should be done because sometimes can you imagine this pill is provided to women who have not gotten parental consent or are under age what that has to do with the price you charge I will leave to your imagination I can't quite see it other than as a way for boots to find some justification for the absurdly high price they charge but it failed in England partly because of the power of women's groups and the fact that the Labour Party joined in Boots has now apologized for the overcharge and we'll see kind of what happens but again it raises the question if there are laws in England which there are in the UK about what drugs can and cannot be provided to whom and by the way they the pharmacist has to ask certain questions of anybody who buys contraception in England that's part of the law but if the law provides that boots must do this then it is not appropriate for boots to make some policy decision which just happens to boost its profits to go the other way last point the National Health Service in Great Britain distributes the exact same drugs for free all over England the women who go to these stores either have not got the time or the access to a clinic and so they're being gouged by the private distributor you wanted a better example of how the public does a better job than the private clearly the public distributed for free because they don't have to pay very much since they buy the drugs in bulk and therefore get the best price next update Consumer Reports magazine very useful service telling consumers what to watch out for it has an interesting story in the August 2 thousand 17 issue it turns out that the big cable providers cable TV in the United States and specifically the article mentions Comcast and spectrum which are two of the biggest get among the lowest scores of anybody who scores for Consumer Reports that is they get more complaints about bad service than anybody else or almost anybody else really low scores and Consumer Reports speculates in their article what the reason is three-quarters of Americans it turns out have access to only one broadband provider who can provide speeds in excess of 25 Mbps in other words the reason that they get so many complaints is that their service is lousy and their rates are too high and that's because they have an effective monopoly on speedy service in three-quarters of America but this has led to an interesting and creative response it talks just to the public private issue it turns out that some municipalities not happy with their citizens being subjected to this monopoly ripoff have gone into providing this service themselves the Consumer Reports magazine credits citynet in Santa Monica California and EPB – Chattanooga in that part of Tennessee and it turns out upon research that 500 municipalities across America either provide this service themselves or do so in partnership with private companies but of course the private companies are busy they have filed all kinds of lawsuits to prevent towns from offering any competition in the way of public provision of these services and they have also used their lobbying efforts to get almost 25 states across America to throw obstacles in the way of communities cities and towns within those states from doing what Chattanooga and Santa Monica have done to undo the monopoly next time you hear the senators from various states and they're doing it more and more talk about being opposed to monopolies check out whether they did anything against the monopoly of your cable provider next short item I just wanted you to know that the latest study of what CEOs of big corporations earn indicate that on average they earn 271 times what the average workers in their companies earn that's up from 30 or 40 times 50 years ago 271 times it takes your breath away it has increased over recent decades far more than what has been done for average workers pay that is CEOs pay is risen much faster than average workers and you might be interested to know that CEOs pay has written risen much faster than the profits of the companies that they lead they don't pay their workers and they take more from themselves as increases than their companies earn nice job if you can get it and here are the two top winners this last year mark lor lor e he works at walmart his pay last year 244 million dollars and I did the math for you it works out to five million dollars a week 52 weeks a year or as many weeks as he actually shows up so you consider your pay each week and then you think about mock lore at Walmart he's number one number two sundar pichai I hope I'm pronouncing his name right but I don't really care he works at Google or what it's now called alphabet and he made 200 million a year and that works out to roughly four million dollars per week there's no further comment I need make you can make your own okay we turn now to a final story which is connected to last week's in view of John Summa a professor at the University of Vermont who is being kicked out because he questions the mainstream orthodoxy from a left perspective this story has to do with economics as it's taught at the University of Utah that's right Utah it turns out that some years ago can you imagine Utah University hired in its Economics Department a long star alongside a whole big bunch of professors who teach conventional mainstream economics a few who teach it from my mock seein or a critical or a heterogeneous it's these different words I use this day in anyway from a dissenting perspective it hired a few and they have been there for quite a while and a few others have been hired alongside all the conventional material that is also taught but my Ike was drawn to an editorial in the Deseret News a leading newspaper in Utah which admitted the editorial did that Utah University is one of the few universities in America that allows any dissenting Marxist perspectives to be taught but even though they are very few Deseret editorial deseret news as editorial applauded the formation of a new Institute the Echo's Institute at the University of Utah with money from the Echolls family and hence the name and then I really found it interesting ten million dollars from the Koch brothers foundation to establish a special Institute whose job apparently is to counteract to offset to balance whatever word you like the awful influence of a few dissenting Marxist scholars all with the requisite credential teaching in the Utah University economics department in most other countries the idea is if you teach economics it is useful to open to students the array of differing perspectives those that celebrate capitalism and those that are skeptical or critical those that use mainstream traditions but also those that explore leaving non mainstream traditions partly this is to give students a sense of the diversity that has always been part of economics partly it's to sharpen their mental ability to look at economic issues using multiple toolboxes not just one etc all the logical pedagogical arguments those are discarded here in the United States in the vast majority of universities who exclude especially in economics with which I am familiar they exclude dissenters in a way that is somewhere between absurd and silly it is so lopsided and one-sided that it produces in the United States a population that is barely literate in mainstream economics and has no exposure to dissenting perspectives it is a rigidly enforced orthodoxy there are a few schools and our exceptions famous ones the University of Massachusetts the University American University in Washington and others and Utah was among them and that seems to have been too much for the Koch brothers and other conservatives who have now funded a school alongside the Economics Department to monitor them to counter them to undo them this is hysteria masking itself as a reasonable behavior but of course with a private enterprise system that allows billions of dollar to be accumulated in the hands of a few individuals they can be as lopsided and one-sided as parochial and narrow-minded as they wish and make what kinds of things happen just like that because they have the money it's another price you pay you might think you live in a democratic society where we democratically decide how we want our children to be educated we make at least a little effort in that direction in our public primary and secondary schools which are after all subject to democratic pressures in the cities and towns where they're located but when it comes to higher education it is kind of an open season because we do not fund our colleges and public colleges and universities adequately they're desperate for funds they turn to the private sector and for those of you who believe that private companies and private individuals give money to universities without wanting something in return without exerting pressure on those universities to do what they want well you are indulging a level of naive naivete that defies anything I can say you really need to rethink your position the people donating the money have no ambiguity whatsoever in making sure they get a return on what they donate and the Koch brothers and the other conservatives that funded the new Institute at Utah which you can read about in the Deseret News whenever you want to in Utah is a perfect example well we've come to the end of the first half of this program please remember the websites are DeWulf with – let's calm and democracy at work dot info they will provide you with all sorts of supplementary materials we will take a short back short break scuze me and we will be right back please stay with us we get rather okay Hey right here there so same time next week well of course put away a few bucks feel like a million bucks for free tips to help you save go to feed the food all right you know this isn't any fun to talk about but we should okay so who's gonna do what I'll pack the dead batteries great I'll only put what I don't mean into a duffle bag perfect that's totally unhelpful no problem meanwhile I will try to comfort everyone by speaking in a calm voice and I'll try to get the generator going without any gas oh let's not forget the cell phones which probably won't work right and who is going to handle supplies I can forget to do all this for us thanks pal well I think we couldn't be any less prepared I'm pranking guys talk to your kids about who to call where to meet what to pack visit ready.gov slash kids for tips and information Oh checking your fantasies no just my 401k statement hmm all right suppose you find the money for that I just been saving a little every month I can't seem to save anything well what about all this what about the money you're spending what money it's gone before and get my hands on it I got a pizza for it Todd hey can somebody spot me when it comes to financial stability don't get left behind it's 547 get tools and tips for saving at feed the pig org when some people struggle with their mortgage payments they become frozen but the people who take action are far more likely to get the most positive outcome call this free government program for the option that's right for you welcome back friends to the second half of this economic update program today the second half is going to be devoted to one huge topic the topic is socialism it is something that needs the conversation and it needs discussion and it needs the date but before I get into it I have to explain why it needs those things basically I offer two reasons first a whole bevy of recent polls here in the United States indicates that particularly younger people folks age 35 and younger when asked the question which do you prefer capitalism or socialism are giving an answer that is surprising many across the United States namely huge numbers sometimes majorities are saying they prefer socialism when you explore that further and I have done that personally as well as looked at the literature it turns out that it's probably fair to say that voting that way in a poll is a reflection more of people's dissatisfaction with the capitalism they live in then it is a clear preference for something else because when you talk with large numbers of young people which I do in my classes as well as in my public speaking it's quite clear that they're not very clear about what socialism is what it has been where it comes from where it's going and so in the interests of responding to the growing interest I want to talk about it on this program the second reason has to do with the fact that here in the United States unlike in most other parts of the world for the last 50 years there has been a deeply repressive taboo on discussing socialism in a reasonable way what are its strengths what are its weaknesses what are its achievements one of the things it did that we want to avoid just the kind of reasonable balanced that you would give to any topic that seemed to you or me to be important we haven't been able to do that we have been in a cold war for most of that time our enemy we were told was the Soviet Union it was socialist and therefore it was socialism and everything having to do with socialism had to be poo-pooed put down denounced as horrific and evil and awful as if we were in the middle of a life-threatening conflict and had no time or interest in a balanced assessment we were fighting for our lives or at least that's what the thought leaders of this country wanted us to believe and so we didn't have a conversation they had it everywhere else pretty much but not here and so we've had a generation of people unexposed to what socialism is unaware that over the last 50 years like everything else socialism has changed capitalism certainly has and socialism too but you wouldn't know much about it if you weren't allowed to read the books to have the teachers who could teach it to you and to have a national public debate so in the interests of catching up with 50 lost years let's talk about socialism and let's do it on this program and hopefully in lots of other venues as well well the first thing it's a bit strange about the word socialism is why we use it it has at least for the last century been the major alternative to capitalism the major critic of capitalism in most countries of the world there are socialist parties who are important and often are win the elections and become the government's in those countries it's been true in virtually every country of Europe for example but many other parts of the world as well so socialism is a regular normal part of the lives of people in those countries and there is no evidence to suggest that they're worse off than we are because they've had such a conversation and a good bit of evidence to the opposite in any case why socialism while the word social what we are all part of the society as opposed to a particular economic system called capitalism why do that why you word it that way I think the answer lies in understanding a little bit more about capitalism the very thing socialism is critical of because capitalism hasn't had one meaning either and capitalism hasn't stayed the same either so let's go through very briefly how capitalism has been differently understood in the past and also in the present so for example some people see capitalism as a particular way of organizing production so that some people will call them employers that's a relatively small group or in charge they make all the key decisions of what they're going to produce and how they're going to produce it it where they're going to produce it and if they make money from doing so if they produce something that sells well well then they decide what to do with the profits meanwhile the vast majority of people who work in the enterprises that employers run are called employees they come to work 9:00 to 5:00 five days a week more or less do what they're told and at the end of the day go home they leave behind whatever it is they help to produce because that belongs in a capitalist system to the employer it belongs to the minority even though it was produced by the majority okay that's the way capitalism works and that differentiates it from other systems slavery for example is a way of organizing production but they're the two key players or masters and slaves and we know enough about that system to know that it's different from capitalism because in capitalism there are no masters and there are no slaves that's outlawed by law in most capital countries including our own likewise capitalism is different in the way it organizes production from feudalism there we have lords and serfs they are not masters and slaves nobody owns anybody in feudalism but it's a different system capitalism is employers and employees and there are other systems for example there have been economic systems where everybody is self-employed no employer employee because each of us man and woman adult is working on our own for our selves that was kind of the vision of America that Thomas Jefferson had in mind in the early days of the United States it's not what happened but it is what he preferred and then there are still other systems we can call them communal for lack of a better term excuse me that's when a tribe or a village or an extended family organizes production kind of equally everybody having a particular role to play and a particular voice in making decisions some people call it collectivist some people call it communal some people call it communist it's a variety of terms but it's clearly different from the employer-employee system so that's basically what capitalism has often been defined at but it's not the only definition if you pick up an American newspaper today you will actually see capitalism defined very differently it will be defined in terms of markets and private property or even private enterprises for these people the definition they want you to focus on is how goods get distributed by markets by market exchange I get some of that because I give you something equivalent money or some other object and they want to focus on whether things are owned privately or publicly I don't want to get into a debate about what the best definition is I've done that on other times I just want you to have all of that in your mind why because it helps me to explain the varieties of terms socialism has taken so for example some socialists just to pick up on what we just said think of socialism as not markets but instead government planning and not private enterprise and private property but instead the public the government owns the means of production so for them they got a nice dichotomy a nice split capitalism is private enterprise in markets and socialism is government planning and government owning and operating enterprises that's neat and that's kind of the way the bait the debate played out in the twentieth century but the twentieth century is over we are now almost a fifth into the next century and we need to understand that the interest and the definitions of capitalism and socialism are shifting and that's part of what this program is about but let's continue talking about our topic socialism many socialism's focusing on what capitalists said they were namely private enterprise and markets have stressed in their critiques of capitalism that if you leave the economy to private enterprise and markets you get lots of outcomes that are not good at least not good for the majority of the people and that what socialism means here we go is that you bring the government in to correct to offset to limit the beared outcomes of leaving the economy to private enterprises and markets that's why governments have been brought in to regulate industries to limit industries to control industries that are privately owned and operated so for many people socialism simply means the government is brought in many people that I encounter in the United States believe that for them socialism is when the government limits the wage you pay you can't pay below a certain minimum wage or you can't charge an interest rate above a certain amount or you have to install mechanisms that clean the air that you pump into the atmosphere that we all breathe and so on any government coming in to limit or control private enterprise is seen as socialism then the extreme form of that is when the government doesn't just regulate or doesn't just control the government takes over markets are no longer how you distribute goods the government tells you what to do with the goods after you produce them who to pass them to and who will pass things to you government planning not markets and then the government doesn't just regulate private enterprises it literally takes them over it runs them as government enterprises and of course the two great examples that people point to other Soviet Union and China as people who were communists that is their kind of socialism took the full measure of the government coming in whereas the kinds of social isms you had still had in France or Germany or Italy or Scandinavia has the government with a big regulatory role but not literally taking things over the way they did in Russia and China so socialism has often meant in the minds of socialists that they're making for a more humane capitalism a gentler capitalism there was a popular phrase in the twentieth century capitalism with a human face and the idea of the socialist was what we want is the efficiency they thought capitalism had the privacy and the private property that they thought capitalism add but with enough government control to minimize the bad results that they were convinced did flow and would flow if you let the economy simply go fully privatized in terms of ownership of property and market exchange but there were always other socialists who didn't agree neither with the moderate socialists of West Europe for example nor with the communists of Russia and China these were people who felt that socialism wasn't just the government doing things whether that was more or less wasn't of great interest in it they felt there was something much more central much more important that they as socialists focused on and that had to do with how production was organized in other words for them socialism meant not organizing with employers or employees in their view that kind of system that kind of capitalism shared awful qualities with feudalism and slavery and the awful qualities were basically that the minority at the top masters lords and now employers could and would use their economic power to control the political and cultural life of the society and be fundamentally undemocratic in the workplace where the minority controls master Lord employer and therefore in also in the broader society using their wealth and power to control the broader society so they can stay in control of the enterprises that they dominate so for these socialists socialism means an alternative economic system of production the end of employer versus employee and the substitution of a democratic socialized ownership and operation of enterprises that means the workers or the community or an alliance of workers and residents of a community together democratically own and operate the production in their society for them that's socialism and therefore there's a struggle among socialists between those who think this fundamental change of the organization of production is key and those who think no no let the capitalists run their enterprises just have the government come in and limit control what they do to get rid of the bad results no socialists don't like each other often debate with each other and that's fine they are a different way of interpreting socialism and there's every right and reason that they should argue and debate and if you're not familiar with that debate well that it's about the fifty years we haven't add a conversation we haven't been able in our society to be free enough to talk openly and honestly about these questions and so we have to catch up now using the end of the Cold War for that enhancement of our freedom of discussion and debate that we should never have been deprived of in the first place now let me make it real clear what I'm saying here it by using examples I'm going to start with slavery slavery is an economic system is as existed for centuries in various parts of the world including of course here in the United States wherever slavery arrived in experienced what every economic system has always experienced any that we've ever had there were people who loved it and welcomed it and there were people who were critical of it the system survived as long as those who loved it what kind of a majority in shaping public opinion and in shaping the society and if and when those who didn't like it became numerous and became influential well then that system began to disappear every economic system we have had the communal the tribal the self-employment the slave the feudal every one of them was born evolved over time and died the burden is on anyone who's watching or listening to this program to imagine that the latest one capitalism had a birth had an evolution but unlike every other system will not die my guess is it will and that's just a guess based on what every other system has done well let's go back to slavery why am I talking about it because slavery had its detractors slavery had its critics slavery had its dissident we know about that because when slavery was ended both here in the United States in Britain and Europe and Asia Africa Latin America it was a kind of notion that people had that it was good riddance the human being shouldn't be the slaves of one another so there's a kind of a residue of hostility so it's easy for me to show you and to explain that slavery always had its critics who eventually helped that system to go on and pass away but throughout the lives of his slave system you had again two kinds of critics one set of critics said you know the slaves should be treated better they're not being fed properly they're not being clothed properly they don't have good places to live their families are being wrecked by their owners selling different members of the family to other we want slaves to be much better treated you might call these people reformists they wanted to reform slavery to make it work better they wanted slavery with a more human face then there were others who said to the first group are you nuts the problem here isn't how well the employed steeped master treats the slave the problem is we shouldn't have slavery we and we must do that because if all you do is get the master to treat the slave a bit better then what's to prevent the master the next chance he has from withdrawing whatever it is you've made him do nicely and going back to what he did before there's no real security for the slave not to be what a slave is at the mercy of the master and therefore the issue is free the slave those two people those who wanted to reform slavery and those who wanted to revolt against slavery and make a transition to another system is the history of the struggle over slavery and a history that we now know was eventually decided in favor of the revolutionaries because we don't have slavery hardly at all anymore now the parallel the reason I tell you the story about slavery is with capitalism socialists can be easily divided into those who favor reform and those who want something more what are the Reformers want they want the government to come in and make for capitalism and more human-faced make sure workers don't get less than a certain amount make sure where they work is healthy and safe make sure that the tax system does a little bit to prevent extreme inequalities of income that's what socialists or reforming socialists or what in America is called Democratic so that's what they've wanted they basically okay with capitalism but they want it to be reformed and then there are others who say wait a bit stop even if you get the reforms if you leave the capitalists in charge which is what you're basically saying they can and will try to take back those reforms and you'll be in an endless struggle you get a few you lose them you try again you lose what has to be done is to change the organization of production no more employers and employees well what would be the alternative well we know what it is with slavery it was every person is equally free and in the critique of capitalism of those socialists who want to go beyond reform the argument is everybody is both an employer and an employee no more dividing people between the one or the other it's like saying to the slave you are now a master you want our slave then the words have no meaning anymore you are free nobody owns you nobody can tell you what to do anymore than you can tell them and it all has to be worked out among free people well the argument of the socialist is no more employer telling the worker what to do when to do it how to do it where to do it and then taking the results of the workers work and acting as if it were all yours no no no whatever the different people who participate in production – they are all members of a team they are all equal and they equally beside what is to be do be produced how its to be produced where it's to be produced and what is to be done with the profit that all of them together have worked to produce and the short answer for what we call that kind of a system is worker coops and it's important to identify the this idea of the Socialists with the worker co-op because worker coops are something that an awful lot of people listening or watching this program all they know about it's not some very distant foreign thing it's as American as apple pie for example how do I know that because there are co-ops all over the United States in every one of the 50 states in most communities one or another activity is run as a co-op there are churches that run as a co-op there are grocery stores that one is a co-op of the consumers there are businesses that are already run as worker cooperatives we talk about some of them on this program the socialism that existed in the 20th century the dominant socialism the socialism identified with Russia and China Soviet Russia and the People's Republic of China focused on the big picture what we might call the macroeconomic perspective of socialism government ownership government planning we now have a century of experience with that we see its strengths and there are some and we see its weaknesses and there are plenty of those too and we've learned and socialists are learning too and one of the conclusions drawn more and more by socialists which is how socialism is changing has to do with focusing more on the micro level the level of production the individual store or office or factory and saying that's the root of the problem and that's the solution area let us transform how we work how adults spend most of their lives five out of seven days a week most of the adult years of their lives they're at work in an office a store or a factory if that were run democratically if that were run equally where everybody has a voice in making all the big decisions we would change as human beings the community would change the vision of socialism of going doing something better was always lurking in this idea this is a way to say look it made sense to say to slavery whatever you accomplished as a slave society we can preserve all or most of it and yet do better by making people free and the end of feudalism came when people said we can preserve the thousand years of feudal Europe its achievements technically culturally but we can do better by saying nobody is a lord and a serf anymore none of that the serfs are freed that's what the French Revolution did and so the Socialists are now arguing and the point of here is not for you to be persuaded the point is for you to understand the argument and then we can have a debate and discussion and change it and that's all a healthy society should do but the Socialists of today the emerging socialism is one that says if we want to overcome the problems capitalism bequeaths us we hold on to what capitalism achieved its successes and their planning but we also recognize its flaws and its failures and we go to the root of that problem and we change the relationship in production employer-employee is too close that master slave and Lord serf and we have to see it and we have to make the change thank you for your attention I want to thank all of you for being partners which is what we want all of you to be to share what we do on this program with others to point them to the websites I want to thank a longtime partner of ours truth out org that remarkable independent source of news and analysis and I want to say and I mean it that I look forward to speaking with you again next week




Comments
  1. Coops are not incompatible with capitalism. Unless you suggest the goverment should dictate as mandatory for any enterprise to be a coop, which kind of makes it a socialism of the macro again.

  2. Worker co-ops still maintain the capitalist basis of production for profit. Co-ops don't eliminate the anarchy of production. Socialism of the 20th century still focused heavily on the micro-level. It focused on the junction of them more than anything else. You misrepresent socialism of the 20th century. The real problems with socialism of the 20th century was it's historical limitations. It was ahead of it's time

  3. Catholicism is a form of socialism: Catholics give to their churches and monasteries and convents, and the money is used for schools and hospitals and orphanages. "From each according to ability to each according to need." Catholic charity is therefore socialist!

  4. Crony capitalism has reduced the poverty rate of the world in half. Think about how real capitalism with the absent of state interference could change the poverty rate. Of course the Socialists will cling to their ideology, but can Socialists show any proof that their methods work? Read Napolean Hill or Bob Proctor and get off your lazy asses.

  5. This guy is a perfect example of how socialists dont like poor people, they just hate and envy the rich. Sundar Pichai makes as much as he does because he has literally changed the world as we know it for the better. He has added a radical amount of value to our lives, multitudes more than any single employee at his company.

  6. Not entirely sure that the future is waged. I think we are moving to the age of leisure and consumer incomes, equally as dangerous as the previous waged era subject to sudden turns of trade or should we say providers ( goods and services)

  7. Government can't buy services and products from private businesses because that will always end up as a subsidy. The business will always see the huge wallet of the government, and will charge much, much more – just because they can.

    We either have to have healthcare 100% private or almost 100% public.

  8. Socialism where workers are in charge just cant work on large scale. Majority of people just doesn't have knowledge and capacity for that. Just like voting in democracy, that's how you get Trump as president. And everything before that got us to point where somebody like Trump was even considered to be president.

  9. Why can't the 2nd idea of socialism, democratically worker owned means of production, be gotten through reformist means? Can't we just get money and corruption out of politics and stop these private bail-outs where co-ops would be on a level playing field and naturally be a more sustainable model thus the lasting model?

  10. Slavery still exists in the US. Read the 13th amendment. Capitalism grew due to slavery not in spite of it. This is a simplistic version of slavery which was chattel and acted as a social control mechanism on the white working class.

  11. Perhaps the various US government agencies have become addicted to the money brought in from fining corporations. So they go lightly on them for violations because they want to keep the profit motive there for committing a crime, then the government agency can continue bringing in revenue from the fines.

    Like the traffic cop waiting behind the billboard for speeders in One Horse, Town, USA. That brings in more money than being parked out in the open. It is a dishonest practice born of greed or a need to balance the town books. So too does the Federal government wait behind a billboard looking for violators, but doing nothing effective to stop the crime from being committed.

  12. 4million a week or more is TOO MUCH money to handle too much. I cant believe this shit and yet some CEOs ARE
    going into bankruptcy no there not the workers are.

  13. let's talk about toilet paper
    when prof. Wolf wipe his ass, he is using soft quality paper produced by capitalist system

    the people of societies he advocates for are using newspapers or vegetation.

    He pick up isomeric cases from capitalist society, while not mentioning complete failure of communist systems in every flavor it ever tried.

    Also, it is interesting that he using a platform to spew he poison from the system that would not be developed in communist system.

    He is a hypocrite who is damaging young and stupid.

  14. This man is a national treasure. If he weren't so brilliant and educated, capitalists would be having a field day with these ideas, gaslighting the world away as usual. Our current reality was definitely designed by the capitalists to breed confusion, to keep workers hands tied, and keep everyone chasing money in a rigged game. It is so cunning, it has people believing socialism is a problem. Lol

  15. The Koch Brothers and the whole private sector is getting what they paid for from the Trump presidency. He is giving the private sector 1.1 million jobs six months into his presidency into which 1.1 million people will be working under a whole new set of conditions, perhaps not the best conditions to work, and not the same optimal pay new workers might expect, this is why it is important for a Marxist economist to show how Congress, on the one hand, gives free reign to industry and private industry, on the other hand, exploits labor and the environment when given free reign. The two markets doing well under this president are the commodity markets and the labor markets globally. Stocks prices rise, wages fall. A contradictory movement Marx found embedded in commodity production comes from the use of labor as labor-power to create more value for capital. The accumulation process for the private sector is also a process of dispossession of property and assets belonging to more people in the working classes. When a social and natural catastrophe occurs the state is unable to step in. For instance, Tyson foods has created a dead zone the size of New Jersey in the Ocean Gulf of Mexico as a consequence of the free rein it is given inside the factory. The commodities Tyson produces are foods and poultry, at the interior of society, the factory is where humanity interacts with science, technology, automation, machinery. These elements are employed to enrich Tyson. Not employed to enrich society despite the elements are consumed in common by labor-power. They are not controlled by labor implying labor is not in control of itself in production, nor outside of production is labor free,. The same problem exists in nature as the oceans, rivers, forests, pastures are not ends in themselves but are a means for the labor-process. The use of things is entirely dedicated to the value of things under capitalism. More of these scenarios will occur as this is exactly what this administration is giving to private capital. In this way Trump can boast he will be a most popular president on par with Lincoln for freeing capital from government restraint. Yet for the Democrats unable to recover from the onslaught of working class defection the use the state as an agency of reform is no answer to the problem of an enslaved working class under capitalism.

    With most US states adopting right to work laws the two markets freed of government restraint, the labor markets and commodity markets, we can expect to see wages fall and profits rise as a class dynamic in the economy. Jobs increase and stocks rise, business community thriving as the conditions of labor deteriorate and the 8 hour day become 12, 14, hour long days to compensate for the loss of 'hands' owing to innovation. Not good news for the working class from the standpoint of production and not good news for workers in the exchange of wages for labor-power. All this is very good news to the Koch Brothers and some sections of the business community. Banks would go along with it. Rent, interest, prices, all rise, except wages.

    Looking at the whole process from a subjective point of view, the worker's worst nightmare is being labor-power for capital.
    Labor-power is its imprisonment confining work into a narrow activity eventually destroying the mind and any latent potential individuals have that springs from their own creative juices. Labor-power denies labor the right to be freed from its own ancient curse found in the division of labor, over 2000 years of class divisions that withholds personal free will to rule itself. Mind is captured in the body of a slave and patrician, slave and master, wage labor and capital, in general history and specifically its historic mission is to free itself.

  16. The economics of Socialism Other people have resources and you vote to steal it at no risk to yourself as the government wields the guns to take it this necessitates bribing the government to keep resources and the world goes to shit because of greedy Socialists and the ever corruptible governments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *