Is the death of capitalism near?

[Applause] hello I'm Tom Hartman in Washington DC and here's what's coming up tonight on the big picture the signs are everywhere are we nearing the end of capitalism and if so what comes next well as economist Richard Wolfe in just a moment and we might finally have definitive proof that voter suppression one wisconsin for donald trump more on that tonight's politics panel with brian Pruitt and Alex Lawson later on in the program richard smith is officially out as CEO of Equifax he resigned today just a few weeks after his company one of the world's largest credit reporting firms revealed that it had suffered a massive security breach that exposed the personal information of 143 million Americans to hackers which raises the question just how did a massive for-profit corporation like Equifax gain access to something such compromising information without the public's consent and what does this tell us about capitalism joining me now is Richard Wolff visiting professor at the new school co-founder of democracy at work and the author of numerous books including capitalism's crisis deepens essays on the global economic meltdown professor wolf welcome back thank you Tom glad to be here it's great to have you with us I think this scandal has really exposed to a lot of people how really little control we have over our own individual private financial information Equifax is just one company in a ten billion dollar industry that sucks up our data for profit yeah I remember back in the 70s running a small business having to jump through all kinds of Hoops to get done in Bradstreet to give me a credit rating I had to you know reach out to them and send them information and all this stuff this was like in 1973-74 how long is this the is this normal how long has this been going on what's the situation here and how different is it from you know my experience back in the 70s well I don't think it's fundamentally very different we have a mechanism with modern computers to gather vast amounts of data and to process this data we have a society now that is dependent on debt in a way that didn't exist in the 1970s everybody now is deeply in debt for their home for their car for their college education with their credit cards you can see people who go in for a bottled water in a small store using their credit card which is a debt if everybody is dependent on debt one way or another then you have a problem with the creditor who never knows whether it's safe to lend to this person for their home to that one for the car for that one for their credit card so we needed to develop an industry that would allow banks and other creditors to have some way to measure how safe and therefore how high an interest rate they should charge for the loans that they make so it's the modern debt dependent economy the way capitalism has developed into a kind of a mountain of debt that creates the niche the space for companies like Equifax to make a killing serving the deeper and deeper indebtedness of a population is there a metaphor here for the power that capital now has over our lives as a result of this capitalism and also doesn't this serve as a very clear example of where the profit motive conflicts with public safety and security yes and the examples are everywhere let's review the Equifax they discovered this is public knowledge in March that they had a problem with their security they didn't fix it in time they had a hack in July or later in the year that shouldn't have happened because they should have fixed what they discovered what was wrong that was the logical way to proceed they didn't do it I don't know if they didn't do it because they didn't want to spend the money I don't know if they didn't do it because they have a lacks supervision program whatever it was this private for-profit company was busy doing something else other than protecting this vitally important information because if it's compromised you can and this is happening to millions of Americans spend many hours and many dollars an enormous aggravation with theft of your identity with abuse of your credit card numbers and all the rest of it that's involved here when you add that high executives of Equifax sold the huge positions of stock when they learned or now they claim they didn't know which is hard to understand how several people sold a lot of stock right after this flaw was discovered you're beginning to smell that this is a system and I believe capitalism works this way that creates incentives for all kinds of people to do all kinds of a social and anti-social things as a normal part of business let me put it one more way if a public company abused the public trust half as badly as Equifax now did you would be hearing everywhere cries that we should have this privatized that the private sector can do it better where is the outcry that says we don't just want mr. Smith the CEO of Equifax to resign after all let's remember he gets one and a half million dollars a year none of that is being taken back he has an 18 and a half million dollar pension package which it was announced today when he resigned he would not lose this man is walking away from a disaster for millions and there's nothing at all not only to punish him which I don't care that much about but to change this structure so it doesn't keep happening the way the bank's abused us the car companies with their ignition and other emission manipulation scandals we're surrounded by a private capitalist system that is literally screaming my god you can do better than this yeah I just took one last time go back to my example from the 70s I and and again tell me Richard if I'm this is just an anomaly I was 23 in 1972 and that year I and I don't my own business for a couple of years that year was the first year that I made more money than my father had ever made in his life and I still couldn't get an American Express card I remember for almost a year trying to get a credit card and they wouldn't believe me I had I had to submit copies of bank statements and all kinds of stuff I don't recall that there even was a credit reporting agency or maybe it was just that I was dealing directly with the credit card things have changed tremendously I mean I've gotten credit card applications in my cat's name should we nationalize this you know Equifax and should we break them up through the antitrust law should we go back to what I was just describing if fact that's what you know was real that the credit card companies and other creditors just did their own research and you know you had to prove to them you were who you were I mean what what are the reasonable solutions and and why has it changed so profoundly in the what 50 years since 1970 40s however long that is the basic explanation is that after a hundred and fifty years of rising wages in the United States in which workers became more productive and they got back part of that extra productivity in rising wages in the 1970s that stopped and it has never resumed that is productivity went up from workers but their wages didn't this was a trauma for the American people and they expected each generation to live better than the one before which they had had they made promises to themselves and their kids of what life would mean they didn't want to give up and so they did something very dangerous with the help of the banks they were told and they accepted okay if you can't have the American dream with your wages no longer going up borrow your way into that dream and the borrowing went crazy and the banks were there to do it but they needed a credit system to measure how reliable it was to flood you with the credit cards and the car loans that's where this industry arose as a response to the fundamental failure of capitalism to keep raising wages which is why people like us are beginning to say this isn't a problem of the equifax company or even the credit card companies it is a problem of a system that has spun out of control that is no longer serving the needs of the people you know an economic system is like a refrigerator if it doesn't work anymore you can try to fix it here or there but at a certain point the refrigerator repairman or woman says to you I'm sorry I could keep fixing the motor but we're beyond that now you've got to get a new system that's where we are with our economy now we have to face that the basic way we've organized things isn't working anymore and little fixes here or there punishing this bad guy or that one we're beyond all of that and the central thing for me and I think it's for a growing number of people in America is to say look we have a system in which a tiny number of people the major shareholders and the boards of directors of the 5,000 biggest companies in this country a total of thirty forty thousand people that's it these people are making all the decisions what to produce how to produce where to produce what to do with the profits okay when it went well they took the credit we gave it to them now the system isn't working they've got to take the blame we've got to change the way we make all the basic economic decisions and the way forward is to bring democracy to the business let us all participate debate decide together what we want our economy to do if you want an economy that serves the people you've got to put the people in charge it's the oldest lesson of the human race in a recent interview and I believe in your book you said that you're more confident than ever that we are reaching the end of capitalism is this conversation we're having about Equifax and credit and how things have changed over the last 50 years is this a symptom of that or is it deeper and more profound even than that no I think it's a system it's a systemic problem they're coming everywhere they're coming fast and furious we've just been through one abusive mistrusted behavior of the automobile companies after another of the bank's we've just been through years of abuse by the banks now we're seeing in the credit business it's everywhere it's what the cigarette companies did to us it's what the water companies are trying to do the private ones that are buying it up how many examples across how many industries in how many countries do we need before as with that metaphor of the refrigerator repairman we understand we have a systemic problem and you know the scary part is yes to change your system is a big thing but as the repairman for the refrigerator will tell you to go down the rabbit hole of one small seeming repair after another very quickly adds up and proves it was a mistake let's go on let's change the system you know Americans were proud that they react reacted to the failing of the British Empire by saying we don't want a better King we don't want to reform the king we don't want a monarchy we want an end to the King system and we set up something else we can do the same for our economic system it's long overdue to have at least an honest debate and what our political leaders are afraid of and why it's so important to bring it up in programs like this is we need to ask and debate the question have we come to the end of capitalism and if so what best way forward taking that as the basis for asking new questions and going in new directions and I and I look forward to the continuing that conversation professor Richard wolf great having you thank you coming up and is non stop whining about the NFL protests is any indication Dom Trump is about to go full Richard Nixon on the culture wars little work that's Brian Pruitt and Alex Lawson in tonight's politics panel after the break it's called the feeling of freedom everyone in the world should experience freedom and you get it on the open road the world according to Jessie welcome to my world come along for the ride all the world's a stage and all the news companies nearly players but what kind of part is aren t America play RT America offers more RT America offers wars in many ways the news landscape is just like the theater real news fake news good actors that active and in the end you could never outwit your audience so what part can be played all the world estate all the world is days all the world's a stage and we are definitely a player hey guys I made a professional issue our point to show you how arty America fits into the greater media landscape arty is not all left are all right but we are a solid alternative to the Bulge we don't skew liberal or conservative and as you can see from this bar graph we don't skew the facts either talking-head lefties talking-head righties oh there you go above it all so look at world art see America is in the spotlight now and frankly I have no idea how to classify us it actually took me way more time than I care to admit will Fanning the racist flames of the culture wars help Donald Trump save his presidency let's ask tonight's politics panel would be for tonight's politics panel our Bryan Pruett contributor to red state and Alex Lawson executive director of social security works and thank you both for being here with us tonight guys yeah so Donald Trump can't shut up about black men playing football this morning he went on another Twitter rant about players protesting police brutality and urge the NFL to quote set a rule that you can't kneel during our National Anthem end quote you'd think the president would have more pressing issues to worry about than athletes exercising their constitutional right to free speech but during a press conference later on in the afternoon Trump said that quote respect for the flag argued otherwise to me that was a very important moment I don't think you can disrespect our country our flag our national anthem to me the NFL situation is a very important situation I've heard that before about was i preoccupied not at all not at all I have plenty of time on my hands all I do is work and to be honest with you that's an important function of working it's called respect for our country this isn't really about in my opinion the flag or even football really it's about telling black people to keep and know their place this is the kind of racist culture war that Trump like Nixon used to get elected so a couple of questions number one is he just going to ride the culture wars out from here on out and number two is that even a smart strategy for Trump to double down on the culture wars I know it rallies the hardcore of his white supremacist base but it also distracts from the economic populism that I suspect actually got him elected this is all about economics I don't I completely disagree with you that it's that it's racist it's about economics white middle class lower to middle class voters don't want to be lectured to by millionaires that work only 16 days a year this is Donald Trump knows exactly what he's doing here and he is going to win on this issue with middle Americans I don't it's just dumb that's not an issue there I mean like maybe because it's just politics but the fact is there's so much more important things happening why are three million American citizens in Puerto Rico seven days after a hurricane begging begging for the aid that they need that is what he should be tweeting about that is what he should be drawing attention to he said it was a word jumble as always but he's got lots of time all he does his work well I think the citizens in Puerto Rico would say he's doing a bad job or his focus is in the wrong place picking a fight with a bunch of NFL players and NASCAR drivers and basketball players like I don't know is it a winning political strategy maybe but it's also I hear these talking points on the right I just heard you utter a variation of them you know these these these guys who work 16 days a week and they're multimillionaires right yeah you and I both know that if you're gonna be a professional athlete you don't work 16 days a week you work seven days a week and you work most of the year number one you got a fan shape but and and and number two does that mean are you saying Brian that that we should not respect the opinions of people who are multimillionaires because I've got a long list for you if you're listening you're missing the point what middle middle America middle Americans don't get to go to work and express their their constitutional rights on a daily basis this is not again it has nothing to do with racism it has to do how we with how we experience life in America most middle Americans have to go to work work with their hands or work on I get don't get they don't get the luxury it's a luxury Brian and Donna's question if if these were all white players protesting violence by police against unarmed black people do you how do you think the response would be different I think it would be exactly the same the best thing that the NFL Players Association could have done is issue a statement saying our players have the right to do this but we call on them not to do it as a sign of defiance against protesting against the president and honoring the flag in the country that that would have been the smartest political move Association of I mean you've got a very real issue here of systemic racism in the United States and it's a most extreme form it's the it's the the the wanton killing of mostly young black men by mostly white police officers but it echoes through every dimension of our lives from from economic opportunity to housing opportunity to educational update to everything and and this is what Colin Kaepernick started and he's a he's guy who's very aware of this as being the child of a bi-racial couple I mean he's just very aware of this and that that discussion seems to have gotten completely lost in this BS thing about are you saluting the flag or not well if we're gonna have the discussion of what Kaepernick was actually protesting I'd be happy to have this but that's not what Brian and Trump or any of the pundits you know it's my point they're ignoring it and what Kaepernick is doing is drawing attention to a massive problem the problem is that in this country right now black lives don't matter because african-americans are murdered pretty much with no consequence by police officers the list of no indictments is we just are doing what last week before to it before last the Freddie gray guys you know second the feds said no and I'll just say one one quick thing not a single black man is being saved by football players taking the knee it not a single Puerto Rican is getting help right now by football players taking a knee these are they said the same thing Martin Luther King when he was marching please don't compare millionaire football players to MLK it's why not it's there bro you're ready for racial justice that is not true it's absolutely about Muhammad Ali what about the Olympics runners who raised right who saluted who raised their fists this is a part of history a part of what Nixon said about Muhammad Ali he was playing that game back in the 70s I mean you know it's just well anyway we'll move along it's we're all starting to get redundant voter suppression almost certainly one Wisconsin for Donald Trump according to a comprehensive new study out of the University of Wisconsin at Madison the Badger states voter suppression ID law deterred or prevented as many as thirty seven thousand eligible voters from going to the polls on election day that's more than enough to account for Donald Trump's twenty two thousand vote margin of victory over Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin when are Republicans going to stop this charade and actually let Americans vote recent study by Loyola University law professor Justin Levitt found that just thirty one instances of potential voter fraud in the entire United States all 50 states over a 14-year period from 2002 to 2014 that's one out of a billion ballots cast one in 2.3 million chances voter fraud will occur in a federal election in comparison one and two hundred and well I don't need to go through the list I mean this is you know thirty seven thousand people were not allowed to vote in Wisconsin these were 100 percent of them were registered voters that's not true that's not what the Year study actually said the study actually said that when these voters were interviewed they said they felt discouraged not a single category edge that two categories installation was discouraged and the second was prevented no they would never prevent it yeah we're allowed to know there were loves more productive provisionally there's never a visual balance don't get counted yes they do I thought if you're an actual the answer to your question of when Republicans will stop doing this is never why because Donald Trump is the president because this is how they get power they get power and then they change the rules to cheat so that they can maintain power and can complete or continue this upward redistribution of wealth to their criminal friends on Wall Street they will never stop doing this they will always just try to get people to not be able to vote because when the people vote greedy Liars on Wall Street lose so the greedy Liars on Wall Street rigged the system so that people's voices aren't heard topic has nothing to do with Wall Street it has everything to do back to the memory this is the squishiest study that's ever been done we need real date what happened in North Carolina who are the judges said why are they throwing this out because it was racially motivated to not allow african-americans that you vote not on surgical decisions not Wisconsin and the fact is it's a nationwide movement walking a largely black City this is where most of this happen these are not mutually exclusive ideas one two for Republicans to acknowledge that there is no epidemic of of voter fraud I can admit that there's no voter fraud but at the same time I can also say there's nothing wrong with asking an American citizen to prove who they are before they vote it's the most important thing like voting is is sacrosanct and we just because people feel discouraged an emotional response that has nothing to do with their actual ability to vote what do you think if you ask that a person who was faced with the poll tax they were discouraged from voting at the same this is all about putting up barriers to prevent people from voting if you're honest if you wanted to fight on your ideas if you wanted to fight on you believed in what you would do is encourage everyone to vote I would fight everyone to vote every way and you wouldn't even in this year for Americans to vote the examples they used in this report were people who had moved just recently now we've had problems one example that they used in the story about their who weren't who had you know that was getting the driver's license or something that there's they're primarily seniors and people of color that's who this is aimed at and students and students all people that at least I don't know about the students but the the older people and people have caught everyone has Aidid has to have ID to get into a federal building to claim federal benefits this idea the idea this idea that having an ID is some sort of burden on the American people right or leave you with the last word Brian Alex thank you both Pink's down thank you and that's the way it is tonight and don't forget democracy is not a spectator sport get out there good active tag you're right

  1. We will rise from the ashes of capitalism and their Christian Zionist war backers like a Phoenix in the night. Hail Holy Grail!

  2. We’re the ones that pay the consequences of capitalist immorality. They own so much and are completely unaccountable. How is this allowed??

  3. Anyone reading this, listen up. "Ben Chesterman" is a name that has been noted around countless anti-capitalist comment sections on many sites for ages in various account forms. It's clearly someones job. Don't fall for the derailment, it's one of the notorious "paid trolls" you hear about.

  4. Did you know that 2 million people with average wage in world get same money in 1 month like richest person in world in 1 month??
    If you have a world average wage,you would need to work 180 000 years to get the money the richest person gets in 1 month.
    I am just waiting to capitalism pigs to respond me

  5. Trump was elected because Democrats fucked over small and medium business owners , the election wasn't rigged like it wasn't in Australia

  6. What happened in Bhopal, India way back in the eighties. The gas leakage killed thousands, and the company boss ran out of India. It is known as Bhopal Gas Tragedy. That's History, fact, check it out.😎😎😎😎

  7. it's invitable
    all systems are temporary and their only difference is how long each system can retain stability
    capitalism is one of the most unstable systems but it did serve one purpose : to kicstatt he technological age
    however past the upcoming onsault of industry 2.0 technologies taking over production, distribution, management and services along with breakthroughs in biological and cybernetic augmentation technologies capitlaism can only lead to a catastrophic system where a supermajority suffers and a miniscule minority prospers despite the fact that industry 2.0 technologies would make said goods and services with a cost that is so low that it could signle handedly ensured a living standard for all regardles of occupatoinal status

  8. Prof. Wolf wants to switch to Socialism. Since socialism is predicated on workers owning the means of production, tell me where this occurs.

    Every example you think of is just State Capitalism. This is true always. The use of social programs doesn't equal socialism.

  9. Bernie : pres
    Nader : : vice pres
    Hartmann : sec of state
    Wolff: labor sec, treasury, commerce, or FCC chair
    2020 period.
    The CONservative game ends with a Dem majority lead by these men. Get your ass out and vote Dem in 2018. The WH will follow if you vote.

  10. In Australia the harder you work , the more you're taxed . why your retirement future goals slip away because of government greed

  11. I have had no trouble getting ID and haven't moved in over a decade but I am a senior citizen. For the first time in my life I had to show ID to vote.

  12. Why would a white middle income American ( like myself ) want our president sticking his nose into an NFL protest (unless he wants to fix what is being protested) when he has a job to do in government and one of our territories is still without clean water and electricity and we have such a level of poverty that the UN is investigating.

  13. The average working class American has little understanding of his or her contribution to the historic role in transforming capitalism into a working class oriented society period. They do not realize the compounding effect of their actions combined produce the effect of a world overthrow of the Trump administration in order to topple all the autocrats.
    Trump inching toward destruction and humanity toward emancipation from an alien superpower. The historic journey for capitalism ends when the janitor refuses to shovel the shit of the rich.
    They do not understand that this working class oriented society that they will make after they overthrow their masters will be a proletarian form of socialism. Everyone in and nobody out movement spearheaded by Me Too drives the stake right into the heart of the vampire.
    They won't call it socialism but it will be socialism for all intents and purposes. The white, black, red, brown, yellow, sections of the working class will have seats in the Senate and Congress, along with all the other working class nationalities that comprise the country. The spectrum of cultures will give Congress a rainbow effect and the White House new leadership and vigor to lead so that the White House can eventually wither away when the rest of the world has molted off its class skin.

  14. There's a more fundamental reason why we're NEVER going to have a better, more just world–the VAST MAJORITY of humans are greedy, selfish, cruel and corrupt, and that's NEVER going to change. Humanity's days in this world are numbered. Our whole civilization is soon to collapse under the weight of its own weaknesses.

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