Professor Richard Wolff Interviewed About Socialism Claims, Christine O’Donnell

his mid-week politics with gabe pressman
what about the politics and david hackman joining us on the phone and on
skype by conceding that’s sitting in front of some books and looks like a sunny day here in new
york city professor emeritus of economics at my alma mater alma mater at
the university of massachusetts currently a visiting professor at the
new university in new york city you know i
was one of your about four hundred students in your intro to macro class
because we never met because it’s such a huge class did you like teaching those i hate to hatred is what i did intended style it there is something for most magical in standing in front of a a group that largest four hundred trying to get something across your
somewhere between a teacher and a stand-up comedian sue you were both funny and a good teacher i
mean i enjoyed it and it was kind of my first i was a freshman and it was my
first introduction to college economics i taken some high school but also my
first introduction to marxist theory and just looking around and seeing how
people process what you were telling them for the first time in most cases it
was interesting to me i can see why you my preferred twenty or thirty people
sitting in front of you instead of four hundred well you know i thought that
might self but turns out they’re really incomparable experiences that completely
different what goes on in a small seminar room or
even a small classroom is it different a moment the different experience from a
large room a good education should never be limited
to the larger ones but it’s a terrible way to conveys specially if you have a good
teacher who really is intuitive like that it’s a good way to convey the material
but also the excitement of a committed teacher to it and all that part of my excitement
that i really like economics are like what i’ve learned by studying the economics of the of
society so it was kind of a wonderful chance for
me that tried to get across defense of mastery of one’s world one
gets a former understand the economic system instead of being mystified in
intimidated by it mystified intimidated christine
o’donnell propose the definition of a socialist economy and she said when
fifty percent or more of your economy the federal government you have a
socialist economy so let’s assume we could understand what she meant because
i i’d can really understand what you were his base on the federal government is there some
kind of set definition we can look at to decide are we in a socialist economy or
not yeah i would same moment of
embarrassment when i read what she had said it is really need to reflect not only that she obviously never studied the subject but it’s the kind of an american that there’s something intrinsically
evil about the government and that if we had economic problems if
the government we ought to blame in other countries when you have for
example unemployment people kind abundant stand that the reason you have
unemployment is when private employers fire you ut it if the government that fires people to make good on employment the
private sector you know and i think for example over
the last three years we have thrown the about seven for them
and half million people out of work out of that half a million were laid off by the
government the other seven million were laid off by
the private sector so if europe upset or critical about
unemployment the first place your order gold is to
the people who unemployed you namely the private sector but in our country
that’s kind of the capitol so we get angry at politician anyway to go to your questions dude the economies based on the government in all economies they are doing some
significant way based on the government let me give you a couple of examples here in the united states we have something called money of the
green pieces of paper of actually what we call it the state of
all the pointer to go in our pockets that government if you’ve done
monopolist of money only the government and produce money only the government
can print that stamp it out and circulated if you try
to do that yourself people come and put you in jail because
you’re not allowed to do that so the thing that makes the world go around the thing that drives an awful lot of
our businesses and individuals in their daily decisions money is an absolute monopoly controlled by
the government does that make a socialist i don’t think so idon’t think that makes
any friend if you another example you cannot have an insurance policy in
the united states and left the company that issues it goes before one of the
fifty state commissions in our fifty states and get the approval of the government rate the charges and the programs at all
offers in the premiums if arranges does that mean we have a socialist
economy i don’t think so these are all private insurance companies but this government oversight and so it
goes i think at the infant silly kind of rule it really makes no sense if you really applied it literally since
the government is important in the every economic system in the world today you
would end up being living in the world of missile donald ayer in which everybody would be called
socialist so it’s a bit of a game playing on the entered the fee of the
american people to the government percent of the government is the root of
the evil and just pandering to that by staying
almost anything that comes to your mind passes mrs so flawed that we can even really assess
it i mean she is just another it’s another world exhilarated up issi
wendell moore i have no idea i do you do what they’ve on me but it would be perfectly reasonable to
say that all modern economies are based on the monetary system ought to teach
country and the monetary system of each country
in the world is a governmental monopoly so by that standard everyone we are living in a
socialist world and you know people like middle donnell
must be wondering you know if if they may be ordered change planet so much more reasonable approach would
be hearsay look and different than the tradition for
those who follow this that a socialist economy is one where the majority or the dominant on acts of producing goods and services arctic taken up by private enterprises but by some sort of collective
enterprises either a national government or a regional
government and that the government activity noble words you know how tree in our society have
governments running most of our public parks if you want to go to the park with your dog or your child you go to something which is paid for
maintain cleaned et cetera by the government that runs the parks if we
expanded the same thing and that the government running the
ice-cream parlor and the gas station and the restaurant et cetera well then
you might talk about a socialist system because we’ve socialite other kinds of production
along the same lines that we handle things like public parks or to take another example that they
strike you as remarkable of the military we don’t allow united states army to be
a private enterprise that is a governmental and the price six that’s
right it’s an interesting and it’s an unusual step of people took notice that we are in fact in iraq fighting
that war half with the traditional governmental
army and then the other half he has with this
private army and that and that’s worrying about off a
lot of people who by the way are very conservative and who worry that a private army will be doing things that we will all be
responsible for because for the people get killed it’s
not all that interesting whether the soldier whether public or
private but for all after the nation at the viet
warrant have that the something that a private companies making money off of of could be and i think should be quite
worrisome so xx little bit of time here and i want to
get your thoughts on how to get the feeling that the socialist accusations
that now we’re getting from much of the right wing whether whether it’s about
specific politicians are the government or other countries in some ways having
the opposite effect on some young people making people i don’t know if curious is
the right word or sympathetic some of the right wing socialism
rhetoric is backfire absolutely i’ve been telling that the
people who are good six one now are used to get questions from time to
time and i do a lot of public speaking up out socialism or communism all that those
questionnaires ever meant was they got worried but something like
that did that mean that i want to get to be
russia here the united states of china here in the united states or that kind
of thing and i would explain patiently no i’m not
interested in that that uh… elected we have to learn how not to do it separate
separate over the last six months it’s completely
different it’s mostly young people as you suggest
rape they’re handicapped the question and the question no matter what words
that he was boiled down to this what he thinks socialism i keep hearing
about so i thought if they are in question
factor because i was so taken with the fact they didn’t want to talk about russia
and china they had no interest them at one oh college bought about it either what were
they doing and then they explained it to me these are young people who while they
have some misgivings they basically like barack obama they
still like barack obama despite being somewhat disappointed by
what he had done and haven’t done but they basically like it and they
noticed these alter people they don’t much sympathize
calling him names with which is socialist so they make a little equation which is
that all that surprising if somebody daylight is being called
this name they’d like to know more about the names
liking control of a point that you put it of a pitiful
say they’re basically than what we do explain that may be
socialism is something they would something out of by pursuing it a bit
further which by the way i believe so i
encourage them to do that and a they’re very happy with that the
answer and they go off more interested and
probably more sympathetic to socialism then they would ever have been at the
right wing at not one of the coal open about that particular date snakes resonate with all these people
who come out of the cold war it does not resonate with young kids
incredible we’ve been speaking with professor emeritus of economics at my
alma mater the university of massachusetts and currently visiting at
the new school university in new york city thanks so much for calling in today thank you very much provided of hilton
season ticket melissa will take a break and we’ll be
back with me or after this and i think the richard wolf we’ll be
back okay mid-week politics mid-week politics is made possible by
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  1. Eat the rich.
    No, I get upset at the private sector, 10 out of 10 times. Corporate America has declared war on the rest of us.
    Anyone that thinks Obama is a socialist is a fool. At best he is a moderate centrist.

  2. @badger4949 You probably never even thought that, as a Visiting Professor at the New School, Dr. Wolff could be living in faculty housing provided by the School.
    You use of the term "commie" indicates that you have never thought about Marxist economics and its ramifications and benefits.
    You FAIL!

  3. If we have a private military now then we should allow france and germany and italy and whoever wants to intervene in Libya to hire our mercenaries. It will make our economy grow, and america isn't doing it a bunch of Europeans without military capabilities hired a bunch of murderers to fight a just war. Were pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan and America doesn't want to do it, why not?

  4. Christine O'Donnell was truly a walking punchline. It's nice to see Dr. Wolff break down her ignorance in a gentlemanly way. By that I mean he didn't call her an idiot or a dimwit. He simply states (in a professorial way) that she has no damn clue what the hell she's talking about.

  5. @tetsubo57 Your comment is refreshingly reasonable. I'm not sure if I would call him a centrist though. The entire political culture of the US is very right wing.

  6. @BuddhaBebop On his bad days he is center right. Forty years ago he would have been a Rep. He's about as 'liberal' as Nixon.

  7. @tetsubo57 And let's not forget that few are the people in the US who know what socialism actually is. Most think socialized services is socialism–you know like France, England, etc. Never mind that socialism is about worker's control of industry, in other words worker's democracy.

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