Richard Wolff and Bob Hennelly on the myth that people “don’t want to work”


I’d like to also just personally attack
this notion that people who don’t want to work. Let me be an economist and
explain why this is not what you might think. In the aftermath of the crash of
2008 we saw in the United States a tremendous drop in what we call the
labor force participation rate. It was particularly middle-aged, white, males,
more than anybody else, who didn’t quote/unquote “want to work”. By the way,
these are the people who put Mr. Trump in office. They were angry. They found the good jobs, with good pay
and good pensions and good benefits taken away from them. And they were told
“hey, go get a job. Ne a greeter at Walmart, go flip burgers”. And they said
“wait a minute, we’ve given 20-30 years of our lives, we’ve worked very hard, we’ve
accumulated skills, everyone has said we did good work. Uou just throwing us on
the -. We’re not gonna do it. We’re gonna go home and take care of an
elderly person. We’re gonna go home and help out with the children. We’re gonna
go home and build another wing on the house that we need. Don’t tell us
we’re unwilling to work. You’ve deprived us of the conditions”. If Franklin
Roosevelt were here he’d say we’ve devoted as a nation to giving
people a good job and a good income and if we can’t do that, we can’t turn on
them and say you’re unwilling to work. Right. I do think that one of the
problems here is that we have to reframe the debate and look at the fact that
people did come up with social utility. They did care for grandchildren. They got
involved in the lives of their children by helping them with taking care of
their their grandchildren. And so to come back in the labor force means disrupting
the real political economy that is of consequence to them. Similarly we’ve had,
because of the the traumatic nature of what we’ve been through with
capitalism, we’re in a situation where we have this growing ranks of disabled with
all kinds of issues related to the random and capricious nature of
capitalism that is inflicted psychic trauma on millions of people.
Where they had a job one day in social standing and then were stripped of all
of that. So I do think that we do need to reframe this discussion and really look
at the fact that the Green New Deal is about a broad-based bottom-up prosperity
that heals the planet. That’s right. And let’s have a Green New Deal so that
we change the conditions for those who might say today “I’m unwilling to work” or
be accused by someone who’s kind of cruel in their mentality, give them the
conditions and we’ll see that they’re going to be willing to work. By the way,
the so-called unwilling are coming back into the labor force the last two or
three years. But not because the jobs are better but because we’ve kept them out
of work so long that they’ve used up their savings, they’ve used up the
resources of their families, they’re coming back. And to say to them that they
ought to, that we have no obligation, that this is a system that has no obligation
to a person who’s given his or her life of work but to say “okay we’re gonna pay
you now next to nothing and put you in poverty” that that’s the fastest
growing part of our labor force, that’s a failure of this system. And it ought to
be the system that’s up there to be criticized not those people who react to
its failures by saying “there’s better things I can do with my time than work
at an unskilled job for $15 an hour, given what I’ve done all my life”.




Comments
  1. Maybe it's those claiming that others "don't want to work" who are projecting their own slacker attitude? Or is it just propaganda blaming the victim?

  2. People don't want to be slaves. They are more than happy to work for a living wage in a job that matters (no make-work).

  3. Out of the 4 videos posted simultaneously, this is the one that I want to watch first, because this is such an important issue to me. I have been accused of not wanting to work, just because of hardships in finding suitable employment, when I work on personal projects 16 hours a day, and happily help anyone who I know with my volunteered labor if I seriously believe that it will help them.

  4. Remove the Social Programs that ALLOW you to not work.
    Once the population starves, tens of millions will beg for Walmart greeter jobs.
    Driving wages down to their proper levels.
    Stupid.

  5. If people don't want to work, who are all of the people filling the crappy minimum wage, no-benefit, thankless jobs they keep creating?

  6. Most people want to work, they just don't like being subject to an undemocratic workplace with a miniature dictator for a boss! If we had democracy in the workplace and took care of basic human needs by decommodifying healthcare, housing, education, internet access, and guaranteed everyone 2000 calories a day, people would live to work because they would work for themselves on what they choose.

  7. The idea that people don't want to work is the silliest conspiracy theory of all time. In reality, the current system in the US is only capable of creating enough full-time jobs for a little less than 60% of the working age population under 65 and only enough part time jobs for 10% of the working age population under 65 which is why there are 56 million unemployed working age people under 65 in a country where both husband and wife have to work just to get by.

  8. Among the options to create more jobs in our society is the idea of giving businesses a tax credit for every person employed full time with incomes high enough to provide for a decent standard of wellbeing.

  9. mountains and mountains of guilt and shame placed on the poor. the poor didnt send jobs away or limit wages. as long as corporations/the rich control jobs, wages, and our politicians, the individual can never be blamed, no matter how much at fault

  10. So true, Honeywell sent 700 machinists jobs to Mexico. Mexican workers were payed $18.00 per 10 hour day Honeywell machinists were payed $18.00 per hour with benefits mexicans had no benefits. In Mexico Honeywell didn’t worey about the epa or pollution as in Mexico there isn’t any and they can pollute all they want. Honeywells ceo"s made millions per year and through us in the toilet. It is all about greed.

  11. Back in the 70's, when word got out in Detroit that Cadillac assembly on Michigan Avenue was hiring (and they were), so many applicants showed up that they couldn't exit against those pushing to get in and had to be passed back out over the heads of those trying to get in. Are these the folks that Republican's say don't want to work?

  12. Thank you for your insight, but good luck getting 15 dollars an hour 8 is more likely an 29 hours per week so they don't have to pay for health insurance

  13. I explicitly left the job market out of disgust with profit worship. Would be delighted to apply my skills, in my field of expertise or otherwise, but only in a democratic workplace . For-profit corporations need not apply. I'll die before I sell another hour of my time to "shareholders".

  14. bullspeak…proff doesn't know that Roth schild is draining our property with debt..roth schild loans $$$ to gvt… irs extorts $$$ to pay this unnecessary criminal debt.. citizens are the losers…the econ is declining as a result of the central bank crime syndicate

    die falscher lends
    government spends
    makes i r s extract
    to pay the loanshark back

  15. Farmers work very hard to put food on your table. They expect you to contribute something else in return. It's that simple. You eat every day – so you work every day. You don't work twenty years and then chuck it in because it seems like too much bother – unless you're planning to give up eating. So yes, you work in MacDonalds if that's the only job on offer because nobody else owes you a living, and you thank your lucky stars that for most of your life you had a better paid job and also it won't always be like that and soon enough other opportunities will come along, because people are trying very hard to recover the situation. There are ways of alleviating the problems caused by recessions by simply holding back some public spending and using that to spend on public sector building projects during a recession which would help to smooth out the peaks in unemployment we get during those times, but nobody in government has the competence or desire to implement such schemes. What we don't need is a revolution in economic thinking along the lines of Venezuela which will be doomed to failure.

  16. I believe the system that has failed is not capitalism, but rather the system of manipulating and managing the currency markets by central banks. It is the case that the US's greatest export is debt, or paper currency. Other nations employ their men to create real goods, which are sent to our shores. We can buy these real goods cheaply, because all we have to do is print the money. So our men are our of work, and it is cheaper to print the money to employ the foreigner and print the money to give meager welfare to the unemployed men on our own shores. If we were on a gold standard, where nations settled trading debts either by real goods or by gold, it would become exceedingly expensive to continue to import products. Home made would make sense, and our own men would be employed. I hope the US loses its status as the world reserve currency. I hope we someday can pay for real goods from China with a paper dollar and a promise if future goods if they choose to spend that dollar here. Trump is right that the US needs a weak dollar, but now how he wants to go about it. He wants to print money, which will destroy the savings of current dollar-holders (all the elderly of our nation). It would be enough to end the USD as the world reserve and begin to settle all trade in real goods or the difference in gold. Let gold be the world reserve, and our men will not only get to go back to work, but HAVE to go back to work

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