Richard Wolff on US Wages, American Exceptionalism, Consumerism, and Capitalism



employment rate now at six weeks up Sharpe says and China many credit cards to training there today it's another sign of the nation's weakening economy I take it as my task this evening to try to present a sense of what is going on in the American economy and around the world since the United States play such an enormous role in the world economy to give you a sense of how we got into this situation and give you some help I hope in navigating where we go from here and if that suggests to you that you yourself are going to have to play some sort of role then I have gotten my thought across since the people who are in charge are completely without any idea of what to do which if you pay attention you will notice this is the most severe economic crisis of capitalism in my lifetime which means as I look around the room in yours as well and it has to be understood and approached in that framework if it's going to be taken seriously and if people are going to have a reasonable shot at coming out on the other end of this process in something less than a devastated personal social situation so let me start by suggesting to you some things that this economic crisis is not it's not a financial crisis notwithstanding that that name is used all the time to call it a financial crisis limits it in ways that make no sense as you will see this crisis comes out of the entire economic system we have here in the United States it didn't start with banking it didn't stay in the realm of banking and it will not be limited at any time and in any significant way to the credit markets or the banking or insurance companies the second thing it isn't is temporary or fleeting or short that's a wishful thinking a little bit like imagining the crisis is limited to finance is wishful thinking let me illustrate that with two historical parallels to keep in mind first we had another great crisis back in the 1930s let's remember what that was like since the current one is rightfully being compared to that one that one blew exploded in 1929 for the next ten years from 1929 to 1939 two presidents Hoover and Roosevelt try I had a variety of monetary and fiscal policies many looking exactly like what you see today in Washington and they didn't work and for ten years we could not get out of that depression and what finally lifted us out was not some clever policy it was a major change in a society called world war two and in case you think these kinds of long lasting recessions and depressions that are immune to policy only happened long ago let me give you another example in 1989 Japan the second most important industrial country in the world then and now it encountered a downturn severe and here we are 18 years later and the Japanese have still not emerged from that depression even though they tried every monetary and fiscal policy in their repertoire which includes everything that mr. Paulson or mr. Bernanke have so far tried so the notion that this is going to be a quickie a short-lived one a v-shaped or a u-shaped turn that's all wishful thinking the third thing it isn't is quickly and easily fixable we've already seen that starting with the Bear Sterns events last summer we have seen the United States government try one policy after another lowering interest rates pumping more money into the economy you remember last summer many of you may have gotten three or six hundred dollar tax rebate from the bush government to stimulate the economy every one of those policies failed every one was introduced with great fanfare as the solution for this troubling problem each successive step was larger than the one before signaling the failure of the one before so we see that a quick fix or reducing interest rates or pumping in the money or the new stimulus that mr. Obama's government is considering now all of these look to have been and have been and promised to be kinds of too little and too late something much bigger something much more far-reaching is going to have to be done so let me begin by telling you what I understand to be the historical framework out of which this crisis comes and I think you need to see it historically to get a sense of how big it is how profound it is how serious this is to do this let's go back briefly to the period from 1820 to 1970 a hundred and fifty years that are astonishing in the world and in our country here's how and why it's astonishing over that period every decade from 1820 to 1970 every decade the American working people enjoyed a rising level of wages it's astonishing every decade even the Great Depression of the 30s this was true because in those days while wages went down prices went down further it's probably the only Society in the history of the world that can say that it made the United States remarkable it drew people to this country in successive immigration waves that are also astonishing starting particularly after the Civil War but even earlier the fact of the matter was this is a very rich country rich in its soil rich in its climate and as successive waves of working people came here they discovered through having removed the indigenous population that there was a lot of land of really good quality for many reasons then we had this remarkable hundred and fifty years during which workers enjoyed a steadily rising standard of living it's also a time in which workers became more productive more machine jeans were provided for each worker training was provided speed was demanded workers became more productive but they got something for their extra hard work and their greater productivity they got a rising standard of living and you know it changed and shaped the United States and it's important to see how because it'll explain the crisis were in now not surprisingly a population like ours that enjoys a rising standard of living begins to define life success in life in terms of something that is actually within reach Americans as a people began to internalize this remarkable historical experience therein lie the roots of the notion sometimes called American exceptionalism that there's something unique about America the notion began to be normalized that my children will live better than I do and my grandchildren still better that there's something built-in to the United States about a rising standard of living and so it becomes reasonable to measure your own worth as a person your own success in terms of the clothing you can buy in the house you can live in in the car you can drive the measure of yourself becomes this achievable remarkable quality of American life you might understand the basis of our consumerism in all of this that we became a society that celebrates what we can achieve here which is a rising standard of goods and services we can buy and we can consume that's why this is the country in which advertising is born and become something that we can give the rest of the world perhaps a dubious gift but where the society of consumption par excellence the model for the rest of the world to this day okay let me turn then to the trauma that afflicts a population that has internalized and come to expect 150 years of rising standard of living in which workers every decade could enjoy more because their wages rose and their wages allow them to buy more and they understood work more and more as that which allowed you then to go out and buy in the 1970s that history of the United States stopped real wages stopped rising in the 1970s and they have never resumed since this is a fundamental change in the United States which the majority of our people probably have not yet come to terms with would they give up the culture of rising consumption would they be able to say I'm going to measure my own wealth and my own worth as a person no longer in my rising standard of living but some of the way and it's nothing in this society were to help you to do that a task that would be difficult under the best circumstances but if there's no help the chances are and indeed that's our history that the population wouldn't accept giving up a rising standard of consumption they wouldn't have the wages to do it so they'd have to find another way which we as a nation did but before I go through that with you let me answer the question I hope is in your mind why did the wages stop going up basically there are four reasons first we had a stunning technical change in the United States one that allowed businesses to replace workers at an extraordinarily rapid pace it's called the computer across our culture beginning particularly in the 1970s huge numbers of people lost their jobs because computers could now do with one or two operators what used to take hundreds of people so there were suddenly a rapid use of the computer to throw large numbers of people out of work and to make therefore an excess supply of people relative to the demand for them second at the same time American businesses in the 1970s discovered that a very pleasant period for them had come to an end that pleasant period was the 30 years from 1945 to 75 the period after World War 2 when all the competitors of the United States had been destroyed in the war and the United States was the only country in the world that didn't have a war on its own soil and that was able to produce for the rest of the world and we did and American businesses had the field to themselves no real competitors but by 1970 those European countries and Japan as well had rebuilt from the war and they had rebuilt in a very particular way looking at the United States as the dominant country in the world the Europeans and the Japanese understood that if you were going to rebuild a factory making anything in that part of the world you had to deal with the United States as the competitor to be beat you had to produce it better or cheaper or both or else you'd have no chance the Americans were dominant and so everyone went to work to out produce the United States which they did that's why we don't produce any more televisions here or anymore hardly any more automobiles etc etc the rest of the world figured out and the American Enterprise is discovered by the 1970s that we were being out competed by the Europeans and the Japanese and one conclusion of American business and that's the important thing was if you cannot beat them join them and there begins this massive export of jobs Americans closing production facilities here and moving them abroad right now it doesn't need an advanced economics training to understand if the computer is making us need fewer jobs fewer people because we have the machines and at the same time production is being moved out of the United States jobs for people outside not here the condition the bargaining strength of working people the United States shrinks but there are two more phenomena that get going there is a rapid change in the position of women in the American economy particularly starting in the 1960s and 70s American women who are in the home take jobs out of the house part-time jobs or full-time jobs if they've had a part-time job it becomes a full-time job we have the massive movement of women looking for jobs in the workforce and the fourth reason why wages go down is the wave of immigration that begins there massive immigration particularly from Central and Latin America but globally the women the immigrants more people looking for job the computer and moving abroad less jobs for them to look for perfect recipe every time for wages that don't go up anymore for everybody so the 1970s our wages stopped rising and now something as basic as that that has not happened for 150 years plunges everybody into coping with it so I'm going to look at it now by telling a story in two parts I'm going to first look at how working people coped with the end of rising wages and then I'm going to look at how the business community cope with it because in their two responses the ingredients for the crisis we're now in will be laid bare so let's start with the people what did the American working class of people do now that their wages stopped rising first the American working people did more work you know if the wages you get per hour are fixed don't go up anymore one solution is more hours have more people in the house going out for more hours which is what the American working class did between the 1970s and today the average number of hours worked per year by an American rose by about 20 percent that's a lot we work 20% more hours on the job than we did 30 years ago by comparison for example if you look at France Germany and Italy over the same period of time the average number of hours worked by those folks dropped by 20% Americans who are fortunate enough to go to Europe on summer vacations often come back scratching their heads about the wonderful way those people have of living at a more humane pace there's nothing mysterious about it Americans are working their rear ends off and the rest of the world old the industrial world isn't they have time for those languorous meals we invented fast food the hope of the American family was by sending everybody out many hours it would allow rising consumption the hope proved unfounded why it turns out that if you're working a lot of hours you have to find other ways to solve the problems that used to be solved when you work if the woman goes out of the house to take a job she needs a set of clothes she needs her own car especially in a country that doesn't do well with mass transportation it turns out that doing more work ah more hours has costs attached to it that undercut the whole point of it which was to bring in more money it turns out there are more costs so if it didn't solve the problem what was the second thing that the American working class did to cope with the end of the rising wages so that they could continue to consume well you all know the answer the answer is that the American working class proceeded starting in the 1970s to go on a borrowing binge that no other working class in any country at any time in the history of this race the human race ever did before Americans started borrowing at first of course they borrowed in the way that the lender prefers they offered collateral so the basic way the Americans solved the problem was to borrow against the house to borrow a lot against the house keep in mind that the crisis exploded around something called a mortgage the subprime mortgage but the American working class could never have increased its consumption simply by borrowing against the house they basically didn't have enough wealth to borrow enough something had to be invented a way to lend to the American people massive amounts of money with no collateral at all and that way was found it's in your wallet it's called a credit card it is a mechanism to allow banks to lend to the working class with no collateral at all it's unsecured debt in economic terms your credit card but of course no lender will lend to you without collateral unless there's something in it for them to do that risky thing and the answer is the rate of interest what is the average rate of interest on a credit card today ready 18% per year that's why there are credit cards so the American working class was given loans hundreds of billions of dollars in unsecured credit in order to allow the rise in consumption and the American working class did it they went for it and the reason I told you the history is that that's the best way I know how to understand why that kind of a borrowing activity was possible in this society it solved a problem deeply embedded in the history of the United States but it didn't produce by the early years of the 21st century now a working class exhausted by the amount of work it does with a collapsing personal life because of the strains and stresses of what it meant to send everybody out to do all this work and now to that we add the anxiety that now afflicts a population who average level of debt exceeds its annual income stressed exhausted this is a population that has reached the limits it cannot carry more debt and it can't do more work that's why this is not a temporary problem this is not a blip along the way we have reached the limits of the kind of capitalism this society has become let me turn now to the business community what they do well for the business community the last 30 years have been spectacular everything I've told you about the working class now we're going to go the good news with the introduction of computers American workers became more and more productive we had a thirty-year period of rising labor productivity but now stay with me each year the worker produces more and what do you pay the worker each year the same that's what no more rising wages means the workers get paid the same the same they produce more and more and more but they get the same they said that is the gap between what the workers produce for their employer which the employer sells and what they have to pay the worker to do it the gap is getting bigger but the workers get is flat what they produce is more that bigger friends is called profits so the last 30 years of flat wages and rising productivity are the greatest profit boom in the history of American capitalism and quite possibly any capitalism this is not a crisis of Wall Street this is not Wall Street doing some that main street is left out of not at all this is a crisis of a system that is as busy on Wall Street as it is on Main Street every employer on Main Street participated in this dream this is an employer's fantasy come true I paid my workers the same and they work more and more for me they produce more and more for me and I don't have to give them more at all this can't be real pinch myself it was and it produced in the business community a kind of wild euphoria nobody could quite understand it as the 70s became the 80s and the 80s became the 90s the profits were unbelievable and we know what they did we all do first thing they did understandably they began paying themselves levels of wages and bonuses nobody ever heard of before large corporations paid their people tens hundreds of millions of dollars in annual salaries with that money come from I just told you what else did they do they began to go through an orgy of something that's called mergers and acquisitions they bought each other companies had huge amounts of money bought other companies are you annoyed by a competitor Byam are you troubled by a foreigner who's stealing your market by them and you had the money to do it what else did they do interesting they put their money in the bank and the bank suddenly discovered wild amounts of money coming in from corporations deposited in the bank what you do with your profits while you're figuring it out what else to do with them you put them in the bank and the banks became repositories of enormous amounts of money and then the corporations and the banks about the same time discovered a remarkable thing that they could do with these profits and if I can get this across I think you will see and be able to hold in your mind the touchstone of the new American economy which is now collapsing banks and large companies discovered a very profitable way to use their new huge profits they would lend them to the employees that is the way that the employees could raise their consumption when their wages didn't go up anymore was to borrow the money that they're frozen wages made possible to their employers to understand the American economy in the last 30 years then amounts to this employers no longer raise the wages of their workers instead they lent them the money that's why it's an employers fantasy come true instead of raising my workers wages I lend him the money which he has to pay me back with interest isn't that better than paying them wages this is this is nirvana or as close as business gets to Nirvana and so the American business community became excited that the money they got from the wages they didn't have to pay could now be doubled we not only gotten one output from the worker without paying him but we could lend him at high interest on top of it and we had a working class desperate to borrow perfect we've got the money to lend they're desperate to borrow a marriage made in heaven and so it was so the American business community directly or through the banks got into the business of lending you all know that corporation or some of you can remember it General Motors famous for producing automobiles over the last 30 years General Motors became a very different entity it created a subsidiary subsidiary called GMAC General Motors acceptance corporation it is a bank it lends money it began by lending money to people to buy cars because their wages couldn't pay for them then it discovered you could make more money off the interest of the loan than you could make profit from the car and so General Motors became a bank became much more interested in being a bank than in being a car something we now notice the results of they don't make cars very well but they're a great Bank their only mistake was about ten years ago they branched out they were making so much money and instead of just lending to people to buy cars they became a general lender and went into the mortgage business wrong decision wrong time but General Motors has specialized in wrong decisions at the wrong time for 30 years banks got into it lending to everybody we all became used to the following phenomena I don't know about you but I must get two to three solicitations for credit cards a week in the mail none of which I request it's so profitable to push debt on the American people that everybody does it it is a society out of control it is a a profit bonanza looking for more ways to make money and the financial sector on Wall Street responded to this situation it didn't create it it got its hands on the money and found new ways to lend new people new loans at high interest rate the challenge grant you just heard about comes at such a crucial time the link TV mission is to build a better media to give viewers a greater understanding of the world through diverse opinions now I can honestly say there's no other television network dedicated to this and I could also tell you that it can't continue unless people like you step up to the plate so please go to your phone and call the number on your screen one eight six six four eight five eight eight four eight or you can give online at link TV org there are lots of options and levels of support to choose from so check it out over there now let's return to Richard wolf to hear what he has to say about irrational exuberance this is a craziness this is a wild out of control but we shouldn't be surprised if we create an anomalous situation of exploding profitability on the one side and a desperate exhausted population wanting and needing and measuring its own self in terms of rising consumption we have a lethal combination and so of course in the enthusiasm of business and the banks to lend the money and make more money in a time of so much money and hundred billion dollars here and a hundred million dollar executive package over there we're surprised that they ended up lending to mud people who couldn't pay it back oh come on the history of capitalism is punctuated by booms and busts where do you think that word comes from boom and bust is built into this system the only difference now is it comes at the end of this long historical period when it has reached its outer limits so of course in the rise of all this profit we had what we had the quote mr. Greenspan we had irrational exuberance okay that's a polite way of saying what my hands are gesturing at right that's what we have and first it expressed itself in one kind of lunacy and then another this is the lunacy of the business community lunacy number one in the 1990s as these profits were building up suddenly our business community decided that the new Internet is going to revolutionize the universe it really isn't just an expanded Yellow Pages it's really a radically new thing and so they invested in companies funny companies with little name's usually two or three initials companies that have been around three four years had never made any profit and who said in their annual statements we are expect to make any profit for ten years who cares their stocks were bid up to five hundred dollars a share and you all know what that was that was the boom of the late 1990s and in March and April of this of the year 2000 the stock market crashed we'd had our first bubble of this latest profit boom period a wild excess the index of the Nasdaq the most important stock market for these kinds of firms reached 5,000 in April of March April of 2000 index level of 5,000 today it's less than half that it never recovered that's a drop of the proportions of the Great Depression our stock market hasn't recovered so terrifying was the collapse of the stock market in early 2000 that our government reacted in terror by saying oh my god the company the economy is going to fall apart we have to save it by getting people to spend some little lower interest rates which they did we know what will happen if you lower all the interest rates people will borrow like crazy and they did and what they spent their money on was housing so after the collapsing of the bubble of real of stock market we had another bubble of real estate it went crazy everybody buying housing building housing everywhere cheap money to borrow build by Bill boy and now we have the collapse of the real estate bubble and there's nothing left to bubble what we going to do there isn't anything stock market's bit finished real estate is finished there were people who thought we might have a new bubble called exports collapse the value of the dollar make our goods real cheap and the rest of the world will buy them unfortunately the rest of the world refuses to play won't do it so we don't have it we've run out and so we sit a collapsed bubble the wealthy having produced an armada of new instruments that are now not worth very much so that our business community is aghast with staggering losses and so in its own peculiar way has come to replicate the exhaustion and anxiety of the working class for different reasons heaven knows but we have an economic landscape that is littered with corpses okay I don't think so the reasons I hope have become clear that we're going to get very far and we're certainly not going to solve our problem by having some monetary and fiscal policy along the lines we've just seen they've been failing my guess is they will continue to so the question we can pose is what might be done other than these attempts to stimulate that don't succeed these attempts to bail out that don't seem to succeed and now even these steps of government buying shares in the AIG and the banks that doesn't seem to succeed I don't find it surprising and I hope you don't given the history and the whole context why these small hesitant halting steps do not add up to a solution and I'm not the only one who sees it many in Washington do as well and they have begun to put their faith in something else and it's an interesting story and I want to conclude by trying to explain why it won't work either this is the notion of regulation and this notion works as follows the argument is made that in the first 30 years after World War Two we lived in a regulated economy coming out of world out of the Great Depression the regime of Roosevelt had after all introduced all kinds of regulations and that's true regulations governing what banks could do regulation governing what boards of directors of corporations could do should do might do whole new institutions Social Security unemployment insurance we never had that before so there were lots of regulations that came out of the desperation of the Great Depression and those regulations were enforced from the 30s through the mid 70s so that was a period of a regulated American capitalism and so the argument goes that was a good time and what terrible thing happened was at the end of the 70s beginning with Reagan was an era of deregulation so the argument goes ok our problem is just that we deregulated under Reagan Bush Clinton and Bush and so on now maybe with mr. Obama the era of deregulation I'll be put behind us and we will return to the reregulate 'add good old days brought back the idea here is that the deregulation of the last 30 years needs now to be undone we need to have a new collection of regulations telling the boards of directors of corporations what they should and shouldn't do giving the government all kinds of new powers to control to regulate to observe to monitor and if we only do that we will undo all the damage and all the terrible situation we now face as a nation a part of this is understandable we did regulate out of the glass Great Depression but another part of it is blind let's see why those regulations that were put into effect by Roosevelt and even some later even by Truman even by Kennedy even by Johnson those regulations did indeed limit constrain what boards of directors of capitalist corporations could do they did but here's what they also did they gave corporate boards of directors an immense and instantaneous incentive to defeat those regulations to evade them every chance they had to weaken them every chance they have and when the political conditions were possible to get rid of them and those boards of directors went to work having tried to prevent those regulations in the first place they went to work to evade weaken and destroy them the last 30 years were the success they were finally politically powerful enough that they could get rid of most of them in other words to pass regulations while leaving in place the boards of directors of private corporations is a bizarre policy that guarantees that you've left in place the absolute sworn enemy of the regulations but you've not just left in place people who want to undo the regulations let's remember what a Board of Directors is the board of directors of a corporation are the group of people usually numbering between 15 and 25 persons into whose hands flow the profits of enterprise so to regulate our kind of economic system is to impose limits and rules on a group of people with every incentive to undo them and all the resources needed to realize their incentives so of course the regulations become a dead letter it's as if you had mounted a military campaign but you decided not to defeat the enemy but to establish an awful lot of rules while allowing the enemy to have free supply lines from everywhere needed to undo you a general who did that would be sent to an insane asylum but in our country we want to believe that a regulation system that we have just gone through 50 years of observing it's complete evisceration we're going to do that again I don't think so the American working class supported Roosevelt in regulation they had great hopes but to reregulate now we'll get from the American working class and I think rightly the nasty remark no thank you we've been there and we've done that and we're not going to do that again if we're going to deal with this problem we have finally to face and here's my conclusion that if we leave the structure of enterprise in our society unchanged we will not be addressing what is at the base of this whole story the conflictual relationship between the people who run the production enterprises of our society and the people who work in them that's why the wages didn't go up anymore when it was possible not to do that that's why debt was substituted for rising wages that's why jobs were moved and destroyed and that's why regulations are simply objects to be undone so what is a possible solution imagine the difference if a new system of regulations say passed by mr. Obama were to confront a different organization of production one in which not a Board of Directors responsible to shareholders ran the business but instead the people who worked in every business ran the business because they all have to live with the consequences then you'd have people on the inside of every business partnering with the government to make sure that the point of the regulations was realized rather than a group of people who would function to undo and thwart the whole point and purpose of the regulations why don't we ask that question and I suggest we ask it because even though I I'm aware it's a daring question we are in daring times we face some really heavy problems in our society we don't have many choices what else might be said for reorganizing our production system so that the people who work at an enterprise become their own Board of Directors let me suggest to you three things to think about first to the extent that we are serious when we talk about democracy that is the people who have to live with a decision should be able to participate in making it why have we always limited that to the political sphere and excluded it from the economic sphere after all the place we spend most of our creative lives 9:00 to 5:00 Monday to Friday is the place where we work and if we're not going to have democracy there then how much of it could we have anywhere else so the business ought to be democratically responsible to the people who work there at least on a fundamental proposition here's another argument many American workers more than you might think have already what I'm describing let me let me introduce you to them if you're not familiar with them over the last thirty years every year hundreds and in some years thousands of engineers in that little strip of land between San Francisco and San Jose called Silicon Valley have done the following interesting thing they quit their jobs working for big companies like Cisco or IBM or any of those and together with a few friends having walked away from those jobs they set up a little enterprise amongst themselves working out of one of their garages and they come to work each day not wearing a suit and tie the way they used to when they worked at IBM not taking their orders as to what to do as software engineers from a supervisor whom they didn't like instead they came to work with their laptops in tall at the garage of their friend wearing Hawaiian shirts Griss grep grasping a frisbee maybe with a dog maybe with a toddler and having a wonderful time in a new little enterprise and here's how they ran their enterprise we're all equal here no one's a supervisor no one's telling what else to do we're going to do this all as a group and from Monday to Thursday we're going to make software programs the way we always did but on Friday we're going to come to work and we're not going to open the laptops we're not going to make software on Friday we sit around all day and have meetings because we're our own board of directors we decide what to do with the profits we've earned we decide what to do whether to change our technology will have more people working here with a move to another part of San Mateo Community or whatever we are our own our own Board of Directors this has been going on for years these people voted with their feet and their lives to leave one kind of organization of production and establish another and its peculiar if you think about it because in one frame one way of thinking this could be called Marx's idea of a communist enterprise that pretty much what he meant but in another way of speaking we could describe the same thing and I'm now going to quote to you from a number of magazines produced in that area here we go this is a remarkably successful entrepreneurial initiative we're describing the same thing it's an entrepreneurial initiative because the people writing these articles are Republicans and they want to see it that way what I appreciate that they never read Karl Marx so they are not troubled by what this might look like to somebody else and they've been very successful so successful these little businesses that a Marxist if there were such a thing might say Jean all those basic breakthroughs in computer technology that are typically boasted of as the achievements of modern capitalism aren't they're the achievements of communist enterprises operated by Republicans in Bermuda shorts in California so it turns out that this new way of organizing enterprise isn't so new and isn't so terribly daring and offers us a better chance to deal with the level of severity our current situation presents us with than anything else of which I am aware so that I leave you with a bit of a challenge if we don't take basic steps of this sort to deal with the crisis that has built over this length of time in the depths and breadth of our economy if we keep tinkering at the edges with our monetary system because we need to call this a financial crisis rather than a crisis of capitalism which is what it is we will all be very sorry my very last word I'm a professional economist I'm a professor of economics what I do and therefore a product of the economics profession in our society that profession for the last 50 years has oscillated between those who believe that an unregulated economy with free markets and private enterprise is a magic road to prosperity and growth particularly in the last 30 years that has become a mantra it's the morning prayer with which every Economics Department begins that smashed beyond words now on the other side have been those who have said you have been wrong and there needs to be government intervention and control they typically go by the name Keynesian economists in honor of that British economist in the 1930s in response to the Great Depression who came up with recipes for what the government should do monetary and fiscal policy to stimulate the economy and my profession has debated between those who believe in unregulated who now feeling very badly and those who believe in regulated who now see an opportunity to return what I want you to think about is they both may have made a terrible mistake by not asking about the underlying structure of our economy that renders both of them inadequate to dealing with what actually happens in a capitalism that runs the way ours does and brings us to this position of a bankrupt business community on the other side of the barricades from an exhausted and anxiety-ridden working class which is a recipe for social disaster and if we don't deal with it in a serious way we're going to have to live through some of the hardest times that this nation has ever had to go through and at a time when the rest of the world will be so needing to deal with its own versions of this problem that we can expect very little help very little help from anyone else so it depends on us whether we will have the strength and the daring to look at these problems in new ways and face the possibility of having to make radical changes thank you very much for your attention




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