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Richard Wolff: “Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism” | Talks at Google

Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University in New York City. He wrote Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism and founded www.democracyatwork.info, a non-profit advocacy organization of the same name that promotes democratic workplaces as a key path to a stronger, democratic economic system.

Professor Wolff discusses the economic dimensions of our lives, our jobs, our incomes, our debts, those of our children, and those looming down the road in his unique mixture of deep insight and dry humor. He presents current events and draws connections to the past to highlight the machinations of our global economy. He helps us to understand political and corporate policy, organization of labor, the distribution of goods and services, and challenges us to question some of the deepest foundations of our society. For more of his lectures, visit the Democracy at Work YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/democracyatwrk.

Get the book here: https://goo.gl/XDxuDL

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48 Comments

  1. It's post-modern Marxism: Workers controlling AND owning the means AND the SELLING of production. I wonder how this system scales. and are there or will there be, in the near future, American examples of large scale co-ops.

  2. Wow. I bet these suckers fall for this BS. Wolff is crediting government for what a free market produced and blaming the free market for the destruction the government produced. LOL! As I've always said, it takes a real genius to ignore the evidence, explain away reality and make it sound convincing. The kind of genius that can stare right into the face of blue and call it red.

  3. He talk about the good times 1940-1970. I live in Denmark by 1975 our economic was in ruins ,we had massive undinployment ,we had 30 years where everybody got what they wanted and i mean it was a big ,one big take away,and it end very bad ,this man is a liar .

  4. One take home point for me is that the inability of our government to critically examine and remedy our economic problems is due to the fact that we have been taught only one model of economics and don't have the skills to think outside that one framework.

  5. I saw Richard Wolff in Berkeley, Ca last year. If you have a chance to see him I highly recommend it. He has a good stage presence, sense of humor and the ability to take for some difficult or obscure concepts and explain them in very simple ways.

  6. He’s brilliant. Let’s go all over the greatest country the world has ever known and talk about a failed economic system that has NEVER worked ever and get people to believe it could work here. The fact he makes boat loads of money doing this is why capitalism is great. Even for morons

  7. THE UNITED STATES OF THE WORLD
    MICHAEL JAMES MCDANIEL·TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 201656 Reads
    The United States of the World

    Here I propose a possible correction in the political/economic affairs of the human enterprise. Just as the USA’s founding fathers had some geniuses among them but needed the input and support of many committed people, so will we. I truly think, “we the people”, are about to commit a suicide of sorts due to the unbridled force of corruption and our presumed inability to create the change we need. The human enterprise popularly called “civilization” is at a tipping point. What we do and don’t do, will affect the future of our civilization in ways which we will not be able to alter without the appropriate actions needed now!

    I have known a few hundred extraordinarily fine thinkers in my life. Some I spent some time with, but most I knew through their written and artistic works. We need volunteers to throw themselves into this work without allowing its prospect of success to end their efforts before they start. It will be necessary to be joined by individuals of iconic ability as The United States attracted the genius of Jefferson and Adams, et al. But the roster of “GENIUS” is not long. We must in our significant numbers join our hands, fortunes, and wills.

    I can only start here from what I know and that is clearly insufficient to the task before us. This must be a group enterprise growing in influence quickly before the mistakes of our past bury our possible futures.

    The original 13 colonies differed more from one another than many of the world's nation-states differ from each other today and yet they found a way through compromise and a shared purpose to overcome those differences and join together in a way that cost them prerogatives but secured a better future for them and their heirs. The shared purpose of today rests on even stronger self-interest needs than did that of our past colonial days.

    A United States of the World would/could start with a few of the nation states already existing joining as did America’s 13 colonies. New states would be admitted as they saw it in their best interests to join and would be allowed entry upon meeting criteria to be laid out by THE UNITED STATES OF THE WORLD. It would be necessary to give up their militaries to a new military run by the new USW. A common currency would be best. States rights would be allowed for the continued experimentation with policies and ideas differing from state to state. Free travel and location would be open between the member nation states. A bare minimum wage would exist for all USW members. Cooperative organizations would be given precedence over corporate enterprises. The model of this kind of large-scale transformation is available in the Basque region in Italy, it is the Mondragon Corporation formed in 1956. It is a federation of discrete companies all of whom are cooperatives managed by the workers.
    Voting procedures and rules would be standardized (mail voting, automatic registration). A standard living income would be provided to all citizens. Universal health care for all.

    There would need to be two tiers of purchasing power. One a guaranteed income equal between all citizens great enough to allow those who do not wish to work for wages to pursue other interests and endeavors. Other employment for extra income would be allowed but as incomes rise the tax rate would soon become confiscatory. The basic income would be adequate for all needs and many desires. More would just be unnecessary as the basic income would be adequate to see one through old age and it’s infirmities. There would be universal healthcare for all. Those who wanted healthcare experimental or lavish in nature would be dependent on their 2nd tier incomes and the generosity of others.

    All energy needs would be supplied by renewables with no carbon pollutants nor other dangerous propensities to the Earth's environment. All products would be closed systems so that the majority of their components are continuously recycled.

    This is all possible NOW. The necessary technologies are now in existence. Only the will and ability to avoid obstructions placed in our way by those who have already cornered the market in those natural resources and agencies stand in the way. Most productive enterprises would be based on cooperative forms of organization. This is possible by the use of state sponsored robotics. We can already do these things!

    Nation states would not be coerced into joining. Rather they would be screaming for entry based on our own example of the good life.

    Debt, interest, and the growth required by our capitalistic system would be ended. Perhaps adjusting the purchasing power of the medium of exchange has great potential as means of managing the society’s economic system. I know: The government does nothing well! Private enterprise beats government management everytime. We’ll No! People run government and those same people manage the private enterprise. Human abilities and difficulties inhabit both worlds. WE ARE ONE. Corruption will always be a factor and must be defended against vigorously. Money is not the cause of corruption. Rather “power” is the basis of corruption. Money should be reduced to a mechanism by which purchasing power is distributed. Removal of the fear of want removes much of the impetus for we humans to store our nuts in huge individual piles.

    I think a system created along these lines could result in greater choice and individual freedom. It would potentiate human welfare through a system which actively would look for human good rather than leave it to the religious magical thinking that markets will provide for us automatically if left alone without human interference. Everything I propose here is incomplete and I can provide explanations to many the myriad of objections I see to this proposal but this is not primarily an individual effort here. It would have to be a joint enterprise joined by multitudes. People with much more writing ability need to spark the movement and details must be arrived at through joint labors and the political skills necessary are way beyond me.

    HELP!

    Please discuss with me and others these ideas and those you may have.

  8. Capitalism depends on evey man getting access to land. A patron system works for barrons and the lords of the land.
    Or, now, energy oil and gas leases. People came to America and got access to land (i.e. democratic republic). There was food and lots of land. And far away from the elite of Europe!

  9. People rarely live to 100. The board of directors are subject to Jerimiah 10:23, which says that "man is not able to drect his own step." The corporate leadership makes lots of mistakes, like granting themselves stock optiions and paying management huge paychecks. Thus the directors decide immorally and greedily and even illegally.

  10. Your professors knew that what you might destroy their grants. They were trying to protect you from becoming politically incorrect, which is what you are! I like you! But the chance you will be Pres. of a Univ. is nil almost.

  11. Hopefully, Prof Wolff's talk made an impact on 1/4th of one person's brain in that room. His humour, sadly, seems to be lost on this audience and a small one at that judging from the hand claps. Tragic if that is the case.

  12. I don't have words to describe how brilliant this guy is, but the main thing is he is willing to tell truths to which most people, including scholars, won't even question.

  13. Marx's views and examples of why capitalism was bad was based on the bottom 90% having less than the top 10% but this happens in every human statistic re-guard less of what it is the top 10% makes up over half in grades, ppl that do everything in jobs is 10%,10% own over half of money…….this also works on karl marx's idea which was communism which means one dictator and the "socialism" argument comes from the same base principles but in both of your societies the same thing happens over the course of about 80 years even in socialism and communism…. capitalism isnt the answer for equality of outcome it is the answer for freedomwhich includes the freedom to FAIL……

  14. Another hypocrite anti capitalist who sells his own over priced merchandise on his website. How much profit are you making off the backs of others Wolff? I wonder how many excuses the logically inconsistent socialist drones will make for this retard.

  15. Every once in a while someone says something that is momentous and illuminates a moment, a direction, a state of the universal flux, and exposes the operational state of affairs in such a way that even the casual observer comprehends that the dynamics of change can be understood given a lucid and coherent exposition of the true nature of the driving motivations behind the actions of those in control of society.

  16. So a kid in the UK has 3 years to live with care and the free gov care says it’s not long enough so their not paying for it. The kid is now off of the life support he needs. That’s the socialist gov run healthcare y’all want? No thanks! @lozoft9 @brent miller

  17. Drivel. It's fine to have a criticism of anything, including Capitalism, but to suggest there's something better than free market Capitalism is just nonsense. Mr. Wolff demonizes Capitalism. Capitalism is just a naturally forming derivative of freedom, rights and common sense. It's like someone demonizing air or water. Just drivel. His arguments and points break down with very little scrutiny.

  18. Right and the number of shares of a corporation a given individual or other corporation can own is not limited.
    Unlimited ownership for one destroys any chance of the many owning the corporation.

  19. one of the flaws of this truely brilliant perspective is the disregard of the fact that society, community and the working class should deserve to be involved into co-ops movement, be mature enough to adopt the work co-ops paradigm appropriately and effeciently

  20. Any system run by the debt money printed cash of GODLESS self worshippers loyal to there own agenda – criminal state of Isra-hell will fail. The world is waking up – realjewnewscom

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