Economic Update: U.S. Midterm Elections


Welcome, friends, to another edition of economic update a weekly program devoted to the economic dimensions of our lives. Debts. Jobs. Incomes. Our own. Our children’s. I’m your host Richard Wolff. I’ve been a professor of economics all my adult life, and that’s the basis upon which I offer these economic updates every week. The theme, if there is one today, would be the gap between the economic realities of what’s going on and the glib political, ideological promises that fill the airwaves; not only during election season but most of the time. I’m going to give you some examples of that gap First… All the posturing by President Trump and his allies against China. It’s really remarkable. What’s going on? Having been accused of being too close to the Russians, he’s showing us that he’s nasty towards the Chinese. That’s supposed to compensate, I suppose. Then he has those advisors who think that the United States is in a death struggle with the Chinese and that they have to be hurt or damaged or slowed down or something like that. And then there’s the strange argument about how the United States wants more concessions from the Chinese. It is a mystery to me because what does it mean? You want the Chinese companies to be hurt and to make a better deal for the United States? Or do you want the better deal from the American companies that are active in China? Roughly half of what comes to the United States from China comes from companies that are subsidiaries of American corporations. So, is the Trump administration demanding concessions from American companies? And, if so, what does that mean? If you hurt those companies, how they will they adjust their activities in the United States? This makes very little sense or, at least, whatever sense it has has not been explained. And are you demanding things from the Chinese government? And, if so, how do you prevent against them then taking that out on the American companies that are there. There’s very strange theater going on here. But that’s not the main point here. The main point is to understand a certain reality. The Chinese are now the second most important economy in the world. They’re very strong, they’re very large, and they have a lot of influence. I’m gonna give you one example of what is going on China is a major buyer of three American grains: soybeans, corn, and sorghum. All are drastically down in terms of the exports from the United States of these crucial agricultural commodities. The farmers and the farm states that depend on the production and export of soybeans, corn, and sorghum are really hurting. The ramifications of their difficulties difficulties, which mean, for example, that they cannot repay loans from banks that they take out as a matter of course. It means that other countries are filling the Chinese demand for those products. And the Chinese are unlikely to go back to the United States afterwards because they don’t want to be caught in a dependency that has already shown itself to be dangerous for them. Has this been thought through? Is the benefit to the United States from all of these secondary consequences worth the theater of being hostile to China? Well, it’s worth it politically for Mr. Trump. But for the economy of the United States? Unlikely. The second update I want to talk about is Italy. Italy has what we call these days a “populist government”, mostly of the political right. And here’s what they’re doing. They are reacting to the rage and anger of the Italian working-class There’s no other way to put this. The Italian working class has been really hurt by the crash in 2008 and the austerity ever since. They haven’t been heard quite as badly as Greece or even as Spain. But they are a larger economy than either of those two countries, and they have been really hurt. And they’ve had a suffering of wages that have gone nowhere, cutbacks in government programs. Really bad. And in their anger they decided to vote in these outsiders much as in other countries angry workers are voting in new and different political parties, left and right, because they’re disgusted with the center-left, center-right that was in charge of the build-up to the great crash and then imposing austerity afterwards. The plan of the Italian government now is to try to save the situation because, when you screw over the mass of people, you’re going to get, particularly in European countries where there are socialist and communist parties and newspapers that’s a much bigger part of those societies’ culture… you’re going to get people who are angry at the system, are able to say this system isn’t working. Now, capitalism is a system the core of which is the business community, and that’s always, and by that I mean the employers… that’s always a tiny minority of a society. And, for them to survive on top of the economy, they need what’s called a “mass base”. They need a lot of support. In good times they’re able to get that in one way or another. But, when the economy fails the majority of people, they lose it. And then they get frightened that their political security, that the very the continuation of capitalism, becomes a question. And what they do then is extreme. The Italian government is now proposing, in a difficult economy, to have the government spend enormous amounts of money helping people out while cutting taxes on businesses and rich people. Everybody’s getting a picnic. Now, of course, the only way this works is for the government to borrow more and more money. And that’s the lesson here. The build-up of debt either on the part of the government or on the part of the public… credit-card debt, student-loan debt, car-payment debt, mortgage debt… Debt is a way for capitalism to secure mass support when they can’t do it any other way anymore. When they have angered and alienated the mass of the people, they try to hold on to their support by giving them a debt explosion. So they can maintain their consumption The Italian government is going to provide services and hire lots of people to do all kinds of thing to keep the systems going by the support of a mass of people. And the price of it is the deep indebtedness both of the government and of the mass of people. And that is what has to be understood. This indebtedness is the way for this system to keep going and, of course, when people can’t borrow anymore and when the government can’t because the lenders don’t have confidence, that’s when the price will have to be paid for this peculiar way of keeping a system going when it can’t serve the mass of the people in a normal way. My next update responds to questions you keep sending me, even though I’ve dealt with it once before. Lotteries… I understand lotteries are a fantasy. We can indulge, buy a ticket, buy a scratch-off, buy a number… But I want you to understand the economic costs of lotteries. And you make the decision whether, on balance, you’re for them or against them. But you need to understand the costs, which of course the state governments that use lotteries don’t want to stress. I’m being polite. Let’s go through it. A lottery. A lottery takes a lot of money from a lot of people. Each one buys five bucks, ten bucks… whatever it is. Most people buy a little… so, a very large number of people give up a little bit of money to make the few winners who win anything significant very rich. Let’s go through that again. Large numbers of people who don’t have much money give up a little so that a few people can become rich. Now, those many who buy the tickets, they would have used those few dollars to buy goods and services… which would have given people jobs producing and selling those goods and services. If you put all that money in the hands of one two, three, four, or five people, they’re not gonna spend all that money on goods and services because they’re gonna be so rich they’re gonna save a huge portion of it… which means that money isn’t getting spent on goods and services. That’s a cost in an economy where there’s already trouble buying things. You’re making that process worse. Moreover, the few who win will now take these enormous sums of money and invest them in the stock and bond market. You know what that does? it drives up the price of stocks and bonds. Ten percent of the people in this country own a 80 percent of the stocks and bonds. So, by moving money from little people who would never have used five or ten dollars to buy stock, collecting it all and giving it to a few rich people, who buy stocks and bonds… you’re helping that part of the economy that needs it least, while you’re depriving the average buyer and seller of goods and services of what they do need most. Next. It’s a kind of tax. The vast majority of people who buy lottery tickets do not ever see that money again They are paying money to the government because the government takes the lion’s share of that lottery ticket… money that you’re paying. So, the government gets a revenue, doesn’t have to call it a tax because it’s voluntary, but it’s a way of the government not having to tax corporations and the rich because they’re getting more out of average people by calling it a lottery… even though 99% of them will never see anything from that other than losing the money. And, since a good part of it has to be given to a few rich people, it’s not even as good as a tax. A tax would have at least taken the money from everybody… giving it to the government, who could then use it to provide some services. But, with a lottery, a good chunk of it has to be given to it a few individual rich people… and, no, that’s not available for the government to do something. And, finally, as it’s well known, this kind of thing is a form of gambling and therefore is a boost for the addiction problem that some gamblers have. You should have all that in your mind before you think of a lottery as purely the fun part about winning a lot of money… which very few people do. The last update that we have time for is a kind of a shout out Grinnell College in Iowa. A well-known college… been around a long time… a college that is committed to social justice and things like that. I’ve had many of my students come from Grinnell. I was struck that the undergraduates… the undergraduates who get jobs in the dining halls and the libraries… have formed a union That’s right. Undergraduates formed a union. I’ve never heard of that before. They did it a couple of years ago, and they’ve been very successful. Grinnell College, despite its commitment to social justice, which is about as serious as Harvard and Yale’s commitment to Lux et Veritas and all the other things they claim to be in favor of, hired anti-union lawyers, made statements that a union would erode the egalitarian nature of the college. I guess paying undergraduates as little as they did enhanced the egalitarian nature in some brain of theirs there. The Union has been successful. They had not had a wage increase in seven years. They’ve now had a nine percent wage increase. They’ve gotten bonuses for those who work more than one hundred and ten hours a semester. They’ve gotten paid rest breaks. A formal grievance procedure that has 146 student dining-hall employees their jobs back when they were wrongfully terminated And here’s something they did I found striking. They demanded and got equal wages for high school students who have jobs in the dining halls alongside the undergraduates. So, despite the effort of the college to squash them, they have persevered… they’ve won and they’ve done a world of good for the students there. That’s a sign, particularly important because it’s young people, of an understanding of how collective action can transform your work situation and have a better shot for everybody than an individual attempt to escape somehow. Well, we’ve come to the end of the first half of Economic Update. I want to remind you please to subscribe to our YouTube(c) channel. It’s a very important support for us. Check out our website at Democracyatwork.info where you can follow us on Facebook(c), Twitter(c), Instagram(c). And I also want to urge you to look at the ways you can partner with us, which are available on that website. And, finally, a shout out to the Patreon(c) community that provides us with support and encouragement, that is invaluable to what we do. If you would like to see all of that, take a look at our channel there. patreon.com/economic update Stay tuned. We have a wonderful interview in the second half of today’s program Welcome back, friends, to the second half of Economic Update. Today I am very pleased, as I have occasionally been in the past, that I have a guest, Professor David Harvey, to talk to us about how he views through his Marxist lens what’s going on in the economy we depend on and live in. But, before we jump in, let me introduce [him] for the few of you who don’t already know who David Harvey is. He teaches at the Graduate Center of the City University of York He’s written extensively on Marx’s CAPITAL and the insights it offers into the workings of contemporary capitalism. His most recent book is MARX, CAPITAL, AND THE MADNESS OF ECONOMIC REASON. Normally, my introduction might stop at that point. But I am very proud to announce that David Harvey’s latest project has been realized with the help of Democracy at Work. We are proud to announce that on Thursday, November 15th, 2018 Democracy at Work launched a new podcast featuring Professor David Harvey. It’s called David Harvey’s Anti-Capitalist Chronicles. It is a bi-monthly podcast that looks at capitalism through a Marxist lens. You can find Anti-Capitalist Chronicles on Itunes(c), on Google Play(c), and at our website Democracyatwork.info If you would like to support this project, please go to patreon.com/davidharveyacc where, of course, the ACC stands for Anti-capitalist Chronicles. So, with that, let me turn to David and pose the questions for today. And thank you, first of all. Thank you for having me. Good to be here. And thank you for producing these podcasts, which I think will be an important resource for all kinds of people around the world as this program travels. All right. We’re in the election season or the immediate post-election season, so I want to begin by asking you in a general way: What do you think about these elections that just happened here? These midterm elections? What lessons? What insights? What is the meaning of all of this as it looks to you? Well something that’s become very, very prominent about U.S. elections is how undemocratic they are. And it begins with the fact that the Senate is a totally undemocratic body. Twenty percent of the population of the United States actually controls 60% of the votes in the Senate. And what we see in the elections this time is a gap between what happened in the Senate and what happened in the more popular-based House. The Senate went even more Republican– gaining two seats, maybe four seats… who knows? And it seems to me that the Founding Fathers probably had some fear of the tyranny of the majority and they were particularly fearful of the tyranny of the urban over the rural. And they protected that for a little while, but now it’s transformed– with that distinction fading into the tyranny of a minority over the majority because Nebraska and North Dakota and South Dakota can simply outvote New York and California… so, this is a real, real problem And I think this becomes very obvious in the results of this election. I noticed one statistic at one of the television channels that, if you add it up Republican and Democratic votes for Senate… just for Senate, 57% of the votes went to the Democrats and forty… and whatever it was… three… percent to the Republicans… even though the Republicans gained and the Democrats lost. Right, right. This is astonishing. But the second thing I think is really interesting, which we might have our conversation about, Is to think about the class character… of… the American electorate right now. I mean, I think the case was that, in the 1960s, you had a class formation which was based on a fairly affluent White working class… strongly unionized and with a great deal of political power in the Democratic Party. Basically, that power has been destroyed over the last thirty years. But now we’re seeing a new power emerging… and I think that we start to see signs of that in terms of the kinds of people who are being elected and the kinds of people who were running… particularly on the Democratic ticket. And I was thinking about this the other day when I was flying. And I was flying through Dallas Airport, and I looked at all of the ground staff. And I looked at all the people servicing the airport. And then I read a statistic that said: In Atlanta, the biggest employer of labor in Atlanta is the airport. And you kinda go: Who’s employed there? Where did they come from? And I think you would find three categories: one would be women in the labor force, the second would be African Americans or people of color, the third would be Hispanics. And it would seem to me that we’ve got a new working class. which is made up of some sort of alliance potentially between those three categories and, when Marx used the term “a class-in-itself”, I think that’s the class-in-itself. The big problem is: Will it become a class-for-itself? And I think, when you look at somebody like Stacey Abrams… that seems to me to be a tremendous kind of signifier of where Democratic Party politics can go. On the other hand, I think the you know, the Nancy Pelosi’s of this world don’t want that kind of… that kind of thing to prevail, but I think we have a potential class-for-itself, which, if it could form an alliance and not get into fisticuffs with each other… which we know they have done historically… encouraged, of course, a lot by the bourgeois media… that, in fact, we would have a very, very different kind of electorate emerging in this country. I know you didn’t say this, but is an implication of what you’re saying: That it would be a mistake to look for some sort of resurgence of a traditional labor movement, almost as a reaction to what has happened to worker, to wages, and working conditions? I think… well, it depends how you define the traditional workers movement. I mean… I thought for a moment when I was going through these airports… suppose all the airport workers in the country decided to stop work for two days? Yes, unbelievable what it would do. Unbelievable what it would do. Why… I mean, that’s where the power lies. We used to think that a strike of General Motors or something like that… or in the mines… would bring the thing down. That there’s no longer there. But, if all the airport workers went out on strike and kinda said, you know, We’re fed up with the way in which these country’s run. We want a reform of the electoral system. We should stop this voter-suppression and all this gerrymandering and all this kind of stuff… And you know… That’s where the power lies, and I don’t think we have quite understood that that is where the heart of the contemporary working-class really is. And, there again, women, people of color, Hispanic Americans probably are the dominant group at every Airport. Yes, at least. Absolutely. As you walk through them, that’s certainly what it looks like to everyone. Every one I go through just looks like that. And so, I think I’m hopeful that there will be a politics that starts to emerge a bit from that group. And we shouldn’t be looking to the auto workers and the miners and the steel workers anymore, because they’ve been disempowered. And, of course, we see the residual of that in the sense of, you know, what’s happened to the population of Michigan or Ohio… Detroit… Cleveland… And all the rest of it. So, maybe we should start thinking about what is the class-in-itself right now and what is the class-for-itself. Going back for a moment to the elections Do they make any difference to the broad movement of capitalism, the outcomes here? I think the outcome is satisfactory from the standpoint of capital. I think they’ve thrived on gridlock, and I think the election is a not exactly a gridlock, but it’s close to a gridlock, and I think that’s satisfactory from the standpoint of big capital, because they don’t want an activist Congress. They don’t want legislation to be passed apart from, you know, tax reform and a few things like that. They’re happy for Trump to to rule through executive order as much as possible. And he will do their bidding. And, I think, adequately… so, I think, from the standpoint of capital accumulation… it’s… Yeah, there’ll be there’ll be some difference obviously with the House in the hands of the Democrats, though it’s going to depend a lot on the new wave of influx of Democratic representatives and particularly whether the women… the strong movement of women in there… is gonna really make a political difference as opposed to just being absorbed into the status quo. How do you see the right wing in terms of in this country? The Brazilian elections, which were kind of an extreme version of… Yeah… the movements in Europe. How does that fit into the picture you have of what’s going on? What is this resurgence about? well, I think one of the things we see from these elections is that Trump and Trumpism, if you want to call it that, is pretty strong… cannot be counted out. Yes, it’s minority, as we see from the House results, but it’s strong… it’s powerful… and we shouldn’t underestimate it. Do you think it’s a…? Well, let me provoke a little bit. Is there is there merit to the following basic story? That you’ve had a crash in 2008. You’ve had a lost decade for the mass of working people, where their wages and their working conditions and their job security have been pretty badly hurt. Yeah. They were told that the bailouts had to go to the very people who brought the crisis. And then they were told there was no money left in the government to help them– so they get an austerity. I mean, it really is quite a scene. And you provoke an angry population. Which turns against the center-left, the center-right, the traditional two parties… conservative, labor… Republican, Democrat… Italy… Over and over again… And, because of the left in its initial promise to undo austerity… I’m thinking of the French Socialists, the Greek Socialists… They didn’t deliver. They had been voted in to stop an austerity and then became the administrators of it. Right. So, then the masses of the people… you know… it’s fanciful, but they turn right… I mean, the left disappointed them… They’re gonna try the right wing, which makes crazy promises which probably will do the same. But it stalls off the reckoning moment. Is there something to this? I think there’s something to it, but I’d add a few wrinkles. One of the wrinkles would be that, if you look at who disempowered, for example, the traditional working class, it was capital that disempowered them. But on the other hand, the media is not going to say capital did it. They’re going to say: Where did it come from? Oh, it’s China. Or: It’s immigrants. Right? So there’s the other side to the right-wing thing, which is the anti-immigrant and the anti-foreign competition. To keep the anger of the masses away from the economic power. Absolutely. You do not blame the center of economic power, even though you’re alienated from it. And I think there’s a difference between opposing something and being alienated from it. And I think that what we see right now are alienated populations. But not yet opposing and not, like, in-itself and for-itself. Yeah, exactly. That’s why I think it’s time for us to think more clearly about this in-itself and for- itself politics is is is critical right now for the left. Will the left be allowed to do it? Or will the right take itself to the point of, I think, … it did before. Well, I think the left is beginning to do that I mean, I’m just a little bit encouraged by the Labour Party in Britain. I think that it’s actually a bit mobilized. It’s grown. It’s become a little bit more sort of articulate in the idea that it’s going to take back into the public domain a lot of basic services, which… as far as the British are concerned… if you kinda say that privatized transport and privatized water is more efficient and better than public administration, everybody in the country just laughs at you. So people know that, and I think that there is an opportunity for the left right now to actually strike out in a definitely more sort of vibrant kind of kind of way, saying: Bring these things back into the public domain! We should not underfund that public aspect of, say, housing and education which we’ve been doing through the austerity politics. We should overfund them, if anything. Because this is a moment when I think the left, if it’s pushes hard on that, will start to get, you know, real resonance in the population. David, we do have to stop here. I want to remind everyone that we will continue this conversation with David Harvey on our Patreon(c) channel. If you’re interested, just go to Patreon.com/economicupdate For all the rest of you, I hope you’re as moved and as inspired by this as we all are. Thank you for joining us and we’ll be back to talk with you again next week

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Lottery is a direct injection of cash to our gov. That is what liberal Marxist progressives want money feeding the gov. Much like tarrifs, yet Mr. Wolf does not like them. Not sure if Mr wolf is a true socialist or not, he seems to dislike cash going to the gov.

  2. Who knew women, aa, and hispanics are now working, who would have guessed thst. Fantastic interview. Became very educated. Looking forward to more EDUCATIONAL and insightful interviews. Women are now working Jesus Christ who knew that.

  3. I've so been looking forward to you guys in conversation. The two eminent Marxian thinkers/economists of our age! I love how it takes two old white lefties to point out that we have a new diverse working class, although I would add that working/unemployed/young white men still need a useful part to play in society.

    I think it's a mistake just to highlight women, people of colour and Hispanics since many white men are also LGBTQ+, disabled, impoverished,  single-dads, homeless etc. What I'm saying is that white men are too often looked at as a monolith, and according to studies in the UK young white working class men are by far viewed the most negatively, while old white and Asian women and men the most favourably, showing age not just of the youngest but of those in their 30s and 40s is an important factor as well. And there are many people of the slightly later than baby-boomer generation, who have kids that are part of the millennium/younger generation that they are concerned about.

    I know my Mum and Dad had to live through Maggie Thatcher, the evisceration of manufacturing and the 3 million on the dole in the 1980s… there are a lot more potential allies than you think. But if we keep putting an unobtainable bar for social liberalism ie. using specific words and avoiding certain faux-pas and mannerisms, otherwise you're a racist/bigot etc. is misunderstanding the many allies in the older generation who fought for liberal values and civil rights in the 60s and the 70s that today we TAKE FOR GRANTED. While we're fighting over gay marriage, we need to stop and respect the equal rights of people in the queer community to have sex (illegal before 1968), equal age of consent in UK, be able to have civil partnerships, be an accepted part of society. We also have to understand that we're a lot less comfortable with free-speech liberalism of the post-war era, which was by far the most liberal, left-wing opinion, which understood the way to fight fascism and authoritarianism was with reason and argument. We have almost receded into a form of social conservatism in our restriction of the use of language and jokes in "bad taste". I in no way whatsoever condone racism, xenophobia, homophobia or misogyny of any kind, and such forms of fear and hatred should be CONFRONTED not censored. We need to promote understanding of why it is wrong to say and advocate certain things, rather than patronize and censor those we disagree with. That is a conservative attitude that has no place on the left. That it should be a left-wing opinion to censor swearing and bad language amongst responsible adults is absurd to me. Words have a great power, and we need them in the fight against corporate oligopoly.Don't use that power to punch down at the ignorant, for accusing an innocent person of racism, antisemitism, bigotry without evidence and reasoning is the biggest insult. To shut down someone's right to a voice through gaslighting and slander is worrying trope of our times and only feeds the vitriol and power of the extreme right.

  4. Democrates are cheering that soon america will be 1 party rule. So proud! And you did it by being brainwashed by msm and flooding the country with immigrants.

  5. Stop saying the government has to borrow money! Who exactly are they borrowing the dollar from? China, no they print the yaun; Britain, no that's right they print the pound; Japan, no they print the yen! America prints the dollar so why exactly do they need to borrow?

  6. Trump: Just another City Slicker Con Man foolin' the poor country folk into buyin' his shoddy wares while the city folk long ago stopped being fooled by him.

  7. The US is in a death spiral. What we need is for the next big crash. When it happens and businesses try to look at the government to "help them out" and spend tons to fix it, we need to say FUCK NO. We need the rich of this system to pay for what they cause, even at our own sacrifice. We need their position to be taken apart by simply not accepting the cost of fixing the issues they bring up. One big problem like 2008 and a refusal to correct it will immediately give us the chance to break this gridlock in their favor, and move towards a better system.

  8. Stock market is 4-8X overpriced, with small caps at the high end. Look at the Russell 2000 with a PE in excess of 100! PE ratios go down in bad times. Real GDP growth properly accounting for inflation and deficit spending has been deeply negative 10 years running. This is the biggest ever masked economic depression.

    You won't see acclaimed economists showing you the truth like I do. You watch and you'll hear Mr. Wolff citing economic figures put out by government which uses creative accounting.

    I challenge all of you – something I guess economics professors will not ask of their students – is to calculate the real GDP growth of the US for the past 10 years accounting for monetary inflation, population inflation, and deficit spending. You can't tell me if you borrowed $10 and it turned into $10.05 that you made $10.05 net when in fact it would be a net loss of $9.95. To not account for deficit spending is to be ignorant. We might as well have deficit spending of $100 trillion per year to really make the economy rolling as it would show an astronomic increase in the phony real GDP growth rate, that is if everyone including the acclaimed economists do not want to consider the borrowing that boosts the GDP. "Real" in economic terms is to subtract out confounding factors. To purposely not subtract a huge confounding factor would be corrupt. In addition, using the government claim of a low inflation rate adds to the corruption. Look at a reputable site such as shadowstats.com.

  9. Also, state governments dont use that money for the stated purpose (ie education) they use it to fund other programs. The bulk of it goes into a trust fund and it earns interest which the state uses for any purpose it wants. Lastly, if you work in the lottery department you get huge bonuses and the top bureaucrats make huge salaries.

  10. Lets not leave out certain aspects of the truth. Mr Salvini, the head of the Lega, one of the parties of Italys current coalition is a ultra racist right extrimist. He has called Migrants "human flesh", demonizes the NGOs that save people from drowning in the meditaranean and made registration lists of roma and sinti. For what you might ask? Who knows… Italy under the new government has bascially stopped all migration and the violent racist rethoric encourages hate crimes against brown and black people on a weekly basis.
    What ever you think about the economic pollicies, you can't just gloss over the fact, that italy is flirting with actual FASCISM right now.

  11. Lotteries: the statistics are quite clear – close to 100% of lottery winners not only spend all the winnings within 12 months, they usually also lose the little they had before their win.
    Please base your assertions on the facts Mr Wolff?

  12. Im pessimistic that the working class and poor can ever achieve a collective conscious. The hegemony of individualism is just to powerful and keeps people ignorant and child like. Individualists rarely question they system. On top of that the capitalist class has even more strategies like nationalism, anti-immigrants, welfare, and diversity policy. Face it the average joe is just too dumb for collective consciousness, collectivist mentality, collective action, and much less a collectivist society. Dont forget slavery lasted hundreds of years, and the slaves never took collective action. It was social justice Elites who brought emancipation. Peasants were under the spell of Christianity for a thousand years before secular Elites brought them emancipation. There are virtually no black Marxists economists or socialists. Most women are feminist rather than socialist. Muslims are Islamic rather than socialist. Your basic Mexican are for unions, a far cry from socialism. The prediction of a working class consciousness is Marx's biggest fallacy

  13. Thank you for being a beacon of hope. The Fascists have been battling us in the USA since the great depression and continues to this day. You provide the vocabulary and definitions that are necessary to discuss these ideas with my friends and family.

  14. and yet people need to vote because it sheds light on corruption – until primary for
    Bernie I had no idea HOW corrupt the system really is – think about it

  15. I always try to sing along with the theme song and rhyme what I just learned. The song never lasts long enough to suit me. What is the name of it?

  16. Professor Wolff, check out the KPFA programme Up Front – 1st hr. A Federal Reserve regulator talks abt her work at the Fed!

  17. In the world democracy rankings by the EIU the USA ranks 21st equal with Italy as a "flawed democracy". This decline will continue as there is no way back, the corruption and the rot, the greed and dishonesty is too entrenched in American culture. Just take a look at what Americans elected to the white house, look carefully at the appalling state of the American political system and the dismal performance of its "representatives". "Leader of the free world" they are not, they're just another well armed fascist shithole, just another empire in the process of collapse.

  18. The tariffs on China are only going to hurt the US consumers who are benefiting from low prices. It seems the tariffs are only going to raise prices and cause inflation. Trump doesn't have a degree in economics and I'm afraid he hasn't thought thru his policy and is going to ruin the economy and the dollar.

  19. Glad to see David Harvey making the rounds with my favorite interviewers, like Wolff and Hedges. Looking forward to the Anti Capitalist Chronicles.

  20. Wow, these coastal neoliberal globalists sure do have their panties in a bunch.  Their masters have them concocting all sorts of gloom and doom to fight Trump and populism in general.  Wolff in sheep's clothing, a Judas Goat leading you to slaughter.

  21. I don't disagree that Trump's an idiot but I see a lot of complaining about anything that tries to compete against the current policies. For instance, Progressives complained about "people in the shadows" but weren't effective enough to stop the influx until it was so bad Obama was called Deporter In Chief, ICE rounds up anybody left like Gestapo. People didn't like TPP but now we see that nobody is happy about Trump working against TPP. I think the damage had been done and obviously things were gaining ground until these trade policies started really working up a storm.

  22. Want to fix things, profit margins need to be defined as a percentage of wages. If a company wants to advoid surplus taxes it should have to pay the workers an equal share. 50 million in wages allows for 50million profit. Or pay company tax of 50%

  23. I hope that the democratic socialists take power in the United States so that the US government stops intervening in Latin American countries and lets us progress in peace.

  24. Agriculture is the 2nd largest industry in Michigan. Many farmers havent yet harvested the grain. Im not sure if its the lack of storage or the lack of price.

  25. Most lotto winners spend their "wealth" very quickly, they neither save or invest. Trade: The playing field is NOT level. Consider: Wal MU sells bicycles profitably for under $100 each (after paying an employee to assemble). These goods are shipped perhaps 8,000 miles from abroad. I can NOT compete with that if I had a new paid for and tooled factory and paid minimum wage if I shipped my product across the street. (I can not employ and pay all the related business taxes.) We have a serious trade deficit. Our youth, though better "educated" are working longer and harder for less. (I was an I.E. in my youth.)

  26. re:the U.S., China and U.S. businesses, Oh the irony! Congratulations to poor, little Spain for standing up and not supporting the rest of the west's sanctions on Iran .Now that is leadership that I can follow. That is of course, if they are still standing? I haven't read/ heard anything to the contrary since they made this stance. If anyone, anywhere has read/heard otherwise please inform me? Shame on the rest of our world's western nations for not doing this from the start, let alone not supporting Spain and/or following suit. Congratulations to those students, bravo! re: Alienation vs opposition, people please listen and hear the words of David Harvey's explanation on the difference between the two of these…
     Rhetorical Q.: For how much longer are we going to continue paying our abusers for abusing us???…
    Please send something, a note, a letter, a complaint, a request, a quote, a book, or whatever to your favourite corrupt politician/corporation, crooked banker, war monger/profiteer/criminal, oppressor, or whoever you like. Just make sure it is a hard copy sent through snail mail. They cannot ignore and/or delete that!…
    There I go again going in to edit something because of one typo…

  27. The dynamics of capitalism make the swing from left to right predictable, if not inevitable. Liberal democracy failed because it betrayed “We the People” populism by being an apologist for neoliberalism. Liberal democracy was complicit with the neoliberal slow-moving corporate coup, which caused democracy to become uncaring, unresponsive, and unrepresentative of populations. Neoliberal capitalism and hyper disparity in wealth has broken the social contract, and caused Durkheim’s “anomie”, which has left populations vulnerable to malignant demagogues, autocrats, and authoritarian tyrants. The competitive nature and winner take all paradigm of capitalism demonstrates a predictable cycle, culminating in extreme disparity in wealth, monopoly, and a rentier economy, including producing an oligarchic class dependent on replacing failed left-wing populism with right-wing populism, Theism, and authoritarianism.

  28. Great to see the classic one-man-behind-a-desk communist report going strong! Time to give up on the euphemisms – socialism is just a stage on the way to communism. No need to fear the Cold Warriors and the Marxophobes – the people are sick of cronyism and exploitation, capitalism has completely failed the masses of the world. Only those countries implementing the communist system have people who support their governments. The leaders of the capitalist-imperialist world have no clue – no idea whatsoever how to fix the systemic problems that have been made worse by not having any check on their power. Trump just rambles and rants about "foreigners" or Democrats – he has no clue that cutting taxes and raising spending equals bankruptcy, surely elementary mathematics. But one can't blame him – every other president did much the same thing. Keep up the great work Comrade Wolff – I look forward to the re-formation of the US Communist Party soon. Forget these nitwits and phonies like Ocasio-Cortez – they think socialism means timid reforms of the capitalist machine, maybe a little more handouts. The reality is that all the exploiters and hoarders must be stripped of their power and the working people of the world must be in charge. Otherwise, the fatcats will try their best to make robots to replace everyone – which will inevitably involve a class of robots whose whole job is killing off all the able-bodied people who threaten the loot (and power) of the greedheads.

  29. Lotteries are just another opiate for the masses – pure exploitation. Didja know that the lottery company here in New Zealand makes BILLIONS in profits? They can afford to throw a few million several times a year – it's practically petty cash for these scoundrels. Even worse, it indulges the madness that is "upward mobility" – "if only I were rich, then everything would be wonderful!" NONSENSE! Very few winners become suddenly happy people – normally it ruins their lives because all that instant money (not earned but given randomly) is very disruptive to the ordinary person's life. The truth is that we don't need more money – we need a system that doesn't disproportionately distribute the wealth of the people. There is only so much wealth to go around, so rich people by their very nature create many poor people.

  30. Ohhh boo hoo, the government has given us more tax credits than it has taken from us. We are all gonna die.

    Stop treating government debt as if it was the same as private debt! Stop making up a mythical past when capitaliam could do without debt! You often mention MMT but it looks like you still haven‘t really got the lesson.

    Take notes: money is nothing but the promise that you can pay your taxes with it! In earlier times, the king might have asked the black smith to deliver swords and the peasant to deliver food while demanding nothing from anybody else, but when the kings no longer wanted to run the risk of peasants and blacksmiths being angry, they decided to introduce a system where everyone had to give a little „something“: they asked the population to pay one uga-aga per person. When nobody knew what an uga-aga was, the king told them that an uga-aga was a document that only the king could produce and when the people asked how they get uga-aga, the king told the blacksmith and the peasants that he‘d give them uga-aga for food and swords. The peasants and the blacksmith could then buy themselves a little compensation of their choice for their loss by giving uga-aga to a population that now hat a huge demand for uga-aga.

    If the government spends more uga-aga than it demands from the people as a tax, this means that it becomes easier for us to pay taxes. They give us more money than they take from us! This is true even if for formal reasons the government has foolishly obliged itself to lend that money from private banks (who are forced by law to lend to the government and who can ask the central bank to print it).

    The only reasons why the Italian government debt might be a problem are: 1. because they have given up their own currency, but they might as well reintroduce it. 2. the government pays interest to the banks for a service that the central bank could do for free. And 3. unfortunately, in our system the government doesn’t give uga-agas to peasants and blacksmiths so they can buy themselves a compensation for the swords and food they delivered, but the government gives the money to Walmart, McDonalds, Microsoft or Airbus for the stuff that the government employees buy and for the machinery that the government buys. Do these megacorporations spend on decent wages? -No! Do they spend it on input materials so they can continue deliver the goods? -No, they can do that with a tiny fraction of the money. Do the bosses buy themselves compensations for their „hard work“ of bullying us into wage slavery? -Yes, but again, they only use a tiny fraction of the money for that. The vast amount of money is simply HOARDED by the megacorporations or used for buybacks and other fancy strategies that make them more powerful over time. This is the third major problem.

  31. This is BS, success and happiness are inevitable, TV Jesus says so. Trump 2020 MAGA
    March on Christian soldiers. The beat downs continue …

  32. Dr. Wolff always speaks so negatively about debt. Has he addressed Modern Monetary Theory yet? Does that mean he rejects it?

  33. HAHAHA WUT??? … the SJW college hired Anti-Union Lawyers? OMG … YOU GUYS… you seriously have to "Sort yourselves Out" on the far Left here. … before one of those actual RightWing Shill-Tubers finds out about this and uses it as a weird bizzaro justification against the entire concept of workers Unions. //// And by sort yourselves out, I mean ADMIT that a lot of your Pseudo Accademics and Gender/Race baiting Social-Science Institutionalists act just like CORPORATE bureaucrats & CEO's

  34. I have a question for Mr. Wolff regarding an idea to "Socialize Capitalism" through legislation in which worker ownership of their labour and control of the means of production is enabled, protected, and enforced by a universal mandate requiring a 51% majority controlling share in each publicly-traded or private corporation be held by the collective union of that corporation's employees who would then have the ability to vote on the Board of Directors, Officers, and Company Policies, etc. My question is would this really be Socialism and if so wouldn't this be a winning promise for any American politician left or right?

  35. Cage, deport, shoot and you will prosper. Thank you, President Trump, keep beating heads and kicking ass.
    No more kid gloves. The IRON FIST will teach them a lesson they will never forge.

    The WHITE RACE is on the MARCH and we are taking back AMERICA. USA was BUILT on beat downs.

  36. Fan of Prof. Harvey? Check out David Harvey's Anti-Capitalist Chronicles, right here on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPJpiw1WYdTPmOmC2i3hR4_aR7omqhaCj

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