Richard Wolff: Capitalism Hits the Fan (must-see)

capitalism kills

Image by duncan via Flickr

Dandelion Salad

December 09, 2009

Economist, author, Professor emeritus U Mass, Amherst, Richard Wolff, speaks about the current economic crises, its’ roots and what we can do about it.

Filmed by Paul Hubbard at Brown University, Providence RI on 12-2-09


Why capitalism’s time is up By Paul Richard Harris

Exclusive: Destroying Capitalism by Gary Sudborough

Worker Occupations And The Future Of Radical Labor By Noam Chomsky and Diane Krauthamer

Exclusive: Derivatives for Dummies by The Other Katherine Harris

30 thoughts on “Richard Wolff: Capitalism Hits the Fan (must-see)

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  14. mmcke and ds–I will give Ellen Brown a look-see..I am so distracted right now, have to take care of some medical stuff…I am having a little trouble understanding what you are saying, so probably have to read more on it…and be able to concentrate a little better, as yu say I have not heard this stuff before adn maybe there is a reason…

    I will say that I am starting to realize that “top down” is just not going to happen in teh US within my lifetime…too many invested (economically and socially) in the status quo, I think..

    • Good luck and God Bless as for your medical …

      This is complicated stuff. Almost none of it taught as it is not in the interest of the powers that be to cut their own throat.

      Top down will probably not happen soon, but once alternatives are needed people need to know about people like Dr Ellen Brown and alternative economics …

      Both the traditional capitalistic and socialistic models we have come to know are obsolete in a finite world … they both rely on what is now known as Cornucopianism or the belief in unlimited resources.

      If you walk away with anything remember this : Capitalism and privately run fractional reserve banking are two entirely different entities and must be separated to analyze economic systems.

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  16. Excellent lead in synopsis to our current problems.

    Very poor analysis of the role of fractional reserve banking and the privately owned and operated Federal Reserve System.

    Wolff like almost all contemporary economists, political scientists and sociologists take for granted the profit and prerogative of the creation of money and credit and the role debt free money printed by and for government programs and the role of credit creation as social policy through governmental allocation based on merit for the Common Good.

    Wolff in many ways is constrained by what I call archaic economics. Archaic economics are the theories of the economy that don’t integrate the fact that we have a finite planet and that fractional reserve private banking creating our money accelerates the worst aspects of consumption and distribution of wealth.

    • I may not fully understand what you are saying, but I didnt hear him praise any type of privitized capital, especially the Federal reserve…could you explain for someone with Liberal Arts degere? Just tryng to understand…are you calling for the elimination of currency, as we presently “make ” it?

      I may just not remember him saying anyting positive about private or Fed Reserve capital…He did not say he didnt support Climate Justice (this is what i heard), but, that he is concerned that the usual people ( the funders of capitalist ventures)wil pay for it…those that can least afford it. Working with people that cant afford to pay for anything has basically been what I did with my life when I could…

      With the govt, financed as it is,(the “financial services industry” which is a figment of someones imagination) makes a commitment, is always seems to be the poor and workng classes who pay for it, bleed for it, etc, whether they are the primary “criminals” or not…when I hear people talking about billions of dollars for Climate Justice, I think, yes, but dont forget New Orleans, or Baltimore…

      The US war profiteers are the ones who promoted this globalization (colonialism)–the working classes didnt want it…I just think that they should pay for (at least)a tiny part of the damage, they have done to lower classes in all just seems that the “govt” makes the commitment, and passes the bil on to us…cap and trade would do that…

      I am also afraid that the “summit ” im Copenhagen is doomed if peopel who are already hurting are the ones asked to pay for the sind of the wealthy…the underclasses of all countries need to realize that they wil all pay the price, the rich wil just move…we need to stop them and make then pay–that is what I think, anyway

      • Currently all of our currency and credit is created by private banks using the leverage of one dollar in deposits (or much, much more) to loan out ten dollars. The bankers get interest on these loans of $9 when they have only $1 in deposits. This how money is created, through banker loans. They get the profit of interest and the prerogative of who to loan to at what rate.

        Even out government has to borrow money in this way. Giving the banks interest bearing notes for the currency and credit to spend. We have to pay interest on our own money even though we, as tax payers back the money with the full faith and credit of our country.

        The questions are: Why should we pay interest on creating our own money and why should the bankers decide what the priority of the loans themselves should be? The answer is … we shouldn’t pay interest on our own money and we should decide who gets priority in getting loans and the interest rate charged. It is our right to create and use our money (responsibly) as set out in the Constitution.

        The banking system now have in place evolved to create credit for the colonial expansion of Europe and the funding of war. Leveraged banking allows huge promises of future profit to be monetized. Since wealth can only be created with natural resources or the seizure of others wealth this leads to the pillage of the land and other peoples wealth and resources.

        By responsibly using our right to create money without debt the government is unencumbered with repayment or interest allowing for programs to be funded without taxes. We should also use the creation of money to set priorities as to the proper use of credit as far as investment and consumption.

        Reclaiming our right to the creation and management of currency and credit is THE key to the problems of over-consumption and the ruinous abuse of the financial system … Whoever controls the creation and distribution of money controls the country and right now our right to produce our currency and credit is in private hands being abused for private profit and the control of the government itself.

        • and

          There is a reason you haven’t heard these ideas before. The idea of the government printing its own money without debt has been scrubbed from all curricula in the educational system. The idea of a finite planet with finite resources is also a recent development. The role of the natural world was always seen as a limitless resource for both development and waste.

          This is why I describe almost all economists you read today including Wolff as archaic in nature. They have been trained to blindly accept the concepts of sovereign currency creation and leveraged debt and embrace the concept (at least in theory) of unlimited resources.

        • I see..I wil have to think about this…not much of an economist…my studies have always been more about social policy, but it is correct to say he who owns the gold rules..but wouldnt it always be so in Capitalism, by the very use of the word?

          This articulates what I was thinking much better than I could–although I am for a less top down approach thab Marx, I would think

          “People are right to worry about emissions of greenhouse gases by big business and the threat they pose to the future of the planet. However, climate change is not happening on account of ‘human nature,’ because people are naturally greedy. Growth is not the problem. The problem is unplanned capitalist growth, growth driven by narrow selfish profit calculation and unconcerned with any wider considerations. The problem is capitalism….”

        • Growth as defined by current economic criteria is absolutely the problem … You see the word “growth” is actually an exponential function… that means the economy must always get bigger and bigger or growth ceases.

          Capitalism in its strictest sense means only limited liability partnerships for business ventures. Capitalism has come to mean many things to many people.

          What is missing in the debate is the difference between fractional reserve banking and capitalism … You can indeed have capitalism without privately owned fractional reserve banking.

          The government should create its own money, responsibly, without debt and then pay for its own goods and services instead of borrowing. The government would also be the creator of credit whereby it could allocate credit and set interest rates based on the addition or dimunition to the Common Good.

          Wolff’s examples of socialist “business” are woefully inadequate. There are many examples of tasks a complex society needs to execute to simply exist that couldn’t be decided on a communal level … They need to planned, funded and carried out over a broad range of planners, suppliers,social and political boundaries.

          I say more power to people that can arrange their lives in the way Wolff suggests but in aggregate it just won’t work with a society as complex as ours.

          What we need is to freeze then decrease population to a degree that the earth can support us with a sustainable economy …

        • Dandelion Salad has some excellent essays by Ellen Brown that will explain government or sovereign creation of currency and credit.

          Her book “Web of Debt” is a must read …

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  18. Gawd, this is really great..I sat and cried and yelled “yes!” ….giving me hope to hang in there for Cleveland Clinic Monday…thanks

    Hope against hope that more and more will come to accept community…pacification of the masses is a neo-liberal enterprise…will it take a neo-con to wake people up? Bush didnt do it amazingly

    The Capitalist enterprises would go out of business, if people were given a choice, and Capitalists know it…the tyranny of entrepreneurship..I am so sick of talking to soon-to-be “small business owners” who think that each person should operate their own (beer factories are BIG) “business”

    “The World is a Vanpire” (ever watch Sea Shepherd?) I agree with Climate Justice, but, the polluters PAY and subsidize..yes, Social Justice would include Climate Justice…green jobs..what happened to those, BTW–glad to hear a guy express what Ive been thinking about the Global Climate thing…cap and trade is crap…those of us in a 650 ft house should not have to subsidize those in $5million McMansions…poor people of the world will not benefit from cap and trade and should come to realize that we have more in common with each other than the damn so-called leaders have with any of us. What is wrong with just regulating?? “You care not allowed to ut this shit in the air”–its illegal, and, you areniot allowed to raise your prices to correct it–you have to take a pay cut for your CEOs.

    Just listening and typing…stuffstuffstuff

    In Denmark, they say “small is beautiful”..I wish Dr. Wolffe could be president…Yeah, took awhile to figure out that “credit default swaps” were just hedging your bets, but “Hedge Funds” gave me a hint…Las Vegas would never do that, nor the Mafia..theyre too moral…

    He’s so right about the so-called emerging markets..when people say, “well they have to pay enough for peopel to buy their stuff”–No they dont!! They just have to shift markets.

    People matter to them NOT AT ALL…globalization is the new to military, when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail…so sad but so true….

  19. He, Richard Wolff, addresses college students as a teacher would…knows his material so well he is like a storyteller. He’s showing how the challenge we face is systemic, no simple “bad guy”-“good guy.” He uses “loaded words” like communism and socialism as ways and means, not as either one or the other as a collective identity.

    The last 15 minutes shows this teddy bear teacher asking very real questions that every one of us must consider.

    All in all, this is a superb educator-in-motion, showing the history that has led to a condition and leaving the student (listener) with essential questions that each must ponder in this re-shaping moment in history.

    WOW (thanks, DS)

    • Thanks, Annie, you described Wolff’s talk very well. I found this a couple of days ago but didn’t have time until last night to watch all of it, and I loved it. This can be our future!

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