Friday, March 30, 2012

Capitalism Hits the Fan

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New World Notes News
Vol. 5, No. 13-14 -- March 30, 2012

This fortnight in New World Notes, radio program #213-214, April 3 & 10, 2012

Capitalism Hits the Fan:
A Talk by Richard Wolff

In brief

With clarity, force, and wit, economist Richard Wolff explains the 30-year-long process that got the US economy into its present crisis. He shows why there are no quick fixes--while suggesting (in Part 2) some practical actions that will improve the situation. Actions that nobody in Washington is proposing.

More fundamentally, we need to re-think our commitment to corporate capitalism, he argues.

Part 1 of his talk focuses on the factors most affecting workers: growing workforce, growing productivity, declining available jobs, stagnant pay, and--perhaps an inevitable consequence--growing consumer debt.

Part 2 focuses more on the CEOs and financiers--who managed to make a bad situation much worse. Part 2 includes also Wolff's practical suggestions for near-and long-term changes.

Richard Wolff

Some conclusions

Just as there are no easy fixes, Wolff concludes, so there are no dastardly villains--not even Wall Street. Wolff has written,

"Everybody did his or her part to contribute to the crisis. The bankers did what bankers do; the working people did what working people do. Everyone tried to make this system work for them. ...

"When a system has everybody playing more or less by the rules and achieves the level of dysfunction we have now, it’s time to stop looking for scapegoats and understand the problem is the system itself."

Notes, credits, & links

Wolff gave this guest-lecture at Brown University on December 2, 2009. I have condensed it for radio broadcast. A video of the entire presentation including introduction (1:45:00) can be found on YouTube.

More on & by Richard Wolff:

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You can listen to any installment of New World Notes online or else download it (as an mp3 audio file) for later listening. The show is archived at both and (from #90 onwards) The Internet Archive. Either link should get you a reverse-chrono listing of available installments. Or browse the show's Web site: Each installment has a page, and each page has links to the recorded audio. See the gray sidebar on the right ("CONTENTS [Links]") for a table of contents.

Series overview:
Political and social commentary in a variety of genres. Exploring the gap between what we want ... and what they're trying to make us settle for.

Coming soon (Tuesday air debut date shown)
  • April 17 & 24 -- Peak Oil, Peak Natural Gas, Peak Electricity--Why 'More of the Same' is Not an Option
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