Presented by the Graduate Program in International Affairs
Graduate Program in International Affairs instructor, Professor Richard Wolff, will speak about recent policies of the government since the economic crisis and why recovery isn't working.
Professor 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, New York City. He also teaches classes regularly at the Brecht Forum in Manhattan.
Earlier he taught economics at Yale University (1967-1969) and at the City College of the City University of New York (1969-1973). In 1994, he was a Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of Paris (France), I (Sorbonne).
Visit http://www.newschool.edu for more information.
Richard D. Wolff
Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University in New York. Wolff has also taught economics at Yale University, City University of New York, University of Paris I (Sorbonne), and The Brecht Forum in New York City. In 2010, Wolff published Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It, also released as a DVD. He will release three new books in 2012: Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism, with David Barsamian (San Francisco: City Lights Books), Contending Economic Theories: Neoclassical, Keynesian, and Marxian, with Stephen Resnick (Cambridge, MA, and London: MIT University Press), and Democracy at Work (Chicago: Haymarket Books).
Wolff hosts the weekly hour-long radio program Economic Update on WBAI, 99.5 FM, New York City (Pacifica Radio). He writes regularly for The Guardian, Truthout.org, and the MRZine. He has been interviewed on RT-TV, Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now!, Al Jazeera English, Thom Hartman, National Public Radio, Alternative Radio, and many other radio and TV programs in the United States and abroad. The New York Times Magazine named him “America’s most prominent Marxist economist.” His work can be accessed at rdwolff.com. Wolff lives in Manhattan with his wife and frequent collaborator, Dr. Harriet Fraad, a practicing psychotherapist (see podcasts at www.rdwolff.com on psychology and economics).
This is a terrific primer on Marxist thought...a wonderful sales piece. Prof Wolff is very clear, easily understood and I'm sure persuasive to some.
If this lecture is a fair sample, however, nothing has changed in Marxist / socialist thought in a century. The rich and corporations are the source of all evil, collectivism is the solution to most everything.
Just some quick points:
1) The government housing agencies that FDR germinated share no small portion of blame for the crisis - as do lenders and borrowers, rich and poor, public and private, regulators and regulatees.
2) The rich perform an indispensible public service. They save and invest. The middle class and the poor do not. The notion that they cannot save is not weighty, as even America's poorest are in the top 30% of the globe's income distribution.
3) Certainly the last recession was a shock. But it is no cousin of the Depression, no collapse of capitalism. For instance, Americans ate 53% of their meals away from home at the peak of the boom, and ate 46% of them at the bottom.
4) Socialists are perfectly free to practice collectivism in the US. The fact that there are very few communes, very few cooperatives, very few employee owned firms is a testament to their practical appeal as opposed to their romantic image.
5) America's three most socialized sectors are also those facing the greatest difficulties fulfilling their mission. Social Security relies on confiscations from the young, K-12 combines extraordinary expense with formidable mediocrity, and health care (65% government paid, private insurance is socialized risk pooling) is only 60% to 30% as productive as it could be.
It is a fine lecture. Just not particularly applicable to the real world.
This is so much nonsense that if you accept it, then your opinion does not matter anyway. I would expect a Marxist Professor of Economics to make a better case for an attack on capitalism and in support of a substitute, any substitute. He seems to be afraid of the word "socialism."
And he is just wrong in facts as well as theory.
Rather than post a reply here, let me just say, if you watch this, go ahead, but realize that his thinking is just plain ideological and without factual merit. If you want to be a romantic, fine, but if you want science, forgetaboutit. Do your own homework!!!
I have honest questions for the Professor. If the U.S. Gov. is making 95% of mortgage market (Fannie, Freddie,FHA etc.) are they having to hold these mortgages or are they able to sell them off to investors? Related to this, is there any transparency as to what these agencies balance sheets look like? And if they do hold this debt, is that debt being counted when we talk about the general debt obligations of the US Government? And if these agencies hold the debt, does it mean that the US Government will be 'all in' to create high inflation to pay its own way out from under such a burden? I'm no economist, but it seems to me that these questions are relevant. What's disheartening is that I see no serious discussion of what to do with these agencies. If there is such a discussion taking place, can the professor point us to an information source so that we can follow these serious discussions? During the crisis, that is, when the government brought the agencies into conservatorship, we were told in the business press that the Chinese and other foreigners were those that were being bailed out. But were they not also the big pension funds in the US? Did those investors incur such multi-trillion losses or did the government also transfer those losses to itself? And how much are those losses, exactly?
Also, it seems to me that the only people who have time to 'organize' and participate in democratic decision making are the retired and unemployed. And these two groups are not at the work place, the location of production. Harried workers are doing what the owners count on, scrabbling from paycheck to paycheck with no time left over. Maybe we will have to first create a 'union' of the idle. Seriously. Retired folks who are worried for their grandchildren's future need to hook up with those of us who are at home watching Fora tv. because we have no work. LOL.
Our system has failed, and it will continue to fail as long as corporations are seen as individuals. Corporations and the wealthy who owns them need to act as individuals and work for the common good of society.
Wolff doesn't take anything for granted, he really tries to think common-sense and oppose silence concerning US-government measures! He is right, Americans don't think, they just support their gov's actions. However, Europeans don't get it either, but we're more likely to go to streets to show our disapproval. yet, dr. Wolff does not explain why he thinks public jobs would change the economy and where would the money for those jobs come from??