here richard we’re gonna do an hour here
economics in and do it seriously and do it rationally and do a thoughtful
insightful ian all that stuff actor richard wolf is on the line of
this is an economist is professor emeritus of economics at the university
of massachusetts hammers visiting professor in a graduate program
for national first but you school university new york city and author of
numerous books including his latest democracy at work for capitalism doctor wolfe welcome to
our program thank you very much drama i’m glad to be
a i’m i’m very pleased to have you with us and uh… did did by the way since you’re gonna be
with us to go through the whole or did um… dark holes crew explain to you
that when the music starts we’ve got a wrap-up and we’ve debate there’s
heartbreak silicon stuff yes it ok great so you could get the holst stake here job great i’m curious at herewith we’ve talked a lot about the
sun and on the t_v_ program but not in not so
much on radio what do you see as v biggest economic problem right now
facing the united states are facing has well i think that we’ve come to a bit of
a crossroads in the american economy we have had a an economic system that worked really pretty well
for about a hundred years for the eighteen fifties to the nineteen
seventies uh… all things considered it had many
bombs uh… the big one in the great depression but even across the depression the wages
of american workers steadily rose stopped in the nineteen seventies as
american employers have found cheaper workers elsewhere in the world uh… and they didn’t need the american
working class the way they had before way to stop driving in the nineteen
seventies real wages and they never resumed uh… and what happened was that the american working class was told that if they wanted to enjoy
the american dream that have to borrow money like it has never been done before which they
did uh… but in the end if you cannot keep
borrowing on a basically flat wage because you will be unable to in the end pay does that took over the
interest and two thousand seven this kind of
system uh… broke down and it didn’t just break down in a short
term business cycle the way presidents bush and obama had
said it would have had hoped it would uh… it showed us this long-term change in
america uh… in which eight decisions for based
on profits by our business leaders uh… is now showing our store on term
consequences uh… and it uh… at the question of
economic decline so they answer your question i think the question is whether the
american people that they asked majority aren’t ready to accept along terms slide in their standard of living what they can afford what they can give
their kids or whether they’re going to say no to
have to be a change in an economic system that works this way uh… and i think that the big issue
that is being faced you know across europe today there are
demonstrations by the millions in every major european city on just this question and i think it’s only a matter of time
before that question impresses itself on the american people
in a way that will confront us all with very basic decision would be reasonable to say that what
we’re seeing here his the the economic clash of the economic world views
between that of of uh… galbraith and in this verse is that of milton friedman and high in a rant i think that’s one of the but i actually
think it’s a kind of a a multiple set of confrontations yes that one which said that the way you
deal with an economic crisis is you crunched down on the economy yet
you take the at the friday over a fiscal clip to use the phrase we’re talking about in
our country you impose austerity which is the way
they say it in europe uh… verses became the ends or the the
galbraith the ends who say no no no uh… the time of
crisis is when you public money to the mass of people and
you build up the economy from below but a different time there isn’t even more fundamental
question which is whether a system of economics that puts the the fact of power in their hands basically have a tiny
minority the major shareholders the board of
directors of the five hundred largest corporations in the united states they make all the key economic decisions walk to produce where to produce and
what to do with the profits are we have the nation this other
question and confrontations says albeit the nation willing to continue leaving all that economic power all that economic discretion in making and of that minority the one
percent especially now given that we’re uh…
entering this here poverty economic downturn that has cost so many people their jobs their homes their job security and so on so i think there are multiple profound
questions agitating the underlying reality of america’s well
and and and perhaps there’s a a larger frame that we can put her on
this in the game of the not only kind of what these five in the
corporation you’re talking about our plane in a gala monopoly when you end up
owning all all of the properties the the other player urges no longer have the ability to earn
income from their rounds lived with my dinner georgia and uh… e as a consequence of that their brock you know he’s got one last
thing anybody even that one last andy the game and so it’s not like you know
at the end of urban obligate hunting the person ends up with all the money but
the game hands are we looking at undi and are we looking at a great crash if
we don’t do something about this well you know i i’m not given to that way of
thinking so perhaps this some meaning when i answer your question yes i think we may well be at a point in the economic development
of modern capitalism where it has painted itself into a corner where it really has to discover yet again that if you do exactly as you say comic
if u bankrupt everybody else in the end you will destroy yourself as well it’s
over the old story that we tell children about the
mightiest talked about that greedy came who wanted everything he
touched it turned to gold and then he finally you know embraced
his beloved daughter and she was in the real person anymore
cuz she had changed into gold to the germans for example are learning that if
you bankrupt the rest of your up and yet you have to sell to the best of
to the rest of europe to survive it’s going to love and truly strangle
your own economy we’re discovering in the united but if you’ll prob reach the masses of
people bit by bit year-by-year in the end of that they won’t be able to
be the consumers you look at the peer group man or woman
need them to be if you’re going to survive yourself but you know about when we look back on albeit other empires in the world the
british empire the wrote roman empire the greek empire the chinese empires we’ve all wondered when we look back at
them why didn’t they take this steps that seem obvious to us that might have avoided the end of the collapse of their empires and i have to wonder with few whether we are not that that kind of
moment in the united states seem like beer caught in the headlights
of an oncoming car on the table see that we must break out of an
existing system decline is gonna take us with it we had some minutes left in a very very
brief makes but uh… well you know uh… i’ve been thinking
about that this every year is the book you kindly mentioned at the beginning uh… you know democracy at work i think the answer is we finally have to
do what i like to call completing the
democratic revolution not limiting democracy to just where we
live in to our politics but bringing it if we really believe in
it as i do bringing it into the economy to
antipathy if the people who make up an enterprise a five thousand strong then democracy means we altogether a bad
enterprise make its basic decisions week don’t leave them to a tiny minority of board of directors
and major shareholders they had their chance they’ve built up the economic system but it’s no longer working and maybe if we introduced democracy for
the economy we could have the kind of rebirth of our societies that we have
seen some reports democracy double apostasy into our
political content and get into more detail in just a few minutes about how
we do that it’s our conversations with great mine miss power here in tommorow and program
with doctor richard wool is uh… website by the way are deval two s dot
com trees the trauma hartman and articles losses most recent
democracy at work the two for capitalism check it out will be
right back with our terms and welcome back doctor wolfe is still
with us and locate our commercial radio stations in bothered i don’t know maybe half of our
audience has gone too a commercial break but are not personal
stations are pacific affiliates all over the country and our viewers on free
speech t_v_ on dish indirect in cable systems all over the country are still
with us several million people so uh… i’d like to continue the conversation
but let’s keep in mind that if anything critical gets said we may at the
repeated after the break ok ok hard so we’re talking about how we fix the
american economy well actually if i could dial back he
said this this all star in the late seventies highlighted blame everything
on ronald reagan but he was in power in the late seventies jimmy carter really
started drinking that deregulation kool aid in the last two years of his
administration was at the point at which is a new will
what was the winded the dial did turn went to the
decision get made with is there any invented you can point to it well it’s really a decade it’s a decade
of the nineteen seventies it’s about decade because a number forces and tendencies and prophecies and
artistry came together you know these big turning
point i’ve never reducible to one or another cause it’s always when the whole variety of
things kinda come together in a certain way so let me mention what
happened in the seventies that changed everything i begin with wages because i think
that’s the key thing united states since its founding as an independent
country back in the eighteenth century was a place that had allegra shortage you know we get away the europeans who
came here did away with the native americans and sold even though they had wonderful and then
they had wonderful all shins and great climb it and the productive soil uh… they always were good at business
park they kept the running out against of shortage of human beings to do the work which is why we’re a nation of
immigrants and we only solve that problem about bringing africans here against
their will and into seeing most of the white people
from europe to come here by offering riding wages so that they would have an incentive to
leave your up and come here in the hope of a better life though so that if they get here of
course than they had a new choice between staying on the east coast where
they usually arrive or moving into the interior when it was
very cheap land available for them so employers in the east and then later in
the midwest know that they have to keep a raising
wages to bring people from europe and then they have to keep raising wages
to keep those people from going through the midwest and becoming farmers and so we had from of the early
nineteenth century right after the nineteen seventies starting with reality real wages that is the amount of money a
worker dot but just the for the paid a price is here she had to pay kept arriving for a hundred and fifty
years of the early and no other capitalist country ever did
that uh… we divided all workers with a rising standard of living uh… which they believe that something
to do specially with the united states the truth of it was close to the fact
that we had a perpetual labor shortage and that raising wages was the only way
businesses good cop having said that in the nineteen seventy
eight all that changed and they worked exactly four things that
happened it changed everything number one i mention businesses leaving the united frankly because wages had risen so high
here in order to go to india china a latin america or anywhere in the world but they could get cheaper police let’s
let’s pick up the industry right after this place uh… was talking doctor
richard walls he is the author his most recent democracy workers for capitalism harvey won’t wfo after
dot com his website micah conversations of great minds today
doctor richard walls for the our professor of economics uh… professor
emeritus of economics the touristy massachusetts amber’s visiting professor
the graduate program for international affairs the new school university new
york city on third numerous books including his latest brilliant work democracy at work a cure
for capitalism is website r_d_ wolf with two outs dot com a professor wolf you
were if you are right justified in just very quickly summarize a and correct me if i make any mistakes
here with the united states uniquely among many democracies rather world had basically a labor shortage from
moral us our founding up until the nineteen seventies is as a content which
is why does all these immigrants here will help people came from all over the
world as there was a labor shortage in and employers were competing for labor
and so wages were continuously rising and all and bus you know we had this
growing steadily growing middle class and all that came to a screeching halt
in the nineteen seventies and you said that there are four reasons why first
full day get everything right and secondly uh… you want to get into
those for reasons yep you got it perfectly right so we have to explain what happened in
the nineteen seventies to basically end of the labor shortage and by ending the labor shortage the
message was sent to every employer you don’t have to raise wages anymore because we have an excess of people and
everybody who works knows that if he or she pushes for a higher wages of the
employer can always go and find among those people that are now extra in this
society substitutes for those who are dissatisfied employers didn’t have to raise wages
anymore and they haven’t done so for the last
thirty years so what were the four reasons very quickly number one employers stopped hiring americans that
is helix numbers up and more production out
of the united states and we set up their factories their
offices their stores in other countries wherever the labor was cheaper or
cheapest they would move and that meant that the demand for
workers here in the united states dropped the second thing that happened in the
nineteen seventies was the beginning of a of old major wave of automation of
replacing american workers within the latest new technological
breakthrough mainly the computer jobs that used to require fifty people
could now be done by one person working in front of a computer terminals so goes to plan ominous moving jobs
abroad and replacing workers with machines drastically reduced the need for workers and ironically at the same time to lose groups of people editor the
supply of people looking for jobs beginning of the mass movement of
american adult women who’ll want to get at people opportunity
you’ll want to jobs in the paid labor force would no longer willing to be police homemakers and mothers wives and so on meant that a millions and millions of
american women moved into the paper labor force and finally we had a new wave of immigration back
from europe is prime mostly from latin america coming north into the united
states looking for work well if you put together the loss of job opportunities
because of the movement up production out of the country and the replacement
of workers with computers on the one here and the arrival of millions of women and
new immigrants from latin america on the other you have what we have commented
squall a decline in the demand for workers and arrive in the supply of
people looking for work that’s a recipe for the and of rising wages that this is
david ricardo and i think that it’s not that
complicated wants what the basic movement here all right you know what what americans part of it should
have done in the seventies but we didn’t do as a nation safe this reality saito ourself might
goodness our historic situation is changed what are we going to do either the mass of people are gonna have
to do without the goods and services that defined the american dream or they’re gonna have to find another
way to achieve them the irony is we never had a conversation
on the national level none of our leaders either saw this or were willing
to discuss it so americans took the individual decisions and what most of
americans did his two things work four hours to compensate for the
fact that wages weren’t going out and send more members of the family out
to work and the second thing the crucial thing is to achieved the american dream by
borrowing more and more money borrow to buy a house barta by your part borrow everything through a credit card and the most recent starting phenomena
go into the deepest that imaginable to give you a kid to the education that the american dream always included andy by two thousand
seven we had the end result americans had taken on more debt flat wages would allow them to pay and
now we had a living with the consequences now at time magazine in the
nineteen sixties and was sixty seven had a really interesting cover story about the coming weeks our society they
pointed out that that because of machinery starting with
eli whitney’s cotton gin diane these incremental increases in productivity
that the american workers were now so much more and that the consequence of
increasing productivity per worker was a decreasing number of hours needed to
work every week to get the same income so we went from the sixty or seventy
hour week arguably eighty or ninety hour weeks back in the early nineteenth
century to the sixty are we to the fifty are we could be a twentieth-century to
the forty-hour week and they said that if this increase in productivity
continues will be at a twenty five-hour week uh… and people will have leisure
because wages will remain the same now i understand that a c_e_o_ pay and
dividends had not gone up as much as they have since the seventies the wages actually would have gone up or working hours could have gone down to
have their own not you have it exactly right and you know it’s a wonderful indictment of the
capitalist system we have become more productive we have used machines
including the computer to make it possible for a single worker
to produce more output today than he or she could five years ago
about more than ten years ago and so on and every increase in productivity short of made it possible and the
defenders of product over the able we said there’s should have made it
possible to do much labor and still get the same amount of output thereby
freeing human beings from the burden of work but i think i think of capitalism that that didn’t work out that way that
americans are in fact the wind for hours of labor today elected five ten and
fifteen years ago it’s not only not results from labor are growing product
at the physics of julia how are you of our capitalist system that we are ending
up wing for labor remarkable kansas and doctor wolf with we have to decide for
themselves

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13 thoughts on “Dr Richard Wolff – The Economy”

  1. Good interview, Thom. I think Dr. Wolff articulated the duelling economic theories at play pretty well. Does the economy grow from the bottom up (wage growth) or does economic growth occur from the top down (tax cuts for the rich)? Although I feel pretty certain in saying that the folks who currently promote tax cuts for the wealthy know FULL WELL that tax cuts for the wealthy do NOT stimulate job growth; this is about pure naked GREED by, as Dr, Wollf says, a tiny group of CEO's.

  2. because people who live in capitalist societies are taught to fear and repudiate working class politics and they are taught to love their master. they are also taught to be terrified of marxism. it doesnt matter if people are or are not for an economy controlled by the working class. the fact the culture is directed towards animosity towards their own working class interests is enough to keep them from looking to marxism and it makes them feel alone amidst a crazy greedy world

  3. Richard Wolff, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jeremy Rifkin, Marshal Brain, Steven Pollan and many others are warning the same thing – job destruction is permanent and escalating! U.S. employers – using the 3rd and 4th Industrial Revolutions – are MAKING MONEY by destroying jobs.

  4. U.S. employers no longer have an incentive to pay rising wages because "mechanical slaves" are about to enter the workplace by the tens of millions. In fact they no longer have to pay wages at all!

  5. In short he is saying 500 companies(oddly with incestuious boards of directors) own us lock stock and barrel, using the CFR(myron fagan) and monopoly money to debt enslave entire nations(greece…usa and every 3rd world joint) so lets put them in jail and spend the monoply money on the citizens of the world…welcome to Cattledum!

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