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Desc:Economics professor Richard D. Wolff explains the origins of the economic troubles
Category:Educational, News & Politics
Tags:capitalism, economics, housing bubble, Richard Wolff, Amherst
Submitted:Whitewater5
Date:10/20/08
Views:3094
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Comment count is 21
Squidmojo
Great lecture up until the final bit.

His ultimate plan is to democratize every corporation? Really?
yourmother
Yeah, I really liked his analysis, but that's a pretty slapdash socialist solution. The reason we don't do stuff like that is because in most larger businesses, much like our country, most people don't have the slightest idea what's really going on, or what to do about it.

erratic
I think his idea is great...it helps, though, that I've been saying the same thing for a few years now.

simon666
yourmother: I think what is assumed here, is the workers will have to educate themselves and take on the responsibility to manage the corporation, because in fact not doing so, leads to these current types of conditions. IE: If you don't like how things are, here is how you fix them, and it means defining your own role.

simon666
not defining your own role, but redefining what it means to be a worker...

dancingshadow
It doesn't have to do with greed... WRONG !
Randroid
Building an effective organisation in which decision making is transferred to employee level certainly isn't impossible. Hoping that the average employee of a monolithic structure somehow will transcend human nature and become interested in minute economic decisions, however, probably is.

Even if you do away with the structure and focus on a small factory, for example, I still have a hard time picturing any class conscious masses suddenly appearing, eager to tackle the intricacies of industrial economics on their lunch break. But I keep my hopes up.
Randroid
oops, meant as a reply in squid's thread

dancingshadow
The whole economic system is a scant few numbers on a few pieces of paper that have no roots in ANYTHING. The numbers can be adjusted to shift the burden of labor from country to country depending on which cultures will accept the lowest living conditions without rioting.
chumbucket
he completely discounted the rising expense of health care which then led to the added expense of health insurance plans offered by US employers to US employees. so you either cut health coverage, cut pensions or just cut wages/jobs all together
I don't agree that US employers had it as easy as he says they had it since 1970
dancingshadow
When heath care is a profit enterprise... you better believe the costs will go up. The scarcer the care, the more profitable.

Coax_Current
Democratizing existing corporations is unlikely, but he doesn't precisely suggest that. Much of what he suggests is already beginning to happen. I posted a little about this in response to the New Bill of Rights video, but I thought I'd throw it out there again.

Research and practice from a number of areas is coming together with huge potential, yet mostly unrealized. A few of the players...

Hybrid, evolving social enterprise and cooperative structures:
The places to look are outside the US. Grameen Family of companies in Bangladesh. The founder, Muhammad Yunus, wrote an interesting book called Creating the World Without Poverty where he suggests for-purpose and for-profit can coexist. I think he's just being sly, because he knows he can't alienate for-profit business (the joint effort with Dannon is a good example of why).

Classic cooperatives like the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation in Spain. Also, there are hundreds of cooperative structures in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.

New LLCs in the US, LLPs in UK, and the new "L3C" in the US. There's no good recent scholarship on this, but some of the fundamental concepts of structure are covered at www.opencapital.net. However, goverance is not really covered, which brings us to some other important players.

Elinor Ostrom, researcher of governance of common pool resources. These may be fishing grounds, water, air, forest, and so on. These do not include nonrival commons like software, etc. Her work, along with others in the field, dovetails with the work of game theorists working on mechanism design theory (e.g. Eric Maskin). In short, E Ostrom is looking at existing case studies and how they succeed and/or fail when it comes to appropriation, monitoring, enforcement, etc. Mechanism design theory looks at potential methods for coming up with decisions of the best social fit (what's the best voting method, for example).

Going further into governance, we have researchers working on political administration too, and another notable person is Vincent Ostrom. A large portion of his critique is the command-and-control centralized method of administration we've evolved starting with Woodrow Wilson, and he argues that the founders intended a more balanced, overlapping-jurisdiction system.

As for a strategy to use all this, I think Gene Sharp's Nonviolent Conflict material gives some rough guidance. 30 year Army vet Col. Helvey's short (and freely available online) book, On Strategic Nonviolent Conflict: Thinking About the Fundamentals, might not seem relevant until one thinks about the current regime and power structure as something that needs to be removed. Obviously, this isn't North Korea, but the same concepts of creating and strengthening new institutions while undermining existing ones hold true.

The grand strategy (simplified, of course) is to build more equitable enterprises and out-compete and undermine existing corporations. The operating agreements and cooperatives can be not-for-loss social enterprises that operate at cost, and only allow others to play if they agree to just terms. Common pool resource assets are governed in the best ways we can manage (using research like Ostrom's), and their scope of use (sustainable, don't-rape conditions) is defined and then their use is essentially "rented" to these enterprises which agree to those terms.

As these purpose-driven organizations succeed, they need to lure away both employees and assets from the for-profit corps. Not easy, but doable (I think). Essentially you are creating common-good monopolies and not allowing the private entities to play. This is SORT of like GPL, but only sort of.

I'm spent, I hope that was interesting, sorry for the TL;DR.


chumbucket: health insurance and related industry is a capturing of wealth that worked in much the same way as other products and services. The solution is a national health care system that looks at Japan, Taiwan, Denmark, and so on, and creates a decent system out of it. This would remove health insurance companies from the picture entirely.

As mentioned by Chomsky in a recent The Real News interview, it's interesting that in 2004 health care wasn't discussed by candidates, even though it was a huge problem. Now, it's being talked about. Difference? Not the public knowing it's a problem, that hasn't really changed. The difference is that large corporations are eating huge costs, which they are essentially paying to other large corporations. Their game is shifting manufacturing and services from the US because of these rising costs, and so it's now an acceptable issue for politicians. The lobbyist war pits large employers against the health insurance and pharmaceutical companies... meanwhile, we're still the losers.


dancingshadow
To sum up. It's Personal Greed and Competition vs. Social Compassion / Environmental Resposibility. At the heart of this is not science, but spirit.

Hooker
Boy, I remember when we had like a 50 character limit. Forced into such tight constraints, everyone just tried to make their response funny.

Keefu
shut the fuck up hooker

Mad Struggle
I went through a range of emotions watching this.

Yeah, the corporations need to be restructured. Why the working class have let these people leech from them for all this time, I'll never know.
glasseye
Employee owned and operated corporations = win.
meamlegion
I eagerly await the coming of this anarcho-syndicalist revolution.
Cube
Wow, the parkinson's camera guy strikes again.
THA SUGAH RAIN
This brought to you by a guy who can't even be bothered to button his shirt and flips the collar of his jacket.
This guy is just telling non-stop lies. I can't even begin to list just how wrong he is and how nothing he says adds up. You can see this clearly by listening to the non-existing evidence he uses. Anyone can stand in front of a room spouting nonsense and never provide evidence. His graph is just some unjustified line with the number "1970" on the X-axis.
He tries to excite you by creating this false "us vs. them" reality, when the fact is that we are all in this together.
He's entirely glib and dismissive about how macroeconomics works and only ignorant people looking for someone to blame would ever take him seriously. He is one of like four currently teaching Marxist economics professors, because the remaining 99.999% of economics professors understand how internally flawed and foolish Marxism is. Marxism is pure evil. It has resulted in more deaths and murders than any other single ideology that has ever existed. And you're all buying into it. Read the Gulag Archipelago and then tell me how much you want Communism.

Keefu
lol

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