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Economic Update: Richard Wolff Sat. Apr 21 with Economics Professor William K. Tabb

8:22 am in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Who ate all the money ? - spodzone Flickr Creative Commons

SouthernDragon in his Lakeside Diner this Monday Morning gave a link at the bottom of his diary to this program from WBAI on NYC.   I want to make it a bit more visible because this one has an interview with  Economics Professor William K. Tabb which I found to be very enlightening concerning the change in the economy since the late 1960s and early 1970s to now.

Most importantly how it went from a manufacturing base one to an investment based one. Where in the past the financial sector was only 2% or the economy and now it is 40%. That is a huge change.

You can listen here or down load here.

One particular point that is made about half way through is how the economy is made up of 40% financials and that people who used to get average income working in that area, are now payed huge amounts.  And one point he does not make but I think should have been made is how the investor class – those who did not play the market much in the past – has grown as well. Those and the people who now rely on their 401k and other investments for retirement and what not. These are the people as well as the the 1% that Washington is trying to protect at all costs.

These are the people who get fried when the system crashes. Think about that.

Richard Wolff – Super Star

2:37 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Karl Marx By Pryere - Flickr

I know a number of Firedoggers have been taking Richard Wolff’s online course on Marxist Economics that Southern Dragon has been directing here.  Though you would not know this from the MSM (no surprises here) but he has become a bit of a celebrity. And in some rather unusual circles as well. According to this piece from the Guardian.

For Wolff is in very high demand these days. Barely 24 hours goes by without Wolff being interviewed on one or more radio stations in America. He even has his own radio show that broadcasts once a week. He has appeared on TV, including on the conservative Glenn Beck show on Fox. He spends many days on the road visiting universities across the US, giving speeches to students and academics alike in lecture halls that are uniformly packed. This year alone he will have three books published. And through all that prodigious output his message is the same: American capitalism is on the way out.

That is not a message that has historically gone down well in America, where cultural hostility to Marxism, socialism and communism has been the norm. But, Wolff says, the great recession has changed all that. Now his phone never stops ringing, and his schedule has him crisscrossing the country from California to Texas to Maine. He even gets speech invitations from Tea Party groups.

Tea Party Groups ?? Well yes and this has a lot to do with the style and message he is giving. Not one of some wild eyed fanatic preaching “All power to the people.” or “Up against the all”. But one of a practical down to earth examination of what is going on and mixed with the humor of Richard Pryor.

But Wolff, who speaks with a strong New York accent, also serves up his radicalism with humour. “I am an economist. I do apologise,” he said, opening his speech in a packed lecture hall at Columbia College to bursts of laughter.

That was a typical Wolff line. He went on to describe the inherent instabilities of capitalist business cycles with a parallel to a crazy roommate. “If you lived with with a person as unstable as this economic system, you would have moved out a long time ago,” he quipped.

Wolff’s inspiration for his speaking style is the famed comedian Richard Pryor. Wolff was a huge fan, and he studied Pryor’s delivery and technique and how he addressed taboos around race, sex and swearing. Wolff decided he would do the same but by tackling what he says is the true American taboo: the country’s political and economic system.

“What I do is half economics, half performance art. … I say the political sex words, the dirty political words, and they like it. They like a little radicalism. They have been waiting. They want this,” he said.

Wolff’s critique is simple: American capitalism is dying in the face of stagnant wages, fewer jobs, greater debt and larger numbers of Americans being forced to work ever longer hours for ever less money.

And his message is clear. American capitalism is dying and will be replaced by something more equitable. Read the rest of this entry →