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Richard Wolff: Capitalism Hits the Fan

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posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 05:09 PM
If you want a good explanation, in very clear and simply English that YOU can understand, of what happened in America to bring about this economic collapse, I recommend you watch the first 38 minutes of this video.

You can watch more, but in the first 38 minutes, you will be given a real understanding in terms any American can understand, what went wrong and why. Richard Wolff is an economics professor, so he knows his stuff, but he does a wonderful job of making it accessible to the lay person without seeming to be condescending.

You may already know a lot of this, or some of it, I did, but it was still nice to hear it all laid out in plain English.

Totally worth a watch, although it is an investment of 38 minutes.

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 05:16 PM
A has been Marxist whining about capitalism ... how very cutting edge.

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 06:32 PM
reply to post by SirMike

A troll too lazy to write more than a one liner? How cutting edge.

I can assure you, that even if Mr. Wolff is not a fan of "capitalism" I like free market capitalism very much. But what ran our country into the ground was the lack of "free market" in our capitalism, and that lack of "free market" did not come from socialists. It came primarily from the corporatists themselves.

They failed to understand that by crippling labor, and buying advantage with politicians, who could cut them breaks and give them competitive advantage, they themselves were regulating and handcuffing the action of the invisible hand.

So say what you will about Mr. Wolff. He lays out how the corporatists screwed themselves pretty nicely.

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 07:32 PM

I said to myself, I'll watch ten minutes of the video to see what he had to say.

That was two hours ago.

Everyone needs to watch it and wake up.

Thanks for the link...

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 07:56 PM
There has been no capitalism or free markets for a almost a century. A corporate monopoly that feeds off an incestuous relationship with the legal/political system has prevented the average motivated citizen from doing much more than failing at any attempt to rise above servitude to the state apparatus due to unexpected and insurmountable levels of corruption and predation by the political/legal class that serves as the repository of cash transferred .upstream to them. Nobody but the connected and approved can survive various and sundry legal and administrative assaults that occur and to set a bad example of attempting a reasonable degree of independence is to be destroyed by them under a blizzard of malignant paperwork and fees.
By definition, the collusion of govt and approved business is fascism. Capitalism is a system that allows all to be involved on both sides of the equation, not simply the public consuming what is placed before them. by govt approved insiders.

edit on 11-3-2011 by FriedrichNeecher because: I'm hoping to franchise this

edit on 11-3-2011 by FriedrichNeecher because: (no reason given)

edit on 11-3-2011 by FriedrichNeecher because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 08:31 PM
I personally think that pure unadulterated capitalism is only good in building up a country..brutal and unforgiving in nature but in the end gets gets the job done. After that i think it becomes detrimental to the peoples quality of life, tribal hoarding of resources and wealth has no place in a civilized society.

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 09:10 PM
Interesting video. I watched the first thirty seven minutes so I am going by that. He has some good points, but presents a skewed reality. Like many in our academic communities he cherry picks, and omits many important issues.I jotted notes down throughout the video. At the close it became clear he is a marxist. I am not using it to name call, but I am going by what he said. More important than what he said is what he did not say.

First of all, let me point out the high points in his presentation. He describes American preoccupation with consumption, and how our self worth is tied with things. We have become preoccupied with materialism due to the efforts of Bernays and Lippmann. I completely agree with that point.

He is also correct on the stagnation of wages in the United States. This is very true, and he is correct that this was part cause of the borrowing binge.

The best point he made was about GMAC. GM and countless other corporations became involved in loaning money. It is the easiest game. Produce nothing and make a fortune off interest. The corporations grew into megaliths by doing this, using slave labor in the 3rd world, and by their involvement in stock markets. The ability to drive up the value of your company without the value of your company truly increasing is very profitable.

Now, let us move into his flaws. First, he fails to ever mention the elephant in the room. The Central Banking practices of the Federal Reserve. From the 1929 crash to the Japanese decline up till today the monetary policy created the environment for many of the issues he describes. Why were Americans able to borrow so much? Is it because of corporate profits invested in banks like he says? Partially. It was mainly because the Fed created easy credit. They enabled banks to have no reserves. They printed money to pour into speculation. The increased consumption throughout the last century, and the environment for corporate power to grow. Influence over government by powerful corporations would not be possible without speculative growth born of fiat money. All roads lead back to the Fed.

He made statement about regulation, and suddenly his true colors became clear. He argues that the regulations fail because they create an incentive to get around all regulation. Therefore, regulation will never work because the corporate institutions will always find away around it. It is corporate structure that is to blame.

Wait a hoot. This is nonsense. Regulation creates the situation where only the wealthiest corporations can survive. In reality, the wealth corporations create regulation for their benefit. They manipulate regulation and regulators to prevent small and medium sized corporations from succeeding. In effect, regulation creates monopolies. The largest and most politically connected companies thrive, and as a result they are immune from any legal consequence. It is not the structure of a corporation that is bad, but when a corporation gains enough influence in government to ignore market forces.

He surmises at the close that corporate structures are too blame, and as long as they exist the system is doomed. His answer is re-organizing to spread ownership to workers to create a partnership with government to increase effectiveness of regulation. He ends with pretty much describing how small businesses work. The whole silicon valley speech is how the market should work. The reason that the small companies cannot compete is because of the monopolies regulations create. What he idealizes is what existed if the government and Federal Reserve did not tamper by regulating regular market mechanisms. His answer is decorporatizing companies so they can work better with regulators?! The only way that could happen is with Marxist technocratic super regulations. A few powerful "unbiased" individuals will selflessly rebuild the corporations to worker owned collectives benevolently regulated by well meaning government!!!???

He is not against regulations, or total government power. He is only against the current system where regulations are a tool of powerful corporate institutions. The reason he never discusses central banking, or truly flushes out the issue of regulation is because he has Marxist beliefs. That is not to say he is Stalin, but he believes that a technocratic few run the economy better than market mechanisms. My answer is that the partial technocratic regulation has created the situation of today. Market mechanisms do not exist. Therefore, capitalism is not to blame. In fact, the inclusion of Marxism in the economy with central banking and corrupt regulation is truly the root of our problems.

edit on 11-3-2011 by stephinrazin because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 09:39 PM
You post was excellent and brings up some very good points.

I will get more indepth tomorrow, today has been rough. But I will say that I am not a socialist. And I do not agree with his suggestion that what we commonly call socialism is the answer.

I AM an enemy of the corporate form though. And here is why in short.

A free market is about competition. Ideally, many small competitors. Corporations immediately skew that. And most of the competitors in a market are mortal, and human. (Because labor and consumer are competitors in that market also) And corporations are immortal, and not human. The form itself is an affront to the whole dynamic of a free market, and it drives things inexorably to bigger, larger, more impersonal.

We are human beings. The markets and economies should work towards making life better for us. That was the goal. Its foolish to get so lost in the game you forget the goal. Human happiness. And thats not what we are getting from corporatism.

There is more to economic possibility than corporatism and socialism. There is a lot of ground in between.
edit on 11-3-2011 by Illusionsaregrander because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 10:05 PM
reply to post by Illusionsaregrander

I think the giving of rights to corporations like they are individuals was the beginning of their ability to exercise undue influence. The point I always make is that simply blaming corporations, or attacking someone as socialist is simplistic. It is always more complicated, and is unwise to paint with such a broad brush. Blaming the institution of a corporation is ignoring many issues. Specific circumstances in the US experience have created the position corporations now hold.

I find many people substitute research and critical analysis on many topics for vague emotionally based talking points. This extends into all aspects of politics, economics, and philosophy. If you do this(not you specifically) you always will be basing your opinions on what others say.

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 10:25 PM
reply to post by stephinrazin

Has it ever crossed your mind that the same people who hammer it into your head that Marxism is bad and never should be considered, are also the same people who bend you over, rob you blind, and give your money to their corporate golf buddies? Do you think there might be a correlation? I mean, I really have no idea if Marx had it 100% right (probably not, no one person possibly could) but, still - consider the source. The people who tell you how awful it is are also the ones with the most to gain from convincing you of this.

posted on Mar, 11 2011 @ 11:36 PM
reply to post by walking fox

I think you are making a rather large assumption. You assume I am merely regurgitating conservative talking points about Marxism. I assure you that is not so.

Has it ever crossed your mind that the same people who hammer it into your head that Marxism is bad and never should be considered, are also the same people who bend you over, rob you blind, and give your money to their corporate golf buddies?

Who is is that hammers into my mind that Marxism is bad? I am glad that you know where my beliefs come from.

Do you think there might be a correlation? I mean, I really have no idea if Marx had it 100% right (probably not, no one person possibly could) but, still - consider the source. The people who tell you how awful it is are also the ones with the most to gain from convincing you of this.

Marxism was created by Capitalists. It has been a system for the capitalist oligarchy to use the power of the state to gain the wealth of the rest of the population.

Who was Karl Marx?
Even though Marx publicly urged the working class to overthrow the capitalists (the wealthy who profited from the Stock Exchange), in June, 1864, "in a letter to his uncle, Leon Phillips, Marx announced that he had made 400 pounds on the Stock Exchange." It is obvious that Marx didn't practice what he preached, and therefore didn't really believe in the movement he was giving birth to. He was an employee, doing a job for his Illuminati bosses.

Nathan Rothschild had given Marx two checks for several thousand pounds to finance the cause of Socialism. The checks were put on display in the British Museum, after Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild, a trustee, had willed his museum and library to them.

Why would the most powerful banking interests fund socialists?

Who was behind Fabian Socialism?

Why would powerful members of the British government and aristocracy like Arthur J Balfour be involved in supporting the overthrow of the social order?

it met on January 28th, at the Prince's Hall, Piccadilly. Mr. Arthur J. Balfour read a paper in which he made an observation worth recording:
(para. above ft nt 11 same source as below)

Why would wealthy heads of the Universities desire this either?

"Finally it may be mentioned that a Universities Committee, with Frank Podmore as Secretary for Oxford and G.W. Johnson for Cambridge, had begun the "permeation" of the Universities, which has always been an important part of the propaganda of the Society." Ch.5 Four par. above ft. nt. 22
History of Fabian Society

Why would Wall Street Fund the Bolshevik Revolution?

This is barely scratching the surface. Through out the history of Marxism there has been inexplicable support from powerful interests. Why would the aristocratic elite of finance, politics, and education sew the seeds of their own demise? It begs the question could it be in their interest to have socialist rule? What if you have control over who sits on the technocratic committees that control all production and resources ?

posted on Mar, 12 2011 @ 10:09 AM

Originally posted by TheWalkingFox
reply to post by stephinrazin

Has it ever crossed your mind that the same people who hammer it into your head that Marxism is bad and never should be considered, are also the same people who bend you over, rob you blind, and give your money to their corporate golf buddies? Do you think there might be a correlation? I mean, I really have no idea if Marx had it 100% right (probably not, no one person possibly could) but, still - consider the source. The people who tell you how awful it is are also the ones with the most to gain from convincing you of this.

No need to j'accuse systems other than marxism. Marxism has representied itself very well and very consistanly world wide. If other systems allegedly in competition are bad, they are eclipesed in similar evil by marxist vision applied over and over, with the same results, plain to see, the 'happy' survivors of purges and confiscations, living in their grubby penury and pollution as so much cattle notwithstanding.

posted on Mar, 12 2011 @ 11:48 PM
reply to post by stephinrazin

A really good short video on Citizens United vs FEC.

Less than 10 minutes.

edit on 12-3-2011 by Illusionsaregrander because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 13 2011 @ 05:56 PM
Well made little video. I remember watching part one about consumption a while back.

Following the civil war there was a landmark case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific RailRoad. In this case the 14th amendment was argued to give rights to corporate entities as if they were individual people.

In his dissent in the 1938 case of Connecticut General Life Insurance Company v. Johnson, Justice Hugo Black wrote "in 1886, this Court in the case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, decided for the first time that the word 'person' in the amendment did in some instances include corporations. [...] The history of the amendment proves that the people were told that its purpose was to protect weak and helpless human beings and were not told that it was intended to remove corporations in any fashion from the control of state governments. [...] The language of the amendment itself does not support the theory that it was passed for the benefit of corporations."[12]

Description of Rise of Corporate Personhood

The Citizen United v. FEC was the culmination of this history of corporate personhood. It is troubling that so few can have such an influence on elections.

One quick point I think is important. She is correct that PUBLICLY TRADED corporations are legally obligated to maximize profits above all else. If a corporation is not publicly traded the profit drive is reliant on the individual owners of that corporate entity. That means the individual owner must decide if they wish to put profit over people, or to cut corners for personal gain. The institution called a corporation is not responsible for the avarice of the owner.

This means the issue is wider than economics. It points to our moral fiber, and our cultural norms. Are corporations evil malevolent entities, or are they the natural culmination of our society? Throughout our history we have conquered, pillaged, and accumulated. It should not be surprising that our combined preoccupation with personal accumulation, and self aggrandizement would create such institutions. I personally think attacking an institution is a way to point the blame away from our own habits.

The main point people always come to is that if only government were allowed to muzzle corporate power everything would be grand. I find this argument naive. It seems to replace an oligarchy of corporate power with an oligarchy of regulatory power. The idea that the regulators will act for the interest of the people has been proven wrong countless times throughout history. They will regulate for their own self interest. This means they will regulate to benefit the power, and the influence of government.

For example, maybe you think the government should regulate to ensure a company cannot control too large a market share. A regulatory body will then have power enough to control who does gain that market share. Instantly you have a small group of individuals open to influence controlling who has the market share. How is that any different from one corporate board dominating that market? Are the regulators immune to the myriad of factors that encourage those in power to ignore the common interests of the society? It seems one oligarchy replaces another. Only this new one has the law, and therefore the force of violence behind it.

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