Economic Update with Richard D. Wolff
Summary: Economic Update is a weekly nationally syndicated radio program produced by Democracy at Work and hosted by Richard D. Wolff. The program explores complex economic issues and empowers listeners with information to analyze their own financial situation as well as the economy at large. By focusing on the economic dimensions of everyday life - wages, jobs, taxes, debts, and profits - the program explores alternative ways to organize markets and government policies.
A special program: interview with Kali Akuno, leader of Cooperation Jackson in Mississippi. As a leader of national May Day actions, he discusses their size, diversity, motivations and goals (including planned monthly national actions). He analyzes organizational challenges and prospects. Finally, he explains why he believes this May Day was a major strengthening of the US left.
On this week's show, Prof. Wolff criticizes unemployment - as a specifically capitalist irrationality - and advocates "re-employment" as a far better policy. Gov't jobs and worker-coop development are key means for re-employment. Very socially necessary jobs are detailed that further encourage re-employment, instead of unemployment.
From May Day 1886 to 2020, workers wage long, hard struggles to reform capitalismFrom the fight for an 8-hour workday to the fight for a safe, Corona-free workplace now. Employers block and delay reforms, and try to undo them once won. They use what capitalism gives them: dominant power, incentive (profit), and means (profits).
Capitalism's recurring unemployment problem was never solved and makes the system fundamentally unstable. Today's high levels of unemployment are hugely costly in both human and financial terms. We analyze why capitalism prepares so poorly for and then endures its recurring unemployment. We also examine several alternatives to unemployment that would serve society better but threaten capitalism.
Analysis (part 1): how, why capitalism - especially in US - failed to prepare for or cope with a virus thereby enabling it to trigger another crash of capitalism (third this century: dot.com in 2000, sub-prime mortgage in 2008). Analysis (part 2): how to respond to crash better than the US govt by emphasizing re-employment in millions of new jobs rather than unemployment, emphasizing worker-coops, etc.
Social divisions undermine the solidarity needed to fight both virus and economic crash: an analysis. A sense of out-of-touch, non-caring, inconsistent leaders provokes millions to feel society is literally falling apart. Widespread loneliness and powerlessness are psychological factors making the existing crisis worse. We talk with Tess Fraad-Wolff, psychotherapist practicing in New York City for the last decade.
The Corona virus's threat to physical health is clear. Far less well known are the virus's serious impacts on mental health (loneliness, depression, feelings of isolation, anxiety) worsened by the total failure of private and government leaders to anticipate, prepare for, or cope with the pandemic. With Dr. Harriet Fraad we explore the psychological costs of the pandemic and some ways we can better cope with them.
This program focuses on how the capitalist economic system plays crucial roles in the #MeToo examples of Weinstein and Cosby and also in the failed response to the Corona virus crisis.
Updates on capitalism's failures exposed by the Coronavirus; Sanders and the re-entry of socialism into US politics; US social mobility goes down; and Macron evades democracy to try to force pension cuts (alias "reform") onto French people. Interview Lee Camp on his comedy and his critique of capitalism.
On this week's episode of EU, Prof. Wolff presents updates on Vancouver, BC, taxing its richest; JP Morgan Chase recognizes climate change threat and market's failure to cope; ways money shapes US politics today; why US women's soccer gender discrimination lawsuit helps all soccer players vs profit-driven soccer federation. The second half of the show features an interview with psychotherapist Tess Fraad-Wolff on why our jobs get us depressed and what to do about it.
Updates on high US maternal death rate, wealth inequality and the Pope, #MeToo hits the banks, Macron and Black Rock plot French pension "reform," dying Newsweek caught in corruption scandal using bible college. Interview Perf. Gertrude Goldberg on US unemployment, its social costs, and struggle for a universal job guarantee.
Updates on how air-bnb reflects workers' falling living standards, price-gouging anti-virus masks, purpose of Trump's record deficit, end of Brexit distraction makes UK face its real problem: capitalism, and cause of San Diego's pension crisis. Major discussion of the economics' centuries-old, #1 debate - more vs less govt economic intervention. That debate mostly distracts from the feared debate over capitalism vs really alternative systems.
This program responds to a criticism that D@W focuses too much on the transition from capitalist firms to worker-coop firms with too little attention paid to the larger social changes needed to get beyond capitalism. Discussion focuses on the broader social changes needed to sustain a worker-coop based economy including a government that administers an economy-wide democratic sharing of profits and resources among the worker-coop enterprises.
Updates on Trump's 2019 $ 1 trillion plus deficit, burden of poor countries' debt, Amsterdam forgives young peoples' debts, "strong man" governments' fund-raising strategy, and gross failures of Trump/GOP's 2017 tax cut. Interview Karen Ranucci (Center for Critical Thought) and Rob Robinson (Left Forum) on their programs and their collaboration to serve the rising US interests in socialism and building a movement for transition.
Introduction to capitalism's systematically uneven economic development. From Marx's original criticism of capitalism for producing and reproducing unevenness to the many historical examples, today's program argues that there are heavy social costs that flow from capitalism's uneven development. Those costs then become bases for arguing the need to move beyond capitalism.