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Economist Richard Wolff: 2020 Dems Not Dealing with Structural Issues

Economist Richard Wolff: 2020 Dems Not Dealing with Structural Issues


It’s great to welcome back to the program
today. Richard Wolff, who is of course professor
Ameritus economics at my undergraduate Alma Mater,
the University of Massachusetts, currently a visiting professor at the new school university
in New York City. The latest book called Understanding Marxism
is available all of the normal places including in digital form a professor wolf. Great to have you on. Again. Glad to be here. It really, yeah. So let’s start digging into some of the ideas
that we are seeing put forward by the 2020 democratic challengers. On the one hand, we’ve sort of seen the mainstreaming
of some ideas that even as recently as four years ago were considered relatively niche
and left including um, oh, uh, a wealth tax including medicare for all in a sort of more
serious and particular way. What’s your overall sense of this shift? And do you think that there is any policy
in particular that goes far enough in terms of the type of systemic change that may be
needed? Or are we really still talking about sort
of bandaids and fixing things around the edges? Well, I basically think that to get to the
core of your question that we are still seeing the vast preponderance of proposals from the
Democratic contenders. Those are bandaids. That’s right. Those are the attempt, uh, to see. Honestly, I’m certainly better than the Republicans
can manage what the failures and flaws and problems of our economic and political system
are. Uh, but I do think it’s still early in the
process of facing up to all of it so that they are emotionally, uh, bandaids. They are mostly attempts to take what we already
have some of and make it more comprehensive, make it more generous and hope against hope
really, that these adjustments will somehow be adequate. What I do find remarkable and I see it in
the shifting over to Medicare for all and taxing the wealth. There is the beginning of an understanding
that these bandaids have to go than one used to think bandaids had to go that it wasn’t
just a little tweaking of the tax rates and so forth, but something as fundamental as
a imposing a tax on wealth itself in the form of stocks and bonds, which this country has
avoided doing a for most of its history. So it is a recognition that we need more and
yet our hope that relatively modest things will be sufficient to what to change what’s
going on. I think that’s the real cool, really interesting
thing that capitalism and America is now produced such an extreme level of inequality, such
an extreme experience of capitalism’s instability. The crash of 2008 that 10 years we’ve just
lost trying quote unquote to recover from it. The fact that the entire financial community
knows that either this year or next year we’re going to have a recession and who knows how
that this one will be. All of this royaling of the realities we live
in is pushing our politics on the right over toward Mr. Trump and all that he represents. But on the left in the directions that your
question that raises, I saw a critique of a that you, you were involved
in in some way, shape or form. I forget exactly on what show related to the
idea of universal basic income, sort of in the mode that Andrew Yang has been proposing
it. And I’ve talked about this a lot, including
with him and I have some problems with the particulars, but to sort of paraphrase, and
I hope I’m doing it correctly, one of your more general criticisms was that giving people
$1,000 a month is not going to solve a lot of the structural issues that exist regarding
inequality, regarding the relationship between most workers and their employers, et Cetera,
et cetera. And I thought that that was a good critique,
but I wondered couldn’t the same opposition besides good against food stamps, against
WIC, et Cetera, et cetera. And it doesn’t strike me as a reason not to
do it as long as we sort of recognize its limitations so to speak. So I guess to clarify, are you against something
like universal basic income period? Like are you against doing it or is it merely
that you want to make sure that we understand that it’s not structurally changing the problems
of the system? It’s mostly the latter. I don’t oppose doing these things any more
than I oppose giving welfare to, to people who are denied the job. But because the, the liberal part of American
politics has long ago given up the critique of the structure, the notion of basic change,
the whole debate of the 20th century about capitalism versus socialism, which by the
way is coming back now. But because the liberals gave up on it, people
like me have to hammer at the inadequacy of these bandaids less the idea the that we either
have no bandaid or we have a bandaid. But that’s something beyond the bandaid is
somehow unthinkable or undiscussable. So I want to point out that for example, if
you give everybody a guaranteed basic income, but some people go to work and have a job
and earn way more than all of that, you’re just inviting what our old history shows us,
which is sooner or later the people who work for and end a living will be, how shall I
put it? Politely helped to see the people who get
the guaranteed income as in some sense living off the taxes they pay and therefore the tension
between the employed and the unemployed that has always dogged capitalism will simply resurface
in an adjusted form around the question of a basic income. Therefore, I would much rather face the reality,
which is if we have technological change that makes it possible for fewer people to be more
productive than they used to be. So that instead of needing a hundred workers
to make something, we only need 50 we had, we can cut the labor costs in half. Capitalism’s solves that problem in a particular
way. It fires have the people, right, because then
you can produce the same amount with half the people sell it. Let’s presume for simplicity at the same price
and what you get as revenue. You now don’t have to pay half the workers
you use. Do you keep that money as your profit? Which is why the technological change attracts
you in the first place. But that’s the capitalist answer, but it ought
to be hours. Why? Because the alternative way of handling a
doubling in productivity, which is what we’ve just discussed, would be to give everybody
half the amount of hours per day to work. That way everybody keeps their job. Everybody keeps their income. What the benefit of technology is, what we
really always promised people, namely leisure and in the society, not driven by profit,
that the technology would be advanced because the game is to the majority in more leisure
rather than the game to a minority in the way of more profit. These are the questions that are structural
and basic and these are the ones that still remain a bit too scary for virtually all of
the candidates in the Democratic Party. To to get ahold of. I actually did a commentary yesterday about
the latest jobs numbers and I said it’s fine to talk about 75,000 versus the expected number. It’s fine to talk about 0.2% wage growth versus
0.5, but fundamentally none of this stuff is actually addressing these incoming and
growing issues of the relationship of humans to work. And my analysis of the hundred employees versus
50 due to the technological change has been, and I wonder if you agree with it that the
pure free market capitalist, so, uh, sort of, um, uh, reception of that technological
change that allows you to double productivity would be you fire half the workers. And that’s also bad for other elements of
the economy because now you have 50 workers that no longer have money with which to buy
things from other businesses. The pure socialist solution might be, well,
we’ve socialized ownership of the company to begin with, so the workers share in all
the gains. Now, here’s where I wonder if we disagreed
the social democracy. Uh, a solution might be the business owners
are entitled to some piece of that productivity gain, whereas some significant portion would
be divided up by the workers. Is that fair? Is that pie in the sky? No, I think that’s a perfectly reasonable,
I mean it assume something namely that the owners are in some sense different from the
people who are working there really change the system. That difference would disappear, but let’s
keep it for a while. Let’s assume that there are owners are capitalists
on the one hand and workers on the other. It would be an enormous step forward. I would agree to have a discussion in which
the question is raised. Okay, we now have a technical advance we can
install that year in the business we have and that gives us what? It gives us a choice. We can either use all of it for profit and
fire half the workers or we can use none of it for profit and give all the workers basically
I have time employment situation at the same wage or, and this is simple arithmetic. We can split the difference. We can have a conversation, a discussion,
maybe a vote as to what portion of the games from a technological advance are given to
workers in the form of leisure versus employers in the form of profits. That already would be a level of the democratization
of the workplace, which is what I stress anyway would be a major step forward. And by the way, while this is a revolutionary
idea here in the United States, social democracies in Europe, this is not a new idea. This is in fact what goes on in Germany and
France and Italy, unions often or bargaining with employers on precisely how to divide
technical and other kinds of advances in terms of sharing in a sense in the benefit. It’s not revolutionary, it’s not challenging
the private ownership of the industries and the empathy and the enterprises. But it is saying that what happens with an
advance of technology is something that has to be discussed and worked out like everything
else about the workplace and not something simply to be determined to the advantage of
one side and the exclusion of participation on the other. Well, that gets me to something else I want
to hear your thoughts on which is that there’s a very specific and productive, I think, debate
to be had about capitalism versus socialism, social democracy versus unregulated capitalism,
et Cetera, but are you concerned about what I have seen as sort of some confusion between
social democracy and socialism? I’ve done a number of segments where I’m saying
if we even really want to seriously have this debate, we have to make sure that we’re calling
things what they are and socialism, where the means of production is socialized is different
than something like the Swedish system or the Danish system, which is a capitalist system
that says we are going to use more of the government revenue to ensure that the standard
of living doesn’t go below a certain level. Is that an academic distinction or is that
a serious distinction that we need to understand to really talk about this stuff? I could not be more 100% the latter and not
the format. In other words, this is not academic or abstract
or nitpicking or anything like that. This is of the essence. And that’s part of our, our backwardness here
in the United States for a half a century at the, after the end of World War, socialism,
communism, Marxism, all of that was prescribed. It was declared trailers. It was declared evil. It was whatever you want. And people were good Americans who kept away
from it, didn’t think about it, didn’t read about it, didn’t debate about it, nothing. And now that capitalism has shown itself to
need basic change to an awful lot of people for whom it is a working real well, there’s
a process of rediscovery and, and that’s all to the good. But in that process, you’re right, the confusion
and the misuse of language and the naming of things that really ought to be named that
way because a hundred years of literature and a debate, uh, had clarified these differences. But Americans are just learning. Let me give you an example. Two weeks ago, I was invited and I did it
to be on the town hall of the Fox television system for an hour answering questions from
a live audience, uh, debating, by the way, Lou Dobbs and Neil Cavuto and all those people
sitting next to me, uh, Herman Jane or the candidate for president so that we had a debate
was capitalism versus socialism and they’re on display was this arresting fudge of words
and ideas in which the same word socialism was applied to Sweden, to Italy, to China,
to Russia, to Venezuela. I need the chaos and confusion that is being
sown now, partly on the other side, they want the lump all of these things together, right? I understand that. But if you’re interested in these things as
real options for our society in difficulty, which I am and many Americans are, that has
to be clarified and I think is very good. Even if it’s difficult that you begin to say,
look, this is social democracy or this is democratic socialism. This is something else too, which we can give
a variety of names that have been used, but we have to begin clarifying this so we can
have the conversation and the political action, uh, focus on what it is we actually want. Well that’s good. It makes me feel better that I haven’t been
wasting my time with, uh, with those segments. We’ve been speaking with economist Richard
Wolf. The new book is called understanding Marxism. It’s available everywhere you went in. Imagine books are available. Uh, Professor Wolf, always great to talk to
you. They could talk to you David and hope we can
do it again soon.

Comments (100)

  1. If in fact automation moves into the entire sphere of human activity, or perhaps of human production and services, then the "structural" points you are discussing here are moot. If jobs truly disappear, it won't matter if the remaining work is divided amongst the available labor pool, because any percentage of zero is zero. Bottom line, a Universal Basic Income is inevitable, unavoidable, necessary. There may in fact be a handful of employment positions still out there, but for all others, it will be UBI. The real dilemma here is how to value or understand vocation vs. avocation, or the activity of most persons who will not be receiving income via employment, compared to those few who still might be doing so. I submit that the new metric, or way of measuring the value of a citizen, will not be the income he or she generates, or perhaps their private wealth or equity, but rather the skill set and/or capabilities and/or responsibilities that each will have. The neighborhood organizer of music events (avocation), can be just as important as the employee of a company. And so on. Richard Wolff's comments, here, do not capture the long term likelihood of automation – namely that robots will eventually be able to do anything that a human can do, and do it better. Therefore, all employment will become automated, and the humans will focus their efforts and energies in other directions. THAT is the issue to be discussed and understood, not the so-called "structural" concerns of Wolff that are themselves little more than a stepping stone along the trajectory of the inevitability of full automation.

  2. I want to see this fucking debate Wolff was talking about. Anyone that could provide a link I would be thankful.

  3. Why the fuck wouldn't our government use intelligent people like this professor to make economic decisions? Like why?

  4. Richard Wolff isn’t just a great economist, he’s an amazing communicator as well. I’ve yet to see anyone else who can break down these structural problems in a way that’s so easily digestible. Great interview!

  5. "Structural issues", ie, capitalism. If you want to call things what they are don't use "socialism" to float apologists capitalism. Don't call it Democratic Socialism, call it Democratic capitalism. But then that would only cause problems for capitalism. It draws out the contradictions of capitalism, and half-ass liberalism.

  6. Social democracy as you call it (whatever it is) accepts that the capitalist is entitled to the totality of the results of his/her business and to give whatever wages he/she decides to the workers, as if the capitalist was the only creator of value. Because the workers (human beings and not animals or machines) create value, they should participate democratically in the decisions regarding what part of the value they create they are entitled to as retribution for their labor. Just as slave labor was made illegal, employee labor, not much different to slave labor, should also be made illegal. A truly socialist society is the only solution to exploitation.

  7. I work my ass off at work especially after the 2008 crash when my employer cut labor but not output expectation. Then i go home and work my ass off maintaining my house and property. Many Americans like myself are burning the candle at both ends and we wonder why we see so many people gunning down shopping malls and concerts!?!?!

  8. What surprise all these "social democrats" love an avowed Marxist.

  9. I don't think that professor wolff understands how technological efficiency works. Take an amazon distribution center for example. Unskilled workers there have less than zero value. In other words they cost the company money each hour they work. Also, technological unemployment affects us all – most of the hedge fund traders for example were eliminated past the 2008 crisis, their jobs never to return. doctors, lawyers, everyone will face this same challenge, and to pay everybody half and have them all work is something that just won't work.

  10. Marxist != economist

  11. So I'm part of an ESOP (employee owned company) after two years you can have a 401k with mostly stock in the company you work for. After 5 years you can become a "vested employee owner" I think you get to vote on things at that point but I'm not sure.

    But I still feel that the Board of Trustees makes the most decisions and I know that most "employee-owners" work way too much overtime. What gives? Are there any smart socialists that have practical solutions?

    It's a medium-sized architecture/engineering company. I know engineers have a good work ethic but everyone here wants more time off and we're making plenty of money.

  12. That tension between the unemployed and the employed seems to be a failure in cultural norms rather than a failure in any economic system. An unemployed individual who isnt a criminal and lives modestly seems to be more beneficial to the environment than an employed individual who lives extravagantly. A nonworker never gets as many benefits, social or economic, as a worker (except for in a slave-based system). I think we should try to change the way people think about those who dont want to work, rather than forcing someone who just wants the basic necessities of life to labor.

  13. Thank good ole Ronnie Reagan for steering the USA towards nazism and corporate control . That man single handedly set about destroying the middle class and sadly its been working .

  14. This was amazing to experience. 👌

  15. Only an academic with skin in the game on the theory would say how policies like M4A is labeled matters. Call it whatever you need to call it to get it passed. Americans have a brainwashing against socialism and confronting that hurts odds for getting M4A. Calling it enhanced capitalism would appeal to more Americans.

  16. First of all, you're never going to get a discussion like that out of employers in the US and Unions are not coming back. They failed for a reason in the first place.

  17. Prof Wolff's lecture "Capitalism Hits the Fan" is MUST viewing for those interested in the underlying cause of the destruction of the American middle class. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZU3wfjtIJY

  18. 😍😩 Richard Wolff 😩😍

  19. or…since productivity increased, you can invest into making the company bigger and doing more.

  20. This Marxist has risen as a star among internet progressives.

  21. AaaaaAHHHHHHHHHHHAAAYYYYYYYYY A MARXIST …….AAAAAZAZAAAAAYYYHBBBHHHHE.

    You fuking idiots. Good to see your true colors. I wasn't sure what kinda guy you are now, I suspected this, but ts good to know for sure.

  22. Yes — but, the value of labor-power and labor -value are two different things in capitalism.
    The problem inherent with capitalism is that work and working are two different things that a social democracy will not solve this contradiction.
    As long as there is a big difference between work and working we will forever be in need of a State to mediate the conflicts that emanate from this difference between work that is unproductive for the worker and working that is unproductive to society but productive of profit for capital.

    Working, or the jobs they create is a source of value for the owners of the jobs but they are a risk to the workers in those jobs.
    If a worker needs time from work to raise a child with disabilities the owners of the job let the worker go. Without laws against this enforced workers are canned. We leave this contradiction between work and working intact we make a state a necessary evil in our lives; whereas, the point of all human history is to be free of any form of tyrannical control including the State.
    As a source of value that creates more value for the owners the process of working is a process of accumulation of capital that cannot be stopped for any reason and this leads to the creation of a dominant social class, is the next big problem. Consequently the State has to get bigger not smaller to the point where we as a society do not need it.
    Work is not in anyone's control, rather, it becomes a controlling factor out of control; consuming everything in sight in order to enlarge itself. Working masks itself as a career but in reality its a lifelong process of making another person rich and the person doing the work poor. Working is not work under capitalism. Work is making something useful with your labor, a craft and talent society benefits is not the objective of work in America. Working is the objective in America, producing more value than needed to live making value with your labor — labor value. This is the real killer of capitalism.

  23. I would love to see Richard Woff go on the Joe Rogan Experience

  24. UBI makes sense with what Richard Wolff is saying though. In a future where technology and automation mean that everyone doesn't have to work (or doesnt have to work long hours) you can imagine that the people who don't work get by on a basic income. Not one as small as Andrew Yang's, but his proposal is the first step in the right direction. So Yang's policy to me seems the closest to addressing the type of structural change that would happen in a society where everyone no longer needs to work for a living.

  25. Finally FINALLY a good video from David. No russiagate propaganda, no smearing, no calling people stupid for voting for Trump. It’s a rare thing these days from David.

  26. Cool guy, but I think one of his critiques of basic income is wrong. He says eventually people who work will come to resent the people who live off UBI, but I see this as highly unlikely considering that people who work will also be receiving the UBI. In other words, people who don’t work will make, say, $12000 per year, while anybody who works even a minimum wage job will be making $12000 plus $20000 or whatever they make. It would be pretty weird for those people to feel resentful, in fact much more likely that they will be thankful for the UBI because the 20000 itself isn’t enough

  27. Social Democracy is Capitalism Lite.

  28. They are just there since a short while, and clearly aren't elected yet. Also: they still take more care of strucutral – or ANY – issues than the narcissistic, lying Trump monstrosity. That stance of this Wolff seems rather imbecilic in context – or that you bring it up in this way. (Typical issue with this channel…)

  29. It's so interesting to hear this point of view, because when I try to imagine an economy that does not exploit the workers, but supports them as much as possible, I can't even begin to conceive of it.
    I guess the corporate brainwashing has had a big success in my brain. Nothing in my education or consumption of media has even hinted at that possibility other than to present dystopian cautionary tales like Brave New World and virtually every scifi movie about the future. The only popular vision of a post scarcity/money society is perhaps Star Trek series, but even those never actually deal with the issue of income inequality.
    If we can't imagine a different world, how can we create it?

  30. While I do agree with much of this there are huge pitfalls in Americans thinking the grass is much greener on the other side… Hell yeah, the US should have universal healthcare, a social safety net, and so on.
    But do not look blindly towards countries that call themselves socially democratic and assume that it's heaven. What's most often referred to as the Scandinavian model is the so-called Swedish model. The Swedish model is a system that came about post WW2. After being a "neutral" country and one of the few places where production wasn't decimated by the war the economy soared. We Swedes enjoyed an economy coming from a free trade agreement with the rest of Europe and our production soared.
    In the late 50's we had a tax rate of around 20%, massive coffers from not being destroyed and also a questionable relationship to the German government of the '30s and '40s.
    Trough the '60's and 70's we used much of this buffer to create a very ambitious welfare state, (I am not argumenting against a welfare state). This level of socialistic reforms began to shift the economy from being driven by productivity to a public sector with costs running amok. During the early 90's Sweden saw a massive economic crash as a result of the previous decades politics (during the 80's the government borrowed money against the unionized pension funds to stay afloat). The early 2000's came with reforms that deregulated many areas, you could legally own a telephone (instead of renting one from the government), you could start to choose which school your children could attend, choose to watch other tv channels than the state-funded ones and also opening the opportunity to choose your doctor and healthcare center. (oh, and films coming from outside of Sweden didn't have to go through the censorship bureau before being shown).
    These reforms saved the Swedish economy in a huge way.

    As a US born person who primarily lives in Sweden since the early 80's, I would advise against romanticizing this sytem. The US system is TERRIBLE, many things and much rethinking needs to be done. We Swedes took social democracy too far and paid for it. I Still favor this system over the one in the US but it's FAR from the rosy ideal many now seem to think it is.

  31. The minimum guaranteed income will only cause prices to go up, as landloards and producers will know that everyone has more to spend.

  32. SO FUNNY!!! Wolff's premises just collapsed in on it's self Lol! He's afraid that "Universal Basic Income" will make those who are "working to earn a living" resent those who would then be on the government dole. In other words, he doesn't want people to get "The right Impression" nor (the core nuclear reason) as to why socialism does not work, cannot work and never will work. So funny Lol!

  33. Wolff got his ass handed to him on the Fox Town Hall, socialism doesn't have a pot to piss in nor a leg to stand on. However, I'll give him credit for going into the lion's den.

  34. I was secretly reading about systems of macro economics from the time I was in the fifth grade including Socialism which is one of the reasons I couldn't read openly. You didn't read that kind of thing during the cold war era.

  35. It sounds like Yang just wants to give us a UBI but leave the corrupt,un-bridled capitalism system intact.

  36. What structural issues? The issue is money in politics.

  37. Hi David

    Love when you have Richard Wolff on.

    Bye!

  38. Excellent discussion!

  39. In intellectual jobs that require build up knowledge and sustained involvement halving work hours or whatever is not realistic… Yang's solution is much smarter and simpeler to implement.

  40. As an American living in Europe, I completely get the European model. It works here, it works is Australia. It works in New Zealand. It works in Japan. For christs sakes, it works in Canada. Won't work in America because Americans are conditioned to repel everything but the American model….and at all costs. Americans are seen as ignorant fools by many in the modern world for a reason. America is not the world…..

  41. Hosting a communist is just as bad as hosting a Nazi like Richard Spencer Pakman.

  42. Wolff: Marxism is so misunderstood….buy my book to find out more!!

  43. I’m sick of people just looking at Andrew Yang’s UBI. Some of these “structural issues” are addressed in his other policies. The dude has like 100 policies on his page.

  44. That's the next step for me, understanding the differences and nuances for all the different 'isms' that are out there…

  45. If you want to solve the fundamental problems with our system vote for Yang. Everyone else is attempting band-aid resolutions that could hurt us in the end.

  46. Simplifying Extremes……and am I misunderstanding something here, is Woolf blaming the liberals, so the “ Right “ is what? The more ppl criticize their own side, ( without clarifying) gives fuel to the evil doers to gain ingredients ( confusion/ noise ) to use against 2020 election and democracy. America will never listen to socialism, even if it’s the best thing for them to survive. “ Fantasyland “ by Kurt Andersen. Americans are very, very, very stuck in they’re old ways. No way, will they ever be more sophisticated. Keep it simple or it’s going to fly over their heads.

  47. In the near future this argument about who gains or losses due to
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  48. The Universal Basic Income must begin at $3000 per month. THEN, they can end rent-vouchers, food-stamps, Medicaid — except for hospitalization, drug coverage, and other entitlements like SSI and perhaps, even regular Social Security and Medicare. $1000/per month is a bribe, not a solution.

  49. Richard Wolff is Anti Dick Cheney

  50. His critique of UBI leading to people who work resenting those who "don't work" isn't logical. They both get the same basic income. The worker is just way more wealthy by choosing to work

  51. This guy is a Communist

  52. I love listening to you Dr. Wolff, but why, WHY are you unable to wrap your head around the notion that a Universal Basic Income would be awarded to ALL people regardless of income, and that much of the source for that UBI would come from the ultra-wealthy or by placing a tax on the machines/AI/software that replace humans in the workforce? To be snarky, you could also fund it in the same way that Fed has been handing out money left and right to the rich since the Great Recession. If that isn't UBI for the wealthy, I don't know what is.

    Also, don't you think middle class Americans would be grateful to have more homeless off the streets? To have less crime and a more cohesive social structure in the U.S.? A population that's less stressed with improved mental health? Because that's what UBI does.

    Your raison d'etre is the democratization of the workplace, but the fact is NOT EVERYONE WORKS FOR SOMEONE ELSE. A lot of people are self-employed. A lot more than there used to be, exactly because there are fewer and fewer people needed in the traditional workforce. They've had to adapt and have moved on. But for the jobs that are left you're saying their should be a 10 hour work week, but the employers pay for 40? Yeah, no. I don't see that happening.

    Instead, it's time to face facts. Society is staring at a major shakeup twenty years down the road when almost no humans are needed for a LOT of what makes the economy run. We'll need to redefine what it means to be a productive, contributory member of society. Democratizing the workforce would have been a great idea in the 1980s to counter corporate capitalism and fend off the ills of Neo-liberalism. Today? It's almost a moot point. That ship has already sailed.

  53. Probably because the money is most likely going to McConnells wife. The way mitch acts, hes a little too sure of himself. Shes Chinese and from that country. Her family has been getting rich off of our people. Shes following family tradition. Shes now getting rich off of our people thanks to trump and mitch. Follow the money. You'll see. More of trumps buddies.

  54. Bill Gates supports UBI. How about seizing Microsoft, give it to the workers as a worker cooperative and give UBI to Bill Gates. How about that?!

  55. Automation should reward workers by making workers work less and get better pay.

    That’s the whole point of automation. So humans can reap the rewards.

    Not just the 1%

    UBI baby!

  56. Richard Wolff & David Pakman 2020

  57. This is the kind of content that should have millions of views. Well thought-out beneficial information.

  58. Great interview!

  59. Despite it not being perfect and some people not liking the way he words it. I think Andrew Yang’s UBI is a step in the right direction. Especially in senergy with his other policies.

  60. Great program. We need a neologism for Socialism. Since early childhood, we've been programmed to fear, loath and hate Communism (Socialism). After all, they were going to annihilate us into our bomb-shelters, right? We lost many 1000's in wars to prevent its spread, right? Notwithstanding the number of "Socialistic" programs we already have, the upper hierarchy will discourage change, by all means necessary, unless it benefits them, while the majority of citizens continue to resist beneficial changes, especially "Socialistic" sounding economic changes from years of indoctrination. Needless to say, "Socialism" carries great stigma in this country and is why we need to coin a new word, while avoiding the word "social."

  61. I think another serious issue with any kind of economic system is how we compensate anyone, workers OR executives, for what they do. Salaries are obviously bad. They radically incentivize a black & white dichotomy of either wasting time and being stingy with one's own efforts so they're effectively getting paid more than what they're earning, or to have organizations fire everyone who doesn't perform at a level so high that they're effectively unpaid for some of the work they're doing.

    Hourly wages aren't much better, and really lead to essentially the same problem in the end, but in a less stark contrast.

    Measuring productivity itself is generally too unreliable even with today's technology, so another means of properly balancing wages is needed.

    Personally, I propose a much more equal form of profit-sharing. Where everyone gets an essentially equal slice of the pie of the organization's overall productivity, after accounting for expenses and the like. Yes, some are still encouraged to slack off, but particularly in the kind of structure that Prof. Wolff has mentioned many times, the other members of the organization could all vote those slackers out. After all, nobody's going to let others mooch off their work if they can help it. It's just that, as things stand right now, workers have no such say in the matter.

    It's still open to the idea that some people might be mildly exploited by working too much for the slice of pie they get, but I think that would be rare and far less extreme. And it would never be forced, as it currently is. I think most often, other coworkers would look at such a person and say, "Joe, you've done enough today, we got this. Go see your kids." Since their continued excessive efforts won't actually gain them much more in the way of income, there's no reasonable purpose in continuing to push it. Let the others who still have some productivity to make up for, finish it out. Take the rest of the day off, and relax. So long as most people go at largely the same pace, everything should be fine. Generally, it should be more stable than current systems.

  62. China does not have a homeless problem because their socialist system gives every family basic dwelling and there is no property tax.

  63. I would love to see Wolff leading a debate with the candidates! 😍

    The threat against my country, Sweden, now is growing capitalistic claims, greedy corporate leaders and a growing racism. Wolff is correct in the claim that our democratic socialism has to be defended. But the system is still strong because even the conservatives would not dare to take away basic security like medicare for all, free education, subsidies on medication etcetera.

  64. Yikes. Didn’t like this analysis at all. First of all, you can almost never keep the price the same. Your competitors will be privy to the technological advancement and will build it for cheaper if you don’t drop the price.

    I believe in worker unions and private ownership, but it’s interesting that 50 workers put out by technology will eventually get cut out somehow. Either the competition hires new workers and prices down, forcing the other company to drop price and fire; or the 50 lose their job and a competitor hires them and try to overtake the original company and force the first 50 out of work. 50 people have to start looking for a new job. I hope we get this figured out before there are millions who want/need work but there is no basic work left for them.

  65. We have to keep talking dem/socialism into the minds all Americans, just as the oligarchy was able to brainwash the American public through the 20th century.

    Having said that, dem/socialism will not fix the real problem. Its gotta be socialism in the longer-term

  66. It would be great if David Pakman could interview someone from the Modern Monetary Theory community. I think this would lead to a really useful discussion about the nature of government revenue and taxation, and it would help to challenge many of the criticisms which are put against proposals for writing off student debt, UBI or other forms of large scale government investment.

  67. Good luck trying to get the richest 1% give up 1 cent , any changes to their profiteering they call socialism .

  68. Some form of health care for all would be an example of a "structural change", primarily because the electorate now demands and expects it, even with the half-measure of Obama Care. I think a structural change has to be something that can't be easily revoked by changes in administration. Roe v. Wade might be an example of this for reproductive rights, but of course it's revoke-resistant but not necessarily revoke-PROOF. Things that fit into that category would be Medicare for All Single Payer, higher minimum wage ($15/hour now) tied to the rate of inflation, tuition-free college/trade school, etc.

  69. This has become my big concern also: How people (including those who identify with being these) wrongly confuse Democratic Socialism with Social Democracy. Socialism is by definition: The workers control the means of production. Social Democracy (seems to be more) true democracy vs. plutocracy (or anti-plutocracy) where you're trying to re-distribute the wealth created by capitalism. Socialism and capitalism are ECONOMIC systems; whereas democracy and plutocracy are POLITICAL systems.

  70. Capitalism is to Socialism as white people are to Black people. The latter is demonized by the former.

  71. ‘Something is wrong. I can’t hear you on my end.’

  72. I like Wolfe but US companies are NEVER gonna go for the employees owning THEIR company. Plus the dip shit voters are NEVER gonna vote any of these notions into play. A fully democratic govt. Can and should make
    make them but that's years away also. A combination of socialized stuff ,like the TON WE ALREADY HAVE AND HAVE HAD FOR 80 , 90 YEARS, and a capitalism system ( THAT'S RUN AMOK BY THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND THEIR CONSTITUENTS BIG BIG HUGE MONEY AND BIG HUGE CORPORATE MFRS ) which we need to haul in. That is the answer : More socialized aspects of societal life AND a grab capitalism by the neck and whilst stepping on it haul it back into realistic realms and inject fuck you no more 99 / 1 % insane disparity while injecting ( I like that idea – injecting shit right into these gop cocksuckers bringing them back to earth where they can be rich and live and die rich but they are gonna pay for the smoothing out of all these fucked up situations that have arisen over their 40 year RIP OFF where we stop the shit show and take a look and what we see is 1% snaked all the money and left the WHOLE GODDAMN COUNTRY TO GO AND FUCK OFF – REALLY BITCHES ? The mother fucking cartels don't even do that with all the millions they make daily. Yes ,the gop must be injected in the neck with good heroin and chained to their rich chair in their rich house while receiving daily injections ( I LOVE THAT WORD AND THAT IDEA ) – of Good heroin ,where ? , IN THE NECK BITCHES , abd while they sombulate we will bring America back to a place where they get to make massive Riches but not at the expense of the whole damn nation. They can stack their tonnage of cash but ARE GONNA BE MADE TO KICK DOWN AND UPTRUCK A WONDERFULLY HUGE SECTION OF IT FOR THEIR FELLOW COUNTRYMAN TO …… WHAT ? WELL GO TO SCHOOL , stop anybody from being hungry FULL STOP BITCH , see that nobody cant get medical help – FULL STOP BITCH . And a bunch of other shit , a long list of OTHER SHIT : parks and recreation for kids after school abd during summer , and a hundred more everyday things like that for their fellow countrymen. No more fuck you all for me none for you all fir me. This will be done this dragging you fucking piece of fuck mother fucking sons of bitches into decency and Americanistic principals and values , kicking and screaming this will be done.

  73. I watched Professor Wolff's segments on the differences of socialism but he emphasized the cons more than the pros. I didn't think he was pro capitalist but his attitude implied he was. This interview should be part of this series of videos so people are not confused. Looking at most of the comments on his channel many people were against any kind of socialism probably because of this attitude. I have a lot of respect for Professor Wolff and his viewpoints and knowledge, those videos may have been intended to make people think of what they are fighting for but gave the wrong message to many.

  74. The only good communist is a dead communist.

  75. good stuff. You could have full employment with slavery but it is obviously not good

  76. What a bunch of BS.

  77. Dems don't get it. It's demographic. Young boomers wanted to be leftist and tear down the world. Now boomers are old and conservative and don't want what the left has to offer, which is death, destruction, debt, counterfeiting the currency, and rotting the economy with low pay, lousy jobs living in tiny houses and walking to work for minimum wage. The time of Democrats has gone and is over. Convert or die.

  78. I like Dr. Wolff, but he needs a new backdrop. That messy old apartment does not enhance his credibility. The room and decorating makes him look like a dinosaur.

  79. Once upon a time the Democrats were the party of working people, the poor, minorities. The American labor movement created a middle class that prospered to the point where socialism that captivated Europe never stood a chance here. That started over a hundred years ago with books like The Jungle which disclosed the working atrocities in the meat packing industry and got a large boost during the Roosevelt administration. The environmental movement got a kick start with Silent Spring making us aware of what industry was doing to our environment. All of this cost capitalism money but capitalists prospered, workers prospered, the government was able to provide social safety nets and the United States had the most successful economy and society in the history of the world.

    But then after World War II it was necessary for the US to rebuild Western Europe in a hurry to save it from the infectious cancer of communism, a society under the USSR every bit as brutal as Nazi Germany which liberals have never apologized for having grossly underestimated just how tyrannical and antihuman it really was. That was revealed after the fall of the USSR during a period when all of the Soviet documents and those of its satellites were available to historians and other interested parties. Tax laws were changed so that American companies were encouraged to export factories and jobs to foreign countries to employ foreign workers whose work product was exported back to the US, the world's largest market at that time practically duty free while those countries were allowed to keep their own protectionist tariffs. The same happened with China when Nixon and Kissinger saw in 1973 that it was a carbon copy of North Korea today only a thousand times larger.

    American companies found this very profitable. They circumvented both labor laws including safety standards, wages, benefits, and they circumvented environmental laws. All of these things cost a lot of money in the US and not complying with them could result in enormous fines, even prison not to mention expensive lawsuits by victims. So jobs, factories, entire industries left the United States and Americans spent their life savings surviving scrambling for low paying jobs that couldn't be exported. Is socialism or communism the answer? No, that would be going out of the frying pan into the fire. We do not want to become a country like China, the USSR, or even Sweden. That is not who we are. Then what is the right answer? Simple, put it back the way it was before it was broken. Go back to what worked. Democrats won't like it because they get bribed by large industry. Republicans won't like it because profits could go down as the American economy resizes and reshapes itself to accommodate American society and American laws. Foreign governments won't like it because their free ride will be over. And foreign workers won't like it because they will lose their jobs to higher paid Americans.

    We have a lot of ways to implement this plan and we should use all of them at the same time. Import tariffs and sanctions, increasing interest rates, tax incentives for businesses operating in America but not the income of the wealthy, tax cuts for repatriating profits by American companies abroad, tax penalties for not repatriating them, banning technology transfer, carefully scrutinizing foreign investment in the United States that could hurt the US economy. Tariffs are called protectionist because they protect American workers, American small businesses, and American tax collectors. Over one trillion dollars a year flow out of America but the impact is a loss of two to three trillion dollars a year to our GNI and GDP. Cauterize the bleeding of American money and America will be great again because Americans will be rich again the way so many once were compared to foreign companies. And to our enemies like China, cut them off from all trade, transactions, the US dollar, and SWIFT. Do that all at breakfast and they'll be bankrupt by lunch.

  80. Woah… Wolff really belongs in prison

  81. It is so hard for people to understand that the incentive for people to do good work and great things is enhanced, not reduced when it is spread throughout a group of equals with a common goal, rather than a small group of "superiors" working hard to talk as many as possible into doing as much as possible for as little as possible. In social democracy, if you are a part of an organization, then you are an equal part of that organization with an equal stake in the organization's success.

  82. The distinction that Prof. Wolff makes between people who get a guaranteed income and those who work for their income is an erroneous one, if he's making a critique of Andrew Yang's UBI proposal (the Freedom Dividend). With the Freedom Dividend, as long as you're an adult U.S. citizen, you would qualify for it, whether you work or not.

    The tension that Prof. Wolff mentions between the employed and unemployed is due to the existence of unemployment checks (which are for a limited period of time). To qualify for unemployment checks, you need to meet certain conditions and it's more than just "be unemployed" (because if you quit your job, you don't qualify).

    Yes, UBI isn't a policy to create the structural changes that Prof. Wolff espouses with his critiques on capitalism, but systemic change notwithstanding, it sure is a tremendous boon to a huge portion of the population. He didn't say "this is not the solution to capitalism, so don't do it," so I'll give him that. UBI also provides a stepping stone to further address the economic changes that would be necessary to transforming society into something sustainable, because not even the various degrees of socialism is the answer to living sustainably, as it doesn't intrinsically dis-incentivize the profit motive or the competitive ethos that magnifies inequality or environmental collapse.

  83. Ok….so what if REAGAN doubled the budget.
    So what if Bush Sr added another Trillion.
    So what if W.Bush started 2 forever wars Then didnt charge his Oil buddies in Saudi Arabia for NEW YORK CITY carnage. Even though 19 of the terrorists were Saudi. THEN W. BUSH allowed banks and brokerages to leverage out 40 to 1 on deposits. AAA mortgage backed securities derivatives hell that went uninsured….ya, so what. This debt is middle class choke out….all the while the rich wallow in huge tax benefits, reductions, and loophole.
    ●millions of former middle class moved down and do not add ANY tax revenue. On contrary they use tax revenue in poverty wageville.
    If Bernie gets elected $750 billion in new taxes on wealth. Carbon tax. Loophole closures will raise $ 1 trillion per year. Increased $ wages are a Doubleganger, more tax, less food stamps. Real Estate speculators will lose tax status. USA will go back to the way it was in the1970s. Negotiated tariffs to protect USA manufacturing.
    Time for an FDR restart.

  84. Why does this stuff need to be said? And i'll take shots at the American excesses but freely admit that the problem exists everywhere.

  85. So if a ubi, and it cannot solve that much in isolation but needs to be a part of a comprehensive safety net, is truly universal and sufficient for a minimal liviliehood, I’d argue that it is potentially transformative in a couple ways. 1) it fundamentally weakens the extreme power asymmetry between workers and employers by removing the threat of an precarity from decisions to leave a job the employee isn’t satisfied with…it allows for folks to explore entrepeneurship, reimaginig their career paths, or enguage in care work if it makes sense in their lives to do so.
    2) it has the potential, in the aforementioned context to at last decouple to some extent livelihood from jobs, and return at last the joy of meaningful work to humanity.

  86. Along similiar lines, a ubi begins to compensate some of the trillions in unpaid care work that cannot be counted under the current purely market based value system.

  87. Federal money? The government has no money, they get money from the people that work and earn that money, then use that money to give to corporations and the well connected aka socialism…

  88. I'm not sure I'm totally on board with wolf on his point that if we do UBI, therefore "tension" will reemerge in a new form. I don't give a fuck about people being rude to me in the grocery store. they already do that when I use food stamps. I care about not being able to pay my rent, having every medical emergency be potentially life destroying, having to choose between medicine and things like toilet paper, toothpaste, and the food for the last half of the month after the 200$ in food stamps I get for two people inevitably runs out.

  89. The Professor Wolff video I have liked most, is titled The Great American Purge. It correctly gives Communist, and trade unionists credit to pressure FDR to give reforms like social security and to create job programs that mitigated the problems of the depression. After the purge, and the Taft Hartley Act, which gave non union members right to enjoy gains won by union members; union membership dropped from about 30% to about 10% today.
    My conclusion that today also we cannot expect reforms unless we repeat the actions of the activist in the 30's. Any president, even a Sanders will only respond to similar actions. But Wolff does not seem to give same message in this video that he gives in The Great Purge Video.

  90. What's this ? the 2 grey mice ?
    What dull, you are looking like a preacher/altar boy wear some color for a change. depressing…

  91. Why not produce twice as much instead of firing 50% of your workers ?? Do you think that doesn't happen ?

  92. Papa Wolff is a legend

  93. What if some other capitalist opens a modern company and starts to produce cheaper with a smaller number of workers? At that moment, the first capitalist who would keep the same number of workers at the appointed time had to fall or dismiss the workers.

    This means that the solution (reduction of working hours) can not be ignited in capitalism, ie in the legal market.
    —————-

    Što ako neki drugi kapitalista otvori moderniju firmu i počne proizvoditi jeftinije sa manjim brojem radnika? Tog momenta će onaj prvi kapitalista koji bi zadržao isti broj radnika na skrećenom vremenu morao propasti ili otpustiti radnike.

    To znači da to rješenje (smanjenja radnog vremena) ne može paliti u kapitalizmu tj. po zakonim tržišta.

  94. SOCIALISM AS ECONOMIC SOCIAL UTILITY

  95. GOVERNMENTS ARE REGULATORS AND REFEREES. THEY ARE PAID TO LOOK THE OTHER WAY FROM CORRUPTION

  96. Richard D. Wolff is literally my hero.
    Batman Wolff.

  97. Richard Wolff is amazing.

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