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Richard Wolff 4-Pack

Program #WOLR008-WOLR009-WOLR010-WOLR011.


First Program:  Capitalism: Fantasies & Realities

The stories spun about the economy are more akin to fairy tales. The most popular one, endlessly repeated, is that if you work hard you’ll get ahead. Another is trickle down. Remember that one? The fat cats get fatter and you’ll benefit by getting the leftover crumbs. It’s a wonder after decades of breathtaking income and wealth inequality and flat wages for most workers that these tales are still told. Noam Chomsky talks about "really existing capitalism," dependent on state subsidies, tax breaks and loopholes. The drift to oligarchy continues unabated. Corporate power is dominant. It has tremendous political influence. The media fail to inform. In spite of all that, people all over the world, tired of enduring the lies and deprivations, are asking questions about the fantasies and realities of capitalism.

Second Program:  Bailouts, Greece & Capitalism

Lousy job prospects got you down? Deep in debt? Welcome to 21st century capitalism. The dominant ruling class has one mantra: More for Me, Less for You. That has certainly proven true. Workers' incomes have gone flat while the rich have gotten richer. Maybe Desperate Housewives should be replaced with a series called Desperate Workers. The global economic crisis continues to take an enormous human toll. In many ways, Greece has become the symbol of an economic system in disarray. While banks were bailed out, the people of the cradle of Western civilization were subjected to an EU German-directed austerity program. While banks were bailed out, the people of the cradle of Western civilization were subjected to an EU German-directed austerity program. The bad joke is the Bundesbank has done today what the Wehrmacht was unable to do in World War Two. Greece is on its knees. But the Syriza Party is resisting diktats from Brussels and Berlin and offering hope to beleaguered Greeks.

Third Program:  The Market: A Paragon of Virtue

Myths die hard. Just as there are no unicorns, there is no free market. The myth is propagandized by its beneficiaries, i.e., the rich and powerful, the 1%. The oft-repeated line is the market is some neutral entity which fosters competition and people benefit as prices come down. Reality is slightly different. We don’t have a really free market because there is massive government intervention to prop it up through bailouts and subsidies, tax breaks and loopholes. The system generates more and more monopoly and concentration. Attempts at regulation are non-existent or are so watered down as to be virtually meaningless. The market as a paragon of virtue? Heard of secret deals and insider trading? The crucial question: how do we create an economy which is responsive to people’s needs, meets social goals of equality and protects the environment?

Fourth Program: Naked Capitalism

Through its myriad booms and busts, capitalism manages to roll with the punches and emerge standing. We are constantly told: it's the only show in town. Do you want the old Soviet Union? No way. But can't we imagine an economic system that is responsive to the needs of people and our precious planet rather than Wall Street and the investor class? Idealistic, you say? Maybe. But the fiscal ship is headed for a huge crash and no amount of moving the deck chairs around will avert it. Capitalism's tattered and moth-eaten clothes have fallen off, revealing a naked body that serves only the privileged few. Ninety-five percent of the economic gains, since the so-called recovery began are going to the top 1 percent. Meanwhile, median household income, adjusted for inflation, keeps dropping. The system is rigged to favor the rich.


Richard Wolff

Richard Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and currently a visiting professor at the New School in New York. The New York Times calls him “America’s most prominent Marxist economist.” He is the author of numerous books including Democracy at Work, Capitalism's Crisis Deepens and Occupy the Economy with David Barsamian.

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