Richard Wolff 3-pack
States can’t easily accept unpleasant realities like their power is waning. America is no different. In geopolitics, China is an ascending power and challenging U.S. hegemony. Unlike in the past, China can’t be easily pushed around. Its top diplomat says Washington “is in no position to make demands of China.” Economically, China’s GDP is projected to pass the U.S. in the next decade. The U.S., riven by internal contradictions, ever-growing inequality and factionalism, is losing ground to China. But in one area it remains dominant: the military. It is building new bases in the Philippines completing an arc of U.S. forces around China. How would Washington respond if China surrounded the U.S. with bases? “Denial is never a good idea,” says economist Richard Wolff. “We have to face what’s going on. Otherwise, we are going to get ourselves into one mess after another.”
Capitalism is exhibiting a hardening of its economic arteries. The pandemic has exposed profound structural problems. The crisis demands a serious examination of not only its root causes but for viable solutions. Once we are passed the pandemic do we go back to the status quo ante of massive eco-devastation and inequalities in income and wealth or do we create a new paradigm? Economist Richard Wolff suggests cooperatives offer equitable alternatives. He says, “If workers collectively and democratically owned and operated the enterprises, they wouldn't be profit maximizers that goes to a tiny group of people. The passion Americans sometimes bring to democratic values in politics, have been peculiarly un-applied to economics with disastrous results. Cooperation is not just a nice, warm, cuddly, good thing to do. Cooperation is what can save us from the collapse of our system.”
Corporations are riding high in the saddle. With their friends in Washington they are raking it in. That certainly is the case with the tax law passed by Congress in late 2017. If you look at the details it is warmed over trickle-down economics. While most workers will get crumbs, the big winners will be corporations. And along the way, the deficit will go way up. Corporate tax contributions to the federal budget has been declining for decades and this bill will make it worse. The right-wing plan seems clear: Cut taxes on corporations and then reduce and eliminate programs like Social Security, food stamps, Medicare and Medicaid because there is no money. As the saying goes, the rich have gotten richer and the poor poorer. Inequality has soared into the stratosphere. To bring it down we need a concerted grassroots movement.
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.