Economic Update: Ecosocialism

Welcome, friends, to another edition of Economic
Update, our weekly program devoted to the economic dimensions of our lives: debts, jobs,
incomes, all of that—for ourselves, for our children, for the coming generations. I’m your host, Richard Wolff. I’ve been a professor of economics all my
adult life, and I hope it has prepared me to be offer you these economic updates. I want to begin with the defense budget and
the story it tells us. President Trump announced early in December
that he wanted to do something about the ballooning deficit—the result of the tax cuts he passed
last December—by cutting back government budgets for the different agencies, including
the Defense Department. He proposed a very modest decrease for the
Defense Department for the upcoming fiscal year, the one that runs from 2019 to 2020. He wanted to cut it from 716 billion dollars
to 700 billion dollars. He even referred to the request for 716 initially
made, as “crazy” in one of his tweets. Very quickly the generals sprang into action,
led by General Mattis at the Defense Department. They quickly organized a luncheon with General
Mattis, probably involving General Kelly and involving the head of the Republican-dominated
House—still for the rest of this year—and the Republican-dominated Senate. They all got together and had a lunch with
President Trump. After which, full of smiles, they announced
that the new figure for the defense budget would not be the 700 billion that Mr. Trump
had originally suggested. It would not be the 716 billion that had been
initially proposed. It wouldn’t even be the 733 billion that
the military had said was the absolute minimum they could live with. No, it’s going to be 750 billion dollars
given to the Defense Department. Well, I’m struck by that and I have only
really one comment. Mr. Trump, who promised to be different from
other politicians, is here doing what all other politicians have in fact done—namely,
giving the government and particularly the military pretty much what it wants, if not
more than what it wants. Oh, not much different there. And likewise, like so many politicians and
presidents before him, promising one thing and doing another. What has he done? December of 2017, he took care of the business
community by cutting taxes on profits. And in December 2018, he takes care of the
military. The business and the military, the military
and the business. Politicians know what they have to take care
of before they get to anything else. The City Council of New York did something
remarkable recently. It passed a minimum wage for on-demand ride
hailing drivers. Uber drivers, Lyft drivers—those folks. They hadn’t been covered before. And it’s a final step, in a way, of showing
that that industry’s exactly like the taxi industry, because that’s what happened to
them. They started out driving taxis a hundred years
ago, and they weren’t very well insured and the cars weren’t very well maintained,
and the workers were not properly vetted, and they weren’t well paid. And the result was an inadequate, dangerous
taxi service until, of course, the private profit hustles of all the taxi drivers led
to a demand for better, safer conditions. A Taxi & Limousine Commission was established
in New York, as in so many other cities, and a deal was struck. Because relying on the private capitalist
economy is too dangerous. Wages were set, prices for cab drivers were
set, rules were set requiring insurance and vetting and training and maintenance of the
cars, etc. All that Uber and Lyft ever were were an attempt
to get around that by calling it not a taxi, but a ride-hailing service. They could for a few years make a ton of money
by getting around, by paying workers less, by not taking care of their cars properly,
by not insuring them—the same game. And all that’s happening now is once again
we’re learning the same lesson: leaving ride-hailing services to do what we originally
let the taxis do is forcing us to do what we eventually had to do to the taxis as well. All that those scams were were ways of getting
around the rules to make a buck. All the talk about gig economy, sharing economy
and technological breakthrough was so much verbiage—to pull a stunt to make money. Here’s a little one. Party politics in a capitalist society involve
promising one thing and doing something else. Because people kind of know, you have to promise
and they can indulge the fantasy that maybe you will be different. And so it has been with Mr. Trump. He maintains a website store, Mr. Trump does,
where you can buy all kinds of things that have the name Trump on them. You can go to the website and you can order
them. And there’s a study that was done by the
Quartz podcast and the Quartz website: 85% of the items on the Trump store are made outside
the United States. Eighty-five percent. Here’s another quick one: charter schools. The attempt to get around the public schools,
with the democratic unifying structure that they were always intended to have, by taking
your kid out and putting him or her in a special school just for you or people who are like
you or people who have the same faith you do, etc., etc. Breaking down the unifying, democratic impulse
behind public schools, often done by people who are rightly upset with the quality of
public schools. But of course you could make the public school
better and then you’d have the best of both of these objectives. Anyway, here’s a way that charter schools
are not different from public schools. They to try get away with paying teachers
very little. It’s led to strikes earlier in 2018 across
many states—how bad it was and how badly we have treated our teachers. Well, it’s caught up to the charter schools
as well. The Acero charter schools, fifteen of them
in the Chicago area, employing 550 teachers and staff—well, they all went out on strike. Demanding the kind of better teaching pay
and staff pay in these schools, just like in the public schools. Some things don’t change. Then there was a wonderful analysis in the
Asia Times by one David Goldman. And it’s really interesting, it talks about
the kind of absurd debate going on between the United States and China—the yelling,
the threats, the counter-threats and all the rest of it. He cuts through all of that and says that
basically what’s going on is that the United States has now figured out that the Chinese
economy is as dynamic, if not more so, than the United States once was. And it’s not only catching up to the United
States, but has already surpassed the United States in a number of areas. This is very upsetting to all kinds of people
in the United States, who somehow thought that unlike every other society that has ever
been dominant in the world—that dominance eventually came to an end and was replaced
by the dominance of another country or of another group of countries. The United States finds it difficult, apparently,
to imagine such a thing could happen to itself and so there’s all these efforts. And there’ll be some posturing and there’ll
be some tariffs and there’ll be some rule changes and the Chinese will buy some more—all
of that. But it doesn’t change, as Goldman nicely
points out, the fact that the Chinese are spending way more money in certain advanced
technological fields and therefore making great progress relative to the United States. They invest in their universities on a massive
scale at the same time that the United States is cutting back on its support for universities. So the basic change is not being affected
by any of these pieces of theater. And he notes that the Chinese leadership seems
to get that, whereas the American seems to keep railing… Nothing illustrates that better than the recent
arrest by Canadians, at the request of the United States, of a high official of one of
the most technologically advanced companies in China. And it’s part of a campaign against Huawei,
the company that she’s an executive of, that’s getting companies around the world
not to buy their high-tech communications equipment for fear that the Chinese might
have embedded in them somehow things that will help their security. Well, you’re in a very slippery slope here. Imagine if companies around the world, fearful
of what the CIA might be doing, stopped buying American high-tech goods for fear of how that
might compromise their security. This is a very dangerous game to play that
the United States is leading in. It could come back and backfire badly on the
United States since it is now so reliant on Apple and Microsoft and all these other high-tech
enterprises. Be careful what you wish for, it might come
back and bite you in a very troubling place. It’s also the case that if we blocked countries
from buying the best equipment, then the best equipment made in China will only be available
to the Chinese and their friends. Do we really want that advantage to be lopsidedly
located because we won’t buy? Very dangerous, these ideas. And probably not gonna last very long. There’s a quick kind of mentality here that
misses the larger, deeper picture. My last update has to do with the decision
by Volkswagen, one of the biggest car companies in the world, to stop the production of gas-powered
cars forever. The projected date 2026 isn’t that far off
and they’re already starting. And their plan is to shift entirely to electric
vehicles. Now VW is already the largest car producer
in Europe and in China. This will have enormous effects, since it
will be followed by other companies. Think of the effects. Think of all the gas stations in the world
that will now be out of business. What will happen to those parts of every community? What will happen to the people whose lives
depend on them? What will happen to all of the real estate
adjustments when we don’t have gas-powered cars? No planning that I know of is underway to
deal with this, it’s just being decided by car companies based on their profits and
that really brings me to the key point. We always had a choice between individual,
private cars and mass transit. Moving people and goods not one at a time,
but in groups. Why would that be interesting? Well, let’s go and review again. It’s much cheaper to move people in a bus
or a van or a train or a plane than in an individual car. It uses much less energy to pollute the universe
and to use up fossil fuels. It causes much less in the way of death and
injury from accident. It is much easier and cheaper to insure. I could go on. There ought to be, in any rational society,
a choice human beings could make between the private car with all of its costs and public
transportation with all of its savings. Suppose we could all have two hours less work
a week if we use public transportation. More leisure to be with our families, to have
a relationship—those are the real choices we face. But VW doesn’t want that choice. VW wants to make cars, because it’s profitable. And if they can’t make cars using gas, they
want the private car electric. Lord help us. If we actually used the end of reliance on
gas, because it’s dangerous, to move to public transportation. High quality, fast and efficient. It’s cheaper, it’s better and capitalism
can’t accommodate it. We’ve come to the end of the first half
of Economic Update. Thank you for being with me and I look forward
to your coming right back after a short break for a remarkable interview. Welcome back to the second half of Economic
Update. Before jumping into our interview I want to
remind you, please, take advantage of the YouTube relationship we have. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for Economic
Update. Likewise, make use of our website— There you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter
and Instagram. And I also want to thank our Patreon community
for its ongoing and enthusiastic support. Well, today I want to welcome Victor Wallis. Some of you may remember, he’s been on our
show before. This time he comes as the author of a new
book—Red-Green Revolution: The Politics and Technology of Ecosocialism, published
this year by Political Animal Press in Toronto, Canada. Victor teaches political science in the Liberal
Arts Department at the Berkeley College of Music in Boston. For twenty years he was the managing editor
of the journal Socialism and Democracy. You can find out more about Victor Wallis
at his website Thank you, Victor, for joining me again. Thanks, Rick, for having me. OK, let’s start by making sure everyone
in our audience understands what you mean by this basic term ecosocialism. What is it—why did you put that in the title
of your book? Well, actually the term itself has been in
use for quite a while now, at least fifteen years. In fact, there was an Ecosocialist Manifesto
that was released at the World Social Forum in Brazil almost ten years ago. It combines the idea of ecology with that
of socialism and I argue in my book that this is a very natural combination in the sense
that both of them clash with the idea that production decisions should be made on the
basis of profit. They both adhere to the idea that decisions
on what to produce, how to produce, how much of it and so on, should be made on the basis
of some better criterion. And “eco” calls attention to the natural
environment, but the socialist criterion is the interests of the humanity, and the point
is that the two are integrally connected. We can’t live without the natural infrastructure. So, in one sense it’s even redundant to
put the “eco” prefix on it, because socialism implies that you make decisions on the basis
of what’s in the interests of people, and you can’t legislate in the interests of
people without taking into account the environment. However, because of the historical evolution
of the awareness of these different dimensions, “eco” has to be added on for purposes
really of emphasis, to call attention to the fact—yes, definitely, this is integral to
our critique of capitalist societies, a critique of what it’s done catastrophically and continues
to do the natural environment. You know, it’s interesting because on our
program we often talk about the bad outcomes when you allow decisions that affect everybody
to be made by a very small minority in the society whose job it is, in this system, to
maximize their profit. So, people who are doing their job maximizing
their profit of their business are doing it while the social consequences—or in your
case, the natural consequences—could be devastating. And that’s not an intelligent to way organize
human life. It strikes me, as you say, it’s an old idea
reworded but with the same punch it always had. OK, we’ve have a bevy of scientific reports. As more and more people become aware of the
ecological crises we’re living through, the dangers to our natural environment—global
warming, climate change, all of it—tell me what has been the impact of recent scientific
statements, studies, research on the interest in and the importance of ecosocialism. Well, all it does is really confirm, underline,
underscore everything that has been really clear for years. And the ironic thing is that it was clear
even to the perpetrators of all of this mischief. I mean, the petroleum companies themselves
came out not long ago—knew about this stuff back as early as the 1970s, if not even earlier,
as it now seems to have been the case. They knew that it would cause global warming—they
didn’t care. They not only didn’t care that this would
happen, but they set out on a campaign that would obfuscate the whole phenomenon. So, it’s really not just reckless homicide,
it corresponds to an actual murder of the planetary system. I mean, the level of criminality of the deliberate
decision to continue or to initiate and continue and then hide what they’re doing is incalculable. You wonder, for me it’s like the saga of
the tobacco companies with cigarettes smoke and knowing for years of the link between
that and cancer, and basically hiding it or muddying the consciousness of the people. Tell me, does it build a movement for ecosocialism—is
there an awareness in the United States or abroad that this really is a system-challenging
understanding that we really have to change a system that behaves so badly. Well, it’s hard for it to develop. It’s true that the most recent report of
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that we need a new system, but it was
just in very vague terms. But, I mean, to actually comprehend that and,
I think, in terms of a movement for people to link that up with all the other concerns
that they have—that is a task that still remains to be done. And so this denialism, it serves a real political
purpose. Because even though the people who are denying
what’s evident before everyone’s eyes, even though they may realize that they’re
lying, it serves a political purpose to keep people in a state of confusion, keep them
distracted with other things and so on. So there’s a lot to overcome, and in this
country it’s one the societies in which this denialism has the greatest impact, as
shown by the fact that the US stands almost alone—well, now with actually China and
Saudi Arabia—in the most recent non-acceptance or failure to recognize and welcome the report
that was presented at this current COP24 conference in Poland. Yeah, if I understand—Russia, the United
States… Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Kuwait, yeah. …rejected the—the four countries that
are major producers and exporters of oil. You couldn’t have a starker kind of—on
the one hand the world, on the other hand people producing. You know, the world—which is the vast majority—and
what is a tiny minority within that. Extraordinary that that doesn’t provoke
a kind of generalized horror at this situation. I’m sure you’re asked this all the time,
but I would like to know your thoughts. Mr. Trump responded to that very Intergovernmental
report you mentioned, Mr. Trump responded—if I recall—with the words “I don’t believe
it,” the phrase “I don’t believe it,” and otherwise dismissed it, ignored it, pushed
it aside. How do you account for that? Why would the government do that? Well, let’s say that it was the tip of the
interests of capital. I mean that capital doesn’t want to make
the adjustments that are required in order to address these issues. And so although many of the leading capitalists
wouldn’t take that kind of outlandish pose, he’s acting—I mean, saying don’t believe
it. He’ll go on saying that, but it serves a
purpose, even though the people around him may know that it’s not true. It serves a purpose. And I think one of the things—this was something
very important brought out in Naomi Klein’s book, This Changes Everything. She did interviews with capitalists who were
involved in the extractive industries and so on, and she found out that they were all
very well-aware that an environmentalist-based agenda would really challenge the whole basis
of their existence. They didn’t buy the idea that you could
have environmentalism and that they could still go on doing what they do. They understand perfectly well that it does
present a systemic threat to the continuation of things as they are. It is a question—and this is what I argue
in my book—that is raises the question of the whole existence of the class structure
of this society, because you can have this or that progressive environmental measure. You can encourage the use of solar technology. You can put taxes here and there and so on. But if it leaves in power the class that currently
holds power, those measures can be revoked just as we’re seeing the measures taken
earlier—all the environmental protection measures—being systematically undone by
the present administration. And they feel under threat now, that’s why
there’s more of an acceptance of this kind of extreme response. Plus the fact, you know, looking at it from
the angle of the support they get, you have the fact that the other major political representatives
of capital are not really willing to make any kinds of adjustments to serve the interests
of the population. So there’s a kind of frustration, and therefore
a willingness on the part of ordinary people to accept outlandish statements which they
can sort of identify with, whether it’s out of vicarious envy of the wealth of someone
like Trump or just whether it’s out of ignorance and out of a kind of frustration that their
immediate needs are not being met. So they go for this kind of outlandish rejectionism. Do you think that the arrival of Democrats
to now control the House of Representatives—is that going to make a significant difference
in how the environment is dealt with? I don’t think it’s gonna make a great
deal of difference. It might slow some of this down a little bit. The thing that has to be kept in mind also
is the Democrats have to a large extent enabled the accession of someone like Trump by their
failures to do what was necessary in an earlier stage, during the Obama administration or
the Clinton administration. They often carried out policies that were
similar to those of the Republicans, whether it was in regard to free trade deregulation
and so on under Clinton or with regard to waging war with Obama. And even Obama opening areas to oil drilling
and to fracking in particular, I mean—fracking is the big thing with the Democrats, Clinton
in particular. Hillary Clinton pushing for fracking. So the difference at the level of the party
is minimal. I mean, there’s sort of individuals within
the Democratic Party recently elected to Congress who may make more of a protest, but that is
almost like a token. I mean, it’s not going to affect the actual
policy. So I don’t think we’ve gone far enough
yet in that direction. What is the social constituency of a movement
that can make a difference? Where would you expect to find—if not now
then in the future—the mass interest in, support for, constituency for system change
to deal with both the ecology and the class structure of capitalism. Do you see that emerging? Where would you hope to find it? Yeah. Well, it is a class issue that has to be understood. It’s a class issue—the environmental issue
is a class issue in the sense that the capitalist class has an interest in obstructing the measures
that will be necessary to protect the environment. That means that the constituency that has
to contest that, to challenge it, is the working class broadly understood. And in terms of what’s actually happening
in the country now, I think one of the most interesting things that has come out is that
many of those in key constituencies who voted for Trump had in the Democratic primary voted
for Sanders, who’s identified with a more progressive approach especially on the environmental
issue to these questions. So there is a potential interest. It’s just that they’ve been so frustrated
by the corporate Democrat leadership that they’re offered that they’ve swung over
to Trump. So, the constituency there—and then, if
you get into more specific dimensions or components of the working class, the people of color
and the siting of ecologically harmful activities in their neighborhoods—environmental racism,
as it’s known. This is something which can be very strongly
spoken to, as well. Victor, we’ve reached the end of the time. We, of course, have only scratched the surface. I want to thank you. I want to inform everyone that if you’ve
found this conversation of interest then I hope you’ll join us—,
where we will continue this conversation on Economic Update Extra. And for all of you, please remember we thank
you for your support and we look forward to speaking with you again next week.

100 thoughts on “Economic Update: Ecosocialism

  1. The problem with public education in our country is that much of it, especially in the big urban centers, has degenerated into something that would be more accurately characterized as 'glorified day are', which somewhat explains why the taxpayers don't support higher pay for teachers, and also why charter schools are gaining ground.

  2. Volkswagen and co going electric = My country gets f-ed. Norway got a huge hydro power potential, and our idiot politicians have sold out to ACER of EU. Construction of power cable nr2 from Norway to Germany is under way.
    I will chain my self to the mountains them selves, where ever they will try to build dams. Cant destroy this: Help!

  3. Here are a few more resources on Ecosocialism if anyone is interested
    (Lowy, 2015) Ecosocialism: A Radical Alternative to Capitalist

    (Williams, 2010) Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Crisis

    (Magdoff, 2011) What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know about Capitalism

    (Cock, 2010) Green Capitalism or Environmental Justice?

    (Van DeVeer, 2002) The Environmental Ethics

    (Baer, 2017) Democratic Ecosocialism as a Real Utopia

    (Jackson, 2016) Prosperity Without Growth: Foundations for the Economy

  4. The gas stations may convert to charging stations if all cars switch to electric. I'm all for public transportation but it doesn't take you everywhere or anywhere if you live in the burbs and it doesn't always account for people with disabilities–no just physical ones, but neurological ones where the person can't stop making noises or control their volume. My autistic daughter was thrown off the public bus she used to get to school because she was talking too loudly and couldn't manage to bring down her volume when the other passengers complained.

  5. Thanks Richard Wolff for opening my eyes to Ecosocialism. I will continue to send people to watch your videos. Also, I will see what I can do about getting the word "ecosocialism" added to various spellcheckers!

  6. QUIZ: "Government Capture" is a economic condition where:
    a) There is a separation between corporations and state
    b) The government has direct control over corporations
    c) Corporations have direct control over government
    d) None of the above
    e) All of the above

  7. Excellent show as always Professor! You are doing a fantastic job presenting this show, I find it inspiring that you have developed a YouTube channel and work very very hard at getting this information out to the masses. Thank you.

  8. Public transportation may be the best way to go in terms of a healthy ecology, but I can't see the insurance industry giving up all of those compulsory insurances on private vehicles of all kinds (cars, trucks, motorcycles, ATV's, etc..) I'm disappointed that VW wants to go electric. This still keeps us tied into some utility company. Better that the vehicles were solar operated only, but they wouldn't be able to travel as fast as gas and electric. The other option is to force whomever owns the hydro-gas pill (the pill that you drop into a tank of tap water that turns into hydrogen gas that will power any car and only emits water vapor as its exhaust) and get them to give it up. This way private vehicles could still be had without all of the negative aspects (except for vehicle insurances.)

  9. Professor Wolff, I like and support your ideas, but I feel sympathy for VW. They were monsters making dirty diesels, now switching to electrical, and bad guys again.
    At the moment all car manufacturers making loss not profit on electric cars, because of the huge investments required to make that switch. Filing stations will be fine. They will just have to switch to charging stations. And, since el. cars need more time for charging, they will make more money on people going to eating and shopping during charging time. VW switching to electric is very good. El. cars do not emit CO2 and even if powered by thermal el. plants still better, because thermal plants efficiency is up to 48% in contrast to ICE cars around 20%. When we start using more solar power will be even better.
    Moreover, it's not VW job to improve public transport infrastructure and urban planning. Making changes global transportation changes will take decades or ages. When robots will take over the majority of jobs, all infrastructure will be not good again.

  10. EcoSocialism is merely a return to the original relationship between people and between people and the environment of Marx's "Primitive Communal Societies." But on a global basis. Engels in his book "The Origins Of The Family Private Property And The State" said that was what they were trying to do.

  11. minimum wage kills social capital! Just take a gander at the inept unemployed workforce that has the expectations of making top dollar with zero experience and a feminist mentality!
    All adds up to cost not worth the benefit!

  12. Dr. Victor Wallis correctly points out that nothing can change as long as the capitalist ruling class stays in power.

  13. Exactly, but you forget to mention that in New Orleans during the Obama Administration the public school system was desmantle! Obama had a chance to stopped the situation on the first 18 months of his first turn. What happened? You tell me, because I have No idea other than Democrats are Sell Outs!

  14. Please do not conflate I.P.C.C. Neomalthusianism with EcoSocialism… I find the label of «deniers» highly offensive and intellectually dishonest, as lots of skeptics of I.P.C.C., do not deny climate change or global warming. They just try to provide a different explanation, namely the Sun… And as to the class issue (the corporatocracy trying to reject an assumedly progressive agenda) I draw attention to the fact that the recent «explosion» of protests by the «gillet jaunes» in France was provoked by the imposition of a «carbon tax», by a rigth-wing, neoliberal, government of the plutocracy that rules France and the E.U… On the issue of «energy» (for the development of «third wrold countries»), the truly effective alternative, in the near future, will be nuclear… Specially of the MSR or LFTR type… On this, «watch China».
    In any case, thanks so very much for your work…

  15. About public transport, there are lots of people that don't like to travel with strangers. And it's more likely the place where a virus outbreak could spread. Here's how the public transport could be:

  16. Absolutely a class issue. As long as the Profiteers are at the helm, humanity is doomed and the next 200 years will be the last of us.

  17. Thank you Professor Wolff and Dr. Wallis for your intelligent discussion of eco-socialism. The corporate capitalist system is like a gargantuan addict that will do anything for his "fix" (read: profit). The pale blue planet, as the prescient Carl Sagan remarked, is the only home we have and the rapacious Moloch of capitalism will destroy not only human life, but will exterminate myriad other species. It is Eco-Socialism or barbarism!

  18. The primary reason I'm a critic of capitalism is the cost to the planet and the suffering of living things. I'd like to see more content like this!

  19. A deal for environmentalism could probably be made with Republicans if the liberal Democrats forget about "gun control" that they so rabidly support! ✌

  20. I guess I didn't expect to hear Prof. Wolff bashing VW for committing to electric cars. That's at least better than most other car companies (who still want to sell gas-guzzling trucks), and it's not like they have any control over public transportation.

  21. I'm 74, when I was child there were very few cars in my neighborhood in suburban Philly. Everyone walked or took busses or the El to go into the city. You got a bike when you saved $ to pay for it yourself. We didn't need a gym or personal trainer lol

  22. I moved to Holland 3 years ago from America and have been only riding a bike and using the amazing public transport system here. Just changing this one aspect of my life has been a tremendous plus for me in money, time and health. The world needs to rethink traffic and make clean public transportation a major priority.

  23. Suspicions about Huawei tech are not merely over their country of origin. They've been involved in a suspiciously high number of IP theft cases. I oppose the institution of IP but the pattern does indicate that some kind of mechanical exploits were used to advantage Huawei. I'm no more sympathetic to a corporation that benefits by stealing intellectual property than I am to those that horde the IP in the first place.

  24. Cisco, US company, really big in networking/the internet.
    Gas stations could switch to Charging stations. There is no way in hell a car manufacturer would be able to build those themselves in every country.

  25. The public transportation in cleveland Ohio is so thinly stretched, it takes me 2 1/2 hours just to get home. 😂😖😭

  26. Hi Richard!,
    First, thank you. I'm a regular listener, in appreciation of most of what you have to say. That said I want to pose you with the roadblocks that come to my mind when you speak. Those subjects on which my experience, or the circumstances of my life as well as that of others I know, poses a reality that simply makes some of what you say seemingly at least impossible. Help me work through these points, or maybe this is just food for thought.
    Issue one: Having worked my way up in seven different industries for numerous employers, and having done A/R and A/P for several of these or having at least a good ballpark knowledge of the numbers; I've worked for very few employers that could afford to pay a living wage much less cover healthcare. With exception to one or two overly selfish types this has purely been a matter of unavoidable sky high operating expenses. Rent and cost of goods only go up but it's all the various forms of required insurance that suck a business dry. I endured a year long rift with my current employer because I had a minor accident in a company vehicle followed by an injury that resulted in a workers compensation claim. Her rates on both forms of insurance went up significantly and she was livid with me for over a year. We're in California and yes our workers compensation system has been privatised. It's now a very contentious process that causes conflict and offers a very poor quality of care, perfectly horrible.
    So without total overhaul of all systems I see no path forward following your logic regarding alternatives like worker Co-Ops. In Santa Barbara for example, the Co-Op REI is having a hard time making ends meet, expenses are high business is slow. And the workers are stressed and miserable; their pay dependent on sales, unable to pay their own sky high rents.
    Issue two is public transportation. I'm only joking a little when I say that must be something that works in somewhere USA, but if you have no car in California your options for finding work or an affordable place to live are extremely limited. Many if not most employers even require personal transportation as a condition of employment. Public transportation takes too much time and five minutes late for the bus meanls an hour late to work. I live in a rural area. My half hour commute to work would take at least three hours and include a two mile hike to the nearest bus stop starting an hour before sunrise. I also perform contract jobs so I may go to work on a given day with my car loaded for three different jobs. I may need to travel hundreds of miles in a single day, visiting numerous locations to perform different jobs in production or advertising and I am by no means unique. I don't know anyone who could actually work and live their life here without their own vehicle.

  27. Dr. Wolff, please take a much needed vacation. you are seeming very weary and have perhaps been pressing yourself too hard. your work is vital, but not vital enough to sacrifice your health.

  28. "The Democrats enabled the ascension of Trump by their failures to do what was necessary." To put it a different was, no one is more responsible for President Trump than President Obama.

  29. This is why people who talk about social democracy as a preferable alternative to planning for post-capitalism, to democratic socialism working towards systemic change, are completely deluding themselves. Capitalism cannot be preserved, physically, because it's destroying the planet, and making itself impossible. So all that blah blah about markets being more efficient at this and that and you have to retain material incentives for entrepreneurship and prefer meritocracy (which has ever existed, nor can, nor should morally) to equality and only seek equality of opportunity and not outcome are just wasting their breath. All that is just irrelevant at this point in human history, because capitalism is ending human existence, unless and until we end capitalism.

  30. Rather than being another cute, academic, permutative compound word, "ecosocialism" sounds like the necessary prime directive for our species' survival. Pretending externalities "don't exist" or "others can pay them" is a fool's errand.

  31. When a theory fails we go back to the drawing board.
    But here we are not dealing with reality changing into a formula that works for all, we are, instead, dealing with conditions of appropriation that give rise to capital accumulation.
    A whole other story when almost 100% of the conditions of work in America, our relationship to the total physical mass of production is based on how much capital is spent on labor-power and hardware to produce an average level of productivity. Can our relationship to our own creative and physical powers of work in society be more than attaining a certain level of productivity for a capitalist or a single corporation? That is a question only you can answer but let me just say this…you will spent much energy agitating a state when the paradox and dead lock is located in society and in the private sector where a shut down is not possible, where work is measured in extended hours, where fewer workers are doing more, and the doing is done by women more than men, for less pay despite the work being the same, single women, mothers of children, lives depending on the conditions for this form of exploitation to exist in society. To interrupt the process is to interrupt the survival of families.
    To make workers work for no pay is illegal and violates America's Fair Labor Standards, also applies to the public sector. 
    The Trump administration faces lawsuits for damages from unions despite Congressional provisions for back pay.
    But the changes of who does the work and the kind of work it is, literally, during the shut down is left unchecked by government. Among other areas of society affected, food is one big concern for the safety of all Americans. Just think if suddenly tremendous market for baby food opens up who checks the production of baby food for its social standards? What technology can be in place that would perform the job of monitoring production assuring safety standards for all products?
    In all departments of the total economy government is absent. How long before we all suffer the fate of a shut down, in the context of a production process that is designed to produce for markets, rather than the production process producing for people, – how long before industry itself negatively afflicts huge swaths of the population and breaks down the social reproduction process of society?

  32. Sanders has already betrayed you! Bernie is a sell-out – a sheeple-herder that never intended to win. He was a gatekeeper for Hillary because she is AIPAC-beloved and he is an Israel-firster. He threw his supporters under the bus as they told him in real time that the nomination was being stolen. He's part of the con, and the sooner we realize this, the better off we'll be. BERNIE WORKS FOR DEMOCRATS. Vote Third Party (REAL third parties, not the Bernie Sanders' kind).

  33. I know this is not relevant to the subject but in Sunday evening live tv show in Italy guest was their minister of internal affairs Salvini. He presented as a main news that he (secret service) has captured Battisti. Salvini labeld Battisti as comunist terrorist several times during the interview (Non e l'arena). Why is this capture so important for Italy when they have too many other and more serious problems (like mafia)?? This so "dangerous terrorist" killed 'only' 4 people in Italy in late '70 and only now 37 years after he is captured. I bet that Italian secret service knew all the time his location but Salvini decided that NOW is time to capture him. Why? Yes Battisti was a member of some comunist group, and I do not know the details, but it is interesting that NOW this must be a biggest preocupation of government… infact Salvini has emphasize several time that comunist was captured (not saying just terrorist) like he wanted to declare a war against comunism. This silly capturing looks like staged performance for the masses, infact – like his government wanted to advertise war on comunism (and reinforcement of fascism of course). During the live interview he stressed few times this word comunist (although majority do not remeber who Battisti was and what he has done and with what reasons) … and few minutes later a sheet with inscription of support for Battisti appeared in most frequent street. It all seemed to be staged. Like Salvini's government was declaring themselves as fascist, and that this is what is going to happen to the comunists. Sort of a Salvini or Italian response to all who has any communist or socialist or Yellow movement ideas.

  34. Ill tell ya what will happen when electric cars really come out…..those gas stations will convert over… no who am kidding…they will go belly up and leave their workers stranded with nothing.

  35. Hey, I'm not giving up driving unless I have to. I want to drive myself. I don't wanna crowd in a box with other people.

  36. here's the relative sizes of these numbers: 1 million seconds = 11.5 days…1 billion seconds = 31.5 years and 1 trillion seconds = 31,500 years…..spread this info so that the public can be informed….

  37. sorry YOUR basic premise is wrong at 13:00 WE DID NOT HAVE A CHOICE TO GET MASS TRANSIT , THE CLARKE BROS, BOUGHT UP AND DESTROYED ALL OF THEM on behalf of Dodge and GM

  38. yes including eco impact in economic decisions is necessary BUT the only way to do that practically and wholisticly is to have a stiff carbon tax! one that does NOT return most of the funds to consumers- it must be invested in alternatives to help people adapt, asap by a supervised/ethical government- similiar to a war effort. its to late to just let people/companies decide to be altruistic at their comfort level. we have to design capitalism to value nature- shifting to some kind of economic socialism can evolve later.

  39. "Ecosocialism" is described in some older Dictionaries under "Liberalism" 2a… also describing "The Free Market". This is why Conservatives/Globalists go crazy about liberalism, and the truth.

  40. Prof. Richard Wolff: I'm not surprised that Trump brands are 85% imported, given the Muller probe that his campaign strategy was 100% fabricated in Russia!! Also Victor Wallis is absolutely right that the so-called liberals and stalwarts of democracy (e.g., the pro-capitalist Clintons, the Obamas, and the Pelosis) created the "enabling environment" and designed the Trojan Horse that Trump and Republicans stole to ride into the White House!

  41. 200 million Indians striking for:-
    Stop all pro-corporate, anti-worker amendments to Labour laws.
    Against the privatization and corporatization of Transport system proposed in the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
    Implement a national common minimum wage of Rs.18,000 per month for all workers.
    Institute universal Public Distribution System to contain inflation and price-rise.
    For the legislation of compulsory recognition of unions and mandatory registration of trade unions within 45 days and for the ratification of ILO conventions 87 and 98 (for freedom of association and right to collective bargaining) in the Parliament.
    Abolish contract labour system. Implement the principle of equal pay for equal work and regularize contract and all non-permanent forms of employment.
    Stop the disinvestment of Public Sector Units and disallow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Banking, Insurance, Defense sectors.
    Regularise the employment of scheme workers as Government employees as per the recommendations of the 43rd Indian Labour Conference.
    For the institution of social security fund for the unorganized workforce with sufficient budgetary allocation and provide Provident Fund coverage for all unorganized workers.
    In the context of job losses due to demonetization and economic crisis, implement urgent measures to generate stable employment and regularize the NEEM, NETAP and FTE forms of employment through amendments.
    Increase the eligibility limit and maximum limits for Payment of Annual Bonus, Gratuity, Provident Fund and ESI. Stop the investment of Provident fund and Pension funds in the stock markets. Stop the diversion of ESI funds to the Reliance group.
    Implement the recommendations of the MS Swaminathan Committee including a complete waiver of farm loans and the legislation of the “right to sell at Minimum Support Price.”

  42. It's ridiculous for Wolff to say we should prefer public transportation to private automobiles, because it's cheaper!! Cabbage is much cheaper than a Big Mac, but all normal people would prefer a Big Mac!!

  43. Brazilian professor and vlogger Sabrina Fernandes from the channel Tese Onze (all videos with English and Spanish subtitles) is a big voice for Ecosocialism. She is very resourceful and has a vast literary background knowledge upon which she argues her points. I strongly reccomend her channel!

  44. Nothing wrong with having a Patreon for funding, but I think it's kind of antithetical to the communist vision to have educational content like this gated beyond a pay wall for "extra" members. Please consider posting all the content for everyone to access.

  45. Mr Richard, you should run for the presidency. You are much more qualified than the guy we have right now. You have integrity and want a dignified living for the American people, and that Sir is what it takes to make America great again.

  46. Hey wait, isn't one VW one of those companies where almost half of the
    Board of Directors are elected to represent the interests of the employees??????

    But wait, aren't the interest of the employees that same as that of the company??????

    And hey wait, but wait "all over again" why wouldn't a co-op operate exactly the
    same way, for exactly the same reason. ( see the mandragon myth link at the end )

    And here's another thought…..since economics is complete bullshit, and since people of
    normal intelligence can't think their way out of a paper bag, even if it were completely open…
    why not dump all the language that makes reference to that which you want to change?

    Dump all the "isms" and create something entirely new…..

    Economically Ecological Sustainability Theory……empirically derived and equally accessible by all.

    Because what we are facing has nothing to do with who owns the means of production,
    but actually involves what should be produced, by whom and for what purpose, and that all
    human beings are entitled to the basic necessities of life and access to all those things
    that would allow them to make a positive contribution, without prejudice and under the single
    caveat that they strive as best they can to do no harm.

    This would, of course require the understanding that the civilization experiment has been a
    complete fuck up from the very beginning, which would leave out even those who have advanced
    beyond the normal intelligence referenced above to include most people…..

    Wake up… have rendered all "words" meaningless with so many arbitrary definitions
    that having any "discussion" about "anything" allows the "arbitrary interpretation" of any terms
    used……to be twisted into anything that the "listener" chooses……which then elevates
    "confirmation bias" and "cognitive dissonance" as the determining factor for any subject,
    making all of it a complete waste of time.

    The Mondragon Mythology,%20politics,%20and%20working%20class%20life%20in%20a%20Basque%20town.pdf

  47. Worker owned business is a solution that maintains capitalism while giving the people more power. This is good but it does not solve our environmental problems. Capitalism will always push for profit and business will still externalize costs onto the environment and privatize profits. I would like to hear details of a social system that helps the people and the environment.

  48. Americans need to realize that Excessive Military spending has not Won any Wars they have waged for the past Century. Such budgetary Authorizations should be based on People's Vote each time such Laws are required and not to be decided by the 500 odd Dumbos in the Congress & Senate. No amount of Funding to the Military Industrial Complex has made America or the Americans safe by any standards.

  49. Gets is right with the Trump comments, then goes completely off the rails with the Uber/Lyft comments. While the drivers probably deserve more compensation, I have never had an unsafe car pick me up. "High quality public transportation" ROTFL, does that exists anywhere? I mean I guess it works if all you do is go to work and out to eat.

  50. Bashing Putin and Russia re Trump, meddling, spying, etc. is ridiculous. You can bash both the US and Russia for ramping up fossil fuel production. THAT is the real danger.

  51. Good episode and great guest. Eco-socialism and environmental issues are the most accessible ways to teach people about socialist ideas. More episodes like this one please

  52. Slight push-back on the "public transportation only" idea. I'm from the Midwest, specifically Iowa. We've got public transit in our bigger cities (with varying degrees of reliability/coverage) and we could definitely use a better network linking our cities. However, a fairly large portion of Iowans don't live in cities. If they didn't have the option of a private vehicle… Even in some of the most flat parts of the state, you still feel those hills when you're biking (anyone that's ever done Ragbrai is aware of this) and in the summer heat or winter cold? We're gonna have windchills below zero this weekend.

    And then there's the fact that small towns all across the country are shrinking and dying every year. For the ppl still there? They have to drive an hour or two to get to a grocery store. Can you imagine doing that on a bike or walking?

    Basically, private vehicles are going to be necessary no matter how much we invest in public transit. Unless we go back to keeping horses for everyone that doesn't live in the city. But that's a lot of work that ppl just don't have time for anymore.

  53. we've got to build up the capabilities of the working class to take control of industrial production … we must model industrial facilities, relationships, control structures, etc

  54. the electric cars are going to be charged by the electric grid which burns fossil fuels and will need to produce vastly more electricity to fuel those vehicles on top of our daily electric needs…. energy is energy

  55. At about 8:28, the Asia Times article – Yet another gentle wake up reminder gone unheeded. Again, tariffs can not overcome the effects of our lack of national will. By will, I mean the will of our Government to lead, or at least partner in research and development with businesses, schools, and investors that will foster creativity, innovation, and a resurrection of our country's industrial capacity and manufacturing and technological leadership.

    Why does the Chinese Government go all in on developing their national will, to grow their country's capabilities, while we sit idle?

    Why do we have an H1B program while our graduates find no work?

    While do we admit many hundreds of thousands of foreign children and young adults to study here while our children go into a bottomless debt to study?

    Why do we allow our wealthiest and most "successful" industrialist to manufacture overseas (save the H1B employees they hire), pay no corporate or individual taxes, and invest only in "money-making-money" schemes that deliver no benefit to their countrymen (save most politicians whom they do invest in)?

    Why is the greatest part of our treasury spent on endless wars in numerous countries?

    How can our salaries rise so slowly while our cost of living (housing, food, healthcare) rise dramatically?

    How can we allow the status quo to continue when it is obviously leading us to perdition?

    Why, given this situation are, according to our President, the "brown people" of the border our "greatest threat to national security".

    I think our lack of will is our greatest threat.

  56. The Democratic party is a party of massive failure and disappointment. We have to eject both wings of the Money Party before we have a hope of taking back control of and saving this planet.

  57. Bye Bye Saudi arabia, USA, Russia
    Oil producers, just dont throw tantrums!! …oh, you will, you want hold humanity hostage because u dont want to lose money on oil!!!

    + one more reason to move out of oil AND Capitalism!!!

  58. I feel even if public transportation had better quality and faster i don't think it will matter to most. For me and everyone i know they the best thing about having a car is that you are not reliant on a third party and you don't have to deal with other individuals. The fact that the public transportation system would better doesn't mean that it will be embraced by all. I could be completely misunderstanding what he was saying but this is what i walked away with. (I feel we have different economic view points on many things but like to know what everyone is thinking so i can stay opened minded and all that jazz)

  59. people will do anything to keep their wealth and power. Destroying you and yours and the planet is of no concern to the insane as long as they can lord over everyone and live in luxury .

  60. What a fantastic idea. I would love to take public transportation if it were clean and safe. Also , it needs to be as green as possible.

  61. Climate change is still going to occur under socialism. Abolishing capitalism won’t make a difference—socialist countries still would need resources.

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