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Capitalist Crisis

Capitalist Crisis

RICHARD WOLFF – CAPITALISM HITS THE FAN

 

A message from Rick Wolff

Dear Friends

You might find interesting and useful (and especially for teaching purposes) an inexpensive ($18 or less if ordered via http://www.rdwolff.com) new book of short, 1000-word essays on the history and dimensions of the current economic crisis as well as government responses and political implications. The essays were published from 2005 through mid-2009 on the Monthly Review webzine and are here edited with new introductions for maximum clarity, brevity, and accessibility to many audiences. The book can already be ordered and will begin shipment Sept 30, 2009.

Rick Wolff

http://www.rdwolff.com
*********************************

Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It

Richard Wolff

Published 2009 • 6” x 9” • 256 pages • charts ISBN 9781566567848 • paperback • $18.00

A breathtakingly clear analysis that breaks down the root causes of today’s economic crisis

 “With unerring coherence and unequaled breadth of knowledge, Rick Wolff offers a rich and much needed corrective to the views of mainstream economists and pundits. It would be difficult to come away from this… with anything but an acute appreciation of what is needed to get us out of this mess.” —Stanley Aronowitz, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Urban Education, City University of New York

Capitalism Hits the Fan chronicles one economist’s growing alarm and insights as he watched, from 2005 onwards, the economic crisis build, burst, and then dominate world events. The argument here differs sharply from most other explanations offered by politicians, media commentators, and other academics. Step by step, Professor Wolff shows that deep economic structures—the relationship of wages to profits, of workers to boards of directors, and of debts to income—account for the crisis. The great change in the US economy since the 1970s, as employers stopped the historic rise in US workers’ real wages, set in motion the events that eventually broke the world economy. The crisis resulted from the post-1970s profit explosion, the debt-driven finance-industry expansion, and the sequential stock market and real estate booms and busts. Bailout interventions by the Federal Reserve and the US Treasury have thrown too little money too late at a problem that requires more than money to solve.

As this book shows, we must now ask basic questions about capitalism as a system that has now convulsed the world economy into two great depressions in 75 years (and countless lesser crises, recessions, and cycles in between). The book’s essays engage the long-overdue public discussion about basic structural changes and systemic alternatives  needed not only to fix today’s broken economy but to prevent future crises.

Richard Wolff has been a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst since 1981. He has been a visiting professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs, at the New School in New York since 2007. Wolff’s major recent interests and publications include studies of US economic history to ascertain the basic structural causes of the current economic crisis and the examination of how alternative economic theories (neoclassical, Keynesian, and Marxian) understand and respond to the crisis in very different ways. His past work involves application of advanced class analysis to contemporary global capitalism. He has written, co-authored, and co-edited many books and dozens of scholarly and popular journal articles. His recent analyses of current economic events appear regularly in the webzine of the Monthly Review. In 2009, Capitalism Hits the Fan, the documentary on the current economic crisis, was released by Media Education Foundation (http://www.mediaed.org). Visit http://www.rdwolff.com for more information.

Olive Branch Press
http://www.interlinkbooks.com

Table of Contents

Introduction

Part I: Roots of a System’s Crisis
The Political Pendulum Swings, the Alienation Deepens
Dividing the Conservative Coalition
Economic Inequality and US Politics
Reform vs. Revolution: Settling Accounts
Exit-Poll Revelations
Real Costs of Executives’ Money Grabs
The Decline of Public Higher Education
Reversing the American Dream   
Old Distributions, New Economy (co-author Max Fraad-Wolff)
Today’s Haunting Specter, or What Needs Doing
Twenty Years of Widening Inequality
Neoliberalism in Globalized Trouble
Evading Taxes, Legally
Consumerism: Curses and Causes
Nominating Palin Makes Sense

Part II: The Economics of Crisis
1    Capitalism as a Crisis-Prone System
Capitalism’s Three Oscillations and the US Today
Financial Panics, Then and Now
Neoliberal Globalization Is Not the Problem
Economic Blues
Capitalist Crisis, Marx’s Shadow
Wall Street vs. Main Street: Finger Pointing vs. System Change
Capitalism’s Crisis through a Marxian Lens
It’s the System, Stupid
GM’s Tragedy: The System Strikes Back
Crises in vs. of Capitalism
2    The Role of Economic Theory
Evangelical Economics
Flip-Flops of Economics
3    Markets and Efficiency
Oil and Efficiency Myths
The Rating Horrors and Capitalist “Efficiency”
Market Terrorism
4    Wages, Productivity, and Exploitation
US Pensions: Capitalist Disaster
The Fallout from Falling Wages
Reaping the Economic Whirlwind
Our Sub-Prime Economy
5    Housing and Debt
Personal Debts and US Capitalism
US Housing Boom Goes Bust
What Dream? Americans All Renters Now!
6    Government Intervention in the Economy
 Bernanke Expectations: New Fed Chairman, Same Old, Same Old
Federal Reserve Twists and Turns
As Rome Burned, the Emperor Fiddled
Policies to “Avoid” Economic Crises
Lotteries: Disguised Tax Injustice
7    International Dimensions of the Crisis
Immigration and Class
Global Oil Market Dangers
China Shapes/Shakes World’s Economies
Globalization’s Risks and Costs
Foreign Threat to American Business?
US Economic Slide Threatens Mexico

Part III: Politics of the Crisis
1    Reforms and Regulations as Crisis Solutions
Economic Reforms: Been There, Done That
Regulations Do Not Prevent Capitalist Crises
2    Debates over “Socialist” Solutions
Economic Crisis, Ideological Debates
Socialism’s New American Opportunity
Those Alternative Socialist “Stimulus” Plans
Wanted: Red-Green Alliance for Radically Democratic Reorganization of Production
Capitalist Crisis, Socialist Renewal
3    Anti-Capitalist Politics
Europe: Capitalism and Socialism
The Urban Renewal Scam for New Orleans
France’s Student-Worker Alliance
Lessons of a Left Victory in France
The Minimum Wage, Labor, and Politics
French Elections’ Deeper Meaning
Mass Political Withdrawal
Capitalism Crashes, Politics Changes

Index

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

 

Encircled

Encircled

THE ROUGE FORUM – UPDATE 28th AUGUST 2009

 

 

A message from Rich Gibson

 

Dear Friends

This will be the last update until after Labor Day. This one should hold up for readers until then.

Action Oriented Links:

Please note and try to attend the Freedom in Education Meeting in Fresno this weekend:
http://www.susanohanian.org/show_nclb_stories.html?id=399

Call for Papers, the Rouge Forum News Number 15: http://therougeforum.blogspot.com/

The Rouge Forum Immortalized at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rouge_Forum

Deadline For Nominations to the Rouge Forum Steering Committee is September 1.

We recognize with sadness: the doors at Room 101, an incisive radio program on KZUM hosted by Michael Baker, are closed. Mr Baker’s long run on the radio included interviews with key radical and progressive voices in education from Noam Chomsky to Wayne Ross and liberals as well. Congratulations to Michael Baker on a great run. Two, three, many Room 101s!

There are, at the beginning of the school year, 4,516 on our email list. Wish it was more? Send it along. Invite a friend.

Endless War:

Obamagogue Spins War News With the Best of Them: http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=64348

Holy Cow! The Afghans are Not Helping: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/23/world/asia/23marines.html?_r=1&hp

Double Holy Cow! The CIA Threatens and Beats People! http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/25/us/politics/25detain.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

“General Pickett, send more men.” “But, General Lee, I have no more men.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/24/world/asia/24military.html?hp

Warlord Dostum Joins Karzai: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/73809.html?storylink=omni_popular

Council on Foreign Relations: Afghanistan is NOT a War of Necessity: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/21/opinion/21haass.html?_r=1

and Oh Yes it Is, It’s The Pipelines, Stupid: http://prorev.com/2009/08/why-is-afghanistan-so-important.html

William Calley: Sorry About That: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/08/21/us/AP-US-My-Lai-Massacre.html?scp=1&sq=calley&st=cse

Mercs Outnumber US Troops in Afghanistan: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/08/22-0

Aghanistan’s Rigged Election: http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE57E0D620090823

Brother Can You Spare A Dime?

Unemployment Uber Alles: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aNaqecavD9ek
html?_r=1&hp

California Unemployment Hits Post WW2 High: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-caljobs22-2009aug22,0,6343107.story

Detroit Unemployment at 28.9% http://www.freep.com/article/20090827/NEWS01/90827037/1320/Detroit-jobless-rate-a-record-28.9

Nope, But if You Are A Banker, Here is $12.9 Trillion, No Strings, No Kidding. It is Yours. Woo hoo.

Video–Where is that Tarp? What Tarp? What Me Worry? “I have to tell you honestly, I am shocked to find out that nobody at the Federal Reserve, including the Inspector General, is keeping track of [the unaccounted for trillions].”
http://www.examiner.com/x-6495-US-Intelligence-Examiner~y2009m5d22-Federal-Reserve-Inspector-General-hedges-on-trillions-missing-in-Congressional-hearing

The Stim is Definitely Working? Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/2009/08/25/christina-romer-stimulus-consumption-peter-rupert-opinions-columnists-thomas-f-cooley.html?feed=rss_opinions

The Education Agenda is a War Agenda:

Ohanian on Duncan’s Merit Pay Schemes: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/diane-ravitch/obamas-awful-education-pl_b_266412.html

The Education Stimulus is a Merity Pay Stimulus:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/17/education/17educ.

Ravitch on Obama’s Awful Education Plan:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/diane-ravitch/obamas-awful-education-pl_b_266412.html

The State As an Executive Committee and Armed Weapon of the (Corrupt) Rich:

Holy Double Dog Cow: Hillbillary’s and Obamagogues Pals are Crooks: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/26/nyregion/26fraud.html?hp

Notorious Friends of Hillbillary: http://prorev.com/hillaryfriends.htm

John Pilger on Brand Obama: http://www.uruknet.de/?s1=1&p=56998&s2=16

Yes, We Told Them So: The Demoagogue

It is probably not all that helpful to announce that we told you so, but….Yup, we told many people so.
        The core issue of our time is the rapid rise of color-coded inequality and the emergence of world war met by the potential of a mass, class-conscious resistance.
        These are not “public” schools we see. They are capitalist schools in a society where capitalism trumped whatever vestiges of democracy existed a decade ago. They are segregated schools. That’s not merely the result of bad people doing bad things, exploiting others (though they surely are bad people) but also the consequence of a social system dependant on exploitation—meaning inequality.
        The education agenda is a war agenda. It is a capitalism in crisis agenda, a Regimented National Curriculum agenda, mostly to promote nationalism.
        Such a curriculum necessarily sets up anti-working class and racist high-stakes tests. Both teacher unions, the NEA and AFT, helped design both the national curriculum and the high-takes exams. They are in no position to stop the next step. The professional organization, from NCTE to AHA to NCSS and all in between, proved more than impotent, they too collaborated.
        Those tests necessarily and logically lead to merit pay which already exists in the deep divide in, say, Detroit and suburb pay and benefits.
         Militarization of schooling is part of the war agenda.
        To some degree, privatization and charters are part of the war agenda. Privatization serves some sectors of elites, and others not. Why fully abandon a huge, tax supported, funnel for war, ignorance, and inequality; missions for capitalism and their unwitting, ever so nice, missionaries.
        Restoring hope is part of the agenda, but it is false hope. The future is war, inequality, unemployment, horrible options for youth and it will not change without a mass social movement for equality.
        All of these interconnected attacks on life and reason have already happened, all over the western world.
        Merely opposing any one of these factors, like merit pay, but not the rest just reinforces the entire project. As we see, NEA now dishonestly speaks out about merit pay, but NEA backed the regimented curricula and high stakes exams, sharply attacked people like Susan Ohanian who spoke against them, and dumped the students who suffered most from them.
        Too late for NEA which is merely trying to keep the rubes sending dues money, but there is now nothing much NEA can do. Only direct action strikes, boycotts, etc., can halt the drive to the factors described above.
        NEA has done nothing at all to prepare for that, and is not likely to do so. The union leaders are completely corrupt and their structures don’t unite people. They divide people: city from suburb, students from teachers, teachers from other public workers and private employees—as easily seen in the California Teachers Association’s effort to pass off a tax on poor and working people just months ago, a project that cost dues-payers millions of dollars and failed miserably, convincing the public, again, that educators want to pick their pockets.
        What would be helpful is to wonder about the analytical and critical mistake that led to all that support for Obama, a demagogue.
Several things led to that.
        1. A misunderstanding of capitalist democracy which is now sheer capitalism and little democracy. There was no significant difference between the Bush/Obama/McCain or even Clinton policies. Obama has betrayed, if we take his consistency as a betrayal, nearly all of his liberal supporters who, for what have to be psychological reasons, still support his personification of the reign of capital which has, among other things, failed in every important arena of human life.
        2. A misunderstanding of the gravity of the current situation vis a vis the war of empires. The US is in rapid decline in relationship to Russia China and even Europe and Japan—economically and militarily, and the US has lost any ability to promote itself as a moral nation, internally and externally. This puts extraordinary pressure on elites who need soldiers, Boeing workers, prison guards, and teachers too.
        3. A misreading of the real internal crisis inside the US; the rapid rise of segregation and inequality–which has not, yet, led to civil rebellions. But everything is in place to lay the ground for those uprisings, except a left which can make sense of why things are as they are, and what to do. Lost wars. Collapsed economies. Immoral leaders caught with dozens of hands in a thousand cookie jars, war without reason pulling 1.5 million people into direct action—and the wreckage of their lives. All that should, and more, should mean massive resistance. But that has not happened? Why not? No draft. No left. Spectacles. Divide and Rule. Carrot and stick. The education system.  The same ways tyrants always ruled.
        4. The continuing appeal of racism and nationalism.
        5. Acceptance of the division of labor inside academia which means, for example, historians talk to historians and write books while literacy people talk to literacy people and write books, and few academics seriously organize anything at all, as the state of the campuses (and open willingness of the overwhelming majority of faculty to abandon their academic freedom in favor of standards) now. This also means historians, as in AHA, don’t pay much attention to teaching while too many education personnel don’t know much history.
        6. A general public so mindless about history and social processes that it can rightly be called hysterical, potentially dangerous. Steeped in spectacles and consumerism for more than a decade, so vacant about their location in the world that Chalmers Johnson says they cannot connect cause and effect (as with the endless wars, but in regard to schooling as well). Fickle to the core, they howled for Bush, abandoned him when things went wrong, then another bunch howled for Obama, and now we see a new crowd howling about health care–all leaping for thousands of forms of selfishness that keeps the the war of all on all that is the system of capital alive and well.
        Not recognizing the historical moment, rejecting the real whole of the situation, capitalism in decay everywhere, shatters analytical and strategic capability, meaning many people cannot tell left from right, muddle along looking for someone else to save us when no one but the collective Us is going to save us.
        This, written months before the election and originally published in Workplace, online, is now floating around the net.
http://la.indymedia.org/news/2009/08/229885.php Those who are not angry and screeding a bit these days may not be witnessing the ravages of war, hunger, unemployment, and unreason itself.
        Yup. We told them so. Big deal. Those who have not made a big mistake in life can be absolved. We are all lambs among wolves. But we do not have to be lambs among wolves if we recognize, and act on, the role of class consciousness.

Good luck to us, every one.

Congratulations to Sharon, Amber and the gang at a wonderful new school. Thanks to Adam, Wayne, Gina, (Good health to Bob), Donna, Erin, Taylor, Jody, That Great Family, Irene and Tom, Della, Emily W, Sherry, Marc, Mary and Paul, Joe L, The Susans (always), Lucita, Marisol, Vincente, Arturo, Allen, Greg, Carrie, Harv, Norm, Frank, Teeyah, Glenn R, Dave (happy wedding), and Candace.

RICH GIBSON

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski