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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

Capitalism Hits the Fan

 

A Message from Rick Wolff about his Film

 

Dear Friends

 

I hope that you may find a new film that I made with the Media Education Foundation (MEF) interesting and useful. Called “Capitalism Hits the Fan,” it is aimed at colleges, universities, and also high schools for instructional use, but it can serve other purposes as well. You can get a sense of it at http://www.capitalismhitsthefan.com/

 

The dvd can be ordered now and will be shipped by month’s end. It is also possible to view the full-length version (just under an hour) freely, albeit in low resolution, at the MEF website: http://www.mediaed. org/cgi-bin/ commerce. cgi?preadd= action&key=139. While the institutional prices are high, individuals can order the DVD for $ 19.95. The DVD contains both the full-length version and a shorter 35-minute version.

 

You may be especially interested in the critical analytical approach to explaining the causes of the current crisis, in the critique of Keynesian stimulus-cum-re-regulation “solutions,” and in the sketch of an alternative solution.

 

Your comments and criticisms would be welcome.

 

Rick Wolff

 

Capitalism Hits the Fan

Richard Wolff on the Economic Meltdown

 

A Media Education Foundation Production

 

“With unerring coherence and unequal 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 viewing 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.

 

About the Movie

 

With breathtaking clarity, renowned University of Massachusetts Economics Professor Richard Wolff breraks down the root causes of today’s economic crisis, showing how it was decades in the making and in fact reflects seismic failures within the structures of American-style capitalism itself. Wolff traces the source of the economic crisis to the 1970s, when wages began to stagnate and American workers were forced into a dysfunctional spiral of borrowing and debt that ultimately exploded in the mortgage meltdown. By placing the crisis within this larger historical and systemic framework, Wolff argues convincingly that the proposed government “bailouts”, stimulus packages, and calls for increased market regulation will not be enough to address the real causes of the crisis – in the end suggesting that far more fundamental change will be necessary to avoid future catastrophes. Richly illustrated with motion graphics and charts, this is a superb introduction designed to help ordinary citizens understand, and react to, the unravelling economic crisis.

 

Preview the Movie at: http://www.capitalismhitsthefan.com/

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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