Richard Wolff on the Failure of Capitalism

Richard Wolff (@proffwolff), distinguished Economics Professor Emeritus from the University of MA Amherst, is here to talk about the cataclysmic economic meltdown of American and world economies.  His upcoming book is, Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism.   Click thru for links and updates.  Use this post as today’s thread. Check out Professor Wolff’s movie, Capitalism Hits the Fan.

Click here to learn more about the National protest march  Unite Against the War on Women planned for April 28

Link to read more…..“If these young women are being responsible and didn’t have the sex to begin with, we wouldn’t have this problem to begin with,” North Carolina Elected official

Off Sam’s comment yesterday about Stupid Americans, check out this movie recommendation from a fellow member listener.

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17 Responses to Richard Wolff on the Failure of Capitalism

  1. HolyCity2012 says:

    The Full “Doonesbury” Texas Rape Series.

  2. HolyCity2012 says:

    Is Sam a fan of “The Cult”?

  3. Noon… mmm… I hope Current TV gets the idea that after breakfast with Bill, and snacks with Stephanie, we’d like to have sammiches with Seder for lunch.

    Nom nom nom!

    • HolyCity2012 says:

      Don’t Hope, Get Active. You can start a profile @ that is dedicated to giving Sam Seder his own show. Or at the least you could start some sort of online petition or a Facebook page.

      Take a peep @ my current profile.

      • HolyCity2012 says:

        For the record: I have not logged on to my CURRENTdotCOM profile for over 3 years. Most of the information regarding my personal life is outdated.

  4. Oh yes, Cat Chew!

    Wolff is a great interview, ty Sam!

  5. HolyCity2012 says:

    This dude “Jeff” is a tool. HANG-UP!

  6. HolyCity2012 says:

    People constantly mix up “election fraud” & “voter fraud”. Voter fraud means a single person. Election fraud usually involves software and finagling after the polls close.

    On another note: I was honestly rooting for “Greg the Libertarian defender not an actual Libertarian” until he called back to cry. I do hope he can make a substantive point by Monday.

  7. Hey guys. I’m the guy Greg who called in today (and yesterday). I hope I didn’t step on TOO many toes by calling in repeatedly. It’s a tough format to get your point across in a short amount of time, but yeah, I really appreciate Sam taking all comers and I want to say this is way better than some FOX News host. At least I’m not a famous scientist or anything 🙂

    I wanted to post here just so people know who I am, I’m not exactly some right wing nut or free market advocate. I simply like reasonableness, and reasonableness is why I liked Obama when he was elected. But I think Obama showed that trying to be a mediator also gets a lot of heated opposition from both sides. The thing that bothers me is the xenophobia on both sides of the political spectrum, both sides calling the other stupid / crazy / children.

    I wish we were more understanding of each other in this country. “There is no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable” 🙂

  8. Holly – just for you, I will try to make a specific policy point with Sam by Monday 🙂

    Here is the data for what I was talking about today.

    This data shows that government spending has risen slowly but steadily *as a percentage of the GDP*. It is now at 40%. I am simply trying to say that libertarian *ideas* are very useful in public discourse. People like John Stossel and think tanks like the cato institute serve as a way to inform the public about the dangers of too MUCH government. They will highlight how government is co-opted by special interests, as seen with SOPA, the revolving doors at the SEC, the FDA, the list goes on and on. Sam is already leans libertarian on a lot of *social* issues. On economic issues, there are *economists* like Milton Friedman and Walter Williams who *study* what’s going on and reach conclusions not because they like them, but because it’s how the world works. So I think it’s very useful to have them in the discourse. I will try to get this across on the air by discussing just one policy instead of jumping around. And back it up with data.

    The issue isn’t that libertarian utopia is fantasyland. What exactly is “liberal utopia” or “conservative utopia”? This is a red herring. The issue is, what is WRONG with too much government? And you can look up Milton Friedman or Walter Williams or John Stossel on youtube and get informed.

    • you sir, are a gentlemen and a scholar. I appreciate you challenging Sammy on his libertarian bashing obsession. He needs to get schooled and see reality. I heard you the first time you called in….the mention of “free market” and Sammy freaks out.

      • Thanks man. Actually I just listened to the WHOLE radio broadcast just for fun and

        1. I realized I DIDNT hear what Sam said immediately after I hung up — addressing my examples about SEC, FDA etc.

        2. He’s a nice guy! And I feel bad for calling back and as Holly said, “crying” about it. That’s what I get for going to sleep at 6 AM. Anyway, if Sam is reading this – just wanted to apologize for the awkward call at the end! I will still bring the “libertarian goodness” but the awkwardness was not cool on my part.

        • did not hear your second call, but I can tell you are on the right track. sam is a wicked nice guy, God less him, but I become agitated by libertarian taunting, thats when I turn it off.

    • HolyCity2012 says:

      Here is a point by point, run down of your address to me.

      1.)”libertarian *ideas* are very useful in public discourse” I agree useful to an extent. I also appreciate conservatives of the economic ilk (such as Jack Hunter). Sure! invite them all to the table!
      2.)You lose me at the point when you add the name John Stossell, WTF!?
      3.)From what I understand of conservative “think tanks” it seems as though they are mostly funded by special interest, either directly or indirectly.
      4.)The warning of “too MUCH government” is vague at best but usually has something to do with a “business owner” using the results from a focus group to figure out how he can get away w/ dumping factory waste in the nearby creek. 5.)YES! government is co-opted by special interests. That is what it all comes down to. REMOVE THE SPECIAL INTEREST! Kill the cancer, not patient.
      6.)Sam does not necessarily “lean libertarian on a lot of *social* issues”. Sam is a progressive as am I and as progressives we lean towards progress and the big picture. If we were chating directly I would be willing to get into all sorts of examples and analogies as to why progressive policies on social issues and Libertarian ideas just happen to line-up.
      7.)I know who Milton Friedman is and I know “how the world works”.
      8.)The issue IS that libertarian’s desire a fantasy land because they do not factor in the long term consequence of their policy.
      9.)What does “too much government” even mean or at least, imply? Ask yourself, what makes government necessary? Did Enron govern themselves responsibly? Another question might be, “what motivates companies that profit from war?”. And the question we should all know the answer to is: What could have been done differently to prevent the financial meltdown?

      In closing, I find your suggestion that I “can look up Milton Friedman or John Stossel on youtube and get informed” insulting. I know exactly who Milton Friedman is. The fact that you would make such a suggestion leads me to believe that all this stuff is kinda’ new to you. And, I have been witnessing John Stossell be a jackass since the late 80’s when I used to watch “20/20” at my grandmothers house on Friday nights.

      yours always, HC2012

      • HolyCity2012 says:


        I wish I could edit this or at least was a more better writer.

      • Well I think you hit it on the head with 6, chatting directly is what is needed, we only have so much indentation before each post is 1 letter wide 🙂

        It’s hard to piece together a picture of what you are trying to say from the 8 points, but here is what I would respond I guess:

        Libertarian viewpoints are useful in public discourse because

        A) Government agencies rarely disappear, even if no longer needed. Government almost always expands, and we do not have an effective agency to check its growth. The best we have is awareness that the founders intended the government to be limited, and people being worried about the government being too big. You don’t see government size as a problem, but take this chart to its logical conclusion:

        what is stopping the government from growing to 90% of GDP? Good intentions does not always equal results.

        B) Also, the slow-to-adapt government can eventually unhelpful regulation which is passed by a few people inheriting government agencies over the years, and wanting to “do something”.

        I would barely scratch the surface but here is one article out of many:

        I will give one concrete example from my own life of how government is slow to adapt and regulations can hurt the economy. I live in NYC and to start an LLC it costs me $120. Fine. Then another $1700 to publish it in two newspapers!! Why? Because my county clerk tells me which two newspaper to publish that my company opened. One is ALWAYS the same and charges $1500. The govt could just as easily charge me 5 bucks and publish it online, but there is no incentive for them to change their crony relationship with that newspaper unless the public awareness changes. This is ONE example. It may not even be the best one. But I brought it to show that in this case, the govt makes it harder to begin a new startup and create jobs in a new industry via a regulation.

        C) Big government represents an attractive target for special interests. You say “oh just remove the cronies and the lobbyists!” Yes easier said than done. And how exactly will you plan to do it? You do realize “they” have more money and are better organized, and focused? The theory of collective action by groups shows that large groups are always at a disadvantage and small groups are able to organize better, because taxpayers aren’t motivated to fight $4 a year for this, or $5 a year for that. And “lobbyists” can be anyone from the Hollywood industry to women’s rights groups or ACLU.

        Libertarians are useful here because they see ALL of these things as the same: a FEW citizens organizing and asking the government to FORCE all the other citizens to do X. Sure, government as a tool is much easier for cronies and lobbyists to co-opt than it is for the public. But it goes further. Any successful legislation will still be drafted and implemented by “central planning”. Do these people actually understand the situation? Often NO!

        A great example is SOPA, where if you watched the debates on CSPAN, many people in congress had NO IDEA what was going on, yet they had the power to regulate the internet to become like the great firewall of china! Why is this OK? This is just an illustration, but libertarians see all these things as instances of one thing: some people going to the government and using it to force OTHER people. Whether they are lobbyists, or even voters.

        You say get the lobbyists and special interests out of government? But you yourself may have a special interest or lobby for something. Or you may get elected into office and decide to draft a bill. This is what our system is all about. Libertarians don’t like the few forcing the many, or anyone forcing anyone. I think their position is too extreme, but often it is necessary to counterbalance the overexuberance of progressivism on the left or warmongering on the right.

        Do I believe the free market fairy always knows best? No. But do I believe that our government system is inefficient and needs to change now that we have the internet? YES. and were great starts in that direction, thanks to Obama. We got more transparency, now we need more feedback from people. Do I believe that congress knows what they are doing half the time? I REALLY DOUBT IT. I saw SOPA debates. That is just one example. It can be really scary to have a few decide for the many.

  9. As for economic libertarianism, all I have to say is this:


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