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Capitalism Is the Problem

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  • Worker coops mark a qualitative and quantitative advance beyond capitalism. They represent a system change adequate to key problems capitalism has shown it cannot overcome, even after centuries of failed efforts to do so.
  • Related: Capitalism's war on climate science

Richard D. Wolff, Truthout  

http://www.truth-out.org/images/images_2017_01/2016.1.7.Wolff.main.JPGEmployees assemble synthesizers at Moog Music's production facility in downtown Asheville, North Carolina, June 9, 2015. Moog's new employee-ownership arrangement is more than just happy news for workers; it's a victory for the small company, whose financial success has not always matched its vast cultural impact. (Photo: Susannah Kay / The New York Times)

Saturday, January 07, 2017 Over the last century, capitalism has repeatedly revealed its worst tendencies: instability and inequality. Instances of instability include the Great Depression (1929-1941) and the Great Recession since 2008, plus eleven "downturns" in the US between those two global collapses. Each time, millions lost jobs, misery soared, poverty worsened and massive resources were wasted. Leaders promised that their "reforms" would prevent such instability from recurring. Those promises were not kept. Reforms did not work or did not endure. The system was, and remains, the problem.

Inequality likewise proved to be an inherent trend of capitalism. Only occasionally and temporarily did opposition from its victims stop or reverse it. Income and wealth inequalities have worsened in almost every capitalist country since at least the 1970s. Today we have returned to the huge 19th-century-sized gaps between the richest 1 percent and everyone else. Rescuing the "disappearing middle class" has become every aspiring politician's slogan. Extreme inequality infects all of society as corporations and the rich, to protect their positions, buy the politicians, mass media and other cultural forms that are for sale.

Richard D. Wolff is professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a visiting professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City.

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Capitalism's war on climate science, James Plested, Red Flag / SocialistWorker.org

A system that puts profits above humanity can't address an existential threat to our future.