Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism (City Lights Open Media)

Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism (City Lights Open Media)

Richard D. Wolff

Language: English

Pages: 190

ISBN: 0872865673

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Today’s economic crisis is capitalism’s worst since the Great Depression. Millions have lost their jobs, homes and healthcare while those who work watch their pensions, benefits, and job security decline. As more and more are impacted by the crisis, the system continues to make the very wealthy even richer. In eye-opening interviews with prominent economist Richard Wolff, David Barsamian probes the root causes of the current economic crisis, its unjust social consequences, and what can and should be done to turn things around.  While others blame corrupt bankers and unregulated speculators, the government, or even the poor who borrowed, the authors show that the causes of the crisis run much deeper. They reach back to the 1970s when the capitalist system itself shifted, ending the century-old pattern of rising wages for U.S. workers and thereby enabling the top 1% to become ultra-rich at the expense of the 99%. Since then, economic injustice has become chronic and further corrupted politics. The Occupy movement, by articulating deep indignation with the whole system, mobilizes huge numbers who seek basic change. Occupying the Economy not only clarifies and analyzes the crisis in U.S. capitalism today, it also points toward solutions that can shape a far better future for all.

Richard D. Wolff is professor emeritus of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and visiting professor at the New School University. Author of Capitalism Hits the Fan, he’s been a guest on NPR, Glenn Beck Show, and Democracy Now!

David Barsamian is founder and director of Alternative Radio and author of Targeting Iran. He is best known for his interview books with Noam Chomsky, including Targeting Iran.

“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.”
—Stanley Aronowitz

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the government are turning to the government and saying, “We’re not going to lend you back the money you gave us. And you’re not going to be able to continue unless you stick it to your people in a tax increase or socialprogram decrease,” which is called in Europe “austerity.” The creditors in Europe—the rich people, banks, insurance companies, large corporations—are saying, “You must cut back, you governments, to free up the money to pay the interest you owe us.” And the mass of people in the

poverty. The Occupy movement is changing many things in the United States. One would have to make a long list of the ways it’s doing it. For one, it’s inspiring college students and young people with the idea that change is really possible. After decades of teaching college students that the only thing for them to do is to strive as individuals to get a good job and look out for number one, we’re suddenly seeing a movement driven by some of our brightest young people, saying no, there’s a better

socio-economic system, because the old political meanings are not what they were. The old political loyalties are being destroyed. New political loyalties and new political parties are being established. For example, in several European countries new political organizations are emerging that call themselves anti-capitalist parties. That’s a new development. Even the Socialists didn’t dare say that. Anti-capitalist. But the new ones are in order to underscore that their programs are for a new

work—once the pathway to a rising standard of living—has become for many a route to downward mobility.” One of their writers, Motoko Rich, reported on new research showing that “most people who lost their jobs in recent years now make less and have not maintained their lifestyles, with many experiencing what they describe as drastic— and probably irreversible—declines in income.” Even before this crisis hit in 2007, economic research was showing these phenomena. The way capitalism as a system

been a society unable and unwilling to think critically about capitalism. And it shows. We thought we weren’t going to have any more of these crises like we had, for example, in the 1930s, ten years of depression, or that 19 the Japanese have had, which is twenty years of depression since 1990. It was only wishful thinking to believe that these kinds of things no longer had relevance to our modern life. So we were, of course, unprepared for what we have. Nothing shows U.S. unpreparedness more

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