Oct. 12, 2017 By Jack Jodell, American Dissident, N.M.P.
COUNTDOWN: A horrendous 1,197 days are still left in this inept, fully compromised, obtuse piece-of-flotsam President’s term in office…
“In America, we debate everything except capitalism. If there’s an institution in your society that’s above criticism, you’re giving it a free pass to indulge all of its weaknesses and darker tendencies.”
– Richard D. Wolff –
This blog has spent an inordinate amount of time focusing on what I perceive to be the evils of American political and economic life (e,g. the corrupt, corporatist, and constantly lying Donald Chump regime, the sinister and reclusive billionaire Koch brothers and Mercer family [who are doing their best to sabotage our electoral process], CON-servarive reactionary Republicans who try to minimize the legacy of Barack Obama, GOP voter suppression efforts, corporate enemies of the people like the health insurance industry, and so on). Today, however, I wish to devote this post to someone I believe to be more than worthy of praise.
The noted economist, professor, and author Richard D. Wolff comes to mind as one who is truly on-the-ball when it comes to correct analyses of our economy. His parents (the father was a French lawyer who had been working in Cologne, Germany until the Nazis came to power, and his mother, who was actually a German citizen. emigrated here during World War II). After trying unsuccessfully to land a job in Youngstown, OH, where Richard was born, the elder Wolff and his family settled outside of New York City. Wolff credits his parents’ European background for having heavily shaped his world view. He says, wisely, that “everything you expect about how the world works probably will be changed in your life, that unexpected things happen, often tragic things happen, and being flexible, being aware of a whole range of different things that happen in the world, is not just a good idea as a thinking person, but it’s crucial to your survival. So, for me, I grew up convinced that understanding the political and economic environment I lived in was an urgent matter that had to be done, and made me a little different from many of my fellow kids in school who didn’t have that sense of the urgency of understanding how the world worked to be able to navigate an unstable and often dangerous world. ” That was a very important lesson for me.” Wolff studied hard and eventually went to Harvard, where he earned a B.A. magna cum laude in history in 1963 and then went to Stanford, where he intended toearn an M.A. in economics, studying with economist Paul A. Baran. Baran had been born in Imperial Russia, fled there in 1917, but returned there several times before he unexpectedly died of a heart attack in 1964. Wolff, who had been studying Marxist economics under Baran, then transferred to Yale, where he received his M.A. in economics in 1966, plus an M.A. in history in 1967. and a PhD in economics in 1969. His dissertation, “Economic Aspects of British Colonialism in Kenya, 1895-1930” became published in book form in 1974. Woldd began teaching at the City College of New York in 1969, remaining there until 1973. He then began an ongoing collaboration with antwar activist economist Stephen Resnick and economists Herbert Gintis and Samuel Bowles, plus Rick Edwards. This group all became part of a “radical package” which was hired by the Economics Department at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst that year. Wolff has remained there as a full professor since 1981. He retired in 2008 but still remains professor emeritus standing, and since 2008 has also served as visiting professor at The New School in New York City.
The first co-authored academic publication by Wolff and Resnick was “The Theory of Transitional Conjunctures and the Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism,”, which laid out the underlying framework that they have worked on since then. They advanced a class-analytical approach for understanding the arguments concerning the transition to capitalism from feudalism. They have included Marxist theory, radical economics, international trade, business cycles, and social networks, plus even more, and have compared and contrasted both Marxist and non-Marxist economic theories in their writing.
Professor Wolff has made many appearances on TV shows. I have seen him discussing politics and economics on RT America’s The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann numerous times, and has twice even appeared on programs on the Fox “News” network! He has spoken strongly in support of labor unions, correctly believuing them to be an important source for working people to obtain better working conditions and higher and fairer wages. Like myaelf, he greatly opposes neoliberalism and the rise of corporate power. He has written for many magazines and has begun to do an increasing amount of public lectures at various universities around the world. His radio interviews have been extensive, and can usually be found on independent stations like KPFK in Los Angeles, WBAI in New York, and KPFK in Berkeley, as well as National Public Radio stations, and the Real News Network, plus many others. His engagements usually consist of lectures on the current economic crisis and globalization the difference among various economic theories (neoliberalism, keynesian, marxist, fascist, etc.), the history pf marxism, a class analysis of the rise and fall of the USSR, plus many newer topics, like the rise of worker co-ops in the U.S, His driving underlying topic usually revolves around the topic of ending or reducing economic inequality, and the establishment of economic democracy in this country. I must admit that I am often spellbound at his depth and breadth of knowledge, and I share strongly in his desire for far greater economic fairness and far less wealth disparity in this current age of corporatism gone wild in America.
This blogger finds Wolff’s philosophy of promoting economic fairness and greatly reducing our current record wealth disparity to be sound. I find his ideas on workplace democracy to be very intriguing and very much worth exploring and someday implementing. I encourage each of you to view him on YouTube, and to do as much research on his lectures and policy analyses as you can. For Richard D. Wolff is quite inspiring and thought-provoking, and provides a welcome alternative and even an antidote to our current, morally and ethically bankrupt CRAPITALIST system, which is proving to be beneficial almost exclusively only to corrupt, Donald Chump-style, Koch brothers, and Mercer family billionaires!
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