Global Economic Meltdown by Dr. Richard D. Wolff

Jason Hartman interviews Dr. Richard D. Wolff, professor of economics and author of Understanding Marxism to talk about the global economic meltdown. Wolff gives his thoughts on Marxism and whether Karl Marx’s ideas were applied wrong. Jason and Richard also talk about capitalism, the Yellow Vests Movement, and the disproportionate pay between CEO and workers.

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Jason Hartman 0:29
It’s my pleasure to welcome Professor Richard de wolf. He’s a professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a visiting professor at the new school in New York. He’s the number one best selling author of Democracy at Work, a cure for capitalism, and the capitalism’s crisis deepens essays on the global economic meltdown, and the new book, understanding Marxism. And Richard, I, as I told you, before we started, I would mostly really pick a fight with a guy like you, but I watched a few of your videos, and I found myself strangely agreeing. I’ve told my listeners before that, Karl Marx as the most influential economist in world history, I don’t think it turned out very well the application of his principles. But, you know, what do you think? I mean, you wrote a book about understanding Marx was his stuff just applied wrong? And that’s why there was, there was so much travesty, or was it misunderstood? I mean, what happened?

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 1:31
Now, I think it you know, he is one of those people that come along, historically, for reasons we never quite understand. I’m sure it had something to do with his mother and his father and the community and all the rest, who’s just ahead of his time. I mean, he sees things, he pulls together different strands of understanding, and comes up with insights that we keep going back to, you know, he was deeply respectful, as Marx was of Adam Smith, for example, wrote long, wrote great detailed analyses of Adam Smith’s work. And I would say Adam Smith is another one, another one of these people that comes along, and for whatever complicated reason, they get it, they see things that other people don’t see or don’t see for a long time. And then periodically, others get a glimpse and realize that he saw it already back then. And it’s not that it doesn’t change. It’s not that we can’t do better than Marx, we can, we should. And he would have been the first one to agree. But it’s an enduring level of insight. And the way I would explain it to people is that there’s no great mystery here. If you think of Adam Smith, and David Ricardo, they’re usually the people considered the, the founders of modern economics. They had something in common. They thought capitalism was spectacular. They loved it, they welcomed it. They thought it was an immense progress over feudalism. And so they was column this way, they were analysts, who also celebrate what Marx was coming after them. What Marx was, was a person who said, I agree that capitalism could add, and should add, brought the wonderful things that Smith and Ricardo thought they would, they thought capitalism would bring in the slogans of the French and American Revolution, liberty, equality, fraternity, democracy. Marx loved all of that. But he felt coming, you know, 50 years later after them that capitalism had come, but it hadn’t brought the the gifts it didn’t bring the Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and democracy. And he felt that capitalism, and he used this phrase, once he was saying he is Karl Marx. Right? Here’s Karl Marx. His view was a capitalism had somehow not delivered the goods not delivered on its own promises. And he posed himself the question, why not? And again, make a long story short, his answer was that even side capitalism, are the reasons the blockage is you might say, for why it couldn’t deliver on the promises that it made. And his life’s work was to show how and why capitalism prevents the achievement of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and democracy. So again, long story short, what you had in Marx is a critic of the system. Once you having Smith and Ricardo are the lovers the celebrant service, and, you know, a balanced education and economics should include both

Jason Hartman 4:46
Yeah, fair enough. Of course,

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 4:48
yeah. Like if you want to if you want to study I don’t know French literature. Read people who think it’s the greatest thing you know, ever and read people who are critical of it and then make your own conclusion. Yeah, yeah. The only thing that motivates Americans like me to get to have a little bit of an edge when we talk is that we were denied that, look at me, I’ll speak very personally, I’m a product of America’s elite education. I went to Harvard as an undergraduate. Then I went to Stanford to get my master’s degree. And I finished up with a PhD from Yale. It’s like a joke. Right? Right, even 10 years of my life, and hear me now, I was never assigned a word of Karl Marx, in those three institutions. In terms of his mature economic analysis, I’m not talking about the Communist Manifesto, that’s a political document written in the heat of a revolutionary time. Sure, it’s worth reading. But that’s not where you go, to get the the core analytics of a person. So I feel kind of ripped off by American education, that they were so frightened by the Cold War, when I was a student, that they almost took pride in not having anything to do with Marxism, socialism, communism, any of that stuff. It was all disloyal. Somehow, it was all scary. And so we as students were protected. I like to use the analogy, it’s like, if you protect your children, from learning about sex, you’re not doing them any favor at all. But they’re gonna discover it later. And where you could have helped them have a healthy attitude about it, or now, it’s going to be a mess a little bit, a little bit of the edge, you sometimes pick up from people like me, because we had to learn it on our own. We had to go and find the books and all the rest, we could do that they were in the library, that censorship wasn’t 100%. But you know, the professor, if you asked a question about marks, the professor looked at you, as if you had forgotten to wear your pants that day, you know, you are.

Jason Hartman 7:01
But not in a modern University today, some on the right would argue, anyway.

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 7:08
Just a footnote on that. Yeah, I am occasionally confronted by that. And it’s one of those moments where you say to yourself, do we live in different planets? I mean, I’ve been a professor all my life in half a dozen American universities. I’ve given lectures at at least 50 universities in my life, the notion that Marxists have any kind of significant presence in American higher education. I mean, that’s not that’s not the case. They were weeded out if there were very many, and I don’t think there ever were, but if there were a bunch, the cold war did a number on them. What you do have is you have a lot of liberals. But you got to be careful, a liberal and a Marxist are not the same. There

Jason Hartman 7:58
was didn’t tell us about that. But that I gotta fire some questions at you. But tell us explain that one. That’s, that’s worth worth it. A liberal and a Marxist Marxist are not the same thing. When you say that, what do you mean?

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 8:08
What I mean is that a liberal is part of the consensus of support for capitalism. liberals and conservatives, in my judgment, are both like Adam Smith and David Ricardo celebrants of capitalism. They had some disagreements about how you best support and help and endorse capitalism. The Conservative tends to believe our laissez faire, that the government should keep minimum position and minimum role interfere as little as possible, either not at all if you take it to libertarianism, or minimally maintain the currency and courts and police and military, but that’s it. Right? The liberal says, No, no, no, you leave capitalism to its own devices. It produces a business cycle collapses, it produces

Jason Hartman 9:02
inequality, gotta regulate it, and distribute a little bit. Yeah. And you have

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 9:06
to control it, you have to limit it. The only agency capable of doing that is the government. And so the proper support for capitalism is to have a judicious targeted interference by the government in an ongoing way. And the sixth manner and and periodic

Jason Hartman 9:25
so if we’ve got that spectrum from libertarian to conservative to liberal, then what’s a Marxist complete redistribution?

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 9:32
No, no, no,

Jason Hartman 9:33
not at all. liberal. Okay, that’s

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 9:35
a look. Okay. We’re

Jason Hartman 9:36
Workers of the World unite. What? We’re where do we put Das Kapital in here?

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 9:42
Okay. preface. capital is a very rich piece of work. Yeah, it is. And it is encoded in different ways by different writers. Just like Adam Smith, just like the Bible. Sure. That’s

Jason Hartman 9:53
like, it’s like anything just like iron Rand. Yeah,

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 9:56
exactly. I so I’m going to answer the question the way I can’t stand it. But I’m not claiming that everybody who calls themselves a Marxist would agree, okay. But for me the critique that Marx offers, particularly in volume, one of capital, but in other places, too, is a critique that says, the root of the problem, why you have an unequal distribution of income, why you have instability, business cycles, and all of that has to do with the organization of the workplace, the enterprise, we, in capitalism organize it in a fundamental way with which Marx disagrees. And the reorganization, the changing of that organization, is the root problem, which, if it isn’t solved, renders all the efforts to solve capitalism’s other problems unsuccessful. So Marx would argue, for example, that the reason we are worried about poverty today in capitalism is the same as the reason that we 20 years ago worried about poverty, and 40 years ago, worried about poverty, that as long as we’ve had capitalism, the gap between rich and poor has animated an immense array of social criticism, ditto our business cycles, everything we’ve tried to do to deal with those problems has failed. Why? Why has it fit? Why are we now as I speak with you experiencing one of the worst collapses of capitalism in its history? And why have we had three of them? In this new century? I’ve

Jason Hartman 11:31
got a question to illuminate that. That’s my next question area, but finish up without Yeah, okay.

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 11:37
What Marx’s answer long story short, as usual, given the constraints of time, Marx’s answer is capitalism didn’t make the break from feudalism and slavery that it thought it did. That break still has to be made. And Marx is the analyst who explains to us what it is. And here’s the summary. Okay. in slavery, you divided the people involved in production into two groups, master slave, the master had all the power literally owned a slave control the situation amassed great wealth, yep. In feudalism, you divided people in again, in the production of goods and services into two groups, Lord and serf, same store, yeah, capitalism, criticize those systems, criticize them for their inequality, but all that. And it promised to break from that that’s what the French Revolution, and American Revolution slogans were about. Yeah. But it failed. And the reason it failed, is it replicated the split, only now it wasn’t Lord and serve a master and slave. It was employer

Jason Hartman 12:47
and employees, its labor and capital. Basically,

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 12:52
that’s, that’s, and the solution, the Marxist critique of that goes right there and says, you could organize the economic life of a society, meaning the micro level of the enterprise in a radically different way, a democratic way, because capitalism is not democratic. The owner does not consult the workers as to what it is he’s going to do, the Board of Directors doesn’t either, but you could have an alternative women could have an alternative in which it was run as a worker, co op. In other words, everybody has one vote, and you decide collectively, what are you gonna produce? What technology gonna use? Where you’re going to do it? And what you’re going to do with the profits collectively that all of you have helped to produce? Marx’s argument is that turning the enterprise into a community, hence the word communism, is the way forward has nothing to do with the state. Marx didn’t write about the state wasn’t interested in the state. So when you asked at the beginning, about misunderstanding, yeah, people made some decisions, that the way to get to a communism was by seizing the state, either with elections, or with revolution. And then they got a little bit waylaid along the way, they got really entranced with the state. And you got this peculiar 19th and 20th century aberration, I would call it in which they focused on how you get to, rather than what Marx said was the place you were going and ended up stuck in the middle with a very powerful state, but they couldn’t make because they didn’t understand how to do it. And so they ended up with what we would call state capitalism and not not a transition.

Jason Hartman 14:50
Right. So I’m guessing then you would say that the former Soviet Union was not Marxist it did not have a Marxist system then right. That’s Right, okay, because the government administrated all of the co op, if you will, versus the workers with the company. Now, just to answer that one objection, or that one statement you made about, you know, the workers, unless it’s an employee owned company, it’s not really a cooperative or a community or a commune. Right? And that is rare. Okay, but it does exist out there. But the argument any capitalist would say to you is, look, it’s a free market, the employee can just go somewhere else, they don’t have to work there. So they’re not a surfer or a slave, or they’re not indentured, either. Right. But rather than get off on a tangent, which we could discuss for three days, I want to ask you, do you so we determined and I agree with you that the Soviet Union did not really have true Marxism. Fair enough. I agree with that. Did any country to China under Mao have that or no?

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 15:50
Oh, you know, I don’t know what pure Marxism is. I would rather use this line, okay. re interpreted Marxism in their way. Look, Karl Marx dies in in 1883. So we are basically 150 years since Marx died, right? In that time, his writings have become important in every country on the face of this earth, the spread of Marxism, found in every corner of the planet, people excited by it, absorbing it using it.

Jason Hartman 16:25
Like I said, He’s the most influential economist of all time.

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 16:30
One of the things you know, if you like the bad news that goes with the good news, you spread very fast and 150 years to every your your it means you’re entering Marxism is entering countries with very different economic situations, political situations, historical trajectories, cultural institutions. Of course, you’re going to get on to a different interpretation. Of

Jason Hartman 16:54
course, of course, no, no, yeah, no, no, no problem. Rather,

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 16:57
I would rather say that what you had in the Soviet Union was an interpretation of Marxism. different from mine, I’m critical of there, there probably would be critical of mine, in which you gave a kind of peculiar priority to the state. And I would call it state capitalism in which the state hires people, you know, and okay, but you haven’t then broken the employer employee, you just added the state as another employer alongside private, okay, well, slavery and feudalism did that too. We would never have thought of saying it isn’t slave because the government had slaves, right? Where it is beautiful because the government had served. Why do we say it’s socialism or not capitalism? If the government also employs people,

Jason Hartman 17:45
okay, so we agree that the so the former Soviet Union did not really have Marxism. But do you say that the United States of today has capitalism? Yes. Really? Okay. So I disagree. And here’s why I think we live in this I and I interviewed the professor who wrote the book with his title, the winner take all society, you probably know that is I forgive me, I can’t remember his name. But that’s what we have. We have this winner take all society. We’re just because of the way public markets work and Wall Street, which is not capitalist that’s a crony we have a crony capitalist system. I mean, you know, it’s an insider’s game. And it’s all so rigged. And these, these certain companies get to be huge. And control everything. And everybody else is just a little peasant. You know, it’s it’s, this is not capitalism. It’s been totally perverted.

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 18:39
But they give the same answer that you admitted ago wanted to give me about work worker can quit and become a capitalist. Right? Right.

Jason Hartman 18:48
Well, if you really well, they can become they can become an entrepreneur. Sure, yes, they can quit. They can do their own their own side, hustle or whatever, even while they’re working. But the point is, we still have these giant companies that had massive access to capital that other companies don’t have.

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 19:05
So it’s their answer to you is the same one you just gave me. You can, you can go out and borrow. You’ll go out and issue shares of stock. If you’re here comes the punch line, which no one wants to say because it’s ugly. If you weren’t stupid or backward, or it would have been Amazon too. Yeah, right. Jeffrey Bezos wants us all to believe that he’s just smarter than we are. Yeah, he got there. We could Yeah, but we didn’t make it. Okay. It’s like telling the worker you could be a capitalist. There’s a reason why a very small number of people are capitalists and a very large number of people are worker it sounds like when

Jason Hartman 19:43
you say capitalist, you mean entrepreneur. Those are synonymous right? Yeah. lexicon.

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 19:47
Oh, boy. Yeah, I like the word employee. Okay. For me, there are structural reasons that keep the capitalists, the employers a small number and the employees large. I don’t attribute that to smart I don’t attribute that to personal differences, we have differences. But that’s not the explanation. The explanation is a system that reproduces these divisions, generation after generation, just like we have monopoly powerful companies on the one hand, and a mass of junior partners of those big guys. On the other end. For me, capitalism is what it is that we produces these divisions, it’s a set of institutions, that makes a few people, employers, and a few among them giants, who are able over decades, sometimes even longer than decades, to hold on to what are effectively monopolies as we call that in economics, like Amazon, or Facebook, or Google or a whole bunch of others that you can name and they push back, they hold on to their monopolies by constantly spending a ton of money on lobbyists, lobbyists to keep the laws in place. It’s right you’re their monopolies, but ideologically to tell us that they are just smarter and quicker and better equipped, and they’re getting their reward for their superior performance. In economics, we teach this absurd theory called marginal product. And we explained that one worker gets more than another because he or she is more efficient or more productive. I tell you, as a mathematical economist, that’s completely nuts that there is no way to measure that. And this is make believe, but it’s very powerful ideologically, like many make believes in your human history have been so where do we go from

Jason Hartman 21:39
here? I think we’d all agree that things are pretty messed up unless you’re Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, whatever. We would all agree that it’s you know, in in lou dobbs book, which I quote off and war on the middle class from years ago. And he talks about how the rank and file worker versus this the C level execs that the pay, it’s astronomical, how out of proportion that is nowadays, compared to how it was years ago. I mean, it was it was in line, you know, the head honcho always gets paid more, that’s we get that right. Nobody would object to that in principle, but the proportion is staggering. What jamie diamond work makes versus one of his serfs. Right? So how do we solve that? I mean, it’s we got to redistribute wealth, right? That’s the only way you do it.

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 22:28
A few months ago, maybe a year ago, I was on a fox news townhall. And they had two of us on the left. And then they had their four big shots on the right, one of which was lou dobbs. And answer this in less than an hour, the show after the show was over. Lou Dobbs was eager to talk to me, which I found interesting. Dogs would not disagree with you completely. He was taken with, obviously, and he was very friendly and all that. But that’s what he wanted to talk about how he was he? He and I both I think I had made some comment about how back in the 1960s, the CEO got 50 or 60 times.

Jason Hartman 23:09
Yeah, now it’s like 400 times. That’s right.

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 23:12
Yeah. 400 is where it is now. And there’s no rational basis. Right? You’re not going to argue he’s that much more productive. That is just silly. And he and I agreed on that. And I said to him, you know, if you had a democratic way of deciding on salaries, the workers themselves could be counted on to pay more to people they thought were more crucial to what the company did had maybe some skills had to go learn for a while and the university to acquire it. They wouldn’t give everybody the same amount of money. They get that? Yeah, me. No, no, I

Jason Hartman 23:52
agree that they do get that.

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 23:54
Yeah. He looked at me with this funny look. I don’t want to put words in his mouth. He didn’t comment on what I was saying one way or the other. But you know, being a teacher or my life, I look at the students eyes. I looked at his eyes. I don’t I mean, I don’t mean this to be critical, because I had a nice talk with him. I don’t think he had ever thought that way. I mean, he when he asks himself the question, well, that’s the cool

Jason Hartman 24:20
idea, right? The cut the company, the employee owned company concept, right?

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 24:25
But no, no, no, no, no, no, no, not ownership. Okay. When I say Co Op, I’m talking about what the better word would be directorship. The workers become collectively their own employer, their own board of directors. This is complete, you know, you can have an an employee stock ownership plan, and we have many of those workers get, you know, X percent of the shares or something like that. The problem with that is, whatever you think of it, per se, is that the workers are usually either in fact incompetent. In or unsure of how to run a company. So what they do as owners is the same thing anybody does, as owners, you basically vote for turn over the company, to your delegate delegates, you know, your board of directors that you elected

Jason Hartman 25:15
representative Republic concept,

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 25:17
right? That’s right. And so they do that, too. And then what they look at the shares the way most shares small shareholders do, this is a source of a quarterly check. But beyond that, I don’t give it them. I don’t know what’s going on in the company. I’m not involved. Yeah, I bought it because my broker told me it was a good deal and something like that. So I’m talking about when workers literally become the collective directors, designers, they run their own business. They don’t even have to

Jason Hartman 25:49
attend a company with 80,000 workers really do that is everything voted on? I mean, sure. The I mean, the problem is in those employee stock owned companies that you mentioned a moment ago, we have that all over the place. And because of the separation of the C level executives and the boards of directors, and what’s known in law is the business judgment rule. You know, it’s like Congress, they can just give themselves perks endlessly. And you know, there’s no accountability for that. Yeah, they could maybe vote them out. But that’s part of it looks. So how do we do that? How, what’s the real mechanics of that?

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 26:26
Let me answer it by describing to you a company that has done it, okay, but we don’t have it in the realm of me. I don’t want people to imagine I’m suggesting how it could be done. I prefer to be the messenger who tells you how it’s already being done. All right. probably the single most powerful and successful a worker Co Op in the world is called a Mondragon Corporation. It’s based in Spain. And in the city of Mondrian, which is a small city in the north of Spain, in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains. In 1956, a Catholic priests gave a famous talk in a little church in Mondragon, and he said to the workers, they’re very, very poor part of Spain. If we wait for someone to come here and give us jobs, we will all die of old age before that happens. And everybody laughed. And then he then he made his pitch, he said, Let’s become our own employer. There are six of you in this room, who are carpenters or whatever the hell they were, let’s start a co op, we will employ ourselves. So he started in 1956, with six workers and the Catholic priests. Today, that company has about 130,000 employees. It is the seventh largest corporation in all of Spain. It is organized as a family of about 200 to 250, individual worker co Ops, doing manufacturing services, a whole range of activities. And they organize each of those businesses, as a worker Co Op, where all the decisions are made collectively, by the 50, the 500 to 10,000 employees, depending on what it is, give you an idea of how they’ve succeeded six people in 1956 130,000, that would be the envy of any capitalist Corporation, such a level of growth number two, along the way, they competed with many capitalist enterprises. And they out competed them eventually ended up absorbing them, their workers, their use materials, their equipment. Number three, they had a rule that the highest paid worker in a co op across 130,000 cannot get paid more than eight and a half times what the lowest paid was. They have no inequality like the United States in those parts of Spain, mostly in the north, where they are located. Okay, once a year, they have an assembly with a workers vote on the supervisors, not the other way around. The workers vote whether to retain a supervisor or to let him or her go. It’s an extraordinary development. I have gone there myself. So I’m not only talking about reading about it, and all that visited the place blows my mind very well organized.

Jason Hartman 29:31
Right? Yeah, that’s right.

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 29:33
It is it’s doable. Okay.

Jason Hartman 29:35
So I’ve got to ask you, though, when I asked you the question a moment ago, where do we go from here? We’ve got this as people, especially on the left, like to talk about this wealth inequality gap. And I don’t disagree with that. It’s, you know, it’s not just, it’s not just like any quality, it’s much more nuanced and complicated, because, you know, it’s this percentile and that person you know, it’s it’s very complex, right? But The fact is, the rich have become ultra mega, mega rich. And I saw you on the interview with stuart varney. And you were saying, you know, Jeff Bezos is giving away some money. That’s a drop in the bucket. Bezos has got to be the least charitable Scrooge of any. I mean, he is so wealthy. Now Bill Gates is like the opposite end of the spectrum. He’s got his agenda too. But whatever, you know, at least he and Buffett are actually doing something philanthropic, for real. But Bezos is it’s like a trinket. Okay. And it took him forever to get around to it, by the way, too. So, you know, I’m pretty critical of he could be visas, he, he treats his workers like crap. It’s a I mean, what do you do, the only power that has that is able to change anything like this is government government has to say, there’s a law. And hey, Jeff, if you don’t do this Co Op thing, or if you don’t give some of your money away, here’s a gun and a jail cell. I mean, that’s it. That’s what a law is. Right. So what do we do? Where do we go from here?

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 31:03
Well, you have to look for me. I’ve always had this disagreement with my libertarian friends. I understand that the government in my view, the government is complicit with big business. And it has been for a long time. And I understand why. If you’re going to have a tiny group of people sitting at the top of society with the kind of obscene wealth you and I agree they have, if they’re stupid, they will imagine that that’s something they can simply assume will last for a long time. But I don’t think they’re stupid. I think they understand they have a problem. If you’re going to be wildly rich in a society that allows universal suffrage, everybody gets a boat, then you have a risk. And the risk is that the mass of people who are being screwed

Jason Hartman 31:52
by they’ll get the pitchforks eventually, you know, it’s a we have this plutocracy or kleptocracy now, and

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 32:00
will they get the pitchforks, they have the vote. And they can use the vote to undo the economic consequences of what the rich are arranging for themselves. So the rich have understood. And I know this, because I’m among the people that are occasionally approached by them for advice. They have understood they have to manage the political system, or else it will undo that.

Jason Hartman 32:26
So they hire an army of lobbyists, which is much more powerful than our votes.

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 32:30
That’s right. And so for me, the only solution is you have to mobilize the working class of people, those who are excluded from this wealth, those who are excluded from the role of the employer and say to them, you have to organize yourself, you have to mobilize yourself, then and only then will you be able to shape what the government does. So it can do the kinds of things you and I might agree would be good for the government to do. What does life look

Jason Hartman 33:02
like? Does that look like a labor union doesn’t look like Elizabeth Warren, what does it look like? Well, we’ve seen

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 33:09
Well, it could be could be something new. I’ll give you a minute, an example of something that might be the beginning. In traditionally, in the last 150 years of capitalism, it has basically taken two parts, two forms, the labor union, organized labor, and political parties, Labour Party, socialist parties coming and all that, yeah, they’re taking those two. Now, there is something which I find it very interesting, called the yellow vest movement in France over the last year and a half, which is neither, it’s not a union. It’s not a political party. It is its leadership is very determined not to do that. But it wants to constitute itself as an ongoing social change engine. And in France, at least, and granted France as a as its particulars. But in France, at least, it is stunningly powerful. It has endured now for a year and a half, which is itself a major achievement. It is constantly approached by the unions and the political parties, by the way, not only on the left, although it’s mostly the left. Marina lapan, which is the far right in France also, is trying to get a place in the yellow vest. So they keep all of them at bay. They don’t exclude them, but they do not let them take over which is in a way what they want. So you may be seeing there the beginnings of another forum, in which but the success of the of the yellow vests, I think, is what you’re talking about. Because despite having no infrastructure, no Treasury, no accumulated cells and all the rest of it. They were able to mobilize people in fact, adds to the envy of both the labor movement and the left political bodies, in terms of the number of people, the commitment, etc. So that’s right now in process, they’ve been quiet because they can’t get together because of the corona. But France is now opening up faster than the United States. And so we may receive that. But I see a variety of efforts, I see them coming in this country as well, to try to figure out how to mobilize and organize the mass of people. Because I think everyone recognized that’s the only hope to have some real change. Otherwise, whether we have a Trump or a Biden, this is neither of them is going to change any of this.

Jason Hartman 35:48
Oh, well, that I agree with. It’s just moving the needle a little bit. There’s no dramatic change. Yeah. Interesting. Well, Richard, give out your website, your capitalist website.

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 35:58
Yeah. We have websites. And we also

Jason Hartman 36:02
you can wire your books free. Why are your books free?

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 36:06
on YouTube, you can find us at Democracy at Work. That’s our channel on the YouTube. We have a weekly radio and TV show every week for half an hour. That’s been going for a decade.

Jason Hartman 36:21
90,000 subscribers. Yeah, yeah,

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 36:23
yeah. Oh, no, no, 150.

Jason Hartman 36:26
I’m looking away. I’m looking at Richard D. Wolf, maybe. Okay.

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 36:31
Yeah, Democracy at Work is the one you want to look at. Our website is Democracy at Work again, all one word Democracy at Work dot info. And you can also find me at rd Wolf with two F’s at And that will be the easiest way. And we welcome people to look at all this stuff to communicate with us. We have a very active Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you name it, we’re doing good stuff. And here’s the best part, like you might be intrigued. I’ve been a critic of capitalism, pretty much my adult life. Over the last 10 years, I have done more invited public speaking than in the previous 40. The United States has become open and interested in these critiques. In a way I never thought I would live to see. So you’re talking to a person who is being carried along by a current that is very strong, that I did not think would last but it has it’s an it’s a heady time for people like me, we’re back in the political reality and conversations of America in a way we haven’t seen for a long time.

Jason Hartman 37:43
Well, that’s what happens when American workers don’t get a pay raise for four decades. Okay. And And listen, I don’t agree with you, in the sense that I like capitalism. I just don’t think we have capitalism, you know, but you know, the, you know, the Soviets the Soviets could argue we don’t I like Marxism, Marxism, but we don’t have Marxism. So I get it. You know, this is very nuanced. There’s a lot to it, obviously. But Richard very interesting. Yes, the millennials, they definitely love they lean socialists. They lean modern monetary theory and all that kind of stuff, which you know, I’m sure. I’m sure there’s a big demand, like you said for for you. So, good stuff. Thanks for joining us today, folks. That’s Richard D. Wolf. Thanks so much for coming on.

Dr. Richard D. Wolff 38:23
Thank you very much. And I look forward to doing this again, because all conversations are should be part of what the evolution of our society now needs and will benefit from

Jason Hartman 38:33
workers the world unite. Never thought I’d say that on the show. Thanks, Richard.

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