Wolff on Piketty: Economic Inequality

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Wolff on Piketty: Inequality, the Wealth Divide & Lessons from Our Past

http://www.equaltimeradio.com/2014/wolff-on-piketty-inequality-the-wealt...

Professor Richard Wolff, author of Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism, discusses Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century's research on inequality and the wealth divide while also offering a more systemic critique of capitalism. Piketty’s book is an exhaustive examination of income inequality, based on a formidable database that he and others assembled, that is available online. This gets us past what Piketty calls the “dialogue of the deaf,” where ideological blinders supplant analysis and informed debate. Piketty concludes that inequality is endemic to capitalism, that there is no factual basis to the argument that free market capitalism creates “a rising tide that lifts all boats.” Furthermore Piketty argues that inequality is a threat to both economic stability and democracy.

Going beyond Piketty, Wolff argues that the New Deal reforms, that provided the basis for a temporary period of relative stability, rising incomes and decreasing poverty in the post-WWII U.S. up to the mid-1970s, were the result of powerful left-led labor and social movements. This more egalitarian period was an aberration. The failure of the left and labor to make more systemic changes opened the way for capital to weaken unions, role back our already thin social safety net, and drag us into a new age of austerity.

more at www.freembtranslations.net, www.nextnewdeal.net, www.foreffectivegov.org, www.onthecommons.org, www.therealnews.com. www.rdwolff.com

demandside's picture
demandside
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

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Very good get, demandside. A sea change is what's needed in our economic system of capitalism now treated as a religion. Even our business schools mostly teach the status quo mostly to prepare students for the "real world" and hopefully go forth, do well and come back to fill the coffers of the school endowment fund.

Wolff is a natural to comment on Piketty and offers a solution in his advocacy of WSDEs. I urge the reader to access this link which can be done from demandside's http://www.rdwolff.com/content/democracy-work-cure-capitalism as it offers some hope of what the future of capitalism should look like. I think Richard Wolff and maybe Gar Alperovitz some day will be widely acclaimed as visionaries.

Combad57's picture
Combad57
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May. 29, 2012 11:50 am

The obvious problems is much of the new deal 'reforms' were still there in the 70's, and in fact health care and other welfare programs expanded.

Dr. Econ's picture
Dr. Econ
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Dr. Econ:

The obvious problems is much of the new deal 'reforms' were still there in the 70's, and in fact health care and other welfare programs expanded.

But look what's happened since. Try and find a laborer today who will receive a pension. Health benefits have decreased and copays increased if the worker has such a thing today. The corporatization of our HC system, including hospitals are the problem as HC is much more acclimated to their bottom line than patient well-being. Wages have decreased in real terms for 35 years and the labor participation rate has declined. I could go on.

Combad57's picture
Combad57
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May. 29, 2012 11:50 am

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