Prompt: Does capitalism as an economic system work for the majority of the people? Some say “yes” that “anyone can make it if they try.” This is the conventionally accepted belief which still exists even in the face of the vast amount of evidence that this is not true (see Chapter 9 Social Stratification.) Some say “no” that the system does not allow all to succeed. Rather, it is set up for there to be a few big winners with everyone else insecure, even those who work very hard and smart – still unable to have the life they want.
Why is our current system of economic organization not working? The answer to this question for many sociologists can be found in the writings of Karl Marx, who wrote extensively about the dynamics of the capitalist system over one hundred and sixty years ago. While the association of Marx and communism is hardened in the American mind, in fact, Marx wrote little about communism. The term, communism had been in use before Marx and was practiced by some communes in he U.S. before Marx wrote. Marx wanted an economic system to meet the needs of people “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
Marx died in 1883, more than thirty-five years before the Russian Revolution of 1917, and he therefore was not in it! He never knew about it, and given his humanitarian ideals would not have called it communism in the sense he wanted it to be some day. Virtually all critics of capitalism have utilized the body of Marx’s writings and many of the greatest intellectuals worldwide have called themselves “Marxists.” Richard Wolff (see THE LECTURE about him) below belongs in this tradition, and as you will see – the result are some novel ideas about how to organize the workplace, how to increase the power of workers and how to create a system which works for the people, not only for the very wealthy.
Choose a term from Chapter 18. Using one of the thinkers below – Wolff, Ocacio-Cortez, or Giridharadas – discuss the problems of our economic system. If you choose Dr. Richard Wolff, discuss other ways to organize the work place. Y
Dr. Richard Wolff
1. Click this Link for (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.50 different videos/podcasts with Dr. Richard Wolff
https://www.youtube.com/user/RichardDWolff/videos (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Financing Worker Cooperatives
Link: When Workers are the Boss: Financing Worker’s Coops(Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
- “Democracy: A Cure for Capitalism”
Link (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site._______________________________________________________________
Congresswoman Alexandra Ocacio-Cortez (youngest member of Congress)
Our newest Congresswoman from New York state is Alexandra Ocacio-Cortex, a 28 year old barista, with a strong background in political work and social action. As you probably know, AOC, as she is known above has been interviewed widely and therefore, there are many interviews on the Internet with her. Perhaps you have heard one you wish to share, let me know. Likewise, she is being demonized on the “right- wing” Fox News and other radio shows. Indeed, even before taking office, they feared her new ideas, which threaten corporate power over the government.
WRITER AND THINKER ANAND GIRIDHARADAS
More challenging third choice. Author and Editor Anand Giridharadas
From his new book WINNER TAKE ALL: The Elite Charade TO Change the World
by Anant Giridharadas
(Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.What It Really Takes to Change the World | Anand Giridharadas | RSA Replay (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
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