Richard Wolff provides an insightful analysis and historical perspective on the present state of capitalism and democracy. Clearly, Franklin Roosevelt saved capitalism in the 1930s by yielding a bit to the masses’ demand for a share of the economic benefits. Will there be a repeat of that in the coming decade under the next President?
That is doubtful. Conditions today are much different than they were in the 1930s. Big government is no longer in vogue since governments have ceded most of their power to transnational corporations. People now are much more aware of the need for structural change in politics, economics and finance. The vogue today is decentralization of power and restoration of the commons.
I don’t know if Marx has any answers because I’ve never studied Marxist economics.
I am convinced of one thing however that no one else seems to recognize, that is the fundamental flaw in the global interest-based, debt-money, central banking regime. It is the “debt-growth imperative” that derives from the way banks create money by making loans that require the payment of interest. One need only look at the empirical evidence of global debt growth over time to see that it conforms to the exponential growth function of compound interest. Even the richest countries have exploding levels of sovereign debt because there are limits to how much debt the private sector can bear, so governments become the “borrower of last resort” to keep the money supply from collapsing. That’s the reason for bank bailouts and “quantitative easing.”
The fundamental need is for a deep restructuring of money, banking, and finance to decentralize control of credit and eliminate the “debt-growth imperative.” Such an idea may seem radical in the extreme and will not be welcomed by the powers that be, but alternative approaches are already in the works and will be ready to save the day when the capitalist train crashes off the rails.
Thank you Tom for the clarification of Sardex. They have taken credit clearing to another level! Do Sardinian Municipalities participate in Sardex?
There is a new group in Manchester http://www.steadystatemanchester.co.uk which I have joined. LETS is compatible with their agenda!
Nigel, I don’t know if municipalities participate in Sardex exchange or to what extent they might be supportive.
The link you provided does not work.
I agree with Tom’s statement about the destructive nature of compound interest whole heartedly. I would like to visit Sardinia to see Local Exchange Trading Systems working. Maybe Governments might be fully part of LETS if they accept the notion of LETS for tax purposes. Employees might be part paid in a LETS structure, especially if there is devolution of power to the provinces. With a reflux ratio of 1% per day, any LETS can remain on a fixed exchange rate with a national currency- unless currency fluctuations start to whip-saw.
Thanks, Nigel, for your comment. What is working in Sardinia is not LETS but SARDEX, a network of 3500 businesses using credit clearing to enable moneyless trading among themselves. True, LETS is also based on credit clearing but it has not been done with sufficient rigor to make it effective or scalable.
Provinces or municipalities should support the organization of similar trade exchanges, even if the law does not allow them to operate the exchanges themselves.