Democracy at Work

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-10-02
  • Publisher: Haymarket Books

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"Ideas of economic democracy are very much in the air, as they should be, with increasing urgency in the midst of today's serious crises. Richard Wolff's constructive and innovative ideas suggest new and promising foundations for much more authentic democracy and sustainable and equitable development, ideas that can be implemented directly and carried forward. A very valuable contribution in troubled times."Noam Chomsky "Probably America's most prominent Marxist economist." The New York Times Capitalism as a system has spawned deepening economic crisis alongside its bought-and-paid-for political establishment. Neither serves the needs of our society. Whether it is secure, well-paid, and meaningful jobs or a sustainable relationship with the natural environment that we depend on, our society is not delivering the results people need and deserve. One key cause for this intolerable state of affairs is the lack of genuine democracy in our economy as well as in our politics. The solution requires the institution of genuine economic democracy, starting with workers managing their own workplaces, as the basis for a genuine political democracy. Here Richard D. Wolff lays out a hopeful and concrete vision of how to make that possible, addressing the many people who have concluded economic inequality and politics as usual can no longer be tolerated and are looking for a concrete program of action. Richard D. Wolffis professor of Economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is currently a visiting professor at the New School University in New York. Wolff is the author of many books, including Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It. He hosts the weekly hour-long radio program Economic Updateon WBAI (Pacifica Radio) and writes regularly for The Guardian, Truthout.org, and the MRZine.

Author Biography

Richard Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the author of many books, including Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism and Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It. He regularly publishes and archives his work related to workers self-directed enterprises on the websites www.rdwolff.com and www.democracyatwork.info.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
Capitalism in Deep Troublep. 17
Capitalism and Crisesp. 19
Capitalism's Instability and Unevennessp. 26
Welfare State Capitalism, 1945-1970sp. 31
Capitalism, 1970s-2007: The Crisis Building from Belowp. 37
Capitalism, 1970s-2007: The Crisis Building from Abovep. 46
A Digression on What or Whom to Blamep. 49
Crisis and Government Responsep. 53
The Bailouts and Federal Budget Deficitsp. 56
The Bailouts and the National Debtp. 60
The Bailouts, Monetary Agencies, and Monetary Policiesp. 68
Crises, Forms of Capitalism, and Beyondp. 79
Capitalismp. 79
State Capitalismp. 81
What Is to Be Done?p. 85
The Major Problems of Private Capitalismsp. 87
Distributing the Surplusp. 88
Private Capitalism and Democracyp. 90
The Major Problems of State Capitalismp. 99
Key Differences between Capitalism and Socialismp. 100
Twentieth-Century Socialismsp. 102
Socialism and Surplus Analysisp. 103
Socialism and Democracyp. 110
A Concluding Parablep. 113
Workers' Self-Directed Enterprises as a Curep. 115
What "Self-Directed" Meansp. 117
Worker-Owned Enterprisesp. 119
Worker-Managed Enterprisesp. 120
Cooperativesp. 122
How WSDEs Work Internallyp. 123
The Two Kinds of Workers in Every WSDEp. 128
Handling Technical Changep. 130
Handling Environmental Issuesp. 133
Handling the Distribution of Incomes and of Jobsp. 135
Property Ownership, Markets, Planning, and the Efficiency Mythp. 139
Macro-Level and Micro-Level Transformationsp. 140
Ownership of WSDEsp. 141
WSDEs and Marketsp. 142
Economic and Political Democracyp. 145
Democracy in the Workplacep. 147
Containing Democracyp. 148
Democracy and Crisesp. 151
WSDEs in Modern Societiesp. 155
The Competitive Success of WSDEsp. 156
When WSDEs and Capitalist Enterprises Coexistp. 158
WSDEs and the State: Economic Flowsp. 161
WSDEs and the State: Political Flowsp. 165
Program and Personnel for Increasing WSDEsp. 169
A Federal Jobs Program
Alliances with Cooperative Movementsp. 172
Alliance with the Trade Union Movementp. 173
The "Organic Intellectuals" of the WSDE Movementp. 175
A New Independent Political Partyp. 179
Conclusionp. 181
About the Authorp. 186
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