Growl #1: Richard Wolff on the TPP and Vanishing Higher Ed Careers
Long before I had the chance to have a conversation with Richard Wolff about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, I heard him speak on an episode of Alternative Radio, entitled “Capitalism: Fantasies & Realities.” I was, I thought at the moment the show came on, not in the mood to hear another dry diatribe against an economic system that has so obviously blown a gasket. The facts were plain. The evidence was all around us, and yet such a tiny fraction of the American population seemed to have a clue that I couldn’t fathom how another academic exploration of the subject was going to do anybody any good.
I admit that, to my shame, I wasn’t yet familiar with the work of Richard Wolff as co-founder of Democracy at Work (D@W) or his scholarship as Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. Nor was I aware of his position as visiting professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York.
Some days I wonder what, if anything, I do know.
“Wolff’s constructive and innovative ideas suggest new and promising foundations for a much more authentic democracy and sustainable and equitable development, ideas that can be implemented directly and carried forward.” – Noam Chomsky
Of course, I don’t recall David Barsamian or his featured guests and speakers ever letting me down. So I made up my mind to give the program five minutes to convince me. I needed only 90 seconds. The lecture was exactly what I needed to hear. Laugh-out-loud (if at times gallows) humor softens the dizzyingly broad and deep trajectory of the economic tour Richard Wolff takes the audience on at breakneck speed. The humor, however, does nothing to blunt the edge of his tools as he dissects the beast that is a winner-talk-all capitalism that cares little about the empty shells left behind that were once people, communities, even countries.
On the basis of that one-hour program, I knew I had to have Richard on as a guest. More importantly, his words (and excellent delivery of the thoughts contained) helped me to realize that I’d been waging a war within myself, and that the battleground was the Greylock Glass. I had been infected with the myth of “objective journalism” long ago, and was still trying to create a media outlet that represented the fulcrum of the see-saw. I began to see, beginning with that episode of AR, that the Earth doesn’t need anymore well-intentioned, but misguided, information delivery technicians. The machine of “objective journalism” has been allowing wholesale social and environmental atrocity for decades under the guise of impartiality.
“Richard Wolff is the leading socialist economist in the country.” – Cornel West
I had been feeling the pull toward advocacy journalism, and had in fact, been drifting in that direction off and on. After spending some time talking with Dr. Wolff during our interview, I began to mull over the idea that my own particular mission was to use the Greylock Glass to help drag news and issues reporting back as much to the Left as possible, if only so that the body of content as a whole isn’t quite so far to the right of center. The outcome of all that hand-wringing? I embraced my inner critical theorist and accepted the reality that this publication was always destined to champion progressive social causes anyway.
Economic Update, with Richard D. Wolff
The other upshot (can circumstances even have two upshots?) of our conversation is that Richard invited me to carry his weekly radio show, “Economic Update, with Richard Wolff,” on our live-streaming channel. I’m honored to make this fascinating look at the economic issues of the day available to you, our listeners, and hope that you let us know what you think. We are airing the program weekly on Friday at 10 a.m. EST, and repeating it on Monday at 2 p.m. EST. Give it a listen on our livestreaming page.
What you are reading and listening to now—Growl—is the embodiment of the decision I made to consciously abandon an unattainable standard of objectivity. Some of my guests will share my viewpoints, and some will be tenaciously opposed to them, but all of them will know where I stand on the issue at hand. I hope you enjoy this unapologetic new offering from the Greylock Glass. And I’m proud to introduce, as our first guest, Dr. Richard D. Wolff.
About Richard D. Wolff
Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Mass., Amherst where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Aairs of the New School University, New York. He also teaches classes regularly at the Brecht Forum in Manhattan. Earlier he taught economics at Yale University (1967-1969) and at the City College of New York (1969-1973). In 1994, he was a Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of Paris, I in Sorbonne, France.
Economic Update is a weekly program hosted by economics Richard D. Wol, Professor of Economics. In addition to having taught economics at Yale University, The City University of New York, and the University of Massachusetts (and currently at the New School University in New York) Wol is a well-known and widely published critic of contemporary capitalism.
He is also a leading proponent of an alternative economic system based on cooperatives and more precisely Workers Self Directed Enterprises (WSDEs). Wol’s specialty on this program is to take complex economic issues and make them understandable, empowering listeners with information to analyze not only their own financial situation but the larger economy.
By focusing on the economic dimensions of everyday life – wages, jobs, taxes, debts, interest rates, prices, and profits – the program explores alternative ways to organize markets, and government policies. Recent program topics included the economic dimensions of Ferguson, declining public pensions, China’s economic growth, the risks of home refinancing and the psychological costs of recessions.
Books and Articles
Capitalism’s Crisis Deepens (2016)
Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism (2012)
Contending Economic Theories: Neoclassical,
Keynesian and Marxism (w/Stephen Resnick, 2012)
Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic
Meltdown and What to Do About It (2013)
Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism (2012)
Truthout.org (ongoing contributor)
Economic Update (host), NPR, Alternative Radio, Thom Hartmann
Real Time with Bill Maher, Moyers and Company, Charlie Rose, Up with Chris Hayes, RT-TV, Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman, Al Jazeera English
Capitalism: A Love Story, Let Fury Have the Hour, The True Cost