With one tweet, an economics professor blows capitalism’s ‘democracy’ myth to pieces

Richard D Wolff
Ed Sykes

With one tweet on 5 October, economics professor Richard D. Wolff destroyed the much-repeated right-wing myth that capitalism and democracy are two sides of the same coin. He said:

The criticisms don’t stop there

Wolff is a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. And in other tweets, his criticisms of capitalism continue. For example, he has argued that:

  • “Capitalism’s game plan” is to try and mask the “basic dictatorship of tiny minorities (employers) over vast majorities (employees)” through the use of “democratic” voting rituals” (i.e. occasional elections).
  • “Capitalism is a scam“, and both the system and “its intrinsic inequalities” are the “enemies of any real democracy”.
  • Austerity “serves the rich at the expense of everyone else”, and the economic recovery after “capitalism’s crash in 2008″ came “at the expense of austerity for the masses”.
  • Exploitation” is at the very heart of the current system, and “capitalism means cyclical instability plus ever more inequality”.
  • “Mainstream journalists, politicians, academics” jump at the chance to blame ‘socialism’ for economic crises when they happen under left-of-centre governments, but they blame anything except capitalism when crises occur under right-of-centre governments.

Capitalism is not ‘human nature’. We can do so much better.

As Wolff’s tweet above suggests, however, he’s not just full of criticisms. He also believes there’s an alternative in true workplace democracy, where workers make the decisions that will affect their destinies. And in other tweets, he has compared capitalism to other failed systems in the past that people once saw as ‘the natural order’, while suggesting that we don’t just have to put up with it:

In short, the message (as he expressed in another tweet) is that “we can do better than capitalism”. And the alternative is the workplace democracy present in workers’ co-operatives.

The sooner we build the alternative, the better

As Noam Chomsky and several other intellectuals recently pointed out, the inherent failures of neoliberal capitalism are inseparable from the latest global rise of the far right. The currently dominant system, as CorpWatch describes, is about “the rule of the market”; cutting public spending on social services; deregulation; privatisation; and “eliminating the concept of ‘the public good’ or ‘community’”. And as The Canary previously outlined in detail, it’s a system that has been an utter failure; causing suffering and destruction for ordinary people while only making sense for the richest and most powerful.

In short, the sooner ordinary people free ourselves from the poisonous tentacles of this system, the better. It is thoroughly undemocratic, and we don’t need it. But we won’t get a truly democratic alternative unless we step up and fight for it.

Get Involved!

– Fight against the root causes of today’s problems – austeritycutsexploitation, and inequality. Also join a union, activist group, and/or political party to make your voice heard.

Join or support a co-operative. Also find out more about the ‘solidarity economy‘ – “a grassroots economy built by the people, for the people, and the planet” which “embodies the values of economic and social justice, diversity and pluralism, co-operation, self-management, and ecological sustainability”. And read about how one region is currently building such an economy in the middle of a war zone.

– The Canary actively invites its readers to question everything they read. So please follow the links we reference, and always search for more information if unsure. But if you believe in the importance of independent, grassroots media in the fight against corporate propaganda, please consider supporting us.

Featured image via YouTube screenshot

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