Dear Friends You might find interesting and useful (and especially for teaching purposes) an inexpensive ($18 or less if ordered via http://www.rdwolff.com) new book of short, 1000-word essays on the history and dimensions of the current economic crisis as well as government responses and political implications. The essays were published from 2005 through mid-2009 on the Monthly Review webzine and are here edited with new introductions for maximum clarity, brevity, and accessibility to many audiences. The book can already be ordered and will begin shipment Sept 30, 2009.
Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It Richard Wolff Published 2009 • 6” x 9” • 256 pages • charts ISBN 9781566567848 • paperback • $18.00
A breathtakingly clear analysis that breaks down the root causes of today’s economic crisis...
“With unerring coherence and unequaled breadth of knowledge, Rick Wolff offers a rich and much needed corrective to the views of mainstream economists and pundits. It would be difficult to come away from this… with anything but an acute appreciation of what is needed to get us out of this mess.” —Stanley Aronowitz, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Urban Education, City University of New York
Capitalism Hits the Fan chronicles one economist’s growing alarm and insights as he watched, from 2005 onwards, the economic crisis build, burst, and then dominate world events. The argument here differs sharply from most other explanations offered by politicians, media commentators, and other academics. Step by step, Professor Wolff shows that deep economic structures—the relationship of wages to profits, of workers to boards of directors, and of debts to income—account for the crisis. The great change in the US economy since the 1970s, as employers stopped the historic rise in US workers’ real wages, set in motion the events that eventually broke the world economy. The crisis resulted from the post-1970s profit explosion, the debt-driven finance-industry expansion, and the sequential stock market and real estate booms and busts. Bailout interventions by the Federal Reserve and the US Treasury have thrown too little money too late at a problem that requires more than money to solve.
As this book shows, we must now ask basic questions about capitalism as a system that has now convulsed the world economy into two great depressions in 75 years (and countless lesser crises, recessions, and cycles in between). The book’s essays engage the long-overdue public discussion about basic structural changes and systemic alternatives needed not only to fix today’s broken economy but to prevent future crises.
Richard Wolff has been a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst since 1981. He has been a visiting professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs, at the New School in New York since 2007. Wolff’s major recent interests and publications include studies of US economic history to ascertain the basic structural causes of the current economic crisis and the examination of how alternative economic theories (neoclassical, Keynesian, and Marxian) understand and respond to the crisis in very different ways. His past work involves application of advanced class analysis to contemporary global capitalism. He has written, co-authored, and co-edited many books and dozens of scholarly and popular journal articles. His recent analyses of current economic events appear regularly in the webzine of the Monthly Review. In 2009, Capitalism Hits the Fan, the documentary on the current economic crisis, was released by Media Education Foundation (http://www.mediaed.org). Visit http://www.rdwolff.com for more information.
Part I: Roots of a System’s Crisis The Political Pendulum Swings, the Alienation Deepens Dividing the Conservative Coalition Economic Inequality and US Politics Reform vs. Revolution: Settling Accounts Exit-Poll Revelations Real Costs of Executives’ Money Grabs The Decline of Public Higher Education Reversing the American Dream: Old Distributions, New Economy (co-author Max Fraad-Wolff) Today’s Haunting Specter, or What Needs DoingTwenty Years of Widening Inequality Neoliberalism in Globalized Trouble Evading Taxes, Legally Consumerism: Curses and Causes Nominating Palin Makes Sense
Part II: The Economics of Crisis 1 Capitalism as a Crisis-Prone System Capitalism’s Three Oscillations and the US Today Financial Panics, Then and Now Neoliberal Globalization Is Not the Problem Economic Blues Capitalist Crisis, Marx’s Shadow Wall Street vs. Main Street: Finger Pointing vs. System Change Capitalism’s Crisis through a Marxian Lens It’s the System, Stupid GM’s Tragedy: The System Strikes BackCrises in vs. of Capitalism 2 The Role of Economic Theory Evangelical Economics Flip-Flops of Economics 3 Markets and Efficiency Oil and Efficiency Myths The Rating Horrors and Capitalist “Efficiency” Market Terrorism 4 Wages, Productivity, and Exploitation US Pensions: Capitalist Disaster The Fallout from Falling Wages Reaping the Economic Whirlwind Our Sub-Prime Economy 5 Housing and Debt Personal Debts and US Capitalism US Housing Boom Goes Bust What Dream? Americans All Renters Now! 6 Government Intervention in the Economy Bernanke Expectations: New Fed Chairman, Same Old, Same Old Federal Reserve Twists and Turns As Rome Burned, the Emperor Fiddled Policies to “Avoid” Economic Crises Lotteries: Disguised Tax Injustice 7 International Dimensions of the CrisisImmigration and Class Global Oil Market Dangers China Shapes/Shakes World’s Economies Globalization’s Risks and Costs Foreign Threat to American Business? US Economic Slide Threatens Mexico
Part III: Politics of the Crisis 1 Reforms and Regulations as Crisis Solutions Economic Reforms: Been There, Done That Regulations Do Not Prevent Capitalist Crises 2 Debates over “Socialist” Solutions Economic Crisis, Ideological Debates Socialism’s New American Opportunity Those Alternative Socialist “Stimulus” Plans Wanted: Red-Green Alliance for Radically Democratic Reorganization of Production Capitalist Crisis, Socialist Renewal 3 Anti-Capitalist PoliticsEurope: Capitalism and Socialism The Urban Renewal Scam for New Orleans France’s Student-Worker Alliance Lessons of a Left Victory in France The Minimum Wage, Labor, and Politics French Elections’ Deeper Meaning Mass Political Withdrawal Capitalism Crashes, Politics Changes
I am a Visiting Fellow in the College of Social Science at the University of Lincoln. I was previously a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Education at Anglia Ruskin University (2014-15). Prior to that, I was previously a Senior Lecturer in Education Studies at the University of Northampton. My interests are in Marxist educational theory, the future of the human and social time. The Rikowski family web site, The Flow of Ideas can be found at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk,
My Wordpress blog, 'All that is Solid for Glenn Rikowski' is at: http://rikowski.wordpress.com,
Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: http://independent.academia.edu/GlennRikowski