Economic Update: Capitalism vs. Socialism

Economic Update: Capitalism vs. Socialism


Welcome, friends, to another edition of Economic
Update, a weekly program devoted to the economic dimensions of our lives: jobs, incomes, debts—our
own, our children’s. I’m your host Richard Wolff. I’ve been a professor of economics and that,
I think and hope, has prepared me to present these economic updates to you. Today’s program is a little bit different
from our normal because it focuses on a specific topic. We’ve done a few of those—socialism, fascism,
and others. Today, I want to focus on the struggle between,
the conflict between, the great debate you might say, between capitalism and socialism. It has been the kind of basic story of global
history for at least the last two centuries, so it deserves some attention as a topic in
its own right. But, particularly in the last 30, 40, 50 years,
something peculiar has happened. Back in 1989, when the Soviet Union fell in
on itself, you might say, and Eastern Europe went back from being a socialist world to
being part of the capitalist world, a lot of self-congratulation among people who like
capitalism took the following form: “Well, the great debate between capitalism and socialism
has been resolved. One side won and the other side lost. Capitalism is triumphant and socialism will
fade out of the human experience—the end of human history.” And, here we are few decades later, and, to
the surprise really of not all that many, it turns out that the celebration was, at
best, very premature. Socialism is back all over the place and nowhere
less so… nowhere more so than here in the United States where the celebrations were
particularly vigorous about what? About a socialism that’s really back. One is really reminded of Mark Twain’s famous
comment when reading his own obituary in a Hartford, Connecticut newspaper. He penned a one-line letter to the editor:
“Reports of my demise are exaggerated” he wrote. So, let’s take a look at this great struggle—so-called—between
capitalism and socialism. Not the least reasons why it is such a confused
and kind of inarticulate debate—a debate in which the two sides don’t seem to even
agree on what each of them represents nor what the other one is that they’re so opposed
to. It can get really so confusing that it isn’t
that surprising that large numbers of people tune out of that debate as though it really
were irrelevant. Now, I don’t think it is, but I understand
why others do, and so part of what we’re going to be doing is looking closely at what exactly
is being debated, and finally we should have some sense of why there’s this confusion. This isn’t simply people not thinking clearly. That wouldn’t be fair, and that’s not true. Here’s the reason: capitalism has been with
us at least three to four centuries—and I mean capitalism as an idea but also capitalism
as a reality, existing as it did at first as a national system in what we now call England,
spreading from there to the rest of the British Isles, to the rest of Western Europe, then
to North America, and eventually to become the global system we know today. So, we have lots of examples of a capitalism
that has been around for three, or maybe a bit more, centuries. Socialism is really quite new in comparison. It arose as a critique—as a resistance if
you like—to capitalism. It has an idea, yes, and that’s older—maybe
a century and a half or so—but in actual practice of trying to organize an economy,
it’s much younger. It’s barely a century of experiences and then
only in a few places—nothing as comprehensive and diversified as capitalism; and as socialism
has spread over the entire world in the last 150 years or so, it has, of course, settled
into very different countries and very different levels of economic, political, and cultural
development, and so you get, you guessed it, a lot of diversity—diverse forms of socialism,
diverse forms of capitalism—and they’re always changing, so a debate between them
has to take a lot of variation into account, and an awful lot of people haven’t the time
or the interest or the attentiveness to take account of the differences. We are going to do that. Okay, a reasonable debate between two alternative
ways of organizing a society—the capitalist way and the socialist way—ought to be mature
enough, you might think, to say, “let’s look at the strengths and weaknesses of the
one, and then let’s look at the strengths and weaknesses of the other” and occasionally—not
very often—occasionally people get together who can manage that level of maturity but
most can’t or, if they could, they choose not to. Why is that? Well, you all know. There’s been a struggle—a debate. People feel very, very strongly. For a long time in the cold war that dominated
the second half of the 20th century that were just emerging from—and I mean emerging from—during
that cold war, the polarization was such that you couldn’t have a balanced, mature conversation. If you were a capitalist, the sum total of
evil was socialism. If you were a socialist, the sum total of
evil was capitalism. Each side saw the flaws and weaknesses of
the other and denied those it was accused of. We’re not going down that road. None of you need it. You’ve grown up in it. It’s all around you. We’re actually going to go a little differently
about what we have to do. So, let’s begin. Are there positive aspects of socialism and
capitalism? Of course. Let’s start with those of capitalism, so they’re
on the table. Capitalism has shown itself to be very dynamic
technologically. It is a system in which there’s constant pressure
to come up with a new thing, a better thing, or if not a better thing, a new thing that
you can sell is a better thing, and so we have modern technologies of all kinds which
capitalists and those who like capitalism celebrate. Technical dynamic quality, capitalism has
that, and if you think it’s positive, as often it is (excuse me), then that’s a positive
aspect of capitalism. Here’s another one: the rise of capitalism
is the rise of the city, of the urban coming together of many different people into a cultural
diversity that for many—myself included—is very attractive as a way to organize life. Capitalism has delivered urbanism, and that’s
a positive in many ways. And, here’s another one: capitalism has brought
the world together. We really can speak of a global economy in
a way this race of human beings never could before. We’re linked by shipping, by telecommuting,
by the Internet. You know we have a global system. Those are positive things one can ascribe
to capitalism. What about socialism? Here are some positive things: it has gone
way further in the direction of egalitarianism—making us all equal in some fundamental set of ways—than
capitalism could. That’s a nice thing. People are not as divided. People are not as different from one another
in their standards of living, in their access to material goods in most socialist societies
compared to capitalist; and if you’re in the bottom half of this society in terms of poverty
and access, well then socialism has really lifted you up in a way that capitalism has
not been able to do. It has really done something for the mass
of people at the bottom in most of the cases where it has been instituted. And, I could go on. Socialists are famous for providing kind of
a universal access to basic things human beings need—education, transportation, hospitalization,
medical coverage, and so on, and these are positive aspects. But, let’s now graduate. Assume that we are having a conversation in
which we can mention the goods and the bads. What are some of the bads? Well, capitalism has had an awful lot to do
with war. It’s not unique—other systems went to
war, but the wars capitalism has produced—particularly the two big ones in the 20th century—were
called world wars and were devastating on a scale we have not yet seen in any socialist
environment. We have not seen wars between socialist countries
that look anything like what capitalism produced. We haven’t seen—similarly, with capitalism
and socialism—we haven’t seen quite the negative situation when it comes to how you
treat people who are poor. There is poverty, and then there is how you
treat and define poverty. Capitalism has been kind of ruthless in that
area; socialism kind of not so good and not so bad but better than the capitalism. On the other hand, socialists have often been
kind of poor when it comes to civil liberties and civil rights, tending to give government
more power than capitalists are willing to give it, and so you get a kind of negative
association within socialism for the concentration of power in the state. So yeah, they have strengths and weaknesses. The systems are complicated, and any reasonable
conversation ought to deal with that. But, now let’s get to why there’s so much
confusion. There’s confusion because we don’t agree on
the definitions, and we haven’t for a long time, and that has to be put on the table. Otherwise, we don’t know what it is we’re
in favor of or opposed to, and a lot of the conversation is confused in that way. So, here we go, very simple, as we come toward
the end of the first half of this program, we’re going to give the definitions that we’re
then going to use in the second half to really tell the story. So, the first definition is this: capitalism
is when enterprises are privately owned and operated. They are owned by individuals or groups of
individuals who set them up, own them, and run them. Socialism, by contrast in this definition,
is when the government does that. It’s not private groups of people. It’s not private individuals. Its officials of the government who own, who
operate, who run the enterprise, or at least control it. Okay, that’s one definition. Here’s a second one: capitalism exchanges
goods and services—both the resources that go into production and the products that come
out of it—by means of market exchanges. Capitalism is the “free market” where
buyers and sellers confront each other and negotiate the terms of exchanging whatever
any of them has to sell or has produced. By contrast, socialism isn’t the market system;
it is the government planning and controlling and directing who gets what and who gives
up what for what. In other words: “market versus planning”
it’s often called. Those are definitions. Here’s another one: capitalism is when you
organize production with a few people at the top making all the decisions—the owner,
the chief executive, the board of directors—and the vast mass of other people called employees
doing what they’re told, whereas socialism, the workers who do the work are themselves
their own bosses. Oh, that’s a very different definition. We’re going to have to look at them because
these different definitions are all cropping up without being dealt with as they really
are. We’ve come to the end of the first half. I want to remind all of you to subscribe to
us on the YouTube system because it’s a real big help to us, to make use of our websites:
rdwolff—with two “f”s—.com and democracyatwork.info and, as always, a shout out to our Patreon
community for the invaluable support they provide. We will be right back. Welcome back, friends, to the second half
of today’s Economic Update where we are discussing and now, we’re really going to jump into it
this so-called struggle or debate between capitalism and socialism. Before the break, we gave the basic definitions. I now want to elaborate on them, use them,
and show you why one of them is what’s happening in that great debate now and the others are
what’s fading out in that ongoing and ever-changing great debate. So, let’s begin. In the definition that focuses on private
versus state enterprises, let’s take a closer look. Is that something that really makes capitalism
present or absent? In other words, is it reasonable to think
that capitalism is private enterprise and government taking over the enterprise is socialism? And, I would argue strongly with you that
it is not. Let me explain briefly. In previous economic systems, we never reasoned
like that. If we saw in a slave economic system—whether
it was in the pre-Civil War American South or any of the many other places in the world
where slavery has existed often for centuries—if we see there, as we do, that there were sometimes
private individuals who owned and worked slaves, whereas sometimes there were state groups—state
entities—who owned and operated slaves, did we say that one was slavery and the other
one was not? No, we didn’t. Let me give another example: in feudalism,
where the division is between the lord who operates the land and the serf who works on
it, were there governments that had serfs alongside of private individuals who had serfs? Yes. Did we say that therefore serfdom or feudalism—the
name we gave that system—was somehow not there. No, we didn’t, and I would argue the same
logic applies to the capitalism versus socialism debate. The fact that states, either alongside or
instead of private groups, hire and employ workers doesn’t end capitalism. It is a strange argument that says because
of this relationship between employer and employee operates outside the state and inside
the state, therefore one is capitalism and one is the opposite. Uh uh, makes no sense, isn’t a reasonable
way to go. So, then how about the other one—market
versus planning? Oh, the same problem. Did slave and feudal societies only deal with
markets? No. Did they exclude markets? No. Slavery is famous for what? The market in human beings; they bought and
sell people, they bought and sell land, etc. etc. So, the presence of a market way of distributing
things versus a planned or organized way that exists in all of these systems and the presence
or absence of it in the United States or in the world today is not, I would argue, a sign
of the presence or absence of capitalism. Shouldn’t be part of the, quote, “debate”
between capitalism and socialism. Well then, what ought it to be? It ought to be about that third definition
I gave you. It ought to be about what distinguishes a
capitalist system from, say, the predecessor systems of feudalism and slavery, and that
is the relationship between people in the act of producing the goods and services we
all need. In the slave system, it’s the master and the
slave; in the feudal system, it’s the lord and the serf; and, in the capitalist system,
it’s the employer and the employee. One is a dominant minority and the other is
a subordinated majority, and whether the state or a private person is the exploiter or the
dominator or the person at the top is really a secondary matter. Socialism, if it means anything, means the
end of a system in which a few people own and operate effectively the economic system. On that basis then, what sense do we make
of the last 200 years of the so-called debate, and the answer is they were debating the wrong
thing. They got caught up in a debate, which is perfectly
okay to have, between whether it’s better to have the government do something or whether
it’s better to have the private sector do something. I understand that debate. That’s fine. That’s got nothing to do with capitalism and
socialism. You can have that debate without pretending
that when the government hires people to do something, you’ve got a fundamentally different
system than when the private sector does. The answer is you don’t much, and ask people
who work in the private sector and ask people who work in the public sector and ask people
who go between the two, and they’ll tell you not all that big a difference. One of them reasons you had all the troubles
in the so-called socialist world after the first revolution that established socialism—the
Soviet revolution in 1917—one of the reasons they had the difficulties they had afterwards
is that the hopes and dreams of people for a fundamentally different system, a real freedom
from the small group who control everything and the mass who do what they’re told that
they inherited from feudalism or from slavery, they had hoped that the revolution to socialism
would end all that, and they discovered to their deep pain and sorrow that they hadn’t
done that. They had gone from a private capitalist to
a state capitalist—a private person telling them what to do in the factory to a government
official telling them what to do. They remained employees. All that had changed was the particular position
of the employer and exactly who he was. So then, what did it all add up to? The following peculiarities: with this focus
on the state you had basically two kinds of socialism that emerged over the last 150 years. The first kind saw the state coming in but
not taking over production. What it did was regulate, control, limit what
the private employer could do to and with his/her employees. That’s the kind of socialism we find in Scandinavia,
in Western Europe. It’s the kind of socialism that is often referred
to as democratic socialism or social democracy. The government is brought in as a limit, as
a shaper, as a context for what remains private employers and private employees. So, that’s one kind of socialism. The other one was when the state took a more
interventionist, more active role. It didn’t just regulate. It didn’t just limit and control. It took over the enterprise. The state officials didn’t tell the private
employer what to do, they replaced the private employer and substituted state officials,
and you know the examples of that: Russia—Soviet Union, People’s Republic of China, Cuba, Vietnam,
and so forth. There the government took a more active role. But again, whether the government limits private
employers or itself becomes the employer, you still retain the employer-employee relationship. You’re not really about capitalism versus
socialism. It’s much more accurate, much more consistent
with history, to see this as a struggle between private capitalism and state capitalism, and
whatever you may think about that struggle, and however you may evaluate the one kind
of capitalism relative to the other—and many people have strong feelings about that,
which I respect—it ought to be kept separate from the question of an altogether different
system—one that does away with the employer employee relationship, sees it as the problem,
and sees the alternative as where we need to go next, and what would that be? Let me rush to assure you not fanciful new
idea, not something cropping out of my head or the head of anybody else, but something
that is as old as the human race and that needs now to be brought forward in a modern
form to solve problems that the other systems—slavery, feudalism, and capitalism—could not solve,
and the number one problem to make it all come together is the desire of human beings
for democracy, for a society in which each of us counts, each of us has value, each of
us has an equal say in making the decisions we have to make collectively. If we’re going to live in communities and
not as isolated Robinson Crusoes on imaginary islands, to live together, to work together—this
idea. We’re all going to have a say. We’re all going to have an equal say. We’re going to come to our decisions collectively,
working it out. It’s this democratic idea that inspired, for
the last several centuries, the decision by communities to do away with kings, to do away
with Emperors, to do with it away with people who thought they could and should lead the
society and exclude the rest of us from equal participation or any participation at all. We fought for that in our communities, and
now we are ready to fight for it in the workplace where we spend most of our lives—at least
as adults. 9:00 to 5:00, five days a week, whatever your
regimen, the workplace is a crucial part of your life, and if you believe in democracy,
if you understand that hunger, then you want a workplace that institutes, that establishes
democracy, and you know what that means. It means that socialism for such people is
about doing away with employer-employee—doing something which has been called worker cooperatives
for thousands of years, communities of people carrying out production. They exist today in Spain where millions of
people are involved, in Italy likewise, and in many many other countries including the
United States. Workers have a long-standing hunger to organize
work that way. Every generation of young people gropes their
way. Well, let’s recognize that we have misspecified
the debate between capitalism and socialism long enough. Put aside the struggle between capitalism
of a private sort versus capitalism of the state sort. Let’s get on with the business of a real transition,
a real debate between capitalism and socialism where one is the undemocratic organization
of the workplace into employer and employee and the other one is the dramatic reconstruction
of the workplace so it meets what we have all desired and then can be the support for
democracy in our politics where it is now a mere formality in elections that are bought
and sold like the commodities coming out of our factories and our stores to the chagrin
and the shame that most people paying attention already feel. Capitalism and socialism is the struggle. It is not surprising that in its early phases
of the last century or so, it’s struggled to get its ideas clear. Those struggles have now led us to be able
to formulate a greater clarity, and it is my hope that I have given a reasonable rendition
of it, so that we can go forward to a much more successful struggle for improvement than
we were able to do so far. Everything in the past is a step that got
us to where we are—no glad-handing dismissal of those who went before. Their struggles enable me to see what I can
see and what I can share with you. I hope you have found this of interest. Once again, make use of our websites democracyatwork.info. You can contact us through email with them. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and
Instagram. Our thanks to the Patreon community, and I
look forward to speaking with you again next week.

100 thoughts on “Economic Update: Capitalism vs. Socialism

  1. The difference between capitalism and socialism can be explained very simply. In capitalism if you invent or create something, accomplish something useful you get to keep some or all of the financial rewards for your efforts and success. In Socialism the government robs EVERYTHING that accrues from success and redistributes it to the failures and indolent. Therefore there is no incentive for effort because there is no reward for success. It is summed up in the old Soviet Union saying "we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us." Anything created in the USSR or in other socialist systems was stolen or copied from someone else who lived in a country where success was rewarded. The result is inevitable impoverishment and the few who run the country steal and keep for themselves whatever there is available that makes life more comfortable and interesting. This is why countries like the USSR, Communist China, Cuba, North Korea kept their countries as virtual prisons so that those trying to escape were put in prison or shot dead if they were caught. The notion that central planning an economy will work is absurd. My first job was with what was the 26th largest corporation in the United States. I was part of a management training program that hired engineers right out of school. The company's management philosophy was simple, push authority and responsibility as far away from the center as you can and reward success. Give people the ability to take the initiative, to innovate, to learn from their success, spread news of it everywhere in the company and reward those who created it with raises, bonuses, and promotions. In the USSR the imbeciles who ran the economy decided on how money was to be spent and set quotas for production. One shoe factory met its quota but the only problem was that all of the shoes it produced were left shoes. Socialism does not tolerate dissent or deviance. Look at the EU or more properly the EUSSR. It is failing disastrously. Its socialist concept of running Europe from the center in Brussels has failed completely. It is economically, politically and socially bankrupt having created policies that were doomed to fail from the start. And what is the remedy proposed by those in the center? More central control and punishment for dissent and lack of compliance. It won't be long now. They are already at each other's throats.

  2. Could it be argued that the USA is a hybrid system of corporate socialism and populist capitalism?

  3. Dear Prof Wolff. You probably don't read the comments section. It's too big.
    I was just wondering what Hedge Funds are, and the influence they have in the creation of wealth without any useful production of Services.
    It's worry a try.

  4. Socialism doesn't work without capitalism to move society forward and Capitalism doesn't work without a social safety net (good schools,hospitals and infrastucture etc)

  5. Mr. Wolf, sorry, but you are fundamentally wrong and Marks theory is wrong.

    There is only one form of economy – it is CAPITALISM, everything else is just an implementation of capitalism.

    We now leave in liberalism. Feudalism had place earlier, and slavery was before feudalism.

    But all of those forms of social organisation are different forms of CAPITALISM.

    Accept it and do not try to change the nature of monkey – its impossible.

  6. 7:24. True. Capitalism is in effect, planned obsolescence! Buy, buy, buy more stuff that you don't need to live a full life, only to have the gadgets quit on you when you came to rely on them, while the earth is turned into a moonscape due to the search for more minerals to feed the system!
    Computers are a prime example. Yet they have become a necessity in this age, but we have to buy a new one every few years, because they fail!. We don't need the latest smart phones or tablets, at all.

  7. 19:22. Unions are the answer for the employees to control their working conditions and wages in a capitalist system!!!

  8. The fundamental production,. as per from Marx's Capital is commodity production for an "exchange value" instead of it's "use value." I would like to see him merger the concepts he is talking about with the change of production for use instead of profit.

    To clarify – replacing typical business with worker cooperatives, but maintaining production for exchange value will simply create a worker co-op capitalism where groups of different worker co-ops compete against each other. Still capitalism unless you change the fundamental purpose of work. I is it for exchange value or use?

  9. Haha, this guy is calling social democracy in capitalist Scandinavian countries as socialism, while dunking on actual socialist countries. Professor Wolff is nothing more than a western-centric, chauvinist, social democrat who claims to be a socialist.

    If you want to learn about socialism, read actual socialists, and not these opportunists like Mr. Woff claiming to be socialist.

    This is all you need:

    1. Marx & Engels Collected Works: https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/cw/index.htm

    2. Lenin Collected Works
    : https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/cw/index.htm

    3. Stalin Collected Works
    : https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/works/decades-index.htm

    4. Mao Collected Works: https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/index.htm

  10. Full respect to Prof. Wolff for explaining these terms in a clear way. However, I'd like the good professor to take a look at the situation of firms. True that the structure is hierarchical however when you see the numbers you see in 2015 enterprises employing fewer than 250 persons represented 99 % of all enterprises in the EU and most were independent. These small firms are often actual or close to cooperatives – with a few owner/managers – and people who work in fairly flat organisations. But! When you look at the number employed these SMEs take up two thirds of private sector jobs. When you look at the amount of investment, over 90% goes to the one percent, publicly traded corporations! To replace capitalism you need to change the operating rules that allow this skewing of ownership! These 1% of firms are allowed to dominate industries, politics and markets. I'd really like the good professor to take a look in this direction.

  11. IQ45 just told his 10,000th lie.

    this has always been and will always be the truth on Earth

    1) There is no healthy ecology without animals.

    2) Energy comes from within the system.

    3) Carbon doesn't move very far.

    4) Hydration occurs on site.

    5) Seasonality dominates biology.

    6) Disturbance and rest move the ecology.

    7) Waste of something is the input for the next.

    8) Processes are driven by local information.

    9) There are few annuals; tons of Perennials.

    10) It's all about polyculture, Diversity!

    This proves that capitalism is unnatural for the 'large brained', bipedal animals tryna dominate our perfect planet.

    if you don't know this, you have forgotten how to live here.

    capitalism completely corrupts everything.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xzpl-UwB7ls

  12. as a chinese i cant agree one thing: 60% of china's GDP was created by private company, it's really wrong to say "government control the economy" to china
    chinese system its a complex mixture of capitalism and socialism (what we called "socialism with chinese characteristics), and this is why china can rise, not collapse like USSR

  13. I haven't had the chance to be your student at an educational institution and I surely won't get to be one, sadly. However, Dr. Wolff, you have been the best teacher and teacher role-model I've ever had or could ever have. Thank you so much for your work, for taking the time to do what you do. You are an inspiration.

  14. Primitive white civilisations: Capitalism = Good; Socialism = Evil.
    Advanced Chinese civilisation: Capitalism = Socialism = Good and Evil = Yin and Yang.

    Chinese are not primitive ideology mules like the westerners, that's why the Chinese system is so robust.

  15. If the USA had been a socialist country, it would be the most powerful country in the world forever and ever. Unfortunately it decided to go the other way and now it is imploding and enemies waiting for us to break up and deal the fatal blow

  16. The only correct definition of socialism is the first one where the state owns all capital.
    there is really no difference between capitalism and socialism in most aspects because from the perspective of freedom you still have to obey someone either this is a private owner or this is community/state
    the only benefit of socialism is that all profit goes to the state and then it gets distributed between citizens in some way.
    The key point of socialism is that all property belongs to the democratically ruled state.
    capitalism is when all property is individually owned.
    and fascism is when all property is owned by the elite.

    The system without employee and employer is communism, not socialism. Only under communism, you are your own boss and everyone is equal. there is no democracy under communism because communism is practically 100% anarchy where you do wahst you want.
    the lay point fo communism is that concept of property itself is abolished, there is no more such thing as property at all. There are only rules on how to behave but you cannot own anything at all. (Not even your dirty underwear or toothbrush)

  17. “Leon Russell & Friends 1971 – Big Boss Man” (3:03) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lUAuEbsnm4

  18. Ty Dr Wolff.
    Currently, productivity goes up, tax payers consume more and the profits go to stock buy backs to increase a company’s portfolio; leading to record salaries for CEO’s and the like. This is plainly unsustainable. #SubsidizedLosses

  19. while I happen to be a supporter of socialism and think capitalism is amoral …. however Richard Wolf is the worst possible choice to commuicate this information … as he said large numbers will tune out of the debate … he is an acedemic who usually presents himself as a marxist … marxism is not socialism … he often confuses the two and usurps the arguement as if his is the only opinion …. Richard Wolf is boring … sorry … his teaching style is that his audiance is stupid … and as for Jordon Peterson … Wolf doesn't get it …. Dr. Peterson agruement is that is doen't matter what the hell you beleif you economic system is or what virtues you beleive it might supply … if the individual cititzens are still a pyschologically unsocialized egotistical assholes … then you wind up with an oligarchy (as history clearly teaches) whether it is a monachy … theocracy … dictatorship … or attempt at democracy … employing whatever model of economic exhange and distribution choosen … in other words Dr. Wolf is not even correct when he has to take hafl his time defining every damn word or definition he employs … he has also been weekly predicting the imminent collaspe of the us economy for the last decade … he will be right someday … someday … I have been expecting for years as have others … but someday … not weekly on TV to develope an audiance … all economies are mixed … economy is a force of human activity … markets free or markets black … there will be human trade of services and goods … and unless the humans are moral and honest it makes no damn difference what the current governence defines as your always mixed economy and markets as free or black … if Dr. Wolf had been my introduction to economics I would have fled the arena of behavior sciences … he never offers data … just his opinions and academic arrogance as proof … he is telling everyone how to think like a preacher in a pulpit … not a teacher …

  20. I value what Prof. Richard Wolff says, because when I was growing up in the fifty's it was all about how horrible Communism WAS ( and, OH YEAH, I agreed[!] ), but then, one grows up and looks at the WHOLE situation in our Capitalism system , and who and how it benefits just the very FEW, especially AFTER Reagan.! We American Citizens should open our eyes on what's really going on in our American Nation, and what are the Politicians' motives behind their actions! You can just bet that they are NOT for the betterment of the average U.S. Citizens!

  21. Love this channel. It is very informative, and exposes people to economic theory. It is a pity humans mostly learn after a bad tragedy.

  22. I haven't realized that the debate had been hijacked from the start to give us two colors of the same flavor. I really learned something today, thanks for this video.

  23. Well this video produced about 3 different “aha” moments for me. Felt so fucking good. I need this.

  24. I was so pleased to hear Dr Wolff describe the socialism vs capitalism debate in terms of the relationship between employer and employee. There was some great work being done by Gary Hamel on Management 2.0 that, to my mind, points the way forward in this relationship. He cites an Indian consulting firm that realized the bulk of the value exchange is at the customer interface. Therefore, it is the workers that interface with customers that are the real value drivers and management should act as facilitators to enable that interaction. This means that unlike the traditional hierarchical structure where management "cracks the whip" and uses fear to drive productivity, the workers should be given more autonomy and any administrative challenges should be handled by managers to make the workers' life as easy as possible. In this relationship, it's possible for the worker to be remunerated considerably more than the manager, depending on their direct value to the organization. A consultant worker may have analytical skills that are more valuable than the organizational skills of the manager.
    To my mind, this type of organizational structure is the right way to go. Businesses are still driven by capitalism but the relationship between employer and employee is much closer to the ideal based on value add.
    To the question of private ownership of a business, few would argue that Jeff Bezos does not deserve every cent he's made. Some may voice disapproval based solely on the vast wealth creation he has engineered. But he started from ground zero. Once Amazon matured into a business requiring tens of thousands is when Gary Hamel's Management 2.0 philosophy comes into play, with key value-generating employees being rewarded appropriately regardless of any hierarchy of power.
    When we start to look at the inheritors of Bezos's wealth, that's a whole other story. Inherited wealth is a problem for decadent societies because the inheritors didn't create the wealth and often don't add value going forward. They essentially act as a drain on wealth creation. Family dynasties are one instance where capitalism fails miserably.

  25. I think we can all see the allure of Socialism. As a concept It has its Pros and Cons just like Capitalism.

    For those of us living in America, we have seen and felt the shortcomings of Capitalism first hand.

    We only understand Socialism as a concept. We have never seen it in practice first hand.

    I encourage everyone to do their own research on every Country that ever instituted Socialism so you can see what it looks like in practice. Think for yourself.

  26. Root cause of endless Capatilism vs. Socialism debate is smply the absence of true Democratic and justice system.

  27. Socialism is just Communism rebranded. If the People would let the Government tax everyone at 90%, there is nothing stopping them from 100% taxation. To say otherwise is to be intellectually dishonest. Lenin said so himself, that Socialism is a stepping stone to Communism. Fuck what you stand for, you don't believe in Socialism, you believe in Communism. Communism has never worked and results in millions of dead people. Fuck you. #GenocideTheGenociders

  28. Just another useless government employee teaching the M.asses liberal left double speak.. liber left has nothing but created a prison industry with USA's minority communities. The Clinton Crime Bill set Blacks back 40 years supported by evil liberals elites. Pelosi, Clinton's, Feinstein.. all made their money as goverment rent seekers. You are a fool if you listen to this loser and dont search for the truth.

  29. Bernie Sanders Speech | DC IAM Union Legislative Conference
    – May 8
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XfM9uWB8d8

  30. I see a society in the Uk which is more elitist than ever to the point where our public funds are re-directed to those in power and their chums in many different ways whilst those born unlucky get the "austerity" imposed upon us by a largely unwanted ruling elite.

  31. yes, the only concerning argument i get back in friendly debates, is do you really want OUR government officals having more power over our lives then they already do, BUT in a true Democratic System, whether it be Socialist aimed and/or Capitalist is that the voting system if strong is the deciding factor for all decisions. Long fight ahead of us… but if Sci Fi is actually an artist interpretation of what our future hopefully looks like , The Government in Star Trek is the goal ! Lets just Do the damn thing.

  32. It is a common human failing that we like to let other people do our thinking for us. It is a mistake to automatically believe people that have Phd. or Dr. in front of their names. Socialism is actually a very old idea and practice, it did predate Fabian society, Carl Marx and the French Revolution. It is true that both have their place, their short comings and triumphs. What is not true is that capitalism is the bringer of death and destruction and global socialism will bring peace. A blatant lie that the good doctor put out there was that world war two was caused by capitalism. The fact was that of the major combatants, Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, both had the word "socialist" in their national title. Don't bore me with hair splitting and say that neither was true socialism. I can excuse the lies of stupid people but a doctor? Does any body believe that the leadership of any socialist structure uses the socialist physician down the street or takes the bus to work? Leader ship has to be paid for, so you see egalitarianism is for the people at the bottom of the power pyramid and materialism is for the folks at the top. Happiness and achievement at a individual level will never be in the power of any government or economic system to grant to you, with in any system that will be your job. Why socialism, simple, it is a easy sell for politicians and self styled philosophers. There is no Utopia and there never will be and the reason for that is it's implementation would kill to many of us to last and the survivors would be bored shitless.

  33. Now you're talking about globalism, where the NWO rules over everything and nations don't exist and global law is paramount. No thanks!

  34. I guess you forgot about WWll a war in the east between Russia and Germany both Socialist countries. It was the intervention of a capitalist country that turned the tide against the Germans. National Socialism. But please go on.

  35. Then you haven't been paying attention. Russia treated it's poor abysmally. Communism was a miserable failurer. This guy is a commie bastard. With communism comes a police state. Do you really want government telling you what to do, what to think, how to behave. Wake up america, all forms of government are bad. Find the one that is the least evil and run with it fails then try something else but try.

  36. That's corporatism you commie moron. After this I'm done with Dr Big Bad Wolff, he offers nothing good. Equal pay, good idea equality of pay across the board, bad idea.

  37. What if the model of socialism you describe were realized in one country. Internally there'd be greater equality and justice. But would the state so constituted by weaker externally? What if its trade goods could not compete as well as those of still capitalist countries able to more efficiently exploit labor? And what if the dismantling of the military-industrial complex helped create greater equality at home but made the state much weaker against still highly centralized capitalist states pouring money into their own military-state sector and using military power to secure favorable trade relations? Wouldn't there be a kind of Hobbesean state of nature in international relations that would lead such peaceful egalitarian states either to evolutionary extinction or back to more authoritarian and capitalist structures to survive? Look at the birth pangs of the Soviet Union. They became centralized and authoritarian almost immediately to survive external attack.

  38. Wish we could get people like Richard Wolff to teach in schools and then people like Thomas Sowell to teach the opposite viewpoint so people come to their own opinions.

  39. It always comes down to the obscene accumulation of money via speculation at the top of the pyramide, which enables the corruption, the bribery and the destruction of our democratic culture.
    We have seen breathtaking corruption in the financial system in the last decades, and unless that is addressed, any other discussion about the political system (two sides of the same coin) is not of much relevance.

  40. 10:30 Wolff says "CAPITALISM has had a lot to do with war. Two devastating World Wars"
    FACT is WW2 was instigated and started with
    RUSSIA (Communist) & Germany (National SOCIALIST) invading POLAND ( FREE MARKET Economy)
    Italy (Fascist) invading Ethiopia (FREE Enterprise)
    JAPAN (Ruled by Emperor)invaded CHINA (Republic)
    Don't believe anything this guy says. Check his facts before hailing him your savior He is a liar and fact twister and only spewing SOCIALIST PROPAGANDA

  41. With so many Christians in the world it is amazing how most of them know so little about socialism, bearing in mind the Christian Jesus character was obviously a socialist that in today society would be a full communist.

  42. "First mention of pure Socialism is recorded in the new Testament in Acts 4 verses 32-37! Although known for the fate of Annanias and his wife Sapphira, the verses describe pure unadulterated communism of the highest order!"

  43. If I would have had Richard Wolff as an economics teacher in school, I might have stayed awake for it. Sorry Mr. Ehrlich…

  44. Most of these comments are anti- capitalism. Clearly we need a good mix of both (cap and soc), so being completely for either side is not a reasonable position and isn't possible. Example, this guy is using weak arguments like paying tax to help people is only socialist, when you can pay tax and still live in a free market society, we are… He says capitalists countries are responsible for mass destruction yet the nazis and Soviets and mao were certainly not using a capitalist ideology and they have committed the worst atrocities of recent times ( and under the term "socialism"). Or did he blame capitalism for the great wars? what? Don't freak out if you read this just think about it honestly, looked up the bad guys i listed and what they stood for, how they came to power and the peoples motivations, and understand there are some troubling aspects to socialism and by extension communism that can severely limit personal freedom or result in death.

  45. Amazing as always. One law needed: when a biz owner sells, if he chooses to sell to the employees it's tax free. Use their greed against them. One by one capital moves to the workers = democracy at the workplace.

  46. One correction: capitalism stared in Northern Italy. That's where the first economies in Europe transformed from feudalism to capital-controlled markets.

  47. This is very simplistic. Where can I find a deep dive? I want real arguments not just high school information.

  48. 1:25 minutes in; Target audience seems likely to back ground view, be mentally slow or some other kind of speed or comprehension impaired (granted I think this is the normal viewcast). I feel like I've heard this surname mentioned in other media before, but reference basis unknown. conclusion: Immediately unimpressed

  49. Also say that poor communication in 1917 made it difficult for Socialism and Communism to succeed. It was hard to learn history for US in the US until we got Google! There must be fast and easy communication to make anything work, which we can do now with computers! Also US refused to HELP Russia by selling them tractors to grow more food easier, and many things.

  50. No one ever fully understood what all the FORMS of slavery are. Debt and rent are slavery, because it sure isn’t freedom! Feudalism and Mercantilism are slavery, because people were subordinate to masters who owned them. Wage slavery is slavery so capitalism is slavery. All work is slavery! And in US we have nothing to do but work! They never get to see their kids. I wish someone would talk about the many forms of slavery. People can even enslave themselves!

  51. Marriage is a form of slavery, each is a slave to the other. Having children is easy to see one form of slavery, or rather 2 forms: parents are slaves to their children (fewer parties!), and children are slaves to their parents (obey etc). If someone never marries and has no children, and inherits millions of dollars, they’re still a slave to needing food…and shelter, clothing and medicine. Every sickness is a form of slavery. Will you say these things, please?

  52. We’re slaves to our hair and weight too. Skin. Wrinkles, makeup, shaving. Everything is a form of slavery. But if we teach that to people they’ll do with it whatever they want, but many will stop finding ways to enslave themselves. The whole “fashion industry” enslaves us by changing styles constantly, forcing people to keep buying new clothes! The whole education system IS slavery, and teaches slavery!

  53. People can be taught they all have to work 20 or 10 hours a week, but they’ll be a lot happier than working 40-80 hours a week! Commuting is slavery. And taxation is slavery.

  54. In my opinion, communists, need to take over,
    Strip every penny from you. Tear down all houses, and rebuild every house equall,
    Destroy dollar all together.

  55. At 13:20 you said its officials of the government who own and take care of the system, but if Socialism is worldwide we won't need the government for much. If we eliminate money we won't need a government.

  56. The video is interesting but unfortunely isn`t one sided. You can look to Western Europe as a different socialism movement and maybe you can also look to this same region of countires as a mixed economies with the definition of a capitalist market economies with some intervention of the state. Countries that exercie a system closer to original capitalism, such United States, have less poverty than all the socialist countries, as China, North Korean, Russia, and Venezuela. It is ironic that capitalist companies are providing jobs in China, even in bad conditions, yet it`s inhumane when we think they would be much worse if these factories did not exist.

  57. As much as it is frustrating to listen to you, I do agree that something like an amendment to typical contracts which nets employees some bonus tied to the productivity of whatever business they work for might be a good addition to the current relationship between employees and employers. I do not agree that all decisions should be collectively and democratically decided. We already see that being a terribly ineffective way to run a country, so it is likely that we would see similar divisiveness and inaction within any given company which will cause many many issues. There are also more fundamental issues with capitalism which are not fixed simply by giving employees more of an equal footing with employers, such as the unsustainable embedded growth obligations built into the majority of businesses.

  58. Capitalism doesn’t make war, government does. Capitalism is only an economic system of private property and market prices. This guy is being very dishonest and blatantly attempting to mislead you into condemning Capitalism for things that are the fault of poor government and greedy politicians.

  59. I would also like to hear his arguments that central planning possesses the necessary omniscience to effectively allocate resources as effectively as market prices. Some real world evidence is a requirement. And, how do you reconcile, what I already know your argument will be, with Elinor Ostrom‘s work?
    How dishonest of you to compare the modern business employee relationship to that of slave owner and that of the feudal lord. The difference is that they had that power by government fiat. The modern business owner in a Capitalist system has not obtained that position by government fiat. The wealthy class in America, a modern Capitalist system, can only generate wealth by satisfying the consumer. Many sectors of the economy are hyper competitive and deliver quality and price to consumers. Don’t compare Western Europe and Scandinavia to Socialism, they aren’t, again dishonesty. So you don’t condemn China because they fit your ideology?
    There is no struggle. Capitalism gives consumers and individuals power. Socialism and Communism are incapable of possessing perfect market knowledge in order to efficiently allocate resources. Consumer sentiment is ignored in favor of what is best for society. Just hope your on the right side of that grand vision or you’ll be miserable; or in the place of China, be killed or thrown in jail. Socialism and Communism will always lead to tyranny.
    So now you bring up the work place and Democracy in a discussion about Capitalism vs Socialism. This guy’s an economist he knows that’s not important. What would those communities in Italy and Spain?
    Worker owned enterprises don’t work. Yugoslavia is commonly cited as an example of market Socialism and worker owned enterprises. It worked for a short time. Workers ended up not investing and saving and the country suffered economic collapse, this is a very condensed version.
    In short, this guy is a Socialist apologist and is engaging in misleading language to link a modern day Capitalist with a Feudal lord, what a ridiculous example.

  60. What also needs to be explained are some of the reasons communism and socialism failed were many, such as Russia had bad weather (droughts and harsh winters), they had bad luck when Lenin died at only 53 and Stalin became the head of state, they had a very poor nation to begin with, and perhaps mostly they had poor communication, unlike today when we have television and computers to teach all the people how to get things done right. Today we don’t need farms, we can grow food without soil. We can catch water and irrigate in many different ways so we won’t be dependent on weather. But mostly we need to teach nations they we all must begin ASAP to build only Tower cities connected to maglev Trains to eliminate vehicles fast to stop climate change before the Earth, and all us humans, can no longer live. Everything can be done so much better with computers, but all those things combined can make it be a smooth transition. Also say America tried very hard to make sure all attempts at Socialism and communism failed as explained in Wm Blum’s book “Rogue State” but also many other books say that, which has many excerpts at Third World Traveler. And also there was the stock market crash and Great Depression worldwide, and there was two World Wars and Hitler! All those, and maybe more complicated everything. There was even how Gorbachev didn’t intend to end communism when it happened but things didn’t work out like he had wanted. And explain how much better a system where all people own all things, instead of a few rich people own all things and they can’t ever create enough jobs, all jobs will be eliminated by automation, we won’t need lonely farmers slaving on farms, but masses of people can work together all part time and sharing the work so everyone can work a lot less, and will be able to relax and enjoy more in life, especially spending more time with their children.

  61. You’ve explained it very well! Thank you very much! I wish we could implement your idea of a totally new way of doing everything immediately. As long as it doesn’t leave out anyone, and as long as we end world poverty, we should do it. But we really need to start building only Tower cities connected to maglev Trains because that’s the only way we’ll save the Earth!

  62. I think that the part about the USSR was not completely true, because they did have democratically elected soviets chosen by the workers, but except for that it was an excellent video.

  63. I hate to break it to all my friends of Unregulated Capitalism. The Military, Police and Fire Dept are Socialist programs run by federal and local governments. We call it public service, financed by taxes from the Public (society) as opposed to private (individually) financed. Can't think of any greater service for society as a collective of individuals serving to protect society than Military, Law Enforcement and Fire Protection. This service is done without a profit motive attached making it a Socialist program. I would hate to see these programs privatized; the Fire and Police Dept's responding to calls which produces the greatest profit!

    When speaking of the military, I'm referencing the individuals service in protection of the whole of society. Not the Capitalistic for profit military arms manufacturing. Technically it is a damaging type Socialism. A Socialism that does not serve society, instead it uses society as a means of capital. It is called Subsidized Capital. "We the People" subsidize the industry through government contracts. Contracts which are financed through the capital provided by taxes. Thus if this was truly a Capitalist venture then "We the People" are investors and should share in the profits gained from that capital. That capital enable the means of the production. As investors Not only did we not receive a dividend but we had no voice in how our investment should be allocated.

    Capitalism works best when it serves the whole, as Adam Smith believed in his book the Wealth of Nations. Unregulated Capitalism serves the bottom line of the profit motive at all costs, including moving production overseas to take advantage of cheap non union labor. Unregulated Capitalism is like playing any type of game or sport without any rules which eventually leads to monopolies and chaos.

    A hybrid of regulated Capitalism & Socialism has proven to be the most stable and beneficial to all. Maybe there needs to be a rebranding of this hybrid system. A system which looks at the citizens as investments and investors. Since taxes are generated by the citizens then let's embrace Capitalism and provide these citizen investors the fruits of their capital venture. The primary investment in the citizens portfolio needs to be in their wellbeing. If their wellbeing is the primary motive then profits will naturally increase. If driven to the point of despair by wealth inequalities then the cost to society will not only eat into profit but exceed it. Desperation and anxiety will lead to Crime and Civil unrest. Instability will become a cancer to the economy.

    This is unfortunately magnified since this country does not control its own production of its own currency. It is at the mercy of a private central bank calling itself Federal which has the illusion of being part of the government due to the president nominates an individual from a predetermined list to head the board of directors. Since fiat currency requires faith alone to provide its value. The truth is the government needs to place an order to buy the currency from this private bank. This order is called a Treasury Bond. These bonds are traded for bills called Federal Reserve Notes. These notes are basically instruments of debt, meaning every dollar that exists is an I OWE YOU slip or A BILL which needs to be paid back to the Federal Reserve plus interest. Interest which physically cannot exist unless you print more bills to allow for some room to cover the existing bills, this expansion of the money supply creates inflation, and inflation is just like another tax which makes each bill worth less and less. This is essentially is a pyramid scheme, which needs the currency to flow. So hoarding or concentrated wealth is like a clogged artery, which ultimately leads to a heart attack and death. When billions of dollars sit in a bank and hidden in a tax shelter then it cannot generate anything.

    Speaking of hoarded wealth. Ask yourself when an individual such as Jeff Bezos makes 22 million a day. That's $916,667 per hour, let's assume he sleeps 7 hours which means he makes $6,416,667 while asleep. I do believe he needs a tax break. I'm sure he cannot survive without one. These Capitalist surely like the benefits of Socialism (tax breaks, subsidies) and the protection provided by public servants. They have exploited the myth that the are job creators, Maybe in other countries. Customers are the job creators. The myth of trickle down economy has been proven false. What good is it to have a supply of product or service that no one can afford. The supply not only loses value but there will be no need to have the labor to produce more supply. If a Demand exist then I guarantee their will be an incentive to provide the supply to satisfy the demand. This also creates value in that supply, that value attracts demand for more supply provided by labor.

  64. Let Us Clarify the Debate Before Engaging Further
    . . . The cliches hurled back and forth between the Left and the Right, the Liberal and Conservative, the Socialist and Capitalist, are wrought with misinformation. Taken in and cultivated as positions to hold, immovably, throughout an endless, thoughtless, and reflexive debate. So… 🤫 the status quo continues unabated.

    Often, upon stepping back to understand the arguments from all sides, we learn that everyone in the debate is clamoring for the same thing, but from a different sliver of view. As long as we keep our bull-horns cranked to full volume with our earplugs in tight, standing our ground, the fleecing of America shall continue until both Capitalism and Socialism break, giving way to eventual Oligarchy and Serfdom. Perhaps even devolving to the ground state of Masters and Slaves.

    Take 30 Minutes; 🎓 Become a Focused Student to learn for yourself what the true tension between Capitalism and Socialism is. How each system works, and where each system falls short of ideals. The reality is, the ball is up in the air, and it is up to each community to move that ball in the direction that will benefit the majority of that community. It is a false choice to favor one system over the other. Because we currently live under both systems simultaneously, and continually at this point. This state of flux, is our reality.

    It is in everyone's best interests to insure neither Capitalism or Socialism ever completely prevails. Either extreme eliminates self-governance. They are opposite sides to the same imminent threat, and both Capitalism and Socialism need to be kept weak, but allowed to boil at a healthy simmer.

    We need to return to, and perpetuate, "Compromise", as the final check and overseer, to both Capitalist and Socialist systems. Americans need to work together as a nation of people to prevent either system ever gaining that final control of us. If we fail, we fail the world. We are screwing it all up every step of the way. Through "Compromise" we find ways to reach back to fix some of our mistakes. This unpredictability, along with our watchfulness, is the only thing frustrating the extreme on both sides from 'gaming' that final advantage.

    😉 This is what makes America, "America".

  65. Something told me after 3 minutes of listening to this man that that this comment section would be a sanitised socialist shit show.

  66. Here are the pros and cons of socialism and capitalism. *Explains the pros of socialism and the cons of capitalism.

    Scandinavia is not a socialist country. So far the "Danish Prime Minister felt the need to clarify to all those in the system including Scandinavia. "I know that some people in the US associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism. Therefore, I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy".

    We can talk about the cons of capitalism. But don't pretend that socialist history is any better. Socialism has never worked anywhere.

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