Capitol Insurrection Caused by Capitalism Failure & Rapacious Donor Class -- Dr. Richard Wolff
The Jimmy Dore Show (January 14, 2021)
Jimmy Dore: "Professor Richard Wolff. Thanks for coming on. How are you?"
[0:33] Professor Richard Wolff: "Very good Jimmy. I'm glad to be here."
Jimmy Dore: "So tell us why capitalist systems are inadequate to handle a pandemic like this."
Professor Richard Wolff: "You know, they really don't have to be. If you had a committment to let some agency, and it's usually the government, come in and mobilze the public and the private resources, you can do it. They did it in New Zealand pretty well. They did it in South Korea. They did it in Taiwan. They even did it in the People's Republic of China and Vietnam and Cuba. They did it in all kinds of places and had one thing in common: that they allowed, or they respected the government enough to give it the room to mobilze resources. Not just the public resources, but the private resources to deal with this virus as it was a national, terrible, life-or-death emergency; a little bit like you sometimes see in war when they put together a societies public and private resources. We even did that in World War II."
[1:40] "But what we have now in this country is a game in which the capitalist system, the private oligarchs that run our big businesses, have taught the American people for 70 years now to hate the government, to distrust the government, and look, there are plenty of reasons to do that. The government screws up. It's after all the same oligarchs who run that government. So yeah, it is screwed up. But if you teach that the government isn't to be respected, isn't to be trusted, isn't to be allowed to do anything, if you make politicians fall all over themselves saying they won't be a politician, they won't be the leader of a government, then when you have a national emergency like the Covid virus, you're not going to be able to mobilize resources. And that's what we have. We weren't ready for this virus. We weren't prepared. Once it hit here we couldn't contain it. And now we're not even able to roll out the vaccines in a proper way. And it's all because you haven't developed the capacity to deal with a crisis."
[2:49] Let me put it this way: "When you evaluate an economic system, like capitalism, you don't just evaluate it in quote-unquote 'normal' times. Part of the evaluation is: How does it handle a crisis? How does it handle the unusual, the unexpected, the irregular. And our system is demonstrating a total failure to handle this viral crisis. And to allow, at the same time you're fighting a life-and-death viral crisis, to have another capitalist crash, a depression with tens of millions of people unemployed. To allow that to happen is a level of incompetence that only a system really on the downside of the up-and-down could possibly explain."
[3:42] Jimmy Dore: "So what people missed the first time this happened in 2008, was that there was not a rational response to this economic crash. Now that wasn't caused by a virus, and that wasn't imposed by the government like this one is. But it was engineered by the capitalists and the government to happen. So people didn't notice that the response to that one was that we just kicked everybody out of their house. There was Occupy Wall Street. The government crushed it. A Democratic government and Democratic mayors across the country crushed it. [Profeessor Ricard Wolff: "Right"] And so now here we are this time, the rest of the world is giving all their workers direct payments. Japan, 100 percent cash payments to every worker. The UK 75%-85%. Canada the same thing. Plus, all those countries already have health care. We don't even have healthcare in the middle of a pandemic and we got a one-time $1,200 payment. Why are the oligarchs resisting putting money into the pockets of workers whose businesses they are shutting down. That money would just get reabsorbed back up to the one percent. They would put it right back into the economy. FDR taught us that. If you put money into the pockets of workers, it goes right into the economy. Why would they be ressting this?"
[5:02] Professor Richard Wolff: "Here's the irony, Jimmy. And you're absolutely right. It was the Left Wing, it was the unions, it was the socialists, the Communists in the 1930s that forced the New Deal, that forced the Roosevelt Administration to give people federal jobs, to pass Social Security, to pass unemployment compensation, to pass the first Minimum Wage. They forced it. And here's the irony. That's what saved us in the 1930s. That's what saved us from going in the Fascist direction of a Germany, or an Italy, or a Spain. And the irony is, after World War II you crushed the Left and you've been crushing it for 70 years. So when the next big crisis comes, right now there is no Left to force these things. And the immediate greed of the big businesses; their need not to pay even a little bit of taxes."
[6:01] "You know, when Roosevelt went to the businesses in the '30s, he said: You'd better give me tax money to do for the mass of people what they need, because if you don't, you won't have any wealth when this is over. So part with some of it to keep the rest of it."