Political Revolution

Global Capitalism Monthly: Economic Update AUGUST 2016 | Democracy at Work

It’s time to tune into Prof. Richard Wolff’s monthly Economic Update. For August, he talks about the economic “plans” of Trump, Clinton, Stein, and Johnson, as well as key issues that are missing from the 2016 election campaign.

Wolff’s monthly lectures may be long, but they’re always compelling, and colorful — because of his droll speaking style and use of “technical economic terms” like “bullsh*t.” 

Of particular interest to me is Wolff’s assessment that even while our nation’s economic system breaks down, we are in denial about it. Wolff says:

“The level of breakdown is bad. The level of denial of the breakdown makes it worse. Take a page from psychology… To suffer a trauma… is bad. To suffer a trauma about which you can’t become conscious, that you can’t talk about, that you can’t confront, makes the trauma much, much worse. We are a society going through a trauma of a dysfunctional economic system, and we are lead by our political leaders, and our media, and our academics, into a vast program of denial.”

What are your thoughts? Is the U.S. in a traumatic economic breakdown? Have you personally engaged in economic denial? If so, when and how did you become aware of it?

About the author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She sometimes writes fiction about Chester (the Alpha Bichon) and his friends -- with a dash of humor and dab of Poli-Sci. JoAnn's views and insights are tinted by her past profession in Counseling, Christian theological studies, and Library and Information Science training. Retired now, JoAnn enjoys the creative life.


  • I think this issue must be examined from a larger context, and that is precisely what Wolff is doing. Purely academic analysis of our current economy can be metaphorically represented as “not seeing the forest from the trees.”

    My perspective, which is supported by historical evidence, posits that neoliberal laissez faire capitalism breaks down in a closed system. In other words, it must be able to expand and exploit new resources or it will begin destructively feeding on itself. In this 21st century, further expansion is no longer possible to any appreciable degree.

    If this were our only problem, it could be remedied through economic system reforms. But, our political systems – which are primarily responsive to profiteering – are intransigently opposed to such reforms. And, therein lays the “catch-22” scenario. Although we could remake society by conforming our economic systems to today’s physical limitations of the world, our political systems won’t allow it. Had Bernie Sanders won the Democratic Party nomination, and gone on to win the presidency this November, real economic reform might have had a chance; but, the vigorous way his candidacy was undermined by the establishment revealed this huge catch-22 problem.

    • Right on, Robert. And the multi-faceted undermining of Bernie’s campaign really does spotlight the catch-22 problem. But I disagree with one thing. I think Big Business is eager for global warming to advance because it will give them a chance to exploit new regions — the polar caps. (Sorry, had to add a little dark humor… or could it be too close to the truth to be funny?)

%d bloggers like this: