Watching the Wolff (Richard) video --- even without the sound --- there can be no possible doubt that
current capitalist arrangements have reached an illogical impasse. OK? For a system of this kind, there can be no basis anymore, because logical support has run out. Do you all want to die, or do you want to do something about it? What we need is reform. Apparently the human race is incapable of that. Radical alterations? They ought to be proposed. Without doubt the reforms we require would be a lot more wide-ranging than the alternatives we are offered on the same mainstream T. V. that tries to sell us product items or the boring farts in the mainstream press, and they would also be more wide-ranging than from the choir of look-alike marginality economists trained in the great "standard" method of our university. Unfortunately, if I keep on going, I will have covered ninety per cent of the population. And it is a democratic country. Boy do we have a fucking problem.
At the beginning of this fine video presented by MediaEd, Mass. with the title, capitalism-hits-the-fan, the first thing we see is real wages (i.e. the numbers are adjusted, quantitatively, to offset the distorting effects of inflation) in the twentieth century going from about one dollar or less per hour in 1900, to six dollars per hour in 1980. But there is something kind of interesting, which is that, from 1980 to the present, this statistic, or level, or number, or whatever it is, is flat.
Well, you can't keep growing forever, so wages are doing what they should do. This is my own idea of course, but I would say that the wages are doing OK. Capitalism puffed out a little bit or created wealth, and once the whole system or economy has puffed out, it can stop puffing. Any wealth gained, if it is truly a capitalist gain or solidly in the capitalistic phase of development, is gained only in reference to the population itself. This is a sort of "democratizing" aspect of modernity and capitalism.
So, the workers made some gains. The benefit accrues to the entire population, at least in terms of wealth and comfort. But at some point this kind of growth of personal wealth has to stop, and that happened the way it should. The 1980 wage (I would have suggested maybe 1975 or 1976) stopped rising right about when it was appropriate. Mazel-Tov, capitalism, you done good. Have a pretzel. Any greater level of wealth for the general population would be undesirable. I will stand by that. Of course the King and Queen are a different story but the "average working man" is now doing OK in terms of the amount of money s/ he makes. Capitalist mission accomplished.
Why do wages rise? They rise because employers are able to help others by paying theses wages, to others. Which in turn is because there is profit. Which in turn is because someone is buying the goods and services that are produced by the various producers and employers.
Now there is something else: what economists call "productivity." I cannot hear the sound, so I am not "privileged" to hear what U. S. scholars say about this. "Productivity" is one more concept that economists have fabricated in their little conceptual (July 19th - rhetorical) workshops is all about, but the difference is interesting: it is that, on this same time axis, this statistic or whatever you call it does not act like the wages statistic does. At the 1980 point, this one keeps rising.
Obviously, this means that the ability of the wealthy to keep making lots of dough keeps on going. While the ability to make money through labor merely stabilizes. The "economy" whatever that is has, they suggest, done better since 1980, with a spot of trouble here and there but basically everything is on track, according to for example President Bush, just a few months before the great 2007-8 financial crisis. (I heard him say that; I do not have the reference for it but at any rate I have heard them saying that all my life.) So, we say "the economy is fine" both when it is, and, when it is not. As long as the rich keep making the money. In the language of business, "profits are steady."
So, profits were stable, and wages were stable. And there was a whole lot of activity, I might add. Money was being transacted, for the sake of "the economy" whatever that is.
OK. Let's go back to the vid: one thing "worked" and another did not "work." The question is: what was working? As for the thing that was working, was it working in the sense that it was a good thing that was "working," or was a bad thing "working"? And: what was not working? The ability of the workers to make more money was not working. But that, as I have said, is acceptable. The ability of the wealthy persons in the society to make money was working.
And still today, this part of capitalism "works." The stock market for example works for them, and just looking at this class of society gives further support that the rich are not going broke, not at all. So, one part is woring and one part is not working. The rich are not going broke. How could they? If you were rich, and had, say a million dollars, you could move in that society and get an investment advisor, etc. and even if you only made five per cent, that works quit well for you and you have a nice life, at $50,000 a year, and so forth. If you simply followed the trends, and let that advisor get you in on just a small part of the rise of amazon, or apple, or google (which really does not seem so difficult) you would make a lot more than that.
This "productivity" thing is obviously not productivity. It is the fake ability of the rich to make more and more money. (That sound weird, but that's the way I think or the way it comes out of me.)
Well, on that slightly dysfunctional note, I'll end this blog post as my time at the public library (reduced staff, bad service) is almost up.