This headline, “Economic alternatives for Americans,” is misleading because people may engineer a variety of economic forms that suit their needs. The challenge is making them fit into the world. It isn’t an American problem as we see today, it is a global challenge for humanity to address how people can live a good life on Earth without spoiling it for future generations. In fact, that is a vital aim.
The current capitalist-oriented economic model negates that purpose and is unsustainable. Therefore, we are at a juncture at which we must address the economic rules by which we live.Their belief is as follows:
- Individual persons left unfettered by controls will become self sustainable when motivated by the pursuit of profit and reward for their hard work.
- Individual with means can create larger persons they call corporations who may generate greater profit and reward for more persons.
What these two statements omit is consideration for the environment in which these things may be accomplished. The nation state is the host for the environment and in America’s case, the U.S. Constitution provides the laws, regulations, and controls intended to ensure optimal performance by persons.
Citizens are in control of their government and its systems, and elected officials work within that system to optimize the return on national resources for the purpose of ensuring a good life for all citizens and their pursuits with liberty and justice, health and safety.
In America today, there is sufficient population size to resources ration to ensure a good life for all in the absence of poverty. It is within our capacity to ensure economic and national security while tending to our fiscal and social obligations. Needed is to adjust our plans, budgets, priorities, values and systems to ensure optimal alignment.
Now, America needs a sustainable economic model with associated rules to help guide our planning and management. We citizens need to make some adjustment that begin with our own calibration and then to apply that to our government. The outcome is a new sustainable economic model that produces required outcomes with a high degree of independence and certainty. That’s what we want our leaders and representatives to accomplish.
Now, I ask you, what qualifications must our elected officials possess to best accomplish this?
Many people have ideas about the way ahead and Richard Wolff is one of them.
"Economics and Politics? Richard Wolff Says Yes
Tuesday, 08 January 2013 09:18
By Mark Karlin, Truthout | Interview
"Imagine a country where the majority of the population reaps the majority of the benefits for their hard work, creative ingenuity and collaborative efforts. Imagine a country where corporate losses aren't socialized, while gains are captured by an exclusive minority. Imagine a country run as a democracy, from the bottom up, not a plutocracy from the top down. Richard Wolff not only imagines it, but in his compelling, captivating and stunningly reasoned new book, Democracy at Work, he details how we get there from here - and why we absolutely must."
-- Nomi Prins, Author of It Takes a Pillage and Black Tuesday
Few are better equipped than economist Richard Wolff, professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, to address the massive failings and inequalities of capitalism as he does in his latest book, Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism.
He also describes Workers' Self-Directed Enterprises (WSDEs) as an alternative to the capitalism that broke the US economy and has resulted in massive economic redistribution to the ruling elites. Receive a copy from Truthout with a minimum contribution. Just click here.
Mark Karlin: In your book, what is the distinction between capitalism and welfare state capitalism?
Richard Wolff: Capitalism, like all other economic systems, displays a variety of forms. There are, for example, largely private, laissez-faire kinds of capitalism that differ in many ways from forms of capitalism in which the state plays more significant roles, such as market regulator or social welfare guarantor (as in "state welfare capitalism"), or as a close partner of capitalists as in fascism. What remains the same across all such forms - why they all deserve the label "capitalist" - is the exclusion of the mass of workers that produces the output and generates the profits from receiving and distributing that profit, and from generally participating democratically in enterprise decisions. Capitalism excludes workers from deciding what is produced, how it is produced, where it is produced and how profits are to be used and distributed. Democracy at Work is a critique and alternative aimed at changing that exclusion shared by all these forms of capitalism."