Economic Update: Making Critical Arguments

Economic Update: Making Critical Arguments


Welcome, friends, to another edition of Economic
Update, a weekly program devoted to the economic dimensions of our lives – debts, incomes,
jobs – and those facing our children coming down the road. I’m your host, Richard Wolff. I want to jump in today with a story that
I imagine some of you came across, but it certainly stopped me in my tracks. It turns out that a few days ago, a police
officer, patrolling in the subway of Los Angeles, came upon a homeless woman. And this homeless woman, seeing the police
officer, began to sing. Let me introduce you to her. She’s 52 years old, has been homeless for
three years, and she has a name: Emily Zamourka. What she began to sing was so entrancing. It was, namely, an aria from Puccini’s opera,
which (since I’m a bit of an opera fan myself) I can tell you was sung in the manner of a
professionally trained opera singer. The police officer was also touched. He whipped out his camera, took a picture,
made a video, and the police department in Los Angeles circulated it. And it has gone around the world more times
than I can mention to you. Here’s what the story meant to me: Everybody
in this world has something to contribute. Many people have a lot to contribute. But they are affected by the way this society
works. So that rather than being in a position to
share the talents, the passions, the things they’ve learned, with others, enriching all
of our lives, they are instead forced in this society to live as Emily Zamourka has, pulling
along a cart with her belongings, in a subway tunnel, waiting for a kind policeman to make
her known. She has since gotten offers to help. Here’s what it means: We have a problem of
homelessness. Millions – let me underscore that – millions
of Americans, during any given year, find themselves homeless: without a place to live,
with all of the support, the security, the safety that goes with it. And we either tend to ignore it – that is,
it becomes routine, so we literally don’t see those folks hiding in the doorways or
in the subway tunnels – or we come up with detailed excuses, or maybe even detailed plans
to adjust this law or that regulation. And I want to call a stop to that, because
this is not a complex problem. Every society that has ever existed has had
to take care of one of the most fundamental problems any society faces: namely, housing
for the people who live in it. Any economy can be, and should be, judged
by how well it solves that problem. You know, it’s like the problem of feeding
your people, or clothing them – housing them. So in a society in which markets are the dominant
institution, let’s take a look at how we’re doing. The way to solve the problem of housing in
a market society is to create on the one hand enough purchasing power in the hands of the
people who need housing, and a price system for the houses that get built, so that we
put these two together in a proper way. We get the houses built so that the people
can then live in them, either paying rent or buying the home. We have failed as an economic system. Or to be more precise, capitalism isn’t doing
the job. It doesn’t give the mass of people enough
money to afford the houses at the prices that capitalists who build houses charge for them. Hence the disconnect, meaning that millions
of people live without a home. Millions of others – many more millions
– live spending much more on their monthly housing expense than the 20 to 30 percent
that is deemed to be appropriate and livable. That’s what the story of Emily Zamourka teaches
us. And we all lose out, not only because our
fellow citizens have no place to live, but because all that they could give us, and make
our lives better, is lost to us because of what homelessness, or paying more for your
home than you ought to, does to us. My second story has to do with Greta Thunberg
(I believe is how you pronounce her name), the young woman who came to the United States
to talk about climate change, having become something of a celebrated person over in Europe. I’m not going to repeat the stories of her. Most of you have seen those and know that
she demands attention to climate change in the name of her generation, that’s going to
have to live with the climate we leave to them. I just wanted to comment on the reactions
of Mr. Trump on the one hand, and Mr. Putin on the other. Mr. Trump was concerned that a young woman
of her tender age, 16, should be traveling the ocean all by herself. That Mr. Trump, who puts immigrant children
in cages, was really concerned about the safety and well-being of that young woman. Sure. He also referred to her as an actress. Mr. Trump, being very good at that particular
profession, noticed it in Miss Thunberg. Mr. Putin went even further. He said he found her to be unrealistic. I thought that was charming. Mr. Putin is the heir of a revolution in 1917
that found Russia at the time to be unrealistic, and made a lot of demands which were called
unrealistic, until the government was overthrown and those unrealistic people made the Russia
that Mr. Putin now leads. It’s always true that the people fighting
for basic change are denounced as unrealistic just as Mr. Putin did, who told us that the
problems of the climate are very complicated. Very helpful, Mr. Putin, we thought they were
simple. And now you’re going to use that as an excuse
to continue doing as little about them as the people in charge around the world have,
in fact, been. The next item on my list has to do with Mr.
Trump’s trade war with China. And here are a couple of aspects of it that
you may not have picked up on. The Europeans have been advising the Chinese
and the Americans to work out their differences, rather than to have a trade war. But their comments to that effect are vague
and weak, and I want you to understand why. And the answer is simple: The Europeans benefit
from it. That’s right, they benefit. When China cannot sell its goods in the United
States because Mr. Trump puts a tariff on them, they move and sell them to Europe. When Europe finds that dealing with the United
States is becoming difficult (which I’m going to get to in a moment), they will shift to
China. Many of the costs that are being borne by
the American people – who have to pay those tariffs, and lose those opportunities to sell
in China because of China’s tariffs – are suffering (the Americans), but the Europeans
are picking up that business. And they’re making sure that they won’t lose
it when the trade war is over. And you can see the difference when, just
recently, the World Trade Organization found that Europe had unfairly subsidized the Airbus. The Airbus is Europe’s competitor to the Boeing
Company here in the United States. And the World Trade Organization found that
the European governments had unfairly subsidized a competitor of Boeing, namely Airbus. So Mr. Trump immediately imposed tariffs on
the Europeans as a punishment for their behavior – something, by the way, not required by
the World Trade Organization law, something Mr. Trump used as an excuse. So now airplanes from Europe coming here – Airbus
airplanes – will have to pay a tariff, making them more expensive. And that will increase your cost to ride on
an airplane in the United States, as everybody in the business takes advantage of this situation. It likewise means the Europeans will retaliate. And so the French and Italian wines you may
have been interested in, or the cheeses you may have been interested in, and so on, will
also cost you more money, as the importer has to pay those tariffs. The Europeans are very upset by all of this,
and threatened to impose retaliatory tariffs. And they will likely have the chance, because
in the spring of this coming year, the World Trade Organization will rule on the European
claim that the American government has unfairly subsidized Boeing. Just watch. We live in a strange society, where the big
capitalists in the airplane business lobby their friends, the politicians, lying and
case studies, and lawyers figuring out how to work out their arrangements. And our job is to watch, shut up, and pay. That’s a system you and I live in. My next update has to do with the Sackler
family, the people who own and operate Purdue Pharmaceuticals, and who are on the hook these
days for having funded and produced the opioids that have killed so many people – hundreds
of thousands in the United States. Turns out, with new research being done and
lawsuits being filed, that the Sackler family, to cover what they were doing, gave a good
bit of money to lots of museums and universities – in particular, Imperial College in London,
Sussex University in the UK, Yale University here in the United States, and the Rockefeller
University in New York City. Some of these recipients got caught, and have
returned some of the money. Most haven’t done so. And it leads one to the question, not only
was the money given to clean the reputation – that’s fairly clear – but was the money
effective in delaying the exposures, leaving so many more to die? That would be the question that ought to be
asked, but that hasn’t been. My last update for today is about Sports Illustrated
magazine. It used to be part of the Time magazine empire,
and many of you who are familiar with that journal know that it became a major journal
for people interested in sports, for many years. Time magazine, having financial difficulties,
then began to shop it around. Two or three other organizations bought it,
and then sold it. And in the first week of October, a new buyer
came in, bought it, and immediately fired most of the journalists – or at least many
of them – rearranging the magazine. And I wanted just to comment on it. Here is a magazine important to millions of
Americans. Here is a magazine that provides income and
jobs to a bevy of some of the finest sports journalists in the business. And here comes a capitalist with money. And guess who decides whether the magazine
lives or falls. Who decides what’s in it? Who decides who keeps the job? The capitalist who buys the business. For the rest of us, we live with whatever
they do. The customer, the worker – excluded from
what happens to something that is important in their lives as consumers, and even more
important in their lives as an employer. Not the way a system that calls itself democratic
could ever work. And the problem isn’t the particulars in Sports
Illustrated. It’s just a wonderful example of who calls
the shots in a capitalist system, and who lives with the results without having any
options at all. Well, we’ve come to the end of the first half
of today’s Economic Update. We’d like to thank, as we do, our Patreon
community for the extraordinary support they provide. We ask you also to check our website, and
also to follow us on social media, and in particular Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But before signing off, I also want to remind
many of you, we have produced here at Democracy at Work (the producer of this program) our
first book. We hope it will be one of a series to come
out. It’s called Understanding Marxism, and was
written by myself in order to respond to the many questions that come to us about Marxism,
what it is, and what its relevance might be to the issues and problems facing the world
today. And Lord knows, with the capitalist system
that works the way we describe it, it is time – overdue – for this kind of a book to
be written. If you haven’t had a chance to get a copy,
please. You’ll see the information: lulu.com is the
publisher, Understanding Marxism is the title, I’m the author. It’s something we think you will benefit from
checking out. Stay with us; we will be right back. Welcome back, friends, to the second half
of today’s Economic Update. Before we get into a remarkable interview
for today, I wanted to let you know that Economic Update is supported by The New School in New
York City, where I, myself, am a visiting professor of international affairs. The New School offers master’s degree programs
in international affairs that are rooted in progressive, interdisciplinary scholarship. They prepare engaged global citizens to build
a more just and sustainable world. The New School students focus on challenges
such as the rise of authoritarian regimes, refugee crises, jobless youth, and climate
change. Students have unique learning opportunities
at the United Nations and at field locations around the world. WOLFF: My guest today is Ben Burgess. He’s the author of a relatively new book called
Give Them an Argument: Logic for the Left. He’s a regular weekly contributor to Jacobin
magazine, and he does a weekly segment called The Debunk on The Michael Brooks Show. He teaches logic and other philosophy classes
at Georgia State University in Atlanta, at its Perimeter College. So welcome, Ben. Thank you for coming and joining us. BURGESS: Yeah, thanks for having me. WOLFF: All right, that’s a remarkable book
title, Give Them an Argument. So tell me why you wrote it and what it tries
to do. BURGESS: Sure. So one of the things that spurred me to write
this was the way that a lot of people on the political right have in a very cynical, bad-faith
way, I think, co-opted the language of arguments and logic, and even the phrase “logic, facts,
and reason,” you know, which they use sort of as a mantra. And a lot of people who are on our side, who
sort of respond to that, have learned to respond to that by kind of rolling their eyes, you
know, and being very dismissive, which I think is understandable. But I also think it’s a missed opportunity. So what I try to do in the book is both urge
people who share my, you know, leftist and socialist commitments to spend more time showing
exactly what’s wrong with these right-wing arguments and also to make more explicit arguments
for our positions, you know, for everything from social equality to workers’ control of
the means of production. WOLFF: Well, you know, you’re a philosophy
professor, so in a way you study philosophy, but you also try to teach it to young people
going to the university there in Atlanta. Tell me a little bit about why this problem
that you tried to address in the book, why did it arise? What has happened in the, perhaps in the so-called
culture wars here in the United States, that has made people perhaps distant from, or cynical
about, argument. BURGESS: Yeah, so I think that part of it,
you know, is that over the course of the last few decades, you know, of those culture wars,
people have sometimes rightly (right?) become suspicious that people arguing for other positions
are just being biased by their circumstances. They can’t see, you know, the perspective,
you know, that other people are coming from. That’s not entirely wrong (right?). But I also think that there’s an element of
it which has to do with what I think of as the pathologies of powerlessness. That it’s been so long since the left – especially
the socialist left – has been anywhere near the levers of real power – especially here
– that oftentimes people sort of prefer to have to sort of signal their moral commitment
to left goals rather than to really worry that much about persuading people who aren’t
on board and doing the things that they would have to to make our goals attractive to people,
and to try to actually win (right?). So I think that once you take seriously the
idea that I think is more on the table now because of, you know, certainly the Bernie
Sanders campaign and other things like that, that no, no, no – like large numbers of
Americans actually are on board with these things, you know, that we could win – then
I think you have to really start thinking about okay, well how can we persuade – not
everybody can be persuaded – but how can we persuade the people who can be persuaded? And that’s what the book tries to do. You know, to try to say all right, all of
these, you, know all of these arguments that people make against our positions – if we
never get around to showing exactly what’s wrong with them, that makes it look to people
who might be sitting on the fence as if maybe we just don’t have good responses to these. And I don’t think we need to do that. I think we have excellent responses, and we
should make them. WOLFF: Very interesting. I want to draw out one point. Would it be fair to say the following – your
argument but in different words – BURGESS: Sure. WOLFF: – that the American left kind of
resigned itself over time to being a marginalized group, and so in upset, or anger, or resignation,
or some combination gave up the constant effort to persuade, and that are now thinking that,
because obviously people are open to it, it’s now time to get back to it? BURGESS: No, I think that’s absolutely right. I think that between the, you know, the long
decline of the labor movement, the exile of even the mildest social democrats, you know,
from political power, you know, all too often people got used to just thinking of this as
a matter of expressing moral commitments, you know, that we’re going to hold our protest
signs, and denounce things, and that’s about all we can do. And I think that you start to hear, like sometimes
when people on the left will say things like oh it’s not my job to explain such and such
to you (right?). Well actually, if you want to win (right?),
if you want to persuade people, if you have, like, political goals that you take seriously
in real life, it’s precisely your job to try to explain things to people. And instead of sort of saying well, if you
were a better person, you would already get it (right?), you know, which is often the
implication. And I think that’s a really unhelpful kind
of moralism, and that we should be really using every tool at our disposal to try to
persuade the people that can be persuaded and to try to build power. WOLFF: And you mean it literally. It’s everybody’s job. It’s not – there aren’t experts whose job
it is to make the arguments. It’s necessary for everybody, in his or her
mind, to frame it and phrase it as it makes sense in their lives. BURGESS: Absolutely. Yes. WOLFF: Tell me a little bit about this dichotomy,
that we used to hear more than we do now, between rational argument and quote-unquote
“emotional argument.” That’s an old dichotomy, but you seem to think
it’s important, at this point, in getting your notion of argument across. BURGESS: Yeah, it’s an old dichotomy, and
one of the things that I try to do – actually one of the major themes of the book – is
that people often think about this wrong. That, you know, that they think that there’s
this sort of conflict between, you know, logic, or your reason, on the one hand and emotion
on the other. So Ben Shapiro, for example (one of the major
villains of the book), has this catch phrase: Facts don’t care about your feelings. And oftentimes he seems to use it to imply
that, you know, people like him are deriving their political conclusions from just looking
at the facts, you know, whereas, you know, fuzzy-headed leftists like us, you know, we’re
just like sort of feeling our way through the world, you know, with our emotions. And I think that’s a false dichotomy. And I think in some ways, Star Trek probably
has a lot to answer for here because it gave generations of television viewers the vague
idea that there was something called logic that was in conflict with emotion. But I think if you read your David Hume, you
know, the great Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, on facts and values, what it will tell you
is that what reasoning about the facts can tell us is how to achieve the things that
we care about, the goals that we care about. It can’t tell us what to value in the first
place. So when these people pretend that they’re
just sort of reasoning from the facts, well the facts by themselves won’t tell you what
your moral values are. They won’t tell you what your political goals
should be. So, you know, if you don’t care about outcomes,
if there’s no way that you want, that you’re invested in saying the world should be this
way, then all of the reason about facts in the world won’t tell you anything about politics
because it won’t tell you what we should be aiming at. Once we agree on what we’re aiming at, then
we can use the facts to look at what works and what doesn’t work, and we can have an
argument about the facts. But the idea that, like, emotionally caring
about trying to bring about a better, fairer, more just world is somehow in conflict with
logic, I think is just fundamentally confused. WOLFF: Yeah, you know, I had a teacher once
years ago when I was a student of philosophy who put the same argument slightly differently. He said the facts are too many; the facts
are infinite. When you say you’re going to consult the facts,
the first reaction is: which ones? You can’t confront them all, nobody can, so
your brain is always selecting which facts to focus on. And there your values come into play because
they’re part of the selectivity. So the notion that you can have value-free
fact analysis is a misunderstanding of what the brain does. Anyway, give us an example. You’ve done that, I know, on the air before,
but I wonder whether either the minimum-wage debate, or the way the press handles the Chavez/Maduro
history in Venezuela illustrates your point about making arguments and how that works. BURGESS: Sure. So . . . WOLFF: Either one would be fine. BURGESS: . . . okay. Well, I think that, you know, I recently co-wrote
this article with mutual friend Michael Brooks about Venezuela. And there the point really is just like a
straight factual correction, because the way that the debate about Venezuela is presented
all too often just ignores – you know, selects away – this huge part of the relevant facts,
which is that we pretty much act as if this happens in a vacuum and American imperial
meddling in Latin America just has nothing to do with anything. That if, you know, that the difference between
Venezuela and Norway is just that Venezuela is ruled by bad people and Norway is ruled
by good people, rather than that the space in which people make political decisions in
Venezuela is heavily constrained by American meddling, that it’s impossible to do almost
anything in terms of left-wing reforms without provoking reactions like attempted military
coups. Just real briefly, on the minimum-wage front,
that’s actually a case where Rashida Tlaib, the DSA congresswoman from Detroit, said that
while when we first started talking about a $15 minimum wage $15 made sense, since then
$15 isn’t what it used to be. That in particular, by the time these laws
come into practice, it’s not going to be what it used to be. So we should be aiming a little bit higher,
like $18, $20 an hour. And a lot of conservatives kind of mocked
that. So like well, 20? Why not 25? Twenty-five? Why not 50? And 50? Why not 1,000? Right? You know, we should just have $1,000 an hour. And what I think this really is is an example
of a logical mistake called the continuum fallacy, which is where you say because you
don’t know exactly where the cutoff is, therefore there’s no real distinction (right?). You know, that if, like, $1,000 an hour wouldn’t
be economically viable, and you’re not quite sure where between 18 and 1,000 the cutoff
is, therefore it’s just all equally ridiculous – which is, of course, absurd. That’s like saying that if you start with
a head of hair like mine, you take off a hair, you take off a hair, you take off a hair,
eventually I’d be bald. And we don’t know exactly how many hairs it
takes to not be bald. But that doesn’t mean there’s no real difference
between baldness and not baldness. And similarly, of course, you know, just because
$1,000 an hour wouldn’t be viable, and we don’t know exactly what the dollar amount
of the cutoff would be, that doesn’t mean that $18 or $20 wouldn’t be fine. WOLFF: Right. So for me as an economist, it’s always delightful
to see people bent out of shape by the notion that the world would be different if people
got $30 an hour. It would: They wouldn’t need to take out a
loan to get a car; they wouldn’t need to go into debt – yes. And then there would be companies that would
be difficultly impacted. But then your job is to weigh those. But the idea of just dismissing it as if it’s
unimaginable simply means your imagination isn’t well developed. Are you hopeful? As we run out of time here, are you hopeful
that the left is learning your lessons? Do you sense any development of a commitment
to persuade and so on? You implied that you did, that Bernie and
so on, but I wanted to see what you see is going on right now. BURGESS: Yes. I mean, I definitely see some progress. I think, you know, attempts like I’m making
maybe make a contribution to that. I certainly hope so. But I also think that just the fact that people
really see the possibility of real world power, and that, you know, people don’t look at you
like you’re crazy if you say that you’re a socialist anymore, I think by itself is nudging
people in in the right direction on this stuff. Because once you see that you might actually
win, instead of making a posturing moralistic point about how it’s not my job to explain
these things to you, that maybe if I did a better job of explaining these things maybe
we would win over some of these winnable people, and then we would have a better coalition,
and we could get done some of what we want to do politically. WOLFF: Thank you very much, Ben. Much obliged for the service you’re doing
to everybody who’s critical of this society. Lord knows, it needs the criticism – to
persuade others, but also to develop our own understanding. I hope all of you share the sense that this
is an important issue. I certainly do, and I hope that this kind
of critical thinking and persuading is something we all do more of. Thank you again for your attention, and I
look forward to speaking with you again next week.

100 thoughts on “Economic Update: Making Critical Arguments

  1. The major problem with the left is that they are not actively recruiting like the right. They (we) assume people will come to us as they learn and get more clever. We wait for people to find us when they're ready instead of inviting folks in.

  2. The US is always quick to accuse other nations as subsidizing their industries when the US themselves do so, in more indirect ways through the military for one.

  3. https://www.palestinow.com/death-penalty-a-state-of-assassins/?fbclid=IwAR3fQ5uwXGzfZ88eMENg9q-_h9Ad-2qo-6M4KK3vdfyvFX12UPY3_zXbT6w

  4. I love the new wave of progressive and democratic socialist thought in the west that we are currently seeing, it's a good way to fixing the issues that have arisen from modern neoliberal capitalism.

  5. Dear mister Wolff, with all due respect.

    I m a deeply convinced fascist.

    I believe that the worst thing on earth is the principle of "equality of rights".
    My whole life my parents have abused me physically and emotionally. These are the same scumbags who say you "hello" and "god bless you" in our everydays life. They look normal on the outside, as they "pretend to be", but they are not !

    Yes ! You are absolutely right ! Socialism/Communism brings economical prosperity, and that is PRECISELY the reason why these economical systems should NEVER BE IMPLIED !! Because they will lead to abundance of free time, and the average proletarian like my parents will then find time to vote and to better choose their political parties, resulting in horrible social policies regulating things like sexual freedom, drug use, and so on.
    My understanding is that the intentions of your political side are good, but I do believe that people like you don't understand the social consequences of such a abundence of free time for the average man.

    The day people like my mom or my dad will get to truly participate in social policy decision taking, I mean truly participate and not the theatre elections we have right now, this world will go down.
    This must be hindered AT ANY COST. be it even through wars.
    People are not the same !
    Much worse than the openly insane few, is the majority that look sane but raelly isn't !

    With repsect, some political opponent

  6. “Homeless 'Subway Soprano' performs opera at Little Italy celebration” (3:23) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CLQsFxdZxs

  7. It is only fitting that the homeless singer is from Russia, and in the propaganda capital of the capitalist United States, Los Angeles. Of course, simply addressing her suffering because she is an exceptional vocal talent, by way of a go fund me campaign and employment, leaves in place the institutional reasons why she was homeless in the first place. A person who is mute has as much right to the land and shelter as she does. Only dedicated central government policy can adequately address the basic need and right for shelter. The market can only be trusted to lay the foundation for homelessness, keeping people homeless and finding new ways to profit off of their suffering.

  8. beautiful. love the breakdown on Sports Illustrated. perfect example of how markets fail at providing services we all like.

  9. Truthfully, cannot tell if he's in favor or against consumerism. The first 15 minutes are full of teeter tottering.

  10. Dear Professor Wolff, This is something I have been thinking about for a long time, Can you please tell Americans what, exactly, they should expect from their government. In other words, what is the role of government. What is government suppose to do for a society. Until Americans know this, they have no idea what to stand up for and what to demand. It's just a thought – Thank you for everything you do.

  11. From Venezuela i'm David Hidalgo i'm the leader of a new political organization LOSPANAZ and i'm looking for help to avoid a civil war in Venezuela if you wanna to know how can you help us please contact with us in [email protected] in this blog lospanaz.simplesite.com is our manifesto thanks a lot to all of you we wait your helping hand thanks very much.

  12. Omg this interview. ♥️♥️ Have Ben on again. I love watching Richard Wolff light up when he talks to leftists like Ben Burgis and Michael Brooks.

  13. Professor Wolff, I have heard that government regulations are on the average about 25% the cost of a new home here in the USA. Can you please speak about this, and what a solution may be in one of your future talks?

  14. Sales also decide the journalists jobs. This bozo omitting that makes him look a bit stupid. Oh just in time for him to plug his book.

  15. One thing Ben Shapiro does know, is that he doesn't want his son to play with dolls! That's his value system.Control and conditional love.

  16. Dwight D. Eisenhower (Republican) 34th president of the United States from 1953 to 1961
    Address to the American Society of Newspaper Editors

    delivered 16 April 1953, Statler Hotel, Washington, D.C.
    The Chance for Peace speech, also known as the Cross of Iron speech, was an address given by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower on April 16, 1953, shortly after the death of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Speaking only three months into his presidency, Eisenhower likened arms spending to stealing from the people, and evoked William Jennings Bryan in describing "humanity hanging from a cross of iron." Although Eisenhower, a former military man, spoke against increased military spending, the Cold War deepened during his administration and political pressures for increased military spending mounted. By the time he left office in 1961, he felt it necessary to warn of the military-industrial complex.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chance_for_Peace_speech
    … The way chosen by the United States was plainly marked by a few clear precepts, which govern its conduct in world affairs.
    First: No people on earth can be held, as a people, to be an enemy — for all humanity shares the common hunger for peace and fellowship and justice.
    Second: No nation's security and well-being can be lastingly achieved in isolation — but only in effective cooperation with fellow nations.
    Third: Every nation's right to a form of government and an economic system of its own choosing is inalienable.
    Fourth: Any nation's attempt to dictate to other nations their form of government is indefensible.
    And fifth: A nation's hope of lasting peace cannot be firmly based upon any race in armaments — but rather upon just relations and honest understanding with all other nations.
    In the light of these principles, the citizens of the United States defined the way they proposed to follow, through the aftermath of — of war, toward true peace. This way was faithful to the spirit that inspired the United Nations — to prohibit strife, to relieve tensions, to banish fears. This way was to control and to reduce armaments. This way was to allow all nations to devote their energies and resources to the great and good tasks of healing the war's wounds, of clothing and feeding and housing the needy, of perfecting a just political life, of enjoying the fruits of their own toil….
    Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
    This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.
    This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. These plain and cruel truths define the peril and point the hope that come with this spring of 1953.
    https://americanrhetoric.com/speeches/dwighteisenhowercrossofiron.htm

  17. Yeah wolf tell capitalism economy to look after the bottom bit of our specie of humanity,..not war machines that benefits the extremely rich few, i am homeless,
    And I know how it feels.

    Let us live as a specie not nations.

  18. Weirdly, in the west we blame communism for bread lines,

    but we don't blame Capitalism for homelessness.

    Hmmmmm……………

  19. Emily if homeless from Russia. Did ICE authorities check her legal status in America? Does anyone know if she is here legally. Because she can sing no one will bring this issue to the public.

  20. The great part about being committed to an ideology is that you've got one easy answer for everything, and never have to think about it further. Unfortunately, while that's great for intellectual self-gratification, it's not much use in solving problems, as evidenced by these two thinking they've got all the answers despite their atrociously one-dimensional understanding.

  21. Please stop saying idiotic terms like "a kind policeman". It was a kind person who stopped being a pig for minute because someone with a unique and desired quality touched him. If Emily had a shitty voice, or even a less perfect one, the cop might have ticketed her or otherwise harassed her.

  22. Communism was simply a Rotschild occult witchcraft creation to murder millions of Christians and other less violent forms of socialism could have emerged but the bankers favoured Marx who wrote about revolution and regarded certain types worthy of genocide like Scott’s, Basques Etc. The end times prophecy and 3 wars predicted by Albert Pike needed communism for WW 2 the occult mass murder of communism lead by Ashkenazi jews who bad behaviour in Roman times different more blood line to Jacob worshipped Baal ( democrats or Molech republicans. they wanted Carthage & loathed Jesus who needed Rome. you should not give glory to occult created communism when more efficient less demon worshipping socialism exist.

  23. It's obviously true that that productive people (defined as those who create/produce something that enriches them and/or their fellow humans), live substantially better within a capitalist economy than do those who produce little or nothing. But Wolff's implication that such is not also the case in socialist economies, is a big lie! The fact is, average people within capitalist economies have far BETTER housing than do those within socialist economies.

  24. You do know that you are free to take in a homeless person right? If everyone that has a concern about the homeless took in one homeless person then there would be no homeless people. We don't have to wait for Uncle Sam to "fix" everything.

  25. I take issue with your fraudulent description of China's strategy when faced with US tariffs. You said "if China can't sell their stuff here in USA they'll switch to selling it somewhere else such as England." But China is already selling everywhere else including England. Fact still remains if China loses business in USA… IT LOSES ALLOT OF BUSINESS that cannot be made up for selling to other countries when they are already selling to those other countries.

    What China makes is mostly stuff we really don't need – junk and toys. We buy the stuff cause it's cheep and so China sells us lots of silly stuff. But if tariffs are laid on that junk and toy stuff we are less likely to buy them and China loses a great deal of sales (and power) while we continue to buy what we need of stuff where prices haven't changed cause we make it ourselves or are buying it from other countries like India – while we make do with less of the JUNK from China that we don't really need anyway.

  26. LIKE PLEASE I HAVE A QUESTION. I would consider myself a socialist however proff wolff has pointed out as we all know that capitalism has a recession or down turn every 7 or so years. My question is how a socialist system would avoid that and if it could be done in a country on its own or would require a world wide monetary change?

  27. mega cap is bad .. anti trust laws are now ignored
    your socialism model is worse rewarding non producers…

    today's civvies are infected with the abbondanza disease..gvt BORROWS profusely.. spends..grants .. gives foreign aid.. NASA contracts.. etc etc..

    money is flowing wildly.. civvies have food.. water ..electric..plumbing..entertain…comm. trans.. fuel..gvt…army..med..sanit…!!!!!!!

    take away gvt bonds .. fed res notes.. and the system crashays…
    why ? wildly escalating unpayable debt.. our idiot.. bribed… blackmailed (epstein… remember him ?) officials grinning like baboons try to sell more and more t bonds to rake in cash..to splatter everywhere..

    the ppl are virtually comatose… card…cellies… Mickey Dee's speeders etc… flaking house of cards…

    the u s dollar is a counterfeit scrip monopoly play money creation of rath shields fedbank… ratty loans these airbux to munchkin for his t bonds… munchie is like scrambling like a kitty trying to cover up turd on a hot tin roof…
    selling new t bonds to pay back maturing bonds…not f……easibly working… the gvt t bond debt is shrieking upward.. now $23 TRILLIONS !!!!!!!!!!???!!!???????

    virtually comatose…ppl run when i try to tell them what they are facing when munchkin reneges

  28. I wish we could go back in time and isolate ourselves as we did before world war II. America used to be the police force of the world. Now we're just a big bully on the end of the block. All bullies get their comeuppance and usually painful very for the bully.

  29. The corporate elite want us all to strive to make money and become rich instead of pursuing more rewarding endeavors like the arts, sports, and humanistic pursuits.

  30. If you randomly switch on the tv and see a movie or tv show, the only way you can date a program is by looking at what model of mobile phone or landline is used. Where are the innovations that the capitalist system is supposed to be famous for, and we were promised growing up in the '50s and '60s? The only productivity growth in world economies today is the printing of money.

  31. Is this my birthday? My two favourite youtube Professors in one youtube video? 
    Burgis guest is always a delight. Also, I've read "Give Them An Argument," it's great.

  32. fact: providing housing to the homeless for free saves money
    right wingers' heads explode
    facts don't care about your feelings

  33. Humanity needs to wean itself off of money. A Resource Based Economy is a feasible alternative to the current and unsustainable monetary system which is based on exponential growth. If you haven't heard of a RBE, I urge you to research it.

  34. If Hume is correct, then there is no need to make arguments in the first place, since goals will be different. You will just talk past each others. Granted it is what is happening now. Maybe a book on rhetoric would have been better if that was true.

  35. Capitalism; Christianity; Darwinism; survival of the fittest; bastards rule the world; the weak & meek are meat and the strong do eat; ever man for himself; zero sum game; greed is good; winner take all; predatory society; evolve; adapt or die; it's a dominance hierarchy; pecking order; the game is rigged; dice are loaded; deck is stacked; house always wins; cash is King; money talks; almighty dollar; golden rule, the one with the gold makes the rule. Capitalism; the wolf is always at the door; eye for an eye.

  36. my family has been stealing from me I don't trust them with my money because they are sorry low life thieves and I don't want to see them anymore

  37. Personally I feel that minimum-wage is relative because what ever the wage is consumer prices will go up to cancel out any extra wage.what we need is a maximum wage and a tax on business that have employees on government subsidies

  38. I'm a fan of Economic Update, but what's the deal with promoting a university that costs $45,000 in tuition and fees per year? I did my master's in Europe as an international student. Tuition did not exist. I'm doing a PhD in a poorer country where tuition is about $130 per semester as a foreigner. A fraction of the price for citizens.

  39. I just now bought his book and professor Wolff's, "Understanding Marxism." I can't wait to get into them.

  40. This is a very good show. Mr. Burgis is correct, but people will have to make up their own minds. You can't convince people who don't want to change their minds. The right ringers knows their logic is BS in regards to capitalism.

  41. Ben Burgis is an excellent guest for [email protected] to promote. One point though, The people on the far right don't seem to care about logic. No matter how relevant and logical an argument is they pull a Lindsey Graham and say "I don't want to hear it." Which is pretty much an abdication of civility.

  42. Re: the homeless singer. A lot of creative people end up homeless 'cause it's hard to earn a living as a singer/musician/writer/actor, whatever… I saw lots of talented people who were homeless or living in welfare hotels when I lived in Los Angeles. Just sayin'… Artists have an especially tough time earning a living. That's always been true, but it's getting harder in today's gig economy.

  43. Sadly, and I think ironically in this case, the New School is very expensive. The average person couldn't attend there unless they got some sort of massive scholarship. I know 'cuz I wanted to go there for my degree but it's way unaffordable…

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