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Today's economic crisis is capitalism's worst since the Great Depression. Millions have lost jobs, homes, and healthcare. Many with jobs watch pensions, benefits, and job security decline. While most live with increasing uncertainty, the system makes the very wealthy even richer. In eye-opening interviews with prominent economist Richard Wolff, David Barsamian probes the Today's economic crisis is capitalism's worst since the Great Depression. Millions have lost jobs, homes, and healthcare. Many with jobs watch pensions, benefits, and job security decline. While most live with increasing uncertainty, the system makes the very wealthy even richer. In eye-opening interviews with prominent economist Richard Wolff, David Barsamian probes the root causes of the current crisis, its unjust social costs, and what can and should be done to turn things around. While others blame corrupt bankers and unregulated speculators or the government or even the poor who borrowed, the authors show that the causes of the crisis run much deeper. They reach back to the 1970s when the capitalist system itself shifted, ending the century-old pattern of rising wages for Americans and thereby enabling the top 1% to become ultra-rich at the expense of the 99%. Since then, economic injustice has become chronic and further corrupted politics. Occupy's indignation with the whole system mobilizes a diverse range of Americans who seek basic change. Occupying the Economy not only clarifies and analyzes the crisis in US capitalism today, it also points toward solutions that can shape a far better future for all. Richard Wolff is professor of economics at U. Mass, and visiting professor at the New School in New York City. He hosts a program on WBAI and is author of the hit book Capitalism Hits the Fan. David Barsamian is director of Alternative Radio and author of many interview books, including What We Say Goes with Noam Chomsky.


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Today's economic crisis is capitalism's worst since the Great Depression. Millions have lost jobs, homes, and healthcare. Many with jobs watch pensions, benefits, and job security decline. While most live with increasing uncertainty, the system makes the very wealthy even richer. In eye-opening interviews with prominent economist Richard Wolff, David Barsamian probes the Today's economic crisis is capitalism's worst since the Great Depression. Millions have lost jobs, homes, and healthcare. Many with jobs watch pensions, benefits, and job security decline. While most live with increasing uncertainty, the system makes the very wealthy even richer. In eye-opening interviews with prominent economist Richard Wolff, David Barsamian probes the root causes of the current crisis, its unjust social costs, and what can and should be done to turn things around. While others blame corrupt bankers and unregulated speculators or the government or even the poor who borrowed, the authors show that the causes of the crisis run much deeper. They reach back to the 1970s when the capitalist system itself shifted, ending the century-old pattern of rising wages for Americans and thereby enabling the top 1% to become ultra-rich at the expense of the 99%. Since then, economic injustice has become chronic and further corrupted politics. Occupy's indignation with the whole system mobilizes a diverse range of Americans who seek basic change. Occupying the Economy not only clarifies and analyzes the crisis in US capitalism today, it also points toward solutions that can shape a far better future for all. Richard Wolff is professor of economics at U. Mass, and visiting professor at the New School in New York City. He hosts a program on WBAI and is author of the hit book Capitalism Hits the Fan. David Barsamian is director of Alternative Radio and author of many interview books, including What We Say Goes with Noam Chomsky.

30 review for Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    A very readable and concise overview of the many failings global capitalism, with a few suggestions as to what might help us move beyond such a dysfunctional system. Presented in an interview format, it covers a lot of ground while it keeps things moving along briskly. My one complaint about the book is that there are several typos in it. Whoever transcribed the conversation into print wasn't particularly diligent in proofreading it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ietrio

    Occupy! It has worked for Wolff. Sometimes he scribbles some papers. And the taxpayer has a duty to pay his wages. Does he want to visit Paris? Well, the College secretariat will take care of it. And Wolff will occupy his rightful place in a plane. Sometimes it's the secretary from his buddies' College that is taking care so Wolff could occupy a nice hotel room and have a good meal. I mean think of all the poor workers! The ignoramuses have chosen to support the Capitalist owner of a business Occupy! It has worked for Wolff. Sometimes he scribbles some papers. And the taxpayer has a duty to pay his wages. Does he want to visit Paris? Well, the College secretariat will take care of it. And Wolff will occupy his rightful place in a plane. Sometimes it's the secretary from his buddies' College that is taking care so Wolff could occupy a nice hotel room and have a good meal. I mean think of all the poor workers! The ignoramuses have chosen to support the Capitalist owner of a business instead of the life-giving government. And Wolff, in his charity is spending long overpaid hours to teach where the good life is.

  3. 5 out of 5

    City Lights Booksellers & Publishers

    "Wolff, a Marxist economist, gives a deeper analysis of capitalism, so that the 'mysteries' of wealth accumulation become clear in all their exploitative nature. By reading "Occupy the Economy," the reader will unknowingly receive an excellent introductory lesson into Marx's greatest literary achievement, “Capital.” —Shamus Cooke, Smirking Chimp "Occupy activists everywhere are heatedly debating the question, 'What's next for our movement?' In his collected interviews with David Barsamian, "Wolff, a Marxist economist, gives a deeper analysis of capitalism, so that the 'mysteries' of wealth accumulation become clear in all their exploitative nature. By reading "Occupy the Economy," the reader will unknowingly receive an excellent introductory lesson into Marx's greatest literary achievement, “Capital.” —Shamus Cooke, Smirking Chimp "Occupy activists everywhere are heatedly debating the question, 'What's next for our movement?' In his collected interviews with David Barsamian, radical economist Richard Wolff lays out a compelling framework for further anti-corporate organizing that focuses on the root of the problem: capitalism and its never-ending assault on the 99%. Occupiers (past, present, and future) now have an intellectual guide to a different kind of economy--one that's equitable, sustainable and, let's hope, politically achievable, sooner rather than later. Wolff's deep but conversational synthesis of recent practice and older theory couldn't be more timely, persuasive, and readable. This book should be required reading for all labor and community organizers newly inspired by Occupy Wall Street!" —Steve Early, labor activist, journalist, and author of The Civil Wars in U.S. Labor

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    A short, easy primer to reframing the current economic debate about capitalism. It summarizes the economic parallels to the past that exemplify the shortfalls of unregulated free markets (such as the market crash of '29 and The Great Depression). It explains many of America's current economic struggles, the roots of which began in the 1970's as corporations began shipping American jobs overseas. The book's second half is about solutions to our current woes. The occupy movement is symbolic of A short, easy primer to reframing the current economic debate about capitalism. It summarizes the economic parallels to the past that exemplify the shortfalls of unregulated free markets (such as the market crash of '29 and The Great Depression). It explains many of America's current economic struggles, the roots of which began in the 1970's as corporations began shipping American jobs overseas. The book's second half is about solutions to our current woes. The occupy movement is symbolic of America's desire for something more democratic and equitable than our current system (it points out the parallels and similarities in both the right and left's frustration with current economics). This discourse should include criticism of unregulated capitalism as well as the subject of democratic socialism. The book calls for a new, current New Deal (similar to what America had under Roosevelt after The Depression). It also points out the need for democracy in work places and the benefits of democracy at work.

  5. 4 out of 5

    henry

    I had a few problems with this book: 1) Wolff, while skillfully presenting the deficiencies of capitalism and the argument for the replacement of capitalism with Marxism, fails to actually define his ideas as Marxist until very late in the book—choosing instead to refer to them as “anti-capitalist”—a tactic I suspect is designed to lure the uninitiated and uninformed into embracing Marxism without knowing it. 2) He argues that the American capitalist system was perverted by the Federal Reserve I had a few problems with this book: 1) Wolff, while skillfully presenting the deficiencies of capitalism and the argument for the replacement of capitalism with Marxism, fails to actually define his ideas as Marxist until very late in the book—choosing instead to refer to them as “anti-capitalist”—a tactic I suspect is designed to lure the uninitiated and uninformed into embracing Marxism without knowing it. 2) He argues that the American capitalist system was perverted by the Federal Reserve and the plutocrats, but then fails to draw the connection between that and the current economic crisis; instead, he simply declares capitalism to be a failure. 3) There were so many typos, missing words, and grammatical errors in this book that I had a difficult time reading it and came away with the sense that this work was both rushed and unprofessional.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Debra Daniels-zeller

    I'd wanted a different book by Richard Wolff but this was the only book my library offered. It isn't a long book and it's written in an interview style, which is possibly why I had a hard time picking it up and reading it. Lots of great information, but I think if it had been written in a different style it would have been a more inviting read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Hussen krimx8

    Richard wollff has his way with language, his simple articulation of the economy and straight forward explanations of the issues at hand are the best, a proletariat and people oriented book for all to read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Wolff gives some interesting history of our capitalistic economy that includes previous spikes and depressions and how they were dealt with succesfully. The 1% tends to be a greedy problem forever that previous Presidents have handled by financing new products such as aviation and the semiconductor industry. He gives some solutions. The one I thought was the most far fetched being that we need private companies controlled by employees at large rather than a select group of 15 board member and Wolff gives some interesting history of our capitalistic economy that includes previous spikes and depressions and how they were dealt with succesfully. The 1% tends to be a greedy problem forever that previous Presidents have handled by financing new products such as aviation and the semiconductor industry. He gives some solutions. The one I thought was the most far fetched being that we need private companies controlled by employees at large rather than a select group of 15 board member and share holders. While that may sound great, I have yet to see that rank and file employees are capable of making business decisions rather than heading out to have a nice evening or a great weekend. On the other hand, maybe they wouldn't do any worse than the average board or share holders seem to do. Wolff does well to discuss the difference in our job base with the advent of computers and well developed global transportation.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    A straight non ideological argument as to why capitalism doesn't work. He points out quite clearly why it works for one percent. But he is very clear that democracy itself is capable of changing it. What I liked most are the connections between the economy and the average Americans working environment. No democracy at our jobs thanks to a vast system of bosses and supervisors so that the average american has very little say in what they do. Which perfectly mirrors a corporate model where boards A straight non ideological argument as to why capitalism doesn't work. He points out quite clearly why it works for one percent. But he is very clear that democracy itself is capable of changing it. What I liked most are the connections between the economy and the average Americans working environment. No democracy at our jobs thanks to a vast system of bosses and supervisors so that the average american has very little say in what they do. Which perfectly mirrors a corporate model where boards of directors decide everything. Real change means do ops and other forms of worker controlled businesses. Real democracy can level the playing field.

  10. 4 out of 5

    R.

    Dr. Wolff's summary of the events that have placed us in today's dire economic straits are spot on, the best I have seen. I have been aware of virtually all of the events de discusses, and have even had the same thoughts about them as Dr. Wolff. However, he has gone the extra step of explaining how these events have not only led from one to the next, but how they interact and feed back to worsen the situation. The first chapter or two should be mandatory for all Americans. However, the rest of Dr. Wolff's summary of the events that have placed us in today's dire economic straits are spot on, the best I have seen. I have been aware of virtually all of the events de discusses, and have even had the same thoughts about them as Dr. Wolff. However, he has gone the extra step of explaining how these events have not only led from one to the next, but how they interact and feed back to worsen the situation. The first chapter or two should be mandatory for all Americans. However, the rest of the book is dated. The Occupy movement may not be dead, but it's certainly not the standard-bearer for an effective counter to capitalism-run-amok.

  11. 5 out of 5

    McGrouchpants, Ltd.

    At last! A user's guide to a (conceptual) "way in." Not content with either the slogans of the Left or the indifferent, pseudoapologies of the Right, Richard D. Wolff gives us the "bright spots": maybe dimly seen, but worth striving for, in a new way of conceiving of how to make the Economy work, as it couldn't've been intended otherwise, ultimately: to work for us. Light reading, too, remarkably. The skills of the interviewer come in handy, making this plane-ride or coffee-shop parseable. And you At last! A user's guide to a (conceptual) "way in." Not content with either the slogans of the Left or the indifferent, pseudoapologies of the Right, Richard D. Wolff gives us the "bright spots": maybe dimly seen, but worth striving for, in a new way of conceiving of how to make the Economy work, as it couldn't've been intended otherwise, ultimately: to work for us. Light reading, too, remarkably. The skills of the interviewer come in handy, making this plane-ride or coffee-shop parseable. And you be so much better off! (Shell out. City Lights operators are standing by!

  12. 4 out of 5

    James

    Very very good. Written in a conversational style in interview/ conversation with David Barasamian Richard Wolff gives a straight forward, and at times humorours explanation of why our economic system doesn't work. He also offers realistic suggestions for alternatives. As a Professor of Economic he backs up his arguments with facts, and figures but is never boring. This is an interesting read, even for those not new to the ideas. What is striking is how those of us in the English speaking world Very very good. Written in a conversational style in interview/ conversation with David Barasamian Richard Wolff gives a straight forward, and at times humorours explanation of why our economic system doesn't work. He also offers realistic suggestions for alternatives. As a Professor of Economic he backs up his arguments with facts, and figures but is never boring. This is an interesting read, even for those not new to the ideas. What is striking is how those of us in the English speaking world have been blinded to the simple facts of economic theory and history. It's a small, short book but well worth a read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Wolff gives a very reader friendly overview of why capitalism isn't working and why the occupy movement is so important. Very informative. I have listened to Wolff speak on various Pacifica radio shows and his ideas are relevant and if enacted upon, extremely workable in today's society. Some of his facts were amazing and very disturbing - 100 million Americans living on, very near or below the poverty line..20 million officially unemployed. Its terrible and the more capitalism stuffs up, the Wolff gives a very reader friendly overview of why capitalism isn't working and why the occupy movement is so important. Very informative. I have listened to Wolff speak on various Pacifica radio shows and his ideas are relevant and if enacted upon, extremely workable in today's society. Some of his facts were amazing and very disturbing - 100 million Americans living on, very near or below the poverty line..20 million officially unemployed. Its terrible and the more capitalism stuffs up, the more these people suffer. I hope my country of Australia doesn't follow this path...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stuart

    concise explanation of current economic crisis in Q/A format. I like how David Barsamian was able to take a complex topic and break it down in a language your average illiterate, media-addicted public would be able to understand while not skimping on the best ideals of Marxist thought in a way usable and tangible to the current dilemma.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gregory Ardison-Gardner

    A good introduction to the thought of Professor Richard Wolff through the lens of the Occupy Movement. For more in-depth analysis, I would recommend some of his other books, as many of those themes are summarized here.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Leon Bailey

    Good set of interviews. Prelude to Wolff's Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Roberta Roy

    Simply stated, persuasively clear. A short path to understanding the Occupy Movement. Recommended particularly if you haven't a lot of time to study the subject.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    Informative.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Diana Kendall

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andreas Albertsen

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brittany Farrell

  22. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Jäger

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alex Swash

  24. 5 out of 5

    Middlethought

  25. 4 out of 5

    Henry Silver

  26. 4 out of 5

    Calvin Forbes

  27. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jackie Murray

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rodrigo Veras

  30. 4 out of 5

    Felipe

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