AskProfWolff: What about the “conscious capitalism” movement?

AskProfWolff: What about the “conscious capitalism” movement?


This question comes to us from the Ask
Prof. Wolff page of rdwolff.com that’s rdwolff with two Fs dot com. And this
particular question comes from Bud Blumenthal, and here’s what Bud is asking: there’s a new kind of capitalism that’s getting a lot of attention.
It’s called conscious capitalism, and basically the idea is, maybe we could be
better off if we had a capitalism that was more conscious of the problems of
capitalism, more mindful, perhaps of some of the costs of capitalism, some of the
victims of capitalism, some of the ways that capitalism doesn’t do well for the
majority of people, even while it profits a small number. The history of capitalism
is full of these ideas. Conscious capitalism is one. Capitalism with the
human face is another. Socially responsible capitalism, and so it goes.
The idea has often been that we live with a capitalism that really is
deficient in many ways, couldn’t we have a capitalism that worked better? Well, on
the one hand, yes, we probably could, but the reality is whenever we’ve tried that,
it either hasn’t worked, or, if it has, it hasn’t lasted very long.
For example, Franklin Roosevelt in the depths of the Great Depression, produced
an American capitalism, under pressure from working people below
him, that was really pretty conscious, and pretty socially responsible, and had a
much more humane face than the one we live in now. But as, by the way proof of
the point, it hasn’t lasted. The last 30, 40 years have been the undoing of the New
Deal capitalism Roosevelt was responsible for. I’m afraid that the real
capitalism we live with, is the one that ends up being the capitalism most of the
time, and so the conclusion I would draw is, we’re better off not pushing for a
conscious or better, or a socially responsible
capitalism, because it doesn’t last. We really need to get to a different system,
so we’re not constantly trying to make something better which eludes all our
efforts.

26 Comments on "AskProfWolff: What about the “conscious capitalism” movement?"


  1. I think conscious capitalism is like democracy where big corporations own the media. We can vote, but we don't really have any power since our feedback mechanism is distorted.

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  2. "Conscious Capitalism" is an oxymoron, just like "Facebook Privacy" or "Police Union" or 'Bourgeoise Democracy" or, umm "Happily Married".

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  3. The uber rich don't have a conscious. They could care less about the "victims" of capitalism or any unfairness within the "system". Capitalism is literally killing us and the environmental parameters than enable life to exist on this planet. Humanity is in it's final hours, and if things don't change, dramatically, we are all toast.
    It's time for #SocialistRevolution.

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  4. The only way to do 'conscious capitalism' is to consciously regulate capitalism.
    But as the Prof says capitalists will naturally work tirelessly to evade and to remove regulations; and since they possess most of the wealth and influence in our world (as the aristocrats did previously; they are today's aristocrats) they will prevail as they have in recent decades and will continue to do under President Trump.
    Each time capitalism has a crisis that is deep and serious enough there is a push back against its worst excesses and some progress towards a more equitable and humane society is made; followed by the capitalists and their agents pushing back to undo the progress. And so it goes on….until ?
    Until humanity awakens to the realisation we live in a finite biosphere which is being poisoned by our industrial civilisation.
    That is the crisis which will impose the existential necessity for real change in how we live in this world; how we produce and distribute and consume life support. We will need to develop new systems of production and distribution.
    The biospheric crisis will be the main event of this century and will bring massive changes to our world and society.

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  5. Capitalism is inherently non-democratic and a tool for making theft legal. Making it "conscious" is just another mean to make it seem more eatable to the average person. Pretending to care about geniune values and ideas while still actively acting out the exploitive nature of capitalism just as ruthless as "normal" capitalism does not help the issue.

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  6. Victims of Capitalism? Wow, amazing socialist hateful rhetoric. Imagine Professor Wolff living in Venezuela, wonder how much weight he might lose? Maybe he'll say Socialism is good for Weight Loss?

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  7. We need a greater movement for worker Co-ops, Wolff you need to get on The Jimmy Dore Show more often, you need to talk with Tim Black, Kyle from secular talk and more importantly get on TYT and have Cenk interview you, Cenk has massive power in the progressive movement but he is infected with misguided capitalist ideals. You need to do more outreach to progressive left shows. There is a video of you giving an 1.33 hour lecture on the introduction to Marxism in 2013, I have viewing parties where I invite Americans into my home to watch your lecture and by the end of it everyone is either crying or ready for action, these people tell me that you made them understand more about their personal psyche than they could even think possible. I am committed to creating more Marxists and by the groups of 10 – 20 people I invite these people are now calling themselves anti-capitalist Marxists.

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  8. Yeah I'll buy that, what would capitalism be without greed?
    If you have a new dream bring it down I'll make it used. Buy a new dream at used dream prices but don't buy a dream until tell you talk to me. We have more dreams to sell. Iron American Dream on YouTube Share it. Take a ride across the promised land.
    Ride a Harley.

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  9. Capitalist institutions, or corporations, are, by their very design, psychopathic institutions. Which means they've no guilt or empathy. That's by design. I mean, does a tobacco company really and truly care about people?
    What about McDonald's? Does it really care about the health of human beings or even other species?
    Does, say, Burger King care about cows? No. They're designed to maximize profits and not care about people, other species, future generations or the planet as a whole.

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  10. The Republican Tax Bill: How many times is a working person's p[aycheck taxed? Am I not being taxed twice (3 times?!) 40 years paying into SS & Medicare & now I am receiving SS with Medicare cost deducted from the monthly payment.

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  11. This is true – Post WWII the UK had Clement Attlee who was very much a socialist and made many policies similar to FDR – we formed the NHS and the NCB. Since the 1980's under Thatcher all of those gains were torn down and sold off to profit the few.

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  12. Why should capitalism have a conscience?????? YOU HAVE A RULE OF LAW — it is not capitalisms job to be mindful —- RULE OF LAW, we don't have laws that protect people from predatory capitalism. This is just fucking stupid talk.

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  13. It is rather unclear if Prof. Wolff is specifically speaking about the US or if he, indeed, speaks about all capitalist countries worldwide. The Scandinavian countries, for example, practice a much more conscious form of capitalism than the US – same goes for some other European countries (e.g. Portugal). In all these countries these more conscious forms of capitalism have lasted. I'd be interested to get a clearer response from Wolff on this, I really am not sure here if he is just talking about US capitalism or capitalism as a whole.

    Reply

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