Draw your own conclusions

We have spoken about learning the language of the economists -- that this is something that literacy workers need to have in our toolbox in order to understand policy and to speak to policy makers. I think Richard Wolff is an economist who would agree.

I think he also agrees with those who speak the language of literacy - observe your reality, discuss your reality, read about it, analyse it and finally, transform it. In other words, get your critical thinking, transformational mojo on.

There are many economists who speak a language that is very close to the language of literacy workers.

In this extended interview with Richard Wolff from Democracy Now, he discusses how his parents fled Hitler and immigrated to the United States from Germany during World War II, and how he "grew up convinced that understanding the political and economic environment I lived in was an urgent matter that had to be done, and made me a little different from many of my fellow kids in school who didn’t have that sense of the urgency of understanding how the world worked to be able to navigate an unstable and often dangerous world."

If you would rather read this interview, click on the Democracy Now link to read the transcript.

Here is the Democracy Now interview with Richard Woolf about the American economy - Capitalism in Crisis: Richard Wolff Urges End to Austerity, New Jobs Program, Democratizing Work. Click here to read the transcript.

We live in a country that says it goes to war around the world to bring democracy and that its central, most important political value is democracy. If you believe that—and I am a fervent supporter of democracy, and obviously you are—you’ve named your program that way—then we ought to have democracy in the place where we as adults spend most of our time. Five out of seven days we go to work. We walk into a place where we use our brains and our muscles eight or more hours, five out of seven days. If democracy is an important value, it ought to be right there, first and foremost. But we don’t. We basically have a situation where, for most of us, we go to work in a place where the decisions that are made are made by a tiny group of people. The major shareholders who own the block of shares in our system select a board of directors, 15 to 20 people, and they make the basic decisions: what to produce, how to produce it, where to produce it, and what to do with the profits. The rest of us must live with the results of that decision. ... Let’s build an option, a real choice for Americans, between working in a non-democratic, top-down-organized capitalist enterprise or in what, for lack of a better term, we can call "cooperatives," workplaces that are organized democratically. I think we’ll have less inequality of income, we will have less pollution of our environment, and we’ll have less loss of jobs out of the country, if those decisions were made by the people, as they should have been from the beginning, who will not make the kinds of decisions that got us into the mess of economic crisis that we’re in now.

1 comment:

risky mouse said...

Once I used the term "collective" to describe a planning process at a staff meeting in a community agency where I used to work. At our next staff meeting, our manager brought her manager to explain to me that our workplace was NOT a collective but a facilitated hierarchy. I was under no illusion that I was working in a collective but was quite surprised that using that descriptor would provoke such a reaction. I was too scared to ask what a facilitated hierarchy is and I have never found anyone who knows :) Needless to say - I started the job search soon after and was lucky enough to find a better place to work.