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Learning From Coronavirus: We Can't Rely on Capitalism to Serve Our Most Basic Social Needs

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/04/18/learning-coronavirus-we-cant-rely-capitalism-serve-our-most-basic-social-needs


Yes there is more than sufficient resources to guarantee the basics in Life to all humans why should one have to work 11 hour days for basic survival.
Survival must be guaranteed for all ,education,health care ,housing health giving food and pure fresh water and clean non polluted air.
These are the basics ,from there if people want more stuff they will have the opportunity to meet those desires.
This is a conciousness shift based on a higher understanding that we are all One and there’s always enough of the stuff of life to go around.


OMG more “Proudhon will save us” baloney from Wolff.

Wolff is a voice in the wilderness in our capitalist Empire. The problem is how do we get from here to there? Clearly the current system will have to die before a new, rational, people and planet centered system can emerge. Is that even possible in our brainwashed society?..


Interesting point. Thank you.

Do you mind, though? Would you please elaborate on your point? Would you please explain your point to those of us who are not familiar with Proudhon?

Thanks a bunch!


I respect this author and his work and contribution - in general.
But frankly, what is the point of this article? (a) Do we need Covid19 to know all of this? Much of this (not all) is already happening in many other countries in different forms. And (b), it seems that the author is generalizing a bit here about capitalism. New Zealand and a few other countries did splendidly with Covid, although their economic system is capitalism - but not the casino US type, which seems the author is generalizing. As their political systems are not wholly owned and controlled by a few at the top of the business class…and their societies morals are different from the US.

This typical for you catch-phrase limited comment asks many more questions than it answers - as usual. Do you really believe all is well in our republic and the world with capitalist usury rampant, vast wealth and the “marketplace” the arbiters and controlling factors determining life on Earth and a sustainable future?
The “baloney” claim demands a comment far-more than 9 shallow bait-words. Are you claiming what Proudhon wrote in the distant mid-1800’s is the same as Prof Wolff writes in our current abusive situation?
Wealth and those that control it dominate the narrative, wage-debt slavery, education, the environment, and informing citizens, as well as most other crimes and destruction of capitalist usury and its captive government swine…


Anarchist? Go back and check your definitions, Professor Wolff is advocating a mixed system that includes socialist concepts - examine his list - that would improve the quality of life for those with little or no hope in this authoritarian capitalist system where the elite control more and more of our lives while ever increasing numbers go without the basic needs of life. You are the one spreading the BS.


Dr. Wolff,

You’ve forgotten the most important domain that needs socializing - the banking/finance industry - Public Banking should be the initial step to make progress in other areas possible.


Well that’s a bit too complicated to get into here, but the gist of it is that both Proudhon and Wolff adhere to forms of cooperatives, or cooperative socialism, Proudhon in 19th century France and Wolff in, e.g., his advocacy of the Mondragon cooperatives in Spain (sorry you’ll have to look all this up since CD doesn’t allow links). Proudhon was one of the first anarchists. There are many Marxist critiques of cooperativism and Proudhon and why it won’t work. I think these points go double for the current coronacrisis. If you want to go deeper you can start with Marx’s Poverty of Philosophy. Social democratic critiques exist too, for example Sam Gindin’s critique of Wolff. Sorry if people think the comments are too cryptic, but this is a lousy medium for going deep into anything.




Do you really believe all is well in our republic and the world with capitalist usury rampant,

No I obviously don’t. As for the “catch phrases” see above.

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Any good we derive from capitalism is lost to the other than upper crust.
We can’t all be managers and owners, who the hell will do the work then?

We are capitalists all right. We won’t protest our high cost of healthcare, our outrages school debt, the abuse of our natural resources, commercial and domestic, and we must enjoy our car loans, credit card loans, mortgages, etc.
No outrage. So be it.

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Because they depend heavily on the supports, donations, lobbyists, etc. of private capitalists, most governments are enthusiastically complicit with their leading private capitalists.

Yes. We see how this derailed FDR programs when, wishing to involve US America in WWII to fight the Nazis, he needed the co-operation of the businesses to manufacture the military hardware. I have been wondering if this was not the catalyst for the greed we see today in the military-industrial complex. As other posters have repeatedly pointed out: War is profitable.

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Simple and easy to understand, there could be a few more basics not mentioned but all in all could in incuded in one of the eight. Capitalism without regulations does not work for all the people of the world. We don’t want to have gov’t produce our cars, cell telephones, jeans, washing machines et al but the market has to be regulated to insure quality products and do no harm I remember the Corvair in 60’s and Ralph Nader stood up for the safety of the consumer.

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The Real Estate market was taken over by Wall Street creating all kinds of bubbles and casino gambling on the internet driving of price. Prior to that real estate (homes) the American Dream and easily gotten by many and provided a retirement for our last generation which is almost gone. Wall Street has taken billions out of that market like our Secretary of Treasury, Steve Muchin label the repo king in 2008 which Kamala Harris did not follow thru and procedute him as Attorney General in California.


Well, then let’s put the capitalists in coops. Lock 'em up!

Thank you for saving me the trouble of posting. Public banks at the city, state, and above all, at the federal level will insure that what interest is charged (and often there should be none at all) is returned to the people for further loans.


No, but the managers and owners can be equal partners with their workers. This has been proven feasible in many circumstances and increases the desire of “workers” to be more productive for their own benefit.


We can never go back the pre Coronavirus ‘Normal’
THAT ‘normal’ is - was - has been - the Problem.

The Status Quo, “Golden years” of Obama and Wild Bill Clinton Are a huge part of why we are HERE NOW.


Wolff’s Workers Self Directed Enterprises as many point out on the comments, simply is not a social solution for the capitalist system.

No matter how often he defines his capitalism as “private” it does not do away with the fact that the laws and relationships of capitalism still include state-ownership and cooperatives.

Try reading these articles as a remedy for Wolff