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Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism Paperback – October 2, 2012

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Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism + Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It + Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism (City Lights Open Media)
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Editorial Reviews

Review


“Probably America’s most prominent Marxist economist.”
—New York Times Magazine

“Imagine a country where the majority of the population reaps the majority of the benefits for their hard work, creative ingenuity, and collaborative efforts. Imagine a country where corporate losses aren't socialized, while gains are captured by an exclusive minority. Imagine a country run as a democracy, from the bottom up, not a plutocracy from the top down. Richard Wolff not only imagines it, but in his compelling, captivating and stunningly reasoned new book, Democracy at Work, he details how we get there from here — and why we absolutely must.”
—Nomi Prins, Author of It Takes a Pillage and Black Tuesday

"Richard Wolff is the leading socialist economist in the country. This book is required reading for anyone concerned about a fundamental transformation of the ailing capitalist economy!" - Cornel West

"Ideas of economic democracy are very much in the air, as they should be,
with increasing urgency in the midst of today's serious crises. Richard Wolff's
constructive and innovative ideas suggest new and promising foundations for
much more authentic democracy and sustainable and equitable development,
ideas that can be implemented directly and carried forward. A very valuable
contribution in troubled times." —Noam Chomsky

“Bold, thoughtful, transformative—a powerful and challenging vision of that takes us beyond both corporate capitalism and state socialism. Richard Wolff at his best!”
—Gar Alperovitz, author of America Beyond Capitalism; Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy, University of Maryland

Praise for Capitalism Hits the Fan (book and DVD)

“With unerring coherence and unequaled breadth of knowledge, Rick Wolff offers a rich and much needed corrective to the views of mainstream economists and pundits. It would be difficult to come away from this... with anything but an acute appreciation of what is needed to get us out of this mess.”
—Stanley Aronowitz, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Urban Education, City University of New York

From the Back Cover


A new historical vista is opening before us in this time of change, Wolff writes in this compelling new manifesto for a democratic alternative based on workers managing their own workplaces.

Capitalism as a system has spawned deepening economic crisis alongside its bought-and-paid for political establishment. Neither serves the needs of our society. Whether it is secure, well-paid and meaningful jobs or a sustainable relationship with the natural environment that we depend on, our society is not delivering the results people need and deserve.

One key cause for this intolerable state of affairs is the lack of genuine democracy in our economy as well as in our politics. The solution requires the institution of genuine economic democracy, starting with workers managing their own workplaces, as the basis for a genuine political democracy.

Here Wolff lays out a hopeful and concrete vision of how to make that possible, addressing the many people who have concluded economic inequality and politics as usual can no longer be tolerated and are looking for a concrete program of action.

Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is currently a Visiting Professor at the New School University in New York. Wolf is the author of many books, including Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It. He hosts the weekly hour-long radio program Economic Update on WBAI (Pacifica Radio) and writes regularly for The Guardian, Truthout.org, and the MRZine.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Haymarket Books (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608462471
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608462476
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Visiting Professor at the New School University in New York. Wolff's recent work has concentrated on analyzing the causes and alternative solutions to the global economic crisis. His groundbreaking book Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism inspired the creation of Democracy at Work, a nonprofit organization dedicated to showing how and why to make democratic workplaces real. Wolff is also the author of Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism and Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It. He hosts the weekly hour-long radio program "Economic Update," which is syndicated on public radio stations nationwide, and he writes regularly for The Guardian and Truthout.org. Wolff appears frequently on television and radio to discuss his work, with recent guest spots including "Real Time with Bill Maher," "Moyers & Company," "Charlie Rose," "Up with Chris Hayes," and "Democracy Now!." He is also a frequent lecturer at colleges and universities across the country.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Hans G. Despain on October 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
Recently Rick Wolff has been a one-man Revolution. He is the most dangerous economist in America to the oligopolistic hegemony of the American corporation. He is recently off the widely acclaimed success of his book Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It and DVD Capitalism Hits the Fan: Richard Wolff on the Economic Meltdown. This book and DVD explain how and why the crisis hit and why it was so deep and economically devastating.

More recently his book Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism (City Lights Open Media) explains the economic and material conditions of American protests and Occupy movements and predicts that ultimately these protests won't go away because the problems persist.

He has published with Steve Resnick Contending Economic Theories: Neoclassical, Keynesian, and Marxian which explains and compares orthodox microeconomics, with Keynesian macroeconomics, and with a political economy approach to understanding capitalism from a Marxian economic perspective.
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58 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Earl Powell on October 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been following Richard Wolff for the last few years. He often talked about the idea of a Workers Self Directed Enterprise (WSDE). I have been looking for more information on such an organization and how to create and manage such an organization. Richard Wolff's new book "Democracy at Work, A Cure for Capitalism" is just the "nuts and bolts" book I have been looking for. The first half of the book covers the "why" and the second half of the book covers the "how" to create a Workers Self Directed Enterprise. Please pay attention to Richard's reference to Italy's Marcora law. I am having meeting this week to see how we could create a pilot Marcora type law in California to support new entrepreneurial enterprises in Silicon Valley.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By P. Schumacher on February 22, 2013
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This book is not as good as Wolff's "Occupy the Economy."

It lays out the same basic proposal--worker controlled workplaces--but treats it in a more academic and stuffy way.

In "Occupy the Economy," Wolff is on fire. He not only explains his positions, he advocates for them. He gives a wealth of history and fact to support his conclusions.

But here, in "Democracy at Work," he confines himself to an abstract, almost soporific, presentation.

This is a shame, because his ideas have real merit.

Wish I could give five stars, but after "Occupy the Economy," this one's a letdown.
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48 of 56 people found the following review helpful By William H. DuBay on November 18, 2012
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Simply and intelligently written, Richard Wolff plots a way out of our economic malaise by centering on Worker Self-Directed Enterprises (WSDEs).

He contends there is no denying that the world-wide recession we face demonstrates the failure of capitalism as a system of production. The New Deal attempts to "fix" and tame capitalism in the 1930s have failed. Capitalists will always have the ability to defeat any attempt to control or limit its predatory reach. It is time to look for a better alternative.

As Marx and many others have taught, work is central to our lives. Separating workers from the products of their labor is deeply alienating and vastly dysfunctional for both the individual and society.

The author shows how both capitalism and state socialism have failed by failing to observe Marx's central teaching on the surpluses created in production. Under capitalism, those surpluses are appropriated and distributed by capitalists, people who do not produce them.

The socialist experiments in USSR and China also failed for the same reason. While they nationalized industries and used central planning, they failed to engage the workers in the in the appropriation and distribution of their surpluses. It was a form of state capitalism, in which the surpluses of production were appropriated and distributed by party officials and other apparatchiks of government. This led to precisely the same dissatisfaction and inequalities experienced by workers in capitalist societies.

Wolff's solution is found in the workers' appropriating and distributing the surpluses they have created. It is a brilliant solution that salvages the best features of capitalism including private property, free enterprise, and the market.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Bette Waters on November 1, 2012
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Best explanation of what is happening to our country politically today. Wolff lays out capitalism in its disguises--private capitalism versus state capitalism --called socialism by some--which is always in some degree of a pendulum swing between the two. Whether private or state it is still capitalism. Wolff lays out the problems with both choices and promotes what he calls worker ownership of the surplus goods they produce where the worker owns the profits from their work, not stockholders of corporations. This has not been tried as a system. Opponents to any choice that includes ownership by workers use devil words like communism, marxism to disclaim the value of any move away from capitalism.
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