Richard Wolff’s failed definition of capitalism

I have watched Richard Wolff many times in his insightful criticisms of capitalism. And I agree with these criticisms. However, I disagree with him about his solution to capitalism, which is the establishment of worker-controlled enterprises as contrasted with privately-owned enterprises. This is not a solution, mainly because this does not address the problem of the unemployed. And the reason for Wolff’s non-solution is that Wolff does not really know what capitalism is as is evident from his attempt to define it.

First, capitalism is not an economic system, as he says; it is a political one, just as are slavery and feudalism.

It is a political system which prohibits people from taking land for free for subsistence. This forces people to work for other people. And the forcing is not done by the kind of laws, as in slavery or feudalism, or by laws against vagrancy (homelessness), but simply by laws forbidding free access to subsistence land.

Watch the episode below. You will hear nothing about a free access to subsistence land.

In the debate below, Gene Epstein argues convincingly that worker-owned enterprises are compatible with capitalism.

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