On Tuesday, October 27, 2015, renowned economics professor and radio host Richard Wolff addressed an audience of about 100 students, faculty, and members of the broader Seattle community at a guest lecture organized by the Center for Communication & Civic Engagement’s Rethinking Prosperity project. In his presentation, Wolff provided an overview of what he views as the problem we are facing and the economic history that got us to this point. Today, Wolff noted the average price for a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, for example, is $1 million while at the same time 10-15 million Americans are looking for work as the capitalists have abandoned us by moving their production where wages are low.
What do we do about this problem? “If you don’t change the system,” Wolff insisted, “you don’t solve the problem.” So how do we change the system? The alternative to our current economic structure that Wolff suggests is to democratize the enterprise. Bringing democracy to the workplace where we spend most of our time would enrich the goals of business to include more than only the profit motif. And this is not a new idea. Spain’s 7th largest corporation, Mondragon, which is a co-op in the Basque region, illustrates how this idea could be implemented on a large scale. If you missed the lecture, you can view the full lecture here: