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Program and Personnel for Increasing WSDEs

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D. Wolff, R. (2012). Program and Personnel for Increasing WSDEs. In D. Wolff, R. Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism. Haymarket Books, pp. 169-180

178

[...] The left has always existed in tension between two basic dimensions. On the one hand, the left needs and desires to be concrete and practical, to have its feet on the ground, with direct responses to people’s immediate needs and solutions for today’s problems. On the other hand, it needs to have and project its utopian dimensions. Those include its visions for what could solve not only today’s problems, but rather the underlying structural conditions that keep regenerating them. Utopian dimensions also include a clear vision of an alternative set of structural conditions that people believe might work and are therefore worth fighting for as an alternative to a deteriorating status quo.

Capitalism has generated its own organic intellectuals. In the United States and elsewhere, academic departments of economics have worked to train them at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduate courses focus chiefly on capitalism’s extraordinary excellence in allocating scarce resources among competing demands and generating income distributions that justly reward all contributors to production. Graduate economics programs elevate such utopian claims into formalized models that claim to show how and why capitalism yields a general optimally efficient equilibrium that maximizes the welfare of all market participants.

The organic intellectuals of the WSDE movement can present both practical possibilities (as in section 10.1 above) and utopian visions of a socialism that is far more democratic than the standard examples from the twentieth century. By doing so, they may be able to persuade the Occupy movement and the millions it has engaged that WSDEs belong on the agenda for social change. The program for increased WSDEs needs to support and build—in universities, labor unions, social movements, and beyond—the meetings, discussions, courses, and centers that can generate and train organic intellectuals.

—p.178 by Richard D. Wolff 5 years, 7 months ago

[...] The left has always existed in tension between two basic dimensions. On the one hand, the left needs and desires to be concrete and practical, to have its feet on the ground, with direct responses to people’s immediate needs and solutions for today’s problems. On the other hand, it needs to have and project its utopian dimensions. Those include its visions for what could solve not only today’s problems, but rather the underlying structural conditions that keep regenerating them. Utopian dimensions also include a clear vision of an alternative set of structural conditions that people believe might work and are therefore worth fighting for as an alternative to a deteriorating status quo.

Capitalism has generated its own organic intellectuals. In the United States and elsewhere, academic departments of economics have worked to train them at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduate courses focus chiefly on capitalism’s extraordinary excellence in allocating scarce resources among competing demands and generating income distributions that justly reward all contributors to production. Graduate economics programs elevate such utopian claims into formalized models that claim to show how and why capitalism yields a general optimally efficient equilibrium that maximizes the welfare of all market participants.

The organic intellectuals of the WSDE movement can present both practical possibilities (as in section 10.1 above) and utopian visions of a socialism that is far more democratic than the standard examples from the twentieth century. By doing so, they may be able to persuade the Occupy movement and the millions it has engaged that WSDEs belong on the agenda for social change. The program for increased WSDEs needs to support and build—in universities, labor unions, social movements, and beyond—the meetings, discussions, courses, and centers that can generate and train organic intellectuals.

—p.178 by Richard D. Wolff 5 years, 7 months ago