Our Rapacious Inequality-Economy

In this speech, the second installment in this week’s economic revelations series, economist Richard Wolff paints a lively picture of today’s systematic craziness and intentional inequality. If you are looking for examples of inequality and the resulting social disintegration, of our ailing economy and its faked recovery, of predatory capitalism or our current stock market bubble and stocks manipulation, this presentation has plenty.

The recorded video starts out with a lot of announcements which you can skip by starting 10:03 minutes into the clip (and if you don’t care to hear Wolff’s Trump-related preliminary comments, you can skip to 15:50 where the systemic analysis starts):

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Global Capitalism: Trump’s/GOP’s Tax Plan and a Changing US Economy [October 2017]”)

I tracked down some really interesting data on that Sears scandal: 

Wolff glossed over the details of the Sears CEO’s self-serving fire sale. So, I researched it a little to satisfy my curiosity about how exactly a CEO like Eddie Lampert profits from his company’s decline. After all, CEOs tend to own much of their company stock. It turns out, Eddie Lampert uses a variety of tricks such as selling Sears’ best stores to himself (using a “trust” he created) — so they become safe from being lost when Sears goes bankrupt — and then having Sears pay rent on its formerly owned properties to him (to the tune of the value of his entire Sears stocks being paid to him in a few years of rent). This naturally places an additional burden on Sears, moving it and all its employees faster towards the cliff while he is making out like a bandit. Meanwhile, some “journalists” praise Lambert for loaning a good chunk of his own money to Sears. However, what this really means is that when Sears eventually goes bankrupt, he – yes he – will be the principal creditor collecting most of what comes up for grabs on the cheap. Sources: What the Gutting of Sears Tells Us About America (Campaign for America’s Future), How Sears CEO Lampert cashes in as stores cash out (USA TODAY). This is what predatory capitalism looks like.

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