Elizabeth Warren wants to save capitalism from itself

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/08/16/the-german-model.html


It should also be called the “put up or shut up” act.

This is going to end up being the big debate over the next decade or so. Should we go with the german model or the nordic model? Well at least on the part of the left. The folks on the right would continue to try to justify the current fiefdom they feel comfortable with.

I mean if the right wing collapses within the next few years, I can totally see the left splitting into two different parties along the lines of centrists/german modelers and socialists/nordic modelers in response.


Hoo boy, here we go again, another thread full of tedious explanations of the fine-grained distinctions between various isms.




Naw, you’re also going to get a lot of PR flaks rolling in. They can be good entertainment, if baited correctly.

Christ, remember the “Millenials like socialism more than capitalism” article from yesterday? You should see how heavily astroturfed that one is on many sites in the comments. Probably going to be more of the same on this one.


I like the idea - but a leg search shows: Cosponsors 0; so I’m not convinced this isn’t just some marketing on her part.


There is approximately a -1000% chance this goes anywhere in the current senate. It’s an interesting idea, although I’m not sure it will result in significant change. I’m sure the shareholders will figure out some way to disenfranchise the workers regardless, but it seems like a good first step towards a corporate culture that is sustainable.


I think the point is to get it out there, get people talking about it now, and then try to push for some of the components as planks in a 2018 platform for Prog Dems.


I would love if this was the sort of thing that NPR’s 1A would spend an hour talking about. The panelist from the Kato institute might actually explode.


You look at the motivation that boosted Bernie and brought Trump into the white house and it is almost purely the working class feeling like they’ve been left behind, and rightfully so. Sure they made a terrible decision based off that motivation and voted for a corporate buffoon, but the motivation is still there and Trump hasn’t done a damn thing to help them. In fact, he seems to be doing everything in his power to further the GOP cause of fleecing what remains of the working class.

If the left starts courting the working class and talking jobs, there’s no reason conservatives should win any national election for a very long time. People want jobs and to feed their kids, they’ll come around on social issues if they have those things.


“'Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so.”

And by Jobs you should mean wages, security, retirement, health care, day care, and all the other factors that grind down ones life and limits ones ability to pursue health and happiness - remember those inaliable rights?


Here is the writeup on Sen. Warren’s website: https://www.warren.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/warren-introduces-accountable-capitalism-act.

This applies to corporations with > 1B revenue. Requires 1) 40% of boards elected by employees, 2) Corporate officers cannot sell shares until 5y after being awarded and 3y after any stock buy-back 3) Political expenditures require 75% of director and shareholder approval 4) Charter can be revoked for negligent corporations

I like the focus on getting the voice of the employees into the decision making and forcing officers to align their decisions with the long-term.


“Political expenditures” means “lobbying” right? If so this bill is even more dead than dead. Might as well call it the “Stop the Gravy Train act of 2019”.

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Think again, please. It was much more race than class.

Most white people voted for Trump – most white men, most white women, and most white folks with levels of income above “working class.”


Probably true in the current congress, but then again the first step is putting out a bill. If people are excited about it it will do well. I plan to share this on social networks and talk about it. It’s a great starting place.


Yes. This populism or Trumpism is global and on both the Left and the Right.
One only has to look at Labour’s declining share of the national income and see that it has been dropping since the 80’s with Reagan Thatcher neo-liberal market revolution (proof that trickle down doesn’t exist, in fact it is trickle up). The same applies to the share of Tax revenue from Capital, it has declined since the 50s

Rather than trying to dismantle capitalism and start with something else from the ground up - pretty much likely to be an epic fail, better to take other models like the German or Scandinavian models where labour is much more involved. Germany weathered the 2008 downturn better because capital and labour cooperated and Unions were willing to work shorter work weeks and keeping people employed. The other difference is that Germany’s Middlestadt (many of the midsize corporations which are often in smaller towns and family owned), take a longer run view and know that they employ a lot of people in the community. This does not necessarily transfer to the US which German companies found when they came to the US. In fact the long term trend since the 80s with Reagan has been to dismantle Unions, ie move south to “right to work” states and later offshore. As Mark Blyth says in this recentinterview
The last bastion really is public sector Unions and those are under heavy attack by the right. When the likes of Scott Walker try to build up opposition to public Unions by complaining about all the benefits they get and the rest of the working class doesn’t - it is a wedge intended to build resentment against them rather than saying “why doesn’t everybody get that?”

Another difficulty is that the bulk of the jobs created since 2009 have been part time or low wage no benefit type of jobs, and the trend is to turn everyone into contractors so they are all responsible for their own deductions and benefits (ie. look at hotels, they are now a brand, the don’t own the building or land, rather everything is subcontracted out, security, bartending, cleaning services etc). It is just another way of Capital getting out of its obligation to labour, and leading to more inequality.

I really admire Warren, but its going to be an uphill climb because let’s face it she is up against big money.
Not sure if I share the feeling that the conservatives will lose, remember everyone thought they were done after the 2008 collapse. Well they put everything in taking back the house in 2010 midterms banking on the backlash against Wall St. and the bailouts (because despite my admiration for Obama, he did nothing to punish Wall St and the banks). The left is also too fixated on identity politics (which are absolutely the right thing to do, don’t get me wrong, but it just plays into their hands).


no doubt that every racist voted for Trump but many working class people in the midwest voted for Obama in 08 and 2012 who then voted for Trump. Did they suddenly become racist.
The problem is that there is a mini-culture war going on in the centre left (not just US Democratic party but elsewhere) because it gives them an out. It means they don’t need to look at themselves. Remember when Bill Clinton shifted to the right and he said “where are they going to go?” (referring to the working class).
Well they went to the right, to the false populists. And not just in the US, but in Europe as well, because for the past 25 years most of the left parties have shifted to the centre and abandoned the working class.


IMHO the focus on the racists misses the big picture. For the past several elections voters have selected the less establishment candidate. They think Washington insiders are completely in the grip of the 1% and want to vote in people who aren’t beholden to countless corporate interests. This is why Hillary lost, it was incredibly easy to paint her as a Washington insider. This is why safe party line candidates keep losing, especially in primaries.

People in DC say that the trade war is disastrous to the economy, but this is exactly the sort of thing Trump voters want: for multinational companies to stop taking their jobs to Mexico or China. They don’t care about the Dow Jones, they care about the factory down the street. The sentiment is that globalization has been an incredible windfall for the 0.01% at the cost of the middle and working classes. This is why Trump can win elections even when everybody in DC says he’s a big fat idiot who is going to ruin the country.


I agree. Globalization has been great for developing countries - there have been huge gains in income for people at the bottom end over the past 30 years in China and India etc, but a lot of it has come at the expense of the middle and working class in the West with the growth going to the top elites. (Branko Milanovic and his elephant graph) Trump happened to stumble on to this discontent.

Hillary was not just an insider, it was impossible for her to criticize free trade because her husband as president brought in Nafta (though it was started previous administrations) Recall that she would not publicize her speech to Goldman Sachs. It was probably because she said things like “were in this together etc…” Similarly in the UK, prior to Brexit some London politician gave a talk in Sunderland about not voting for Brexit because it would hurt the GDP… and a local worker yelled “YOUR GDP!”. The media kind of had fun with this, what an idiot etc, but the guy actually had a point because all the wealth was going to London anyway and Sunderland ironically has a Nissan plant which makes cars for export and yet this area had the most support for Brexit.

There are valid criticisms of free trade, such as the secret dispute mechanism which allows private corporations to sue gov’ts if they find their environmental or safety laws hurt their profits. All these agreements were put together over the years by technocrats, business people and politicians with no input on environmental or labour or safety standards etc. So with decades of people being told by technocrats and governing parties, this is all good for you - they had their chance to vote in a giant human middle finger (as Thomas Franks says) or Michael Moore in a big FU to the whole system.

But while Trump may have stumbled on it, he’s not going to do anything about it, he’s out there to protect his kids inheritance and give away a huge tax cut to the top. The real problem is automation, the factories are only going to return to the US when they’re fully automated. Which is honestly why we need something like a universal basic income (such as proposed by AndyYang) who is running for president. As well as free university ($65 billion would do it, it’s a rounding error in the military budget) and single payer health insurance. Once any of those are put in, it will be very difficult to dismantle. I’m Canadian, and even though our health care system has issues, no government would dare to try to dismantle it. It would be political suicide.