Mike Konczal: How Would a Socialist Wall Street Work?

Jan 30, 2013

In the latest episode of the Roosevelt Institute's Bloggingheads series, Fireside Chats, Fellow Mike Konczal talks to Jacobin editor Seth Ackerman about Seth's recent article "The Red and the Black," which asks what kind of mechanisms would replace the pursuit of profit in a socialized economy. In the clip below, they discuss Seth's proposal for socializing the financial sector, transforming the heart of capitalism to give the public ownership over the means of production.

Mike summarizes the idea by noting that "if the government used eminent domain to purchase all the stocks" then "the public would run all the firms," allowing it to distribute the dividends of their success more equally throughout society. Critiquing the idea from a liberal perspective, Mike notes, "We don't tax wealth directly, but we tax the surplus that goes to corporations" and put it towards various public goods. If we want to create a more fair distribution of wealth, why not just do it through the tax code? Seth argues that this kind of "social democratic solution" attempts to mitigate the negative effects of capitalism but doesn't solve the underlying problems. 

For more, including how Seth's ideas apply to public education and what we can learn from past failures in both centrally planned and market economies, check out the full video below:


Stock exchange image via Shutterstock.com.

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