Articles, Blog

Economic Update: US’s Profit Driven Medicine

December 24, 2019

Welcome, friends, to another edition of Economic
Update, the weekly program devoted to the economic dimensions of our lives: jobs, incomes,
debts—all that sort of thing—for ourselves, for our children. And I’m your host Richard Wolff. I want to begin today by mentioning a remarkable
law that was just passed by the legislature in Berlin, Germany. To remind everyone, the government of Berlin,
Germany, is a coalition government, composed of three political parties who together represent
a majority of Berlin citizens. The three parties are the Socialist Party,
the Green Party, and the Left Party—in German it’s Die Linke—it’s a party that is
generally considered to the left of the Socialist Party. In other words, a clearly left government. What they did, after much deliberation lasting
over a year, was to pass a law that freezes all rents in Berlin for five years. No rent increases in the apartments of people
living in Berlin. I should clarify there is a cost of living
clause in the law that allows, I believe, it’s 1 to 1.5% percent increases per year
in the event that certain conditions are met, and inflation occurs, and so on, but the basic
rents cannot be increased for five years. In Germany, unlike the United States, a clear
majority of people are renters, not homeowners. So this is a law that is very popular and
that has enormous popular support. In Munich, Germany, the second most important
city in that country, a similar law is working its way through the legislature, only it would
freeze rents for six years. Amsterdam and other cities are studying all
of this because it is a movement, whose time, apparently, has come, and is another sign
that the inequalities being bred by modern capitalism are beginning to generate a broad
backlash. If we had more time, I would give you more
illustrations, such as street demonstrations in Chile, and in Lebanon, which are making
parallel demands. But I don’t, at least not for the moment,
have that time. Let me turn then to a remarkable story about
modern capitalism that sort of illustrates the idea that the problems it has force solutions,
which then create more problems. Let me give you the example that is urgent
now. You all know that we had a crash of global
capitalism in 2008 and 2009 and that we’re still kind of digging our way out. One of the ways that governments around the
world, the United States and other countries, tried to cope with that crash was by dropping
interest rates to historic lows. In a number of countries to this day, interest
rates are actually below zero, they’re negative. In other words, the bank pays you for you
to loan money or deposit money in the bank, not the other way around etc., etc. So what happened with these very low interest
rates, designed to boost the economy in the face of that crash, was that every corporation
that had any kind of economic problem or need suddenly had big help—it could borrow money
for next to nothing, or literally for nothing. Cheap money was a temptation very few corporations
could resist. And the end result has been over the last
10 years the growth of corporate borrowing unprecedented in the history of capitalism. And it means we now have basically what we
call a debt overhang—corporations doing a lot of business but owing more money than
ever before. This has led one of the international agencies
charged with watching this situation called the International Monetary Fund, the IMF,
to take a close look at the level of debt to come to some assessment of what it means. And in the last few weeks, they’ve issued
a number of reports that I want to highlight for you. First, 40% of the corporate debt in eight
leading countries, led by the United States—and now I’m going to almost read, so you understand
what’s at stake here. Those levels of debt in those eight countries
would be impossible to service if there were a downturn half as serious as the one we had
in 2008. In other words, they are so leveraged there,
so indebted that if we had a downturn only half as bad, as the last one we had, they
couldn’t pay their debts, those corporations. And “dot, dot, dot…” no one knows what
the consequences could be, but here’s a clear message—not good. Second implication. Many corporations borrowed for reasons, among
others, of being able to repurchase their own stock in the stock market. These things are called “stock buy-back”—the
company is buying back from the public the shares it issued at some earlier moment. Okay, what this does, and why it’s done,
is to boost the price of these stocks in the market, because the companies are buying them
and so the imbalance between supply of these shares and a new buyer, the corporation itself,
drives up the price. This may be done because the bonuses that
top executives get come from the price of the shares, which they are, therefore, raising
for their own reasons. But it suggests that had the cost of borrowing
been less they would have been less of this, which led the IMF to conclude that in the
event of a problem, share prices could come down very fast, very far. Notice, capitalism’s developing new problems:
debt overhang, overvalued shares, because of the way it solved its last crash, leading
to the problem that the IMF warns about of an impending other crash. Capitalism is a system that is fundamentally
unstable, always has been, and all that the IMF is telling us is that it continues to
be so and threatens everyone as a result. My second… third update has to do with an
activity in Los Angeles. It recently was exposed that up to 5,000 people
are basically given the following choice in Los Angeles; you can either go to jail for
some infraction that could be as little as not paying accumulated parking tickets, or
traffic tickets, or you could work for free for the county. 5,000 people working for little or no money
to avoid incarceration. That, folks, gets really close to slavery. A slave has to work or else what? Will be beaten, will not be fed, will not
be housed—the equivalent of incarceration. You are not supposed to threaten people in
order to get work done. It’s an extraordinary exposure. One wonders how many other American cities
are doing something that is fundamentally against the notion that slavery has been abolished. Moreover, let’s be real clear, when you
punish a person for a crime, you’re depriving him or her of their freedom to move, to do
what they want, to live where they want. It is neither necessary nor appropriate to
add to that punishment being required to work for no real pay. This is an additional punishment and one wonders:
a) why that would be done, and b) whether that isn’t excessive punishment, which are
not supposed to do, and whether that corrects this person’s behavior, makes it less anti-social
or builds up resentments and angers that anyone forced to work for no pay would be likely
to accumulate. Whose benefit does this serve? And I’m not even talking about the 5,000
people in Los Angeles who could get a proper job and proper pay in the city doing important
things if it weren’t for this coerced labor by people facing jail. Many of you know that over the last year I’ve
devoted quite a bit of attention to the yellow vest movement in France, a broad-based, a
year-long effort, which continues by the way, to confront the government of Macron in France
with the demand for less inequality, for less injustice, economically speaking. Well, the latest report by the government’s
own agency indicates that over the last two years, inequality in France has gone much
worse quickly. Ironically, proving that the claim, made by
the yellow vest movement to justify its activities, was in fact an accurate reflection of what
was going on. Add to that the fact that in recent weeks
two interesting groups of people have gone on strike in France, in Paris and beyond,
one—firefighters, two—the police. That’s right. Firefighters and police have gone on strike. If history is any guide when firefighters
and police—who are usually the last ones to do this—go on strike, a government is
reaching the end of its tenure. My next update has to do with the proposal
from Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who once again shows his courage and going beyond what others
are willing to do in raising questions about how our capitalist system works. This time his proposal is for something between
20 and 45% of corporate boards of directors should be the workers, who depend on those
corporations, who do the work and make the profits. This is an attempt to produce here in the
United States something analogous to what already exists in Germany. In Germany it’s called “Mitbestimmung”
in German, which means co-determination, co-responsibility, co-decision making powers that workers since
they depend on and make the company grow or to sit on the direction, not just shareholders,
that the workers have a stake in what happens just like shareholders and, indeed, just like
the communities, where these enterprises are located. I understand the courage of Mr. Sanders in
bringing it up, I understand it’s important for Americans to know, I think it’s clear
that the German economy—the most successful capitalist economy in Europe for the last
40 years—is a society in which it has been doing that all that time and clearly giving
workers that control, giving workers that power, has not compromised or hobbled capitalism
in that country not at all. But there also lies a lesson. Yes, it’s better that workers have some
say than if they don’t, that seems an elemental notion of what a democratic workplace ought
to be. But giving workers 20 to 45% in Germany did
not stop a situation in which a small elite becomes much richer at the expense of everybody
else, it did not change the basic control of what was going on or the basic patterns
of capitalism. That’s not a reason not to support it. I do support it. I applaud Mr. Sanders for pushing it forward. But it is an important lesson not to think
that this by itself is going to get the kinds of changes that we need. Here’s an analogy. We all support universal suffrage: the idea
that every adult man and woman ought to have the right to vote and participate in elections
as we have now become used to. But would that solve the problem of capitalism,
the inequality, the instability of the society we live in? No. Because it turns out that capitalist too can
use the mechanisms of universal suffrage to keep themselves rich and powerful and they
can do that with co-determination, or Mitbestimmung, as well. Well, we’ve come to the end of the first
half of Economic Update for today. I want to, as usual, thank you: the patron
community first and foremost for the support it gives all of you, who make use of our websites. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and
Instagram. And let me also remind you that your questions
about Marxian economics let us to produce this book Understanding Marxism, which I know
many of you have, and I would urge you to take a look at it if you have questions in
that area because the book was written in response to the questions that came to us
through email for answers about what Marxism has to offer. Thank you very much for your attention, stay
with us, we’ll be right back. Welcome back, friends, to the second half
of Economic Update. I am proud and pleased to present to you a
conversation with Dr. Mike Magee. He is the author of a book called Code Blue:
Inside America’s Medical Industrial Complex. Those of you who watch or listen to this show
know that we talk about the medical profession from a critical perspective. But this is the book you want to read and
look at to get a comprehensive view from the inside about what that medical industrial
complex is and what it means for the United States of America as a society. Dr. Magee, M.D., medical doctor, that book
he wrote, received a Kirkus Star Review. He is a medical historian and journalist at
President’s College at the University of Hartford. He has received awards from the NYU School
of Medicine, the University of North Carolina. He literally rose from being in a New England
country doctor to the highest levels of the medical profession here in the United States. He’s held positions at the Pennsylvania
Hospital in Philadelphia. He was Head of Global Medical Affairs for
the Pfizer pharmaceutical company and is the editor of the blog as
well as his own blog. And I want very much to welcome him to our
show. Wolff: Thank you, Mike Magee: Rich, thank you for being who you are. I was so excited to be joining Economic Review. It reminds me of where I began with Code Blue,
which was a Warren Buffett quote that said that healthcare in America is the tapeworm
on our economic competitiveness. Wolff: Very good. Alright. Anyway, let’s jump right in. Your book has as its subtitle something about
the medical industrial complex. Tell us, tell our viewers, our listeners what
is it and why is it important? Magee: Well, the title, I think, in some ways
says it all. “Code Blue”, of course, is that term that
they use inside hospitals, when something urgent is happening that requires an emergent
response, a coordinated response, a life-saving response. The medical industrial complex is a conspiratorial
and collusive network of individuals and organizations that are pursuing in healthcare profitability
above all. They’re dealing each other and they’re
dealing everyone accept the patient. Wolff: Is it true, as folks have said, that
medical care that comes from that complex is both more expensive and less effective
in terms of our health than in other societies? Magee: Absolutely. I mean, it’s been clearly shown over and
over again that in this country, which does not have a universal healthcare system, where
we’re leaving a large portion of our citizens uncovered, we spend actually twice as much
as all comparator nations, and the results that we get are dismal. For example, we have much higher rates of
maternal mortality during pregnancy than any other country in the world, and the same holds
true for unnecessary deaths of children under the age of five. So both in maternal fatalities and in children
we do poorly. And across the board in every measure we seem
to underperform. And the real mystery is, why do we keep on
doing it the way we’re doing it? Wolff: Right. The question that I’m asked of it is, if
it’s true that we spend more than everybody else and we get results that are worse than
many others in any other industry that would have been the cause for soul-searching and
change. And in a sense, you’re saying, if I understand
you, that the medical industrial complex is the explanation for why this situation persists. Magee: Yes, absolutely. You know, people say to me, “Oh well, it’s
too complex to fix.” And I think what they forget is it’s complicated
on purpose. The more complicated it is the less you know,
the less you know the more we pay. I mean, if you want to see what this has delivered
for us just take a look at the number of non-physician workers in healthcare. There are 16 workers for every doctor in America
and half of those 16 workers have absolutely no clinical purpose—they never see a patient,
they never touch a patient. And in that excessive hiring of all of these
individuals to handle coding, and to handle billing, and to handle the sale of insurance—there’s
over a half a million Americans alone that just sell health insurance. And all of that complexity, we see the ways
that we’re experiencing. And the bottom line is the more complicated
it is on that scale the more people we hire the less likely it is that we’re going to
get good outcomes with our patients. Wolff: How do you connect or how do you compare,
what we have the United States, with what’s going on in Canada? A lot of things are said about it. I’d like to hear your senses. Magee: That is true, and a lot of misconceptions. For example, let me just give you a couple. It’s said that Canadian doctors are fleeing
south to work in the United States, because American health care is better. The truth of the matter is that the flow is
in the reverse direction. It is said that Canadian doctors make less
than American doctors. In fact, on average, they make more than we
have. It is said that their care doesn’t involve
any private insurance, when, in fact, the national healthcare system that has been successful
in Canada covers about 70% of cost. They have a thriving private insurance system,
but it’s just providing supplemental care. So on every scale, the Canadians have made
compromises and have been doing it since World War II. But the important thing about the Canadian
system and why it outperforms our own, is that they began by asking a very simple question. They said to themselves, “How can we make
Canada and Canadians healthy?” In the United States we never asked that question. Wolff: We asked the question from what I read
in your book, “How can we make medical care profitable?” Magee: That’s right. Wolff: Which is a very different question. Magee: Well, basically after World War II
we said to ourselves, “If we could only defeat disease the way we defeated the Nazis
then health would be left in its wake.” So it was a fundamental misinterpretation
of what health is. They felt that if you just conquered disease
if we war on cancer and we win then everything will be just fine. They didn’t take into consideration the
fact that health requires also good housing, safe and secure neighborhoods, a clean environment,
clean water, which, you know, obviously, after Flint, Michigan, maybe people realize now,
if your environments bad, your health’s going to be bad as well. So America is the only country in the world
where we spend more on the actual delivery of health services than on all other social
determinants of health combined. In all other nations they invest in all of
these other things and as a result their citizens tend to be more healthy than our own. Wolff: I recently went and visited a dermatologist
to look at my skin. And I noticed—he took care of me—but I
noticed there were six young women in his office working behind desks with computers. So I made a joke, you know, without having
yet read your book, “Wow, that’s a lot of people working on healthcare. I’ve never met them.” And he smiled and said to me, “Well, you
never will, because you’re here to deal with me.” I said, “Well, what are they for?” His answer, “To fight with insurance companies,
negotiating who pays how much as they all try to get out of covering the patients. I’m trying to help.” He says, “It makes the problem worse.” And of course, he then has to pay all these
people and we have to pay him. You can see the whole thing kind of right
there. Magee: That’s true, Rich. You know, there is a term in health economics
“BIR expenses”. And it stands for billing and insurance-related
expenses. And a study in 2014 found that you could eliminate
10 to 15% of the BIR costs simply by going toward a single-payer system that just in
the billing apparatus, that we have, we waste 10 to 15% of our resources. You were asking me before we began the program
about “How could I be optimistic?” Well, one of the reasons I’m optimistic
is we’ve got plenty of money in the system, we pay twice as much as any other country
in the world, right. So it’s not that we are not spending enough
money, it’s just that we’re not allocating it properly. We also have great doctors and great nurses. And I think our schools of public health are
an amazing resource. So we have a lot of assets. The problem is that we have decided that we’re
going to hand the whole system over the profiteers. And those profiteers do not have our personal
health interest in the forefront. They’re there to make money. And so I think the trick to getting this thing
back under control do have a lot to do with these BIR expenses and how we bill, and how
would we standardize our system, and include everybody in insurance coverage. Wolff: Well, your focus on expenses leads
me to ask another question. You worked for Pfizer for a while. It has been charged over and over again that
the Americans pay more for pharmaceutical, medications, and drugs. Tell us a little bit about the prices we pay
relative to the costs other countries pay and so on. Magee: Well, we pay more than double than
other countries, because other countries negotiate. But that’s not the only reason. There’s been a lot of talk about the Sackler
family and the opioid epidemic. Well, the beginning of pharmaceutical marketing
of detail men going to doctors, and of overselling, and of creating names for diseases that don’t
even exist so that you’d have something that a product could treat—all of that began
with Arthur Sackler in 1950. He was the major marketer for Pfizer pharmaceuticals
and other companies—he represented Valium and Librium. He was the father of medical advertising. Well, if you combined that, now 70 years later,
when it’s flourished and all this money that we see directed to consumer advertising
and you realize that we’re one of only two countries in the world that even allow this
time of advertising on television. And you combine that with how sloppy our prescribing
has been amongst our doctors that allowed all of these opioids to be unleashed on the
American public. You begin to realize that the problem is multi-factorial. It’s not simply that we overmarket and overadvertise. Or that Americans have become used to consumption
of drugs as the first trick to trying to get over bad health, instead of saying, “How
do I make my life adjustments to create health?” It’s that combined with direct-to-consumer
advertising. We should always remember that pharmaceutical
companies spend more in aggregate on medical advertising than they do on research. That tells you a lot. Wolff: Yes. And they always defend their high prices because
of the high price of research when the reality is the high price is mostly paying the costs
of promotion and advertising. Magee: Well, when I was at Pfizer, you know,
one of the most successful products in the world at the time was Lipitor to treat high
cholesterol. What people don’t realize is that, when
Lipitor came to the market, it was not the first statin to treat high cholesterol. It was the fifth. Now, was it a little bit better? Maybe, than the other four. But really what made that the first $10 billion-dollar-a-year
drug was Pfizer’s marketing machine. Wolff: Mike, it’s been wonderful talking
to you. Thanking really for condensing all of that. It’s something for everybody to think about. And to follow you in the hope that this irrational
profit-driven system can be made to do what was supposed to do, which is to deal with
our health. Magee: Well, Rich, thanks for having me. I’m honored. You do a great service to the public in helping
them understand these complex issues. Wolff: Alright. And not too complex the way President Trump
said, but perfectly understandable as you’ve helped make it. Magee: Complicated on purpose. Wolff: That’s right. Thank you all for watching. I hope you found Dr. Mike Magee’s work and
commentary as important and interesting as I did. Thank you as always for supporting and helping
Economic Update. I look forward to speaking with you again
next week.


  • Reply Furry Sparkle November 11, 2019 at 2:10 pm really? Bernie is a coward talk about the only president that will change our distribution system

  • Reply P Ward November 11, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    Re: L.A. courts instituting slavery: many people think prison labor is slavery and drives the for-profit prison system. The real question is: what happened to the Supreme Court? They have participated in the U.S. slide into fascism.

  • Reply TorchesAndPitchforks November 11, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    #Bernie2020 needs to get these guys to speak about medicare for all!

  • Reply Vincenzo November 11, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    Dr. Magee accurately identifies the administrative waste inherent in our absurd current system, as well as the effect of a toxic environment on our health. Moreover, the advertising industry is based on promulgating half-truths. To allow it to advertise to physicians is at least somewhat compensated by their ability to distinguish reality from BS. But direct-to-public advertising—to a public with no creds to make such a distinction—is pure criminality.

  • Reply Clare Stucki November 11, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    Leftists are too ignorant of the laws of economics to comprehend that if rents are frozen in the presence of inflation, nobody will ever invest in building rental housing.

  • Reply Clare Stucki November 11, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    It's undeniably true that our medical care system is ridiculous. We pay more and get less than any other country.

  • Reply felicetanka November 11, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    Because the profiteer needs a different bathroom for each day of the week.

  • Reply Brian Jacobsen November 11, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    O% interest. Wasn't for you and I.

  • Reply locolo Kuromanhs November 11, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    Great as always!

  • Reply Paul Charles November 11, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    The American "Health" care system is really about extortion and profiteering from the maladies of the citizens!

  • Reply Matthew Condie November 11, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    It's not red versus blue: It's the one percent versus you.

  • Reply Judy Vaughn November 11, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    97% of people on Medicaid will not make it out of the hospital alive Google it

  • Reply Paul Charles November 11, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    When I visit America I find tv unwatchable for drug adverts every 5 mins… Its truly staggering!

  • Reply Judy Vaughn November 11, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    I am a senior citizen and I went to my doctor oh by the way he's my ex doctor to get a physical he couldn't find anything wrong with me he asked me why I wanted the physical I said so I could exercise more he told me I did not need to exercise I have a new doctor

  • Reply Stephen Sowell November 11, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    Thank you, RW for today's EU

  • Reply Big G Haywood November 11, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    One thing that is never pointed out, in America, is the fact that insurance itself is a form of graft.
    When you pay your insurance premiums and deductibles, are you paying for healthcare? OR are you paying the salaries of every single employee working for that insurance company, the CEO and CFO's exorbitant compensation, his 4th vacation home, or his nice Bentley?? If you're watching this video, then I think you already know.

  • Reply Kurt Hectic November 11, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    i heard pfizer almost had a cure for Parkinson but they didnt finish it otherwise they wouldnt be able to sell all the drugs they sell to Parkinson patients right now wich apparently is way more profitable ( )

  • Reply Liz Keith November 11, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    if your not examining Vaccines you're missing the culprit. Nurses !!! Wake up Wake up ! Vaccines have lit our immune systems on fire and everyone is ignoring the smoke. Nurses, put down that syringe and demand better, real science–not the antiquated junk science that got us to where we are now : 54 % of our people have chronic illnesses; more kids die on the first day of life here, than any other of the industrialized nations (we vaccinate more than any other country). Nothing effects the immune system quite like a vaccine. don't forget, Parents, you can't sue the vaccine manufacturer if their vaccine harms your child.
    Want to improve the health of our citizenry ? 1 ) Demand a moratorium on all vaccines–especially for the military and children. 2 ) RETURN LIABILITY TO THE VACCINE MANUFACTURER. 3 ) Get the CDC, FDA out of the vaccine business. They're making huge money in royalties on their patents on vaccines. They're in bed with big pharma…the largest lobbyer in Washington.

  • Reply Liz Keith November 11, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    see the movies VAXXED and now VAXXED 2.

  • Reply Haley Brown November 11, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    Oh, this ever so wonderful Trump economy???? An estimated 53 million, or 44% of workers earn $10.00 or less/hr, yearly income less than 18,000. 78% live paycheck to paycheck. 40 million cannot afford to see a doctor. On any given day in 2018 40 million were on SNAP. The average credit card debt is >$8,000. Credit card debt now exceeds that of 2008. 17% in any given months cannot meet their financial obligations. Oh, this ever so wonderful Trump economy?

  • Reply John Henninger November 11, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    B IR -BRI, then Sackler famine; bamnana peel time

  • Reply Melvyn Gingell November 11, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    We have the same thing in England , some lower level crimes you can be sentenced to do " Community Service " , in which you do work for no money at all , you even have to cover the cost of making it to the pick up point . …Though if you are not committing crime you won't have to do the work .

  • Reply comingviking November 11, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    I believe I read somewhere that the accumulated debt in the world now is 340% of the annual output. That is pretty massive.

  • Reply comingviking November 11, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    This debt overhang and the inability to service the corporate debt sounds to me like a golden opportunity for nationalization of a lot of Corporations. Let's start With the banks.

  • Reply Julie Ann Myers November 11, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    The Thirteenth Amendment, which legalized slavery of prisoners, must be amended NOW!

  • Reply Kyle Merisotes November 11, 2019 at 5:08 pm


  • Reply Don Ghidoni November 11, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    The Medical Industrial Complex started back in the '80s when Congress and SCOTUS allowed the medical industry to incorporate under Reagan. Medicare for All must come to fruition.

  • Reply Julie Ann Myers November 11, 2019 at 5:17 pm

    Thanks for the excellent interview with Dr. McGee.

  • Reply GODrules555 November 11, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    Pushing Religion to the side it is written in The Bible that some sort of Financial horror will come about as The Bible puts it "Babylon The Great" has fallen and it is the merchants throw dust on their heads screaming "who will buy our products now." And of course the term "Babylon The Great" is using only the term that they knew at the time to describe future events, and of course this is all based on that if The Bible is accurate in the first place, but it is strange that this documentary is describing just sort of dangers that could really effect economies around the World, and I always thought that "Babylon The Great" and "Megiddo" are the known names to explain the trading post of the future which to me I thought of it to be Wall Street in Manhattan New York with "The Christian Roman Empire" that came back alive from the dead to repeat History in invading The Middle East as The United States Of America did in Iraq, and "The Petrodollar" is what is illegally enslaving The Middle East just like Iraq and it is the six letters of the number of man called "Dollar" and it is the six letters of its name "United" and the six letters "States" that has become the 666 illegally ruling over Iraq, and now it is "The Mark Of The Beast" because it has committed a war crime in Iraq and now Iraq cannot buy or sell its own oil without "The Mark Of The Beast" on its hand in oil transactions with "The Petrodollar", and "The Mark Of The Beast" is on Iraq's forehead as they remember they are now enslaved to "The Petrodollar" in buying or selling their own oil, and the USA claims that this is for Peace, but of course it really is for the USA to take control of the oils sales of the World and to enslave the World to "The Petrodollar" which of course eventually will lead to World War Three of putting an end of The United States Of America using oil to try and to enslave the World as now the USA is in the attempts to enslave Iran and Venezuela's oil supplies next, and of course in no way is the defending "Freedom" and "Peace" just as Iraq found out, and that is just how corrupt The Federal Government of the USA has become, and the World has come to a realization that the citizens of the USA itself has lost complete control of the corruption of their own Federal Government which of course will now become a Global problem that leads to World Wars to begin with. EYE 5

  • Reply Domingo De Anda November 11, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    It must change for the benefit of all.

  • Reply MathUDX November 11, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    "If only we could defeat disease the way we defeated the Nazis"… So, with a planned economy and 24 million Soviet lives?

  • Reply Marc Gratton November 11, 2019 at 5:37 pm

    TKU DOCTEUR again

  • Reply Gregulator November 11, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    This forced labor sounds like a Kamala Harris thing.

  • Reply Erich Schneider November 11, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    I consider myself a librarian socialist and think our government needs to be reset capitalism has merged with government and no longer serves the people well. Government needs to be much more local so it can better serve the needs of it's people. People need to set laws to discourage monopolies and big corporate influence in our government. It's sad that aid from today's private and government charities often only 10 percent reaches the people advertised to help. Social security disability only pays 750$ a month nobody can live on that yet they bail out banks to big to fail corporations by the hundreds of billions…..our federal government and its lobbyists are not serving the people

  • Reply Eric Disegno November 11, 2019 at 5:51 pm

    ? Great Interview!!

  • Reply VERONICA REVELES November 11, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    Brilliant episode of EU. Thank you so much Dr. Wolff for calling out LA County courts. It is long overdue! Have a great Holiday season! ?✌??. Bernie2020.

  • Reply Bill H November 11, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    The US has sickcare. It doesn't have true healthcare. It doesn't really cure anything. It wouldn't be able to profit if it did. There are cures for hypertension, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, et al. If you know where to look, which the medical establishment here, would tell you is quackery. They won't tell you that the medicines, and vaccines, are virtually worthless, and in many cases harmful. But, you didn't hear that from me. They do tend to kill some of the dissenting voices out there. Truth.

  • Reply Brian Booker November 11, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    I just turned 65 and Medicare is great if you don't need Dental work, if you don't need vision care, if you don't need any prescriptions other than Aspirin, if you're not on a fixed income because you have to pay for Medicare part B, if you're not on a fixed income because you have to buy supplemental insurance that Medicare parts A and B insurance doesn't cover. I just read an article that said the Feds have made it possible for the big 6 banks to buy commodities; so whatever health facilities the Private Equity Funds don't buy the 2 big 2 fails can buy; so their favorite tricks will get pimped even more. I've been going to a specialist for 6 years now; until recently she had a private practice but she was bought out by a mega hospital; my last visit cost $ 180.00 four times what I normally pay. I just watched a show where a primary care Doctor was saying we need to find a way to incentivize young people to go see Doctors more often because so many young people are sick and Medicare for all would bankrupt the country. I find that so rich; advertisers have captured millennials before they have come out of the womb with the AMA's blessing. Mothers are eating high fructose corn syrupy almost food; kids are so conditioned that they think eating a bowl of Fruit Loops is equivalent to a daily dose of fruits and vegetables; so yes bankruptcy is in the cards. This is how it ends; Capitalism suicided by its own greed.

  • Reply State Socialism November 11, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    Dr Wolff is drunk and cannot read. Bernies proposal says that workers only get to ELECT 45% of the board members and only for corporations with $100 million in revenue. Dr Wolff constantly fabricates and deceives way to much

  • Reply timothy chung November 11, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    Ofcourse medicine is the engine to profit. The people owning pharmaceutical drugs are the ancestors to the " opium war" devils.

  • Reply Vivalaleta Godfrey November 11, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    Bernie is proposing Marxist ideas gently, a little at a time. This is for good reason.

  • Reply ska punk OI! alternative living November 11, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    This is why you are responsible for your own actions and responsible for your own well-being.. like I said before people make the choices of doing three jobs to struggle to pay high rent when there's plenty of 20 way simple ways to lift I've chosen to live and I'll have more money in my pocket but I don't have to bust my ass every day like I used to before so you see it's a choice. ..

  • Reply Pot and Politics With Mr. Brophy November 11, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    Germany is irrelevant if they have less than 50% control. the company with 60-70% control does whatever it wants and the workers have no choice, they just get to sit in on the decisions. the math doesn't add up to actually give the workers control of their own destiny in that situation

  • Reply Eduardo Salcedo November 11, 2019 at 7:58 pm


  • Reply Chris Levens November 11, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    So you are telling me that companies wasted money on THAT. And not waging the raises of workers. THAT is pure stupidity.

  • Reply elizabeth taylor November 11, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    Elizabeth Taylor: I love your shows and I thank you. And, I think you have something wrong here: no we do not all support universal suffrage. I felt real shock when I first realized this, looking at voter suppression in my extremely messed up country u s a. It looks like most republicans don;t support universal suffrage at all, and their leaders do everything they can to make sure it does not exist. I remember when bill de blasio first came in as mayor, put through something that made sure all ny children go to pre school and he said something like this is what all people (parents?) want, fair playing field etc. no, plenty of parents want an UNFAIR playing field with their children having the advantage/ Sad/

  • Reply Steve The Philosophist November 11, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    Please link your sources in the description, like the guardian article.

  • Reply Viki 1999 November 11, 2019 at 9:36 pm

    There seems to be some very big mistake there. There is no German party called the "Socialist party" in Germany. I'd assume you where talking about the Social democratic party (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands) but you accidentally used the logo of the SED (Sozialisische Einheitspartei Deutschlands [Socialist unity party of germany]) which was only used in the GDR. It was the party that ruled the one party state. Of course the SED still exists in one form but that's in form of the "Left party" which you also mentioned. So I gotta assume that there was a mistake when searching for the Logo of the social democrats because using the logo of a party that hasn't existed for the past 30 years to depict a party that has existed continuously since the 1880s is strange

  • Reply Geordi La Forge November 11, 2019 at 10:11 pm


  • Reply Leticia Cortez November 11, 2019 at 10:37 pm

    A wonderful segment as usual. Democracy at Work is a treasure.

  • Reply Josh Detlor November 11, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    The capitalist market dominates every aspect of our lives, and criticism of it is sparse in the corporate media. Thank you Professor Wolff, you are a hero of our time

  • Reply slinelol November 11, 2019 at 11:07 pm

    German here on your describtion on the coalition government in Berlin:
    You used the symbole of the SED, which was the socialist unity party of germany, the leading party in east germany, which later turned into the PDS (leftwing party mostly activ in former east germany) and fused together with the WASG (leftwing party mostly activ in former west germany) to Die Linke (currently the only leftwing party)

    The "socialist" Party you mentioned are the social democrats (basically our labor party(but they betrayed the workers by getting in bed with big money))
    we got no socialist party in germany

  • Reply LenNay November 11, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    But they dont need to pay taxes either

  • Reply Surud Patel November 11, 2019 at 11:22 pm

    In the US Health is not the Primary Driver of its Healthcare System . Such as Banking is not the Driver of the Business Community . Banks & Healthcare have become Money Printing Presses for Profit Driven Psychopaths without any care for those they are required to serve.

  • Reply Tornik November 12, 2019 at 12:29 am

    It is pretty clear that most – maybe all – of the high-level opponents of universal healthcare are afraid not of its health outcomes, but of what its success will mean for the ideological propaganda of a total commodification of everything in society. It is a major threat for the neoliberal worship of privatisation and it should happen so that US citizens are armed with that example in their struggle against this anti-democratic, sociopathic ideology.

  • Reply Doris Doris November 12, 2019 at 12:50 am

    The greatest myth of all time, and it's religiously believed, is the existence of democracy in any country wedded to a neoliberalism which commodifies and manipulates people as units within the system
    And US citizens are slaves to pharmaceuticals who make necessary drugs exorbitantly expensive while teaming up with 'psychiatrists' to invent new illnesses with tailored drugs. The system is supposed to protect you, not force you to protect yourself against it.

  • Reply Fapnado November 12, 2019 at 1:01 am

    If you want to collapse the entire U.S. medical and pharmaceutical industry, fund a billion dollar education campaign about the carnivore diet and intermittent fasting.

  • Reply xbzq November 12, 2019 at 1:04 am

    @22:30 "…after Flint, MI…" Um, Flint, MI is still a well of poison. Currently. We have to yet get past Flint to get to an "after". Flint used to refer to some kind of rock you could make fire with. Now it's another word for government poisoning the poor at the behest of the wealthy.

  • Reply Fapnado November 12, 2019 at 1:24 am

    In Quebec, we have our own collective health insurance. As a result, some of our free tv shows here teach us how to live healthy.

  • Reply King David November 12, 2019 at 3:14 am

    This is the kind of content that should be trending, not Jefreestar secret conspiracy makeup palette

  • Reply James Brown November 12, 2019 at 9:54 am

    'the counter-revolution dismisses a child'?

  • Reply Augur Cybernaut November 12, 2019 at 9:59 am

    Prof Wolff seems to willfully forget the history of leftist economies and the number of people who died exercising their most basic of human liberties.

  • Reply Lisa W November 12, 2019 at 10:30 am

    You need to change that symbol for the socialist party. You used the one of the party that was the dictatorial party of East Germany. The party you're referring to is the SPD, not the SED 😀 otherwise great!

  • Reply Mori KTSB November 12, 2019 at 10:57 am

    thanks for the great content

  • Reply My Stupid Opinion November 12, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    It’s quite a simple reason why the US healthcare insurance system is such a useless middleman: it’s sole purpose is to MAKE PROFITS. That’s it. They must be eliminated. End of story.

  • Reply RoboGraham November 12, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    Dr. Wolf, how can I buy your book from a source that I know will go to fund your cause?

  • Reply M Ing November 12, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    I dont disagree with you very often sir, but community service as a form of restitution is not slavery.

  • Reply Richard Carlson November 12, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    A new 'big' cash cow. . . . sell them abundant pills with the promise of cures for your maladies. If you don't die from your festering disease the pills will eventually kill you from the new onslaught of undesirable side effects. It's a win-win situation for big pharma.

  • Reply teebone 21 November 12, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    Freezing rent cant even happen in small cities in the US because of lobbyist yet entire countries in the EU can do it SMFH

  • Reply D' Essay November 12, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    Health is a business in the US. However, business is not new and people understood business especially the factory form of business meant brutal exploitation and inequality. When it made its appearance in history people struggled with the factory owners as we will struggle with the factory owners again. Below is a quote of how people thought about capitalism in a time when government social programs did not exists and were exposed to unrestrained capitalism in the same we are now living under unrestrained capitalism brought back to us by the democrats and republicans. It is comfortable for democrats and republicans to bring society back to a time when government was powerless to restrain the naked and agressive blood sucking exploitation of the factory owners and their style of capitalist production and to a time when labor was compliant.

    There is anger at capitalism. It is painful when it hits home. When a drug is a commodity it is not a drug and when it is a commodity it is a drug. As a drug people cannot afford it as a commodity and as a commodity the drug makes money for its maker. If you can work your way through that kind of thinking to examine social reality, all human actions can be seen from their opposite. Eating is not fasting and walking is not running, the drug is not healing and health is not healthy, you arrive at a profound revelation about the whole social structure of capitalist society and its character as a system that claims to be what it can never be and so it must go back to a past time and destroy current progress to start the whole process of accumulation from scratch.

    "If life was a thing that money can buy. 
    The rich would live and the poor would die" 

    A. Williams, Folk Songs of the Upper Thames, 1923.

  • Reply DynVec November 12, 2019 at 6:36 pm

    I'm Canadian, the clinic closest to me used to be under a different management for a long time and a good chunk of it was private (by that I mean private funding as clinic are almost always private and quite often their large majority of patients are from public funding). I know of someone that got a new job with a nice package that was interested in private healthcare, but wouldn't that person due to age.
    As often exposed on Secular Talk, if you take only the patients that are less likely to use your services you can compete with public funding (at an unfair advantage).
    We're having the same issue with private school, they reject their lower ranking students to the public system. They always advertise better grade, but they don't advertise they have better applicants.

  • Reply Augur Cybernaut November 12, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    Very interesting from the doctor

  • Reply SomethingScanning November 12, 2019 at 11:17 pm

    stock buybacks are 100% corrupt. Let's not lie to ourselves, it's just CEOs jacking themselves off.
    the stocks that are being bought back are often held by the executive suite, who are paid in stocks, on top of their 7-figure salaries.
    Thus, stock buybacks are a double boon to CEOs: 1) they get immediate cash 2) their next payment in stocks is worth more.

  • Reply mrfuzztone November 12, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    Great discussion with Dr. Mike Magee about healthcare issues. I ordered a copy of the book: Code Blue

  • Reply SomethingScanning November 12, 2019 at 11:59 pm

    Germany is an interesting case study, in my opinion for four reasons:
    1) the marshall plan 2) an export economy 3) the european union 4) systemic xenophobia
    now to elaborate:
    1) Germany got billions of cash essentially for free.
    2) This is supposed to highlight how peculiar Germany really is. Globally speaking, most export-oriented economies are either poor, or politically corrupt. The most notable exceptions are Germany and Japan, both of which got free cash from the USA (coincidence?). Other, less successful (or more corrupt) export economies include: China (which is re-orienting towards domestic consumption), Russia and the Arab Gulf countries, South Korea (significantly less successful than both Germany and Japan).
    3) inequality within the EU, along with the EU's regulations, mean that Germany is sucking the rest of the continent dry. Being the biggest economy in the bloc, it attracts investment from all other countries, as well as cheap labour, leaving the rest of the EU fighting for scraps.
    4) Unlike the USA, xenophobia in Germany also extends to other whites. I should clarify, that by "xenophobia" I don't necessarily mean "racism", hate crime, or anything like that. What I mean is that one's legal and social standing in Germany is radically different for Germans and immigrants. This has nothing to do with skin colour, and everything to do with legal status. What this essentially means, is that even legal, well educated migrants have a considerably worse deal than Germans. This allows legal exploitation to thrive. While what Dr Wolff said is true, that German workers are legally better off than American workers, this doesn't always extend to expats and other migrant workers, even highly qualified ones.

    All of these have very interesting implication for the political Left in Germany. It's easy to notice that most, if not all, of what allows Germany to thrive, has to do with decidedly right-wing foreign policy. What this means for the political Left, is that they are unwilling to challenge the right-wing status quo, because it would risk making everyone in the country worse off. If the German Left embraced traditional left-wing talking points, they'd be cheering on the downfall of the German global exploitation machine. But they aren't doing that. As a result, "leftism" in Germany is confined to expanding the welfare state (for Germans, not foreigners), while right-wing policies thrive simultaneously.
    This toothlessness, lack of substance and lack of discourse on behalf of Germany's left, is largely what facilitates the rise of far-right extremists. The German Left can't argue against their points, because they also tacitly hold the same opinions. Leftist discourse in Germany has no opportunity to become normalised, because nobody is speaking the "language" of the left. The left wing in Germany is incapable of taking a stance against far-right extremism, because it would mean opposing the very foundations that allowed them to succeed in the first place.
    What the German right-wing is doing, for all intents and purposes, is the logical continuation of Germany's global trajectory so far. A trajectory which was set in place and propelled by the left-wing, until now. Now the right-wing is stepping up and saying: "that thing you've been doing? Let's do more of that. Let's do it stronger, and let's is to ourselves, not just to others" And the Left wing is left (pun intended) with nothing to say other than: "No, let's not do what we've been doing all along.", while continuing to do just that.

  • Reply J Rhoads November 13, 2019 at 12:17 am

    Nothing is more crass and insulting than direct to consumer medical advertising, especially when ill.

  • Reply some thing November 13, 2019 at 3:32 am

    This is what you call good reporting. I respect the living hell out of all the hard working people that are at democracy at work and all they do for the socialist movement,

  • Reply Pro Tanto November 13, 2019 at 7:27 am

    These days we are also threaten not to receive food and shelter if we refuse to, and if (in many cases) we are unable to work. Things didn't change much. We are still slaves; we are just not told openly that we are.

  • Reply Old Wisdom November 13, 2019 at 8:46 am

    I moved out into the country and went to a 'country Doctor'. I told him I felt three of the drugs I was taking weren't necessary, he casually took them off the list saying, 'ya, you don't need these'. How in the hell do you trust a system like that. He probably wouldn't have said anything if I hadn't brought it up.

  • Reply Love to All November 13, 2019 at 9:52 am

    Profits off of the sick, injured, and dieing!! It's not possible to get lower!!

  • Reply Brigadierprick November 13, 2019 at 10:12 am

    Boom and bust, the economy is nuts?‍♂️?

  • Reply Hendrik Stein November 14, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    1:08 I'm from Germany and live in Berlin: The Coalition consists of the SPD (Democratic Socialists), Green Party, and tle Left Party. The first Logo you brought up and labeled "Socialist Party" belongs to the SED, which was the ruling party of the GDR. So, it has been gone for 30 Years, and ruled only in East Berlin. It's remants eventually have become what is the Left Party today. …. That's quite a grave mistake.

  • Reply John Cullinan November 14, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    You`re one of the great one`s Richard. I really love hearing all your knowledge.Thank you.

  • Reply Vern's Hobbies November 15, 2019 at 12:25 am

    21:20 love those 2 questions

  • Reply Carlo Jones November 15, 2019 at 10:54 pm

    Capitalism needs a reset.
    A debt forgiveness to whom.

  • Reply Redrooster November 16, 2019 at 5:22 am

    Bernie can only go against Israel because he is a Jew, otherwise they would kill him outright like JFK, MLK, etc… all the people who pushed for true Democracy and Freedom.

  • Reply gfarrell80 November 16, 2019 at 9:58 pm

    Man, that is telling. 1 doctor out of every 16 healthcare workers. 8 out of 16 'healthcare' workers do not deliver care. What a bunch of chair moisteners.

  • Reply Del Seibold November 16, 2019 at 10:35 pm

    We've gone from the hidden coercion of making profit for an employer or starving in an alley to the outright coercion of work or go to prison. I continue to see the facade being abandoned by those in power

  • Reply Mono d November 17, 2019 at 4:38 am

    At this point, we have to get out of whatever this economic systen is called for practical reasons.

  • Reply Joesph Young November 18, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    The advent of advertising in medicine and law has destroyed many facets of American life.

  • Reply Barrie Wright November 19, 2019 at 10:33 am

    Dr Wolff that's SLAVERY nothing else, it's abuse of civil liberty.

  • Reply Augustuvi Primce dea.V. November 19, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    remember, before 1929, there was 1914 recession

  • Reply Augustuvi Primce dea.V. November 19, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    Doctors want a medicare for all as badly as patients
    middlemen took away their freedom and compensation

  • Reply incog burrito November 20, 2019 at 11:41 pm

    Well, Personally, given the choice of working or enduring unsolicited sodomy for extended periods of time…. I guess I would rather work than go to the bunga bunga club. Please don't mess with that Professor. It's a pretty square deal all things considered.

  • Reply Deirdre Pearson November 21, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    Dumb right wingers think the prenatal mortality rate is higher cus abortion even though most the good countries also have legal abortion ..and isn't factored in so thats a straw man

  • Reply Evan Grey November 23, 2019 at 1:26 am

    Regarding Bernie’s plan for corporate accountability and democracy: in the very same plan, we also ban stock buybacks, establish a U.S. Employee Ownership Bank, guarantee a right of first refusal, and create worker ownership centers! Please review it!

  • Reply Tania Hagn November 26, 2019 at 10:31 pm

    Dear Prof. Wolff! I have a correction: Berlin in germany is not ruled by SED, Die Grünen and Die Linke. The "Sozialisische Einheitspartei Deutschland" (SED) has been forbidden and destroyed during the shutdown of the "Deutsche Demokratische Republik" (DDR) by the "Bundesrepublik Deutschland" (BRD). The third Party today ist the "Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschland (SPD). This party has converted to a clear neoliberal party like the greens in germany also. Also" Die Linke" has lost its clear socialist profile by many left social demokrats left the SPD and entered "Die Linke".
    As a result today the government of Berlin is very much compateable to the US Democrats. There is no clear socialist party in the moment im germany. Sadly not.

    To make it short, Berlin is ruled by SPD, Die Grünen and Die Linke.

    Please correct this mistake in your fabulous speeches and files.

    Thank you very much dear comrade and kind wishes from Berlin in germany!

  • Reply songokouvs December 1, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    One of many reasons I went vegan. Medical schools deliberately don't teach the power of what we eat and the astonishing changes just changing your lifestyle could make on the people's health. They mostly teach the power of this surgery or that drug(prescription) that's capitalism though capitalize on the people's ignorance is the Republican motto.

  • Reply Kathie Bishop December 1, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    "If life was a thing that money can buy.
    The rich would live and the poor would die"

    A. Williams, Folk Songs of the Upper Thames, 1923.
    As cited below.

  • Reply Passion5092 December 1, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    Great show!

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