Wolff, Richard

Richard Wolff
1 December 2008Feature

How did we get here?

Let me begin by saying what I think this crisis is not. It is not a financial crisis. It is a systemic crisis whose first serious symptom happened to be finance. But this crisis has its economic roots and its effects in manufacturing, services, and, to be sure, finance.

From 1820 to around 1970, 150 years, the average productivity of American workers went up each year. The average workers produced more stuff every year than they did the year before. They were trained better, they had…