Friday, October 17, 2008

The Capitalist Crisis and Marx's Boom.

Well I knew that sooner or later, as the economic meltdown starts to look like Krakatoa, that somebody would have to mention the word CAPITALISM.

But who knew it would be Sarkozy? Or that Karl Marx's Das Kapital was enjoying a sales boom? Sort of.

The Karl-Dietz Verlag has sold 1,500 copies of Marx's "Das Kapital" this year, making the annotated edition of the dense text an unlikely hit for the Berlin publisher. It moved 200 in September, as many as it used to sell in a year.

OMG. I don't think I could EVER read that book again. I read it in university, it took me about six months, and when I finished I felt like I'd conquered Mount Everest. Except that I couldn't remember how it started.

Or shake the image of the brilliant old man spending his days in bed, because he was so poor he had to pawn his clothes.

But what I really wish I could remember is what he had to say about Capitalism and CREDIT. Because I'm almost sure that's IMPORTANT.

What I want NEED to know is what happens when you have an economic system that depends on unlimited growth...even if it's destroying the planet? And depresses wages to raise productivity...even if it means shipping jobs to China. But then has to depend on credit to make people feel like they are part of the Capitalist Dream or the Consumer Society. Where buying is EVERYTHING.

What happens when the bubble BURSTS ?

A brutal recession strikes. There are not enough good jobs to pay the credit card bills. People are up to their necks in debt so they can't buy ANYTHING. And consumers stop consuming?

And if you regulate Capitalism is it really Capitalism? Or Socialism? Or something Karl Marx warned us about?

Of course I have no idea. In fact I blame Das Kapital for making me brutally aware of how stupid I am.

But I do know one thing.The pillars of our assumptions are SHAKING.

And we're living in interesting times...


susansmith said...

Good post.

Omar said...

Capitalism is nothing more than socialism for the wealthy and privileged. It becomes socialism for the rest of us when in the face of capitalist crime, government must step in and with our own monetary resources do the bail-out boogie for the corporate crooks. But we just smile on in or dopey existence and do nothing. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

Simon said...

Hi janfromthebruce...thanks. We splash so happily around in the pool of capitalism, everybody takes it for granted. Like we're at the END of history. But I wonder...

Simon said...

Hi're right, isn't it a surrealistic sight? All these Big Barons begging for money from the Big Government they so despise. While we as you say just smile on...I've always thought the mindless Consumer Society would be brought down by the environment. But now I'm hopeful it could happen sooner.... :)