Monday, March 30, 2009
The Recession and the Capitalist System
One thing that strikes me about this growing recession is how noisy the protests have been in Europe.
And how quiet it is in North America....particularly in the United States where so many lives are being chewed up.
And how while the Americans are venting their anger on the banks...and the bosses.
Many Europeans are blaming the capitalist system itself.
And asking themselves this question.
The case FOR:
No one claims that we're all Marxists now but I do think the old boy deserves some credit for noticing that it's the economy, stupid — and that many of the apparently omniscient titans who ascend the commanding heights of the economy are not so much stupid as downright imbecilic, driven by a mad exploitative greed that threatens us all.
Marx's work is not holy writ....Even so, he exposed for the first time that capitalism is a force of creative destruction, and that its most lethal wounds may be inflicted by its own weapons. “All that is solid melts into air,” he wrote....
The case AGAINST:
Marx was interested in capitalism's crises because he thought they would eventually lead to revolution. That's the other reason why people are interested in Marx today. If he was correct about capitalism's crises, the men with the stubble hope, then maybe his prediction that the whole system would fall apart will also be fulfilled. It won't, because the world Marx was writing about looks nothing like ours.
What's more, the central idea in Marxism — that the interests of the workers and owners were separate and opposed — is no longer true. Anybody who has a pension or life insurance owns part of the means of production because the pension funds and life insurance companies are the biggest owners of shares in companies in the world. The bourgeoisie and the proletariat are thus the same people these days, so the class war which Marx thought would bring the system down is over.
I have no idea who is right. All I know is that a system that causes so much suffering. A system that treats human beings like commodities.
A system that even even in the good times was drowning us in greed. Torching the planet. And leading us all to disaster.
Is a system that needs to CHANGE.
It won't be Old Marxism it won't be Old Capitalism. But in the time of the Great Confusion it's really as simple as this:
It will have to be something new and BETTER. It will have to save the planet as well as the economy.
Or the noisy protests of today.
Will become the REVOLUTIONS of tomorrow...