Monday, September 12, 2011

Is Capitalism Dying?

"Dammit, man. I'm a doctor, not an economist!" 

Capitalism is ailing.  Maybe it's too sick to fix in its present state.  It may very well be dying and we will look back on these days as the "bad old days" when the owners of capital fought their last stand agains the beast they had unleashed on the world two hundred years ago.

The cries that global capitalism may be imploding are growing louder.  From the riots in Greece and the UK, to the mindless Tea Party GOP thugs who've foisted a passel of Presidential candidates on America who are blatantly unfit for the office.  These are candidates who are to the right of Augusto Pinochet.  And the risk to global capitalism is as high now as it was in 1932.  Maybe higher.

F.D.R. in 1933
In 1932, Americans went to the polls and elected a man, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who would ultimately lead the nation out of the despair and collapse of capitalism and into hope and prosperity.  American's were smart back then.  They recognized immediately the complicity of the Republican Party in the collapse.  There was no spin, no flimflammery, no bullshit.  They saw what happened, they knew who was responsible and they knew why.

People today are dumber than they were in 1932 thanks in large part to grotesquely unreliable sources of news and information which stream uninterrupted into our homes.  Hammered constantly by the Punditocracy's lie that "both sides do it," how can American's who, victims of a crumbling educational system which emphasizes rote learning over critical thinking, be expected to evaluate the veracity of what they're being told about this crisis?

Like the Telescreens of Orwellian fiction, FoxNews spews Tea Party GOP propaganda, unfiltered, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week into American living rooms.  Is it any wonder that a system such as capitalism, which depends upon rational thought and behavior is at grave risk?

Capitalism is being killed by the very people who think they're defending it.  Schadenfreude indeed!

George Magnus, an economist at UBS, is afraid.  Very afraid.
It is a crisis of capitalism because our economic model and policy settings cannot produce sustainable growth, adequate income formation or employment creation. We have lost the housing, financial services and credit creation growth drivers and been left with excessive levels of personal and government debt to unwind, a dysfunctional financial system, and weak labour markets.

The capacity to produce and sell goods and services has outstripped that of consumers to borrow and spend. Without credit and jobs, other fault lines have been exposed, including the long stagnation of real wages and extremes of inequality. It is truly a crisis of aggregate demand.
I, for one, would not welcome an untidy end to the capitalist system.  The upheaval and damage to the poor and working class around the world would be huge.  But in the end, if we can build a more just and sustainable system from the rubble, then capitalism should be allowed to eat itself up.  It's becoming clearer to me that capitalism will not go quietly, but it will, in the end, go.

1 comment:

  1. Without proper regulations and progressive politics to curb the extremes and excesses of capitalism, capitalism will eventually lose out to some sort of more socialistic system.
    People will eventually not tolerate the destruction of the middle and working classes as the rich and multinational corporations get wealthier and continue to exploit working people.