Despite years of worldwide economic growth we are further than ever from ending global poverty, starvation and inequality. Now, with capitalism’s latest crisis, such problems are set to worsen with catastrophic results.
Warnings of famine in Ethiopia and elsewhere, food riots at various points around the globe, rapidly spiraling prices in ‘emerging markets’ like India and China, and fears of stagflation and mass unemployment throughout Europe all paint a depressing picture.
But not depressing for some…
The super-rich are insulated from the ravages of any recession and will continue to accumulate wealth because of it. Indeed these leeches have already made a killing from the unstable mountain of consumer debt that helped push the US housing market into crisis bringing about the present turmoil. Recessions, with their takeovers and mergers, their closures and redundancies, ultimately reinforce the positions of the capitalist elite.
And even now they continue to take money from our pockets. A good chunk of the rapid rises in food and fuel prices are directly due to speculation on world markets. The usual supply and demand factors which have been put forward, like growth in India and China, increased production of biofuels, rising cost of oil and gas extraction and so on, undoubtedly contribute. But, in the case of oil, these should amount to crude prices in the area of $35-40 a barrel. The remainder of the recent records of $140+ is purely down to speculation.
So the whole crisis, with its crippling debt, financial insecurity and plummeting living standards, is completely manufactured by the inherent chaos of capitalism itself. Not that Brown and co. will admit any of that.
Having strung us along for a decade with an illusion of rising living standards fuelled by seemingly endless consumer credit, there are no prizes for guessing who New Labour wants to bear the brunt. Their recipe for economic management comes down once more to ensuring, whatever the cost, that the capitalist elite does not suffer. So we get the farce of Brown lecturing us to ‘waste not, want not’ before sitting down to gorge himself on an 18-course banquet at the G8 summit in July. Out of touch or what…?
Even though working class pockets have already been disproportionately hit by the effects of the credit crunch and speculator driven price rises, New Labour, cheered on by Tories, Lib Dems and capitalist media, want to turn the heat up even more. Brown and Darling have decreed that public sector pay settlements are to be held below 2%, with the private sector encouraged to follow suit.
This comes at a time when even the official, doctored inflation figure, which bears no resemblance to the reality of everyday spending, is heading toward 4%. Other measures suggest that the true rate of cost of living rises is more like 9 or 10% when tax rises and household bills are factored into the equation, and for basic food stuffs 20% is much closer to the mark. Now, anyone can prove anything with statistics, but whatever way you look at it, the working class is expected to swallow real cuts in pay to shore up the super rich capitalist elite.
What this all goes to show is that the bottom line for capitalism is to make the rich richer. And in times of economic turmoil the role of the state, government and political parties is to ensure the distribution of wealth accordingly…
…But only if we let them, that is…