capitalism has for these periodic crises is the crisis itself! Only the wholesaledestruction of value (through retrenchments, factory closures, wiping out of inventories, loss of savings, bankruptcies, even the butchery of war) can clear theground for the next bout of accelerated capitalist growth and profit-taking – whichinevitably lays the basis for the following crisis of over-accumulation.
There are nosolutions WITHIN capitalism for these crises OF capitalism. The crises are notthe result of the failure of the system, but of its very successes! The crises are not“abnormal”, they are systemic and inevitable…as long as we remain imprisonedwithin a capitalist system.Even in “good” times – the tendency to growing inequality andimmiseration
Capitalist crises, like the present one, tend generally to impact most severely on theworking class and poor, particularly those living in the periphery and semi-peripheryof the global system. But it is also important for us to remember that even in the“good” times of capitalist boom, life is crisis-ridden for hundreds of millions of theworld’s workers and poor.
the current crash, an unprecedented one billion people globally were living inslums as third world rural economies collapsed. In 2005, at the height of the lastcommodity boom, half the world’s population was living on less than $2 a day. In themidst of its own galloping economy, between 1990 and 2002 (with an average growthrate of 9,3%) China’s growth was actually close to jobless (0,8%)’ and in the boomingmanufacturing sector it was actually negative! In India, supposedly on the high-roadto becoming the next Asian Tiger, between 1997 and the present, while GDP wasdoubling, no less than 180,000 small farmers committed suicide as livelihoods were bled dry by global agricultural liberalisation, under the tutelage of the multi-nationalagribusiness.Here in South Africa, the much vaunted “unprecedented and sustained growth” between 1994 and 2007, only managed (eventually) to bring unemployment back down to the crisis levels at which we had begun in 1994 (that is to say, over 20%). Inthe same period, even in the midst of our democratic breakthrough, there was a hugeshift of surplus from the South African working class majority to the tiny minority of capitalist exploiters and speculators – compensation to employees was 51% of GDP back in 1994, while net operating surplus (profits for bosses) was 25% of GDP. By2008 worker share of South Africa’s GDP had dropped to 42%, while the bosses’share had risen to 33%. This was due to many factors, not least mass retrenchmentsand large-scale casualisation of the work force.These inherent tendencies towards growing inequality and growing popular immiseration within capitalism,
even in the “good” times,
then further exacerbate thetendency towards crises of over-accumulation. Mass poverty narrows the effectivemarket demand (as opposed to human need) for commodities - thus compounding thecrisis of over-accumulated commodities queuing up for non-existent buyers.3These, then, are the
features of capitalism leading to inevitablecrises. Many things impact upon the actual unfolding of these inherent systemictendencies, not least the relative capacity and strength of key antagonistic classeswithin capitalism. For this reason, while all capitalist crises have the same general