Tuesday 2 September 2008

Will depression turn to anger?

Depression, recession, credit crunch, slowdown ... whatever word you use, the British economy's stuffed, or soon will be. And even this capitalism-loving New Labour government knows it, as shown by Chancellor Alistair Darling's admission that we are in for a severe recession. What I'm more sceptical about, is the apparent belief that the UK is in a better position to weather the storm than elsewhere.

Recessions are not some natural event, like the weather (although the weather this year seems less natural, and more the result of climate change, but that's a topic worthy of a discussion all of its own!). Recessions are built into capitalism. For capitalists to make profits, ie exploit their workers, they must pay their workers less than the money they make by selling the goods which the workers produce. Since capitalism forces all companies to do this (or go bankrupt), a situation is soon reached where more goods are produced than workers have money to buy.

As time goes on, it is also no accident that booms are becoming shallower - ie with smaller increases in living standards - and busts are getting more severe. This is because it is also the nature of capitalism for the capitalists' rate of profit to fall - due to increased investment in machines and technology. In a rational world, the advances in technology would make life easier for us, liberating us from work. Yet under capitalism, technology has forced the capitalists to exploit us more, making us work harder and for longer hours while paying us less :-(

This time around, the recession is likely to be made especially severe by the one thing which has allowed the system to avoid recession for a relatively long time - debt. Capitalist companies have been able to drive real wages down and still make profits, because relatively cheap loans have been relatively easily available to workers. Trouble is, a growing number of people are now unable to pay these loans back - hence the "credit crunch".

Other factors have come into play, such as the rising fuel prices. Oil is still at a high price, largely aggravated by the illegal and murderous Iraq war and the west generally p**ing off the other oil producing countries (such as Iran) in the Middle East. Meanwhile, the gas prices can't possible be helped by the West hypocritically sabre-rattling with Russia, a large producer of gas. Notably over Russia's invasion of Georgia. After all, the West would never launch an un-provoked invasion of another country, would we Bush and Bliar :-P

A recession will doubtless cause massive hardship, as millions of people are made unemployed and plunged into poverty. Yet the sickening thing is, although goods will no longer be profitable for capitalists to produce, they won't be needed any less by workers. So any job losses must be resisted by strikes, and we must support any and all workers who take strike action to defend their - and our - jobs and livelihoods.

But most of all, we must generalise these economic strikes into a political movement. Only then can we achieve the ultimate goal of getting rid of the capitalist system, which is obviously failing even by its own standards.

And replacing it with a socialist system, based on human need not corporate greed, on people not profit!

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