Credit Crunches and Capitalist Calamities

Just when you think the credit crunch may be past the worse, along comes another bank, or two, or three, going bust and the financial system is thrown yet again into crisis. And as each crisis hits, governments rush in with our billions, to keep the whole financial sector from collapse.

So much for all that crap preached for years about the need for market discipline under which uneconomic companies are allowed to go to the wall. It would seem that the iron laws of the free market only apply to coal mines. The banks are allowed to play by another set of free market rules, in which the well connected are allowed to make billions from corrupt deals, then when it all starts to fall apart, we pay the price with rising unemployment, falling living standards and repossessions. In the words of the old song, it’s the rich who get the pleasure and the poor who get the blame.

Have your say: The Shock Doctrine

Dear DA,

I just wanted to thank your reviewer in DA43 for turning me on to Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine. I couldn’t agree more with the comment that “the sheer scale of abuses detailed…is simply jaw-dropping”. For one who felt hardened to the ways of the capitalist world, this account of sheer cynicism, corruption, double standards and outright lies was still something of an eye opener.

Privatising Profits, Socialising Losses

Free market theory argues that hedge funds,…currency speculation, private equity firms and the other obscene money making machines are somehow vital to…the economy…. [This] is a joke. They contribute nothing…and are merely a means by which the super-rich get even richer. Real economic wealth is created by the working class who…create the goods and services that are vital to society…

(from Hedging their Bets, DA39 summer 2007)

Almost totally lacking in regulation – that is, until the recent “stable door bolting” emergency restrictions against “short selling” and betting on declines in financial markets – hedge funds and their ilk have constantly moved trillions of dollars around the globe searching for ever higher returns and leaving economic chaos in their wake. And so it has proven yet again.

Recessive Tendencies: a tale of boom, bust and that old devil called capitalism

As the global economy plunges deeper into crisis, people everywhere are facing home repossessions, unemployment, pay cuts and rising prices. The very same governments that for decades extolled the virtues of unfettered market forces, have committed the ultimate U-turn by promising billions of taxpayers’ money for bailing out ailing financial institutions. This, they argued, was necessary to avert a complete economic meltdown on the scale of the 1930s. But before the full horror of crisis unfolded, some speculators and hedge fund managers, who gambled on the chaos big style, have pocketed the cash and disappeared merrily off into the sunset.

Japanese Lesson

The world’s political elites are looking just a little jaundiced now that the free market god is proving to be a touch fallible. The days of free market triumphalism are long gone as our shell shocked leaders try to prevent the world economy sliding into prolonged depression. With free market solutions now dead, the big question is whether or not massive government action will be enough to avoid an economic meltdown.

Dreaming in the Downturn: will state intervention herald a new dawn for social democrats?

My, my…how times have changed. For thirty years the free market could do no wrong, then suddenly all change and it’s state intervention that’s now the one true faith. Even our own steadfast leader, Mr Brown, has undergone a St Paul-like conversion. Now Mr Prudence is to be found strutting his Keynesian stuff all over the world stage, championing the idea of state intervention on a grand scale. How easy our politicians glide from one set of principles to another, hardly pausing to adjust their moral compasses.

The Crisis Factory: the roots of the global ecological crisis

From Reykjavik to Rio, from Woolies to Whittards, the fall out from the economic downturn reverberates like a Mexican wave around virtually every inhabited corner of the globe. But this crisis, just as surely as it began, will eventually peter out – but not before wreaking misery and destitution upon millions. Alongside this latest recession is the environmental crisis, with far more irretrievable consequences, and a severity we are now only just waking up to.

Over 100 years ago Karl Marx foretold, how the inbuilt tendency of industrial capitalism to expand would give rise to not only continual cycles of boom and slump, but also the phenomenon we now call “globalisation”. More contemporary analysts, such as Murray Bookchin and the social ecology movement of the late 1960s and 70s, later warned of the profound ecological crisis that we now face.

Editorial: The Green Shoots of Class Consciousness?

All predictions point to how the current crisis will hit Britain much harder than Brown and Darling care to admit. Understandably, working people are angry at the loss of security, livelihoods and, for some, even their homes. Beyond doubt, however, is the fact that this cost will rise even further in the years to come as the state tries to force us to pay for the billions it has borrowed and is still doling out to the rich and powerful.

A contradiction at the heart of Chaos: Regulation of global financial markets to solve boom and bust is a non-starter

It appears the world’s governments have stopped capitalism going into total meltdown. But even if it recovers the cost of saving it will be massive and we, the working class, will pay for years to come through job losses, cuts in pay and reductions in public services. Nor is that our only worry. There is every likelihood capitalism will nose dive back into recession at some future point.