The Current Crisis of Capitalism
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
According to William Robinson, philosopher and professor at the University of California, global capitalism has been in crisis since the 1980s. There has been a global polarization where the rich have become richer and the lower classes have fallen into extreme poverty. In his book on the crisis of global capitalism he makes three basic points:
1. That there is already a ‘new global capitalism’ that has four or five very unique elements.
2. The current crisis could turn into a systemic crisis. 3 The global elite have responded with three mechanisms that have only aggravated the crisis.
These three mechanisms are: ‘militarized accumulation’, which involves accumulating wealth through the use of planned conflicts in regions far from US soil, military spending, economic warfare, alleged acts of terrorism created by the CIA and induced conflicts such as the one in Iraq. The second mechanism is the ‘looting of public budgets’, where government wealth is transferred into private hands when large States can no longer pay their debts, and so sell off public wealth in the form of bonds to businessmen. That means that public budgets are indebted to the capitalist class. And the third mechanism is financial speculation that is not productive, which is what happened with the crash of 2008 that led to an increase in the prices of basic foods, commodities, energy and other products for domestic use.
Robinson says that there are many who still believe they are living in the twentieth century, but in reality there have been many changes and several ideological factions have emerged. Accordingly, he considers five fundamental elements as the constituents of the current crisis:
1- The Ecological Crisis, due to the fact that the capitalists have not had the ability to work in tandem with the environment. 2.- Global Capitalism has reached its maximum expansion capacity and if there is no expansion the world goes into crisis, since population growth does not stop. 3. The scope and concentration of the means of violence in very few hands, with a few being able to control what people think and own. 4 .- There is extensive social polarization and a superfluous population has emerged, a large mass of human beings that has been expelled from the global productive sector and is the equivalent of a third part of humanity. 5. – There is a great discrepancy between a de-globalized economy and the current political situation that continues to function at the national rather than the global level. It is obvious that the global elites are looking for mechanisms that have political authority transnationally, such as the Davos Forum, which, at its last meeting, came up with many ideas to deal with the new world economy. But there is no doubt that creating a global policy is indispensable.
Robinson says that the democratization of global societies is needed in order to get out of the current crisis since when there is a great concentration of economic power the result is an oligarchic political formula that undermines democracy as traditionally conceived. Since there can be no political democracy with such a strong concentration of economic resources in a few major powers, the governments of Latin America, especially in South America, have used natural and public resources to bring about a redistribution of wealth that has partially protected them from the global crisis. But it is not a sustainable model in the long term because of obvious ecological issues.
The reality is that no country can remain outside of the current global capitalism, so mechanisms for redistribution and democratization of the economy and global politics are needed. And it is necessary to completely change the current energy base that relies on coal, hydrocarbons and non-renewable materials that have been changing the ecology of the planet and leading it in an apocalyptic direction.
Addendum: Fortunately, China and India, the two new cultures that are controlling the world today and which represent two-thirds of the world’s population are developing new formulas to operate the economy, revive the moral conscience of humankind and preserve ways to bring about the ecological balance of the planet.