Everywhere the cry is: credit crunch! You can smell the sweat on the brows of bankers as their necks are squeezed by the tightening credit noose. In all the offices of the great investment banks of Wall Street, the City of London and gnomes of Zurich, you can hear the hissing sound of the global financial bubble bursting and deflating.

According to a recent United Nations study, the richest 1% of adults in the world own 40% of the planet's wealth. Europe, the US and some Asia Pacific nations accounted for most of the extremely wealthy. More than one-third lives in the US, while Japan accounts for 27%, the UK for 6% and France for 5%. But bourgeois economists still insist Marx was wrong!

The bourgeois economists are incapable of understanding crises, which are an inescapable result of capitalism. They look for subjective factors such as “confidence”, even “human nature”. In reality what we are witnessing are the real workings of the capitalist system in a period of decline.

Over the past 15 years production has risen at about 3% a year in the OECD countries, while money supply, mortgage and company debt, personal borrowing and the massive so-called derivatives market based on this credit has increased at over 25% a year! Result? A huge bubble which is now bursting, starting with Northern Rock.

Recently, the Bank of England hiked its interest rates yet again to 5.75%,the fifth rise since August 2005, and "further action" on interest rates could be on its way. The interest rate may go to 6% or more by the end of this year. The credit-led boom is now in jeopardy as central banks raise interest rates everywhere.

The financial turbulence of recent days has wiped billions off the price of shares all around the world. On Friday August 10th London’s stock exchange, the FTSE 100, alone dropped £63 billion. What does this mean?

This speech was delivered at a meeting of the leadership of the International Marxist Tendency in Barcelona on 24 July 2007. The recent turbulence on world stock markets fully confirms the perspectives outlined in it.

The poorest 50% of the world's 6.6bn population own just 1% of the world's riches. The answer? "Although we Americans strive to provide equality of economic opportunity, we do not guarantee equality of economic outcomes, nor should we." (Ben Bernanke, the chair of the US Federal Reserve)

High levels of growth have been achieved in the world economy, but these have been based on huge levels of easy credit, on debt. This is not sustainable in the long run. Figures on the state of the US economy indicate that the system is reaching its limits and crisis is looming.

The nerves of stock market speculators can’t be in too good a shape these days. Wall Street has just suffered its second biggest point drop in four years. This immediately spread to Asian stocks markets that suffered serious falls.

Join us!

Help build the forces of Marxism worldwide!

Join the IMT!

Upcoming Events