As Adam Booth explains in this article, serious bourgeois economists can see a new world economic slump coming, which they have no way of averting, having already used all the traditional measures they would have adopted in the past, lowering interest rates, credit, etc. In these conditions any important event, such as a Greek default or a dramatic turn of events in the Middle East, can trigger an unravelling of all the pent up contradictions.

Once more, the world economy is dangling on the edge of a precipice. The crisis in Greece has again hit the headlines and threatens to drag Europe down with it. The days when capitalism could simply sail by without a care in the world have gone forever. As in the interwar period, the crisis of capitalism remains deep-seated and protracted.

“Capitalist production constantly strives to overcome these immanent barriers [to its further development], but it overcomes them only by means that set up barriers afresh and on a more powerful scale. The true barrier to capitalist production is capital itself.” - Karl Marx

“Where were the Marxists in 2008, when the demise of Lehman Brothers almost brought about the collapse of capitalism?” asks a puzzled Ralph Atkins, the capital markets editor of the Financial Times. Well, unlike Mr. Atkins and his coterie of free-marketeers, we were not in a state of total bewilderment. We had predicted such an eventuality. As capitalism plunged into a deep slump, we were explaining to an ever-widening audience that the crisis, which bourgeois economists denied could ever happen, was a stunning confirmation of the correctness of Marx’s ideas. These ideas, which had been repeatedly declared out-of-date by capitalist apologists, were shown to be shockingly relevant, in total contrast to bourgeois economic theory and especially the discredited efficiency markets hypothesis.

In 2015, the rich are still getting richer and the poor are still getting poorer. This is the conclusion of a new report on inequality produced by Oxfam and based on data compiled by Credit Suisse. The report confirms that the richest 1% of the world’s population now collectively own 48% of all the wealth of the planet. By 2016, based on current trends, they will have over half - that is, more than the other 99% of us have put together.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. So it is that after years of crisis, and further months of prevaricating, it seems that quantitative easing (QE) will soon be implemented across the Eurozone. However, the contradictions that have prevented such a programme of QE in Europe up until now have not gone away, and the fault lines along which the Eurozone will crack are already apparent and clear.

As they danced away the Old Year and welcomed the New with, as usual, copious quantities of the finest champagne, the bourgeois from New York to London must have felt a satisfying glow of confidence. Seven years after the 2008 calamity, are they not still firmly in command? The earlier fears that the crisis must lead to some terrible social and political Apocalypse have dissipated. Capitalism is alive and well. The profits are flowing freely and the rich are ever richer. In short, everything is for the best in the best of all capitalist worlds.

Tectonic shifts are taking place in the world economy. The price of oil has fallen dramatically in the past six months. The price of Brent Crude has now fallen to less than $60 a barrel. This marks a near fifty per cent drop in price from $115 a barrel in June. It heralds a new stage in the capitalist crisis, and its impact is being felt throughout the world.

“Six years on from the financial crash that brought the world to its knees, red warning lights are once again flashing on the dashboard of the global economy.” Such ominous statements may sound familiar to our regular readers. However, these words are not those of a Marxist, but of the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, who returned from a meeting of political leaders at the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, with deep concerns about the state of the world economy. As the fires of capitalism crisis spread and continue to ignite in one country after another, optimistic talk of recovery amongst the ruling class has given way to a more sober assessment of the situation – to an understanding that stagnation, decline, and crisis are the new normality under capitalism.

Signor Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, has tried to call up spirits from the deep like the Shakespearean characters Glendower and Hotspur. “I will take whatever it takes”, he said a few years ago. Such spirits were supposed to save the euro and restore growth. However, while the euro has stabilised, temporarily, the European crisis has certainly deepened. This time it is threatening to plunge the European Union into the nightmare of a Japanese-style deflation.

Thomas Piketty, a French economist and academic, has become an overnight sensation thanks to his book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, a bestseller that has sparked debate on all sides for its detailed analysis of inequality under capitalism, with elation and praise from the reformist left, and horror and fright from the free-market right.

The fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the capitalist degeneration of the Chinese bureaucracy led to mass euphoria and ridicule of Marxism by a sea of imperialist experts, intellectuals and politicians howling against socialism and communism. What is far worse is how quickly the former sycophants and disciples of Moscow and Beijing jumped on this bandwagon, justifying their betrayals, ignorance and opportunism by capitulating to this exploitative and inhuman system. The capitalists and the imperialists started to use them as a tool to spread venomous propaganda against an ideology they proclaimed to adhere to and ‘confessed’ it to be wrong and a historical failure.

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