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.

Capitalism is a chaotic system of production beyond the contol of humanity. It is doomed to plunge society into ever greater crises. But why does it enter a crisis and what is the alternative?

The digital currency Bitcoin has hit the headlines in recent times for its novelty, as well as for its phenomenal rise in price over the past few years. But how much of the Bitcoin sensation is hype, and what is the reality?

Recently the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) released a report that came up with a novel idea: convince the world population to eat insects to avert mass hunger. In reality it is already possible to feed everyone without the need to eat bugs. What stands in the way is the “market”, i.e. capitalism.

As 2013 came to a close, many economists and politicians drew a collective sigh of relief: the Eurozone remains in one piece; the USA has not defaulted; and a triple-dip recession was avoided in Britain- there is even much talk of a recovery! But for the more far-sighted commentators amongst the bourgeoisie, the New Year – far from offering any light at the end of the tunnel – simply brings with it increasing uncertainty, instability, and crisis.

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