In an interview which shocked the BBC News presenter, “independent trader” Alessio Rastani gave a very frank appraisal of his perspectives for the world economy. "This economic crisis is like a cancer, if you just wait and wait hoping it is going to go away, just like a cancer it is going to grow and it will be too late,” he said, adding that governments would not be able to fix the economy.

Capitalism isn't working - Photo: Jeff Mcneill

Europe is standing on the edge of a precipice. This is the judgement, not just of the Marxists, but of the most serious strategists of Capital. Barely six weeks have passed since the latest Greek rescue package, and it is already unravelling. There is now a general crisis of confidence in the ranks of the bourgeoisie internationally. The panic, which is reflected in the wild gyrations of the stock exchanges, has spread rapidly from Europe to America. It is a kind of deadly contagion that has infected all the euro zone’s big countries.

Events are moving at lightening speed. Stock markets are in freefall around the world. Some days bring temporary relief only to be followed by greater convulsions. The whole situation is reminiscent of 2008, or more correctly the 1930s.

The euro zone is heading into stormy waters. The crisis that opened with the near collapse of the world banking system in 2008 has now deepened into a crisis of insolvency of entire nations. The bourgeois has no idea of how to get out of the crisis, which is sweeping like an uncontrollable tsunami from one country to another in Europe. In the words of Italy’s finance minister, “There should be no illusions about who will be saved. Like on the Titanic, the first class passengers won’t be able to save themselves.”

As I write these lines the destinies of Greece are being decided in a titanic struggle in which the Greek working class is confronting the big banks and capitalists of all Europe. The EU is subjecting Greece to the most shameless blackmail. They say: either accept draconian cuts in your living standards, or else we will refuse to hand over the next tranche of 12 billion euros.

Capitalism isn't working. Photo: Jeff McNeil

Everywhere you look there is upheaval and crisis, from Europe to Japan and to the United States. This reflects the worldwide malaise of capitalism that is struggling to emerge from the recent slump. This is a confirmation of Marxist ideas, which explains that capitalism is a crisis-ridden system.

A recent edition of The Economist (April 7, 2011) complained about “Capitalism’s waning popularity”. One does not have to be a genius to understand that thirty years or more of cuts in welfare, large scale privatizations and constant pressure on workers in the workplace was sooner or later going to end up with ordinary working people questioning the system that is responsible for these policies, i.e. capitalism.

Yesterday, the US federal reserve announced another round of so called “quantitative easing”, or “printing money” as most people know it. Another $600bn are to be injected into the US economy in order to stave off a double dip recession and to lower unemployment. The US ruling class are worried and are continuing their extraordinary measures, which will further intensify the contradictions in the world economy.

Although everyone has claimed that they have learned the lessons of the 1930s, the ruling classes are again engaging in the same policies that proved so calamitous 80 years ago. Deep tensions inside the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have recently emerged over currency manipulation, as countries take action to defend their own national interests against their rivals. Like gangsters, they can divide out the loot in ‘good times’ but are at each other’s throats in times of difficulty.

Recently the world’s central bankers gathered in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for their annual meeting. Having experienced the biggest banking crisis in history, there was a sense of relief at having avoided a complete collapse. The talk now was of the dust settling. Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, despite saying a month earlier that the outlook was “unusually uncertain”, said he was now “confident”. But such confidence is very much misplaced. With the world economy facing at best a painful recovery, and slow anaemic growth, the world’s bankers are deeply troubled as to what steps to take next.

The recent G20 summit in Toronto brought to the surface all the contradictions of global capitalism. Every capitalist nation wants to climb out of the crisis at the expense of its competitors. Everyone is calling for demand to be kept up, while at the same time applying cuts in public spending at home. At the heart of this are the mountains of debt that have accumulated everywhere.

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