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.

It has often been noted that the serious bourgeois analysts frequently arrive at the same conclusion as the Marxists, albeit with a slight delay. Nowhere has this aphorism been more aptly demonstrated than in a recent article by Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize-winning economist, entitled “A Permanent Slump”.

Despite the international corporate media’s relentless propaganda, the gap between the haves and have nots is continuously increasing on a global scale. In spite of what they would like us to believe, what we have before us is a transfer of wealth from the poorer countries to the richer on a scale never seen before in history.

When the current crisis began, there were some who painted it as simply a Western crisis; a crisis that was unique to Europe – due to problems caused by its common currency – and America – due to its sub-prime mortgage scandal and ensuing credit crunch.

In the past week, the mood of the global financial markets has once again turned sour. The disastrous position in the Eurozone, coupled with a slow-down in China and poor figures from the United States has led to a new sell-off. All the indicators are now pointing at that we are entering into a new down-turn.

The world economic crisis has led to such a deterioration of the health of public finances worldwide that the recent World Economic Outlook (WEO) of the IMF has the apt title “Coping with High Debt and Sluggish Growth”. One chapter of the WEO is specifically dedicated to analysing examples from the past to see if there are lessons for today1. The results are quite interesting.

The latest “decisive” EU summit-to-end-all-EU-summits-and-fix-the-Eurozone-crisis-once-and-for-all has signally failed to do so – just like all the previous “decisive” and “final” summits. As in previous meetings, within days the results were declared completely unsatisfactory by the markets. These gatherings of EU heads of state are now a thoroughly debased currency. Nothing has changed except that the national contradictions are sharper and more insoluble than previously thought.

Another variation on the demand to “tax the rich” is the call for a tax on financial transactions, otherwise known as a “Financial Transactions Tax” (FTT), “Tobin Tax” (after the Nobel economics laureate, James Tobin, who first proposed the idea in 1972), or “Robin Hood Tax” (i.e. taking from the rich and giving to the poor). [Part 1]

The present economic crisis has been described in various ways by mainstream commentators. All manner of “solutions” have been posed, both by the bourgeois politicians and economists, and by the reformist leaderships of the working class. What these commentators and representatives cannot admit is that this crisis will not be solved by this or that reform. Society is living through a crisis of capitalism and the choice facing mankind is simple: socialism or barbarism.

MARXIST.COM HOLIDAY BREAK

In Defence of Marxism will be publishing irregularly over the holiday period, and will resume regular output on 1 September.

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