Academic journal article Capital & Class

The Current Crisis and the Response of Socialists

Academic journal article Capital & Class

The Current Crisis and the Response of Socialists

Article excerpt

The crisis of global capitalism, which started as an apparently financial crisis from summer 2007, has since summer 2008 become a manifest crisis of 'the real economy', of productive and commercial capital. At the time of writing, in November 2008, this is already taking a severe toll on the employment and incomes of working-class people throughout the world. The crisis first manifested itself in the USA and Britain, whose domestic economies are now in recession; lint it is now hitting a number of medium-income countries such as Turkey and countries in eastern Europe and the financial centres of the post-Soviet states, as well as lower-income countries, notably Pakistan and China, where there have been huge layoffs of labour.

Reductions in employment, including through redundancies, will become widespread, as will downward pressure on wages, state transfer incomes and welfare service spending. In this situation, Marxists have a particular responsibility: to analyse the causes of the crisis and its unfolding forms, and to debate strategies for protecting the living standards of working-class people worldwide and for building their mutual solidarity.

As a result, the potential audience for Marxist ideas has increased enormously. The efficiency of free markets in capital and commodities, and the idea that the market is the only feasible mechanism for regulating a complex economy, have been brought into question, particularly by the massive support given to financial capital by the major states. …

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