Thursday, August 18, 2016

Capitalism - a malignant cancer

“To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing.” - Raymond Williams

To avoid social, environmental and economic collapse, the world needs to move beyond capitalism. More and more people know that it's time to get serious and get involved when it comes to politics.  We're sick of the same old crap, repackaged. Imagine a world where we really did live as equals, free from war, free from hierarchy, free from oppression and exploitation. Imagine in world where we were free to focus on our creativity, free to travel and free to contribute our uniqueness to society. If this kind of world can even be imagined then why not aim for it? Socialists are people who believe that the root of many of our problems is found in the way in which our societies are organized. Capitalism cannot be reformed, it must be replaced.

Many folk defend conspiracy theories such as the New World Order but miss the fact that capitalism is not a conspiracy run by a secretive Illuminati, nor the "international bankers.” Capitalism is a social relationship that is reproduced every day through every act of labour for a production system that exploits, alienates, and destroys those that are a part of it and the environment on which it depends. While we want to fight the rich and their state servants for enforcing the structures of capitalism we understand that there is no secret conspiracy to keep us all enslaved, but instead it is a very ingrained social system that has evolved over a few hundred years that we must overthrow. It didn't start with the advent of banking or the creation of the Fed, as many have been misled to believe. To say that it's the fault of the banking elite or some small group of shadowy people that have only been around since the 1920's is ludicrous. Nor was capitalism invented by a handful of people. Capitalism as a total world system is a relatively new part of human experience. It has its roots in the 16th and 17th centuries, which means that it has been around for four or five hundred years at most, while we humans (Homo Sapiens) have been around for tens of thousands of years.

Capitalism is a hierarchical economic system that necessitates continuous expansion, exploitation, and the concentrated ownership of wealth. The driving force of capitalism is the competitive market. The market economy's essential purpose is to sell commodities for profit. Profit has to be realized, regardless of the broader effects the commodity has on the environment or society at large, or the capitalist will go bankrupt. In order to gain a competitive advantage over other businesses, the capitalist is compelled to eliminate all social constraints on the exploitation of labor, and to reinvest a large portion of accumulated profits into technologies that will increase productive capacity, thereby lowering the cost of production through its economy of scale. A slow process of cannibalization occurs in which businesses must fail thereby causing wealth to be concentrated into the fewer hands of those who succeed. Due to the market imperative to sell, every aspect of life is eventually assigned a price tag. Individual and community relationships are reduced to business relationships.

Due to the “grow or die” imperative imposed by the market, economic growth cannot be contained by moral persuasion, it must continue to expand without any regard for human needs or environmental impact. Thus, capitalism should be seen for what it is, a malignant cancer. It will continue to grow until life itself will not be possible.  

The global village is a metaphor to illustrate the fact that we now possess the means to communicate information instantly from any part of the world to another part of the world.   The fact that many people still struggle to find food does not preclude the possibility that they might become aware of the fact that whilst they struggle, food is systematically being destroyed in some parts of the world and farmers are being paid to withdraw land from production to keep up prices. It’s a little arrogant to assume that people in the Developing World are incapable of drawing socialist conclusions from this. We already have the global technological potential to establish socialism. What we lack is the global working class consciousness to make that a reality.  It’s is absolute wrong to suggest that in today's interconnected global village this consciousness cannot transcend national boundaries.

There is nothing fictitious or irrational about the definition of socialism as a non-market non-statist global society.  It is what Marxists have traditionally meant by socialism.  We are sure that, come socialism, spatial inequalities will tend to be rapidly overcome through the global diffusion of advanced technologies when we no longer have the barriers of the market. A consequence of this will be increased diversification at the local level which will be good. Marx took a global approach to the matter and maintained that it was the world as a whole that had to have the productive potential for socialism before we could have socialism. Providing this precondition was met for the world as a whole then it does not matter from the point of view of establishing socialism that some parts are less developed than others. Socialism itself would enable the rapid diffusion of technologies and material assistance around the world to where it was most needed. The point is that the emergence of this global productive potential has been bound up with the development of a global division of labour that connects every part of the world with every other in what is now an incredibly complex pattern of criss-crossing material and immaterial flows – another reason why you can’t have “socialism in one country”.  Meaning the technological potential for socialism resides at the global level.

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