Monday, 19 January 2009

The collapse of capitalism?

Those of us who are socialists are pretty relaxed about the collapse of Capitalism. After all Capitalism is just a scheme for making a few people rich and a lot of people poor. It is a society based on greed not need. And furthermore it is a system which cannot work without a set of rules made and enforced by governments. These include money as debt, limited liabilities and property rights. When the Soviet Union collapsed the first thing the capitalist vultures were desperate to do was re-introduce the concept of private property.So, it becomes not too difficult to work out that if we change those rules capitalism isn't going to be able to function.

The problem for capitalists at the moment is that the banks are bust. Without massive support from you and me they will go under, and when people like Will Hutton start to get brown trousers you know this is a real possibility. Part of the problem is that we don't know what the liabilities of the banks are, and neither does the market, which is why bank shares are plunging. The liabilities of RBS are said to be £1.8 trillion - that would increase our national debt by 370%!. There is a very real danger that UK Plc cannot cover the liabilities of these banks and that it may go bust. We could end up like Iceland. Lets just imagine that happened. How bad would it be? Not as bad as you might think. First we would have to cancel that debt - yes cancel it. There is absolutely no way we could be expected to pay off the private sector debts of our banks. That is a nuclear option because it would destroy the reputation of the City. Then we would fuse the rump of the bust banks into a state controlled bank which would return to er.. sound banking practice. While this is going on we will almost have to nationalise some of the major UK companies to prevent them from going under. Then we need to institute the Green New Deal.

We are in uncharted waters. None of this is as unlikely as it sounds. We have become so conditioned to accepting the system as it is that its hard to imagine things any other way. The great irony is that some of these things may be brought to pass by a New Labour government near you.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Starting to read like a variation on a theme; how do we collect and work to fight against the seemingly endless tide, though?

Stu

Howard Thorp said...

I know. The left is in a very poor position to provide a coherent alternative to capitalism. The so-called hard left has continued to plough the Leninist/Satlinist/Trotskyist furrow and is not in a good position to become the mainstream.

The mainstream left is in complete disarray, having pretty much capitulated to the New Labour neoliberal project.

We have to work very hard in the trade unions, labour movement and parties like the GP to build an alternative narrative which people in the UK will understand and appreciate. There is widespread anger about what has happened - that needs to be channeled into positive change.

We are starting from a very low point but I'm optimistic about what we can achieve. Time though is of the essence. With the GND and other policies the GP is in a better position than it has been for ages - check out our website.

Anonymous said...

I simply don't see myself as a Green Party member.... I looked at the website, but it doesn't look like me. I'm a simple working class guy, who likes a lager (or 5) at the weekend. All looks rather more cosy and middle class than me in my tiny flat. Maybe I should just drink more and forget all this is happening?!

Stu

Howard Thorp said...

Maybe. I don't agree that the GP is just middle class. Even if it was sitting in your flat drinking lager ain't going to change anything.