Thursday, 7 July 2011
POVERTY AND THE CRISIS OF CAPITALISM
A child will die of hunger by the time it takes the average person to finish reading this sentence and think about their own investment portfolio losing half its value in the last 12 months. If state-directed capitalism is to squeeze more out of labor and further erode middle class living standards, that necessarily entails that poverty will increase sharply.
Now that the world economy is in a cyclical structural crisis and it seems that it will be stuck there in the next few years, it means that the number of people in the world who languish in abject poverty and are chronically malnourished (currently just under one billion) will increase while aid and the real value of labor decrease. When the issue of poverty is raised educated people who should know better rationalize it by utilizing the Malthusian argument that there are too many people and too few resources, therefore there will always be poor people in the world.
Very few have argued that there are not sufficient resources to bailout capitalism to the tune of several trillion dollars paid for by labor and the middle classes to strengthen a system that causes and maintains poverty on a world scale. Feeding a starving child that faces death every five seconds is not nearly as urgent for the state as buttressing finance capitalism because the value system on which capitalism is predicated rests on creating the wretched of the earth, to borrow Franz Fanon’s book title, so that capital accumulation can continue to thrive.
Poverty is caused and can only be solved by political economy not charity, a handful of wealthy people that steal legally and illegally for decades and then decide to give some of their wealth to atone for their greed, or expedient diplomacy by a government (s) wishing to promote trade with the aid recipient. In a previous piece on global poverty, I noted that the poverty holocaust will have social and political implications and cause instability and further weaken the world economy as the UN has warned to the shrugs of the richest nations responsible for the crisis of capitalism.
There have been calls by both governments and non-profit organizations that poverty will inevitably rise rather than drop in the next few years. From the inner cities of the US, to Australia where long lines of working people wait to collect a few groceries to feed themselves and their children, to sub-Sahara Africa poverty is rising amid governments’ sole focus on the health of the top of the economic ladder. China recently announced that the current economic crisis can best be mitigated by all countries taking part in the solution and acting in a coordinated manner with regard to all issues from monetary to trade.
The poverty holocaust could be part of the agenda at the international conference on the current crisis of capitalism scheduled for 15 November 2008, but it will only receive token mention and there will be no action on the issue. The poverty holocaust can only be eliminated by a global approach where governments help establish the infrastructure to eliminate poverty by creating jobs and fostering productivity based on sustainable development, but that will not happen.
While it is politically and socially acceptable that governments spend immense resources on weapons and space programs, eliminating the poverty holocaust remains on the periphery of political agendas, best left to churches and other charitable organizations. Those who have studied poverty throughout history in different societies know that it can be limited if not eliminated completely, just as they know that today it is simply not profitable to limit or eliminate it. It is politically acceptable as it is profitable for capitalists worldwide and the state that sustains them to have trillions of dollars invested on parasitic capitalism responsible for starving people to death by the thousands every single day.