“American business is about maximizing shareholder value. You basically don’t want workers. You hire less, and you try to find capital equipment to replace them.”
Allen Sinai, chief global economist at the U.S. research firm Decision Economics
The above quote, by a prestigious and often-cited capitalist economic analyst, brutally describes a constant underlying process of capitalism in general – not just in the U.S. but capitalism as an economic system. This is a process which has been in existence since the system began 500 years ago.The prominent bourgeois economic consultant to Wall Street, also a former Lehman Bank executive, is well known for his sharp characterizations of the economic crisis. He is the originator of the phrase “the mother of all jobless recoveries,” referring to the 2009-2010 so-called “recovery.” Sinai’s above comment, should he have followed out the thinking that flows from his remark, would have led him to the conclusion that capitalism has no future. Of course, that is an unthinkable thought for a capitalist expert, no matter how discerning he may be.
What Sinai remarked on has been true for all of capitalism since bosses began hiring workers. And at the present moment, the process described above has reached the point where it may bring capitalism to a dead end, which is the subject of this paper. The point of view of our presentation is that of revolutionary Marxism. Marxism has no crystal ball and no ability to prophecy. It can only rely on the scientific theory of historical materialism, observe events as carefully as possible, and attempt to uncover developments in order to more effectively intervene in those events on behalf of the working class and the oppressed. That is the spirit in which we attempt to characterize the present crisis. The economic crisis, which began in August 2007 with the collapse of the housing bubble in the U.S. and quickly spread around the world, marked a turning point in the history of capitalism.
Submitted by Fred Goldstein, Sept. 18, 2011 for the 6th National Meeting on Social Policy Federal University of Espirito Santo, September 28-30.