[Marxism] Double-dip recession
d.koechlin at wanadoo.fr
Mon Aug 8 10:31:56 MDT 2011
The double-dip is upon us.
According to the OCDE, growth is to slow down EVEN MORE in the coming 6
months and countries like the US, the UK and France will be flirting
with 0 growth rate or so close as to make no difference.
That is the news that is precipitating the world markets in a downward
trend. As I write the CAC40 has finished at 3 125 down from 3 228 (-
4.68%). I enlarged the graph to cover the past two decades to see how
the CAC40 (the French stockexchange index) has fared so far.
Around 6 900 in the year 2000, down to 2 350 in 2002, up again to 6 100
in 2007, down to 2 400 in 2008, up to 4 000 in May and now down to 3
The 2002-2007 upswing lasted 5 years, the 2008-2011 "upswing" only 2 and
a half, and the downward trend is set to continue, probably past the 3
It all fits into Marxist analysis. Profitability is declining : at this
present juncture, no countervailing forces can stave off the effect of
the tendency of the rate of profit to fall.
The RATE of Capitalist accumulation is slowing down, even though piles
of capital are sloshing around.
Governments are trying to improve profitability by passing on the bill
to the working class, i.e. paying off sovereign debt by starving the
people. Since unemployment is rising dramatically as a consequence of
overproduction and fiscal conservatism, the result is going to be, in my
opinion, a sharpening of class consciousness.
Already, I think the Tea Party has been shown to the Amercian people for
what it is : the last refuge of billionairs. Even if the Yankees don't
see it now, they will see it soon enough.
As Marx pointed out, when the working class takes a hammering the
paradoxical effect is that working class consciousness rises (US against
THEM) and yet fatalism caused by generalized unemployment provides a
formidable barrier to union and working class action.
Every period of history is different and has its own peculiar momentum,
which nonetheless derives from the same basic laws of capitalist
accumulation. So Fascism as we saw in the 30s could or could not come to
the fore. But the fall in profitability will drive the propertied
classes to restore their profits through an assault on the productive
classes. 10% official unemployment in France (25% if you take into
account "those who want a full-time job but can't get it") in the face
of ever-increasing productivity means that the class struggle is going
to intensify. By cutting welfare payments, the Capitalist class is
cutting the cost of reproducing the productive class. By forcing the
proletariat to accept ever lower living standards ( closer and closer to
the bare survival minimum) through the agency of increasing
unemployment, Capitalism is doing what it has always done. But it is
clear to many people that that won't be enough.
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