The crisis of capitalism is accompanied by a crisis of bourgeois thought: philosophy, economics, morality – all are in a state of ferment. In place of the earlier optimism that stated confidently that capitalism had solved all its problems, there is an all-pervading mood of gloom. Not so long ago, Gordon Brown confidently proclaimed “the end of boom and bust”. After the crash of 2008 he was forced to eat his words.
The latest episode of the crisis of the euro shows that the bourgeoisie has no idea how to solve the problems of Greece and Italy which in turn threaten the future of the European common currency and even the EU itself. This is a potential catalyst for a new collapse on a world scale, which will be even deeper than the crisis of 2008.
The thing about the present crisis was that it was not supposed to happen. Until recently most of the bourgeois economists believed that the market, if left to itself, was capable of solving all the problems, magically balancing out supply and demand (the “efficient market hypothesis”) so that there could never be a repetition of the crash of 1929 and the Great Depression.
Marx’s prediction of a crisis of overproduction had been consigned to the dustbin of history. Those who still adhered to Marx’s view that the capitalist system was riven with insoluble contradictions and contained within itself the seeds of its own destruction were looked upon as mere cranks. Had the fall of the Soviet Union not finally demonstrated the failure of communism? Had history not finally ended with the triumph of capitalism as the only possible socio-economic system?
That was then. But in the space of 20 years (not a long period in the annals of human society) the wheel of history has turned 180 degrees. And now the erstwhile critics of Marx and Marxism are singling a very different tune. Al of a sudden, the economic theories of Karl Marx are being taken very seriously indeed. Das Kapital is now a best seller in Germany. A growing number of economists are poring over its pages, hoping to find an explanation for what has gone wrong.
Continue reading at In Defence of Marxism or Socialist Appeal.