Saturday, April 13, 2013

A very short graphic history of late Capitalism

Ever heard of surplus value, Thatcher & Reagan or the Credit Bubble? I bet you did. What you might not have realized is that, in the golden decades of Capitalism, at the middle and third quarter of the 20th century, the system, deeply trampled in a protracted class war at home and abroad, decided to effectively apply semi-socialist measures allowing a much greater share of this surplus value to be shared by workers. 

These figures, which apply only to the USA but surely have strong parallels elsewhere within the core Capitalist Empire, come from Campaign for America's Future (via Hullabaloo), a self-described progressive site, but most informative in any case.

The most revealing chart is this one:

We can easily see how in the 1940s, with the war effort and all that (heh, not the New Deal but many years later in fact) the 10% bourgeois elite took more than just a haircut in their share of the surplus value, from c. 45% to 35% or less. Those ten or fifteen percentile points were enough to keep most of the popular classes content and hopeful for the following decades. 

However, since the 1980s, that interested generosity of the 20th century capitalism, was dramatically reversed and today the levels of wealth concentration among the bourgeois elites are record high, what implies that the working class is having a very bad time, as we know too well. 

Why?, could well a naive person ask. Because the top bourgeois elite is taking it all in their bottomless pockets, as they always did except (partly) for that anomalous parenthesis of the Cold War.

Other parallel charts, all of which are coincident in pointing to Reagan as the trigger culprit:

Share of workers in the benefits

Less income means less savings
What meant disparage growth of credit while tolerated (the bubble)

So now you know the secret of the "happy capitalism" of mid-century: a bourgeois-managed "Robin Hood" strategy of sorts in order to prevent the masses from siding with Communism. Once they estimated that the danger had passed, they removed the benefits, feeding a gigantic credit bubble as buffer. Bubble that eventually burst, of course. 

So here we are back in the 1920s, so to say, just that almost everything else has changed. That's the cycle of Materialist Dialectics, which is not circular but spiral. Spiral that unavoidably leads to the end of the Capitalist regime.

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