Thursday, July 11, 2013

When capitalism can’t

From People's World, courtesy of the Communist Party USA's facebook page:

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, "When capitalism cannot provide jobs for the unemployed, then the government(s) must act before it loses the power to do so."

Capitalism cannot provide jobs for the hundreds of millions of unemployed, nor does it have any interest in doing so. Capitalism is in business to make profits, not jobs. When it needs workers, it will hire them; when it no longer needs them, it will fire them. As the new production technologies develop and the rate of production is intensified, workers will be needed for shorter and shorter periods of time.

Although capitalism cannot provide jobs for everyone who is willing, ready and able to work, we must wring out every job possible. Under the new lightening speed commodity production, fundamental changes in the economy are necessary. The old rules and relations which produce mass unemployment have to be sharply amended or replaced. Governmental processes which have always been in the control of capitalism must be redirected to meet the new production situation.

More here.

"Get a job," the favored right-wing solution to unemployment, is an inoperative notion when there are no jobs to be had, when the jobs that do exist are woefully inadequate for supporting a family.  "Go to college," something liberals like to say, isn't much help, either, for pretty much the same reasons.  The old rules no longer apply, in spite of the fact that everybody pretends they still do.  That is, the cherished American notion that if everybody would just go get a job, and government allows business to do whatever it wants without burdensome interference, then everything will work out just fine is now clearly a fiction, and it's getting worse.  There is no hope for improvement on the horizon.  Expect mass unemployment and underemployment to be the new norm for the twenty first century.

Capitalism, or, at least, capitalism as currently configured in the United States, is now totally broken.  It does not create prosperity for the nation.  It creates prosperity for certain privileged American individuals, yes, but certainly not for the nation.  What good is a national economic system if it doesn't take care of us?  Why should any working American support an economic system that is designed ultimately to impoverish him and his fellow citizens?  We need radical change if we're ever again going to see something even resembling the middle class prosperity we had in the twentieth century.  And we need it now, or we're going to look more and more like Mexico as the years go by, and less and less like the US everybody still believes in.

I'm not saying we need to have a Marxist revolution or anything so extreme.  But we need to fix capitalism such that it actually does what it claims to do: make America prosper.  We've tried the whole freeing up business thing for the last three decades, and it has failed utterly.  Capitalism left to its own devices does nothing but cannibalize the nation.  We have to fix this.  Or there WILL be a revolution eventually, whether that's a good thing or not.