After years of ill health, capitalism is now in a critical condition. Growth has given way to stagnation; inequality is leading to instability; and confidence in the money economy has evaporated.
The World is experiencing the realities of extreme capitalism. Inequality has surged to new heights.
Multinationals are taking over government and societal functions, aided by a trade and investment regime whose goal is to secure corporate power over judicial and legislative.
And to increase profit thwarting the best plans of governments with the threat of expensive lawsuits. The goal is to privatise everything.
Inequality is the fundamental reality for people’s lives across the globe.
Capitalism is in a constant state of crisis. Crisis is a permanent part of the logic of capitalism. Of the most interconnected companies in the World, nearly all are financial. They are at once large and extremely vulnerable: when one collapses, they could all collapse.
Capitalism is undermining the Earth’s natural systems, creating a scenario of chronic crisis. The drive for profit is leading to ever more expropriation and environmental degradation, with the financialisation of nature representing the peak in the processes of enclosure.
The ecological dimensions of capitalism may raise the question. Have we reached the limits of capital expansion?
A systemic crisis needs systemic alternatives. A key step is to recognise and break through systems that limit the imagination. The goal of a new system must be broader than just replacing the capitalist system; it must replace the extractivist system, the racist system, and the patriarchal system.
The potential is an economy that can be generative towards people and nature, enabling local manufacturing based on global design, which makes production not only more ecologically viable, but also better suited to community needs.
Once adopted into the production process of capital, the means of labor passes through different metamorphoses, whose culmination is the machine, or rather, an automatic system of machinery; – Karl Marx
150 years since Marx wrote those words, machines have taken on more and more jobs previously done by Humans.
The 20th century political movements that attempted to make Marx’s ideas reality may have failed but, 200 years since the philosopher’s birth, his analysis and foresights have repeatedly proven true. We are living in the World Marx predicted.
Non-human agents are now buyers and sellers in markets, and algorithms are replacing Humans.
The source of value in capitalism is living labor. Nonetheless capitalism eliminates living labor as a necessary dimension of its development. That contradiction means capitalism is never stable, but forever shifting in and out of crises. The system depends on Human labor while simultaneously eradicating it.