‘Recovery’: once again the bourgeoisie administers the drug of credit

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‘Recovery’: once again the bourgeoisie administers the drug of credit
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: ‘Recovery’: once again the bourgeoisie administers the drug of credit. The discussion was initiated by Fred.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

the lingering patient

So, "Britains economy is on the move" and all the experts are surprised!  Perhaps this is as a result of some new economic potion to be taken daily courtesy of "Enlightenment Economics"!  (From where  does the bourgeoisie dredge up these fancy names?)  But "the recovery", that much discussed  and well worn concept, while its on the horizon isn't exactly here and now.  Though it could be of course, who actually knows?  What do you see in your crystal ball?  

There isnt a lot of Enlightenment really available on some of these mysterious matters.   In fact the light shed is hardly visible;  more like  the dim religious gloom of a Toc H lamp (what's that?)  or a sputtering candle. 

That the patient is thought to be "recovering" yet again is seen as good news by some, who have rushed out to buy houses on the strength of it but will doubtless find themselves lumbered with suddenly increasing interest rates one day, should the recovery last, which  increase no one of course will have foreseen although it always happens;  and the recovery will be jeopardized by this  as usual. Is there nothing new under the sun for capitalism other than its future dismantling by the  international working class?  

Seeing capitalism as a lingering patient with a possibly terminal sickness is nice for those of us who don't like it.  I think, I hope, the patient's recovery is phony,  that the patient is only on the move first towards the bathroom with violent gastric pain and then finally to the knackers' yard.  This is the only  enlightenment we need. But insightful and amusing article comrade Hardin. 

If credit is the drug that

If credit is the drug that keeps captialism going, then it must have gotten a shipment of some gooooood shit!

help me...

I can't find the home page of the ICC but keep going back to the WWI video page. There are no "side-bars" to click onto. Can anyone help me...?

A small problem compared to the deepening economic crisis of which Britain's credit-led, low productivity "recovery" is just a part. I don't understand it very well but it looks like there are serious problems of liquidity and a coming "global deflationary shock" according to an article in The Telegraph today. It's seems to be partly due to the US tightening of monetary policy (QE) which has so far been worth $470 billion. The article talks about it affecting what it calls the "emerging economies", ie, the "BRICS" (Russia is currently defending its currency at a cost of $400 million a day) but others are affected to, including Turkey, Argentina, Thailand, Indonesia, Ukraine and others.

The article reports that China''s credit bubble is now "worth" $24 trillion (one-and-a-half times the entire US banking system) and last year alone it invested $5 trillion in new plant, greatly contributing one would think to the general crisis of overproduction. The article goes on to quote a specialist who says that with rising wages and lowering productivity in China, it is now 10% cheaper to produce the Airbus A320 in Toulouse than in Tianjing.

I'm not at all clear about it, but it looks like something serious bubbling up

There is indeed a worry

There is indeed a worry amongst the bourgeosie that we could be approaching a new phase of crisis. It was never going to be pretty when the central banks began to tighten monetary policy. I think that the problems that this will raise could well exacerbate tensions between nations as well, fracturing international co-ordination to contain the crisis. Scary stuff.

I've noticed the website changes and will ask about them.

Try Here

baboon wrote:

I can't find the home page of the ICC but keep going back to the WWI video page. There are no "side-bars" to click onto. Can anyone help me...?

Baboon, try here:

"Back to the Front

During the year 2014, we will occasionally replace the front page with a special series on World War I. You can still find the latest articles on our regular front page."


Right under my nose jk -

Right under my nose jk - thanks for that.

What's the deal?

Demogorgon wrote:

There is indeed a worry amongst the bourgeosie that we could be approaching a new phase of crisis. It was never going to be pretty when the central banks began to tighten monetary policy. I think that the problems that this will raise could well exacerbate tensions between nations as well, fracturing international co-ordination to contain the crisis. Scary stuff.

I've noticed the website changes and will ask about them.

Why did the central banks decide to take this step if it is going to lead to negative events? Its not like there is the threat of run away inflation at the moment. Its true the stock market has taken some hits, but unemployment (at least the official numbers) appears to be down and there is growth taking place. Canada just reported its 5th straight month of growth. How to understand all of this?

As far as international coordination to contain the crisis, was this ever really taking place? Wasn't the US scolding Britain about its brutal austerity? Even within the US bourgeoisie there are strong differences about how to address the crisis. In fact, there appears to be some factions that don't even think its worth managing at all. Crisis is a good thing. High unemployment creates a hughe reserve army army of un/under employed, keeps wage costs down and weakens the unions. Meanwhile, other factions seriously talk about raising the minimum wage. What's going on?

What is going on?

Good question JK. What is happening is that the bourgeoisie is faced with being between a rock and a hard place. The continued pouring of money into the system is simply driving up share prices, stocking massive speculation in commodties but leading to little real investment.On the other hand, the desire for the massive destruction of capital values by letting the crisis rip is in fact, from a purely bourgeois economic point of view, is a pretty good idea: the massive devaluation not only of variable capital but also fixed and constant capital through a rip roaring recession would certainly increase the rate of profit (as happened in the classic cycles: see Marx's Kapital Vol 3 for role of devaluation in bringing about a new phase of growth) but it would mean a recession far worse than the 30s because of the decades of the building up of over production of factories etc and there would be the very real danger of it becoming out of any control. Politically it would be a pretty desperate move. Raising wages is the old Keynesian answer which does nothing economically but political helps to keep up the idea that capitalism can offer something to the class.

The international ruling class has done pretty well at coping with the deepening of the crisis, but there is also a question about just how serious it has been. Did the bourgeoisie big up the crisis in order to scare the shit out of the working class and produce further disarray and confusion? Did the bourgeoise see that the proletariat was finding it very hard to develop its struggles and make the decision to use this situation  in order to inflict a powerful blow against this already difficult development of the struggle? The fact that the deepening of the crisis and its devastating attacks has produced such a weak response could well speak to the bourgeois as having carried out a very clever ideological attack: especially in the way it has created a new upsurge in nationalism across Europe; German workers pitched against Greek, Spainish and Italian workers, Western European workers against immigrant workers etc etc. A Marxist we have to be able to stand back and make a critical assessment of the situation.

One thing is very clear the bourgeoisie is faced with decades of desperately trying to push back the worst effects of the crisis onto their weaker competitors. This will become increasingly intense and desperate as the new emerging economies slowdown. Globalization has certainly increased the sizeof the international proletariat but this has also increased the impact of the world economic crisis

Good question indeed

From :' Capitalism's Return From The Finacial Crisis: Becker/Posner Sept 2013) which trumpets: (sick-bag trigger warning)

The reason behind these pro-capitalist activities [ ..relinquishing of 'Socialist ideas' in Venezuela/Rwanda etc.(!) AS] is that more and more countries have realized that despite is many flaws, capitalism is the only system yet devised that brings hope of lifting the masses out of poverty and creating a robust middle class. Most people realize this, and have prevented political leaders from using the reaction against capitalism brought on by the financial crisis to try to radically transform a system that has brought so much wealth and health to the peoples of the world.

Excuse me? '

'Most people realise this' .......  Well! Delete my expletives

'In taking stock at this point of what happened - now that the crisis is over and the recovery is under way ...

Excuse me?

National/ Political Economy has not changed its propaganda for 160 years. As Marx wrote in 1844: 'They slide the very premise that should be developed under the door' 

' the crisis is over and the recovery is under way ...' because we have just said it is.

'it has become clear after considerable uncertainty that capitalism has mainly won out, and those calling for radical changes in the world economy have been defeated.'

Is that so?

Leaving aside the 800 million humans who wake up hungry, are hungry all day and go to sleep hungry for the whole of their lives , leaving aside the 100s of thousands of dead in the inter-imperialist war zones, leaving aside the thousands who are being tortured at this very minute, the old people who have frozen to death this very winter wearing three layers of clothing - leaving aside all these obscene proofs that this pinnacle 'mode of production' has most certainly not 'won out' : even at a State Capitalist Machine level:

Obama is (yeah I know it's election year) speechifying about using any personal 'powers'  he can to overide the stalemate of the defiant obstacle of 'the government' he is supposedly the head of to implement even token 'ameliorative' policies so that people can at least 'get along' (i.e. stay alive/eat/have shelter) let alone 'get ahead' (the vacuous carrot that is supposed to vindicate the Capitalist Mode.)

Osbourne in Britain 'calmly' proposes to contrive a 'Toxic Government Bank' into which all the economic excrement left after the pre-meditated and encouraged surreal - unreal is better - speculative liquid assets have been spirited away to the havens of the 1%.

Lay down a new toxic carpet under which the ever more total bankruptcy of the system can be swept and Lo! 'we' are no longer bankrupt'! The 'figures' 'prove' it.


To move beyond 'ranting', such bizarre inventions, contradictions even for the bourgeoisie contain, in a general sense, visible evidence of the accelerating 'nowhere to turn' circumstance of Global Capital.

More importantly for me, it affirms a powerfully apposite simple three word phrase  in the ICC's Theses on Decadence  : the accumulation of contradictions - in the context of why these 'unprecedented' exponentially more complex times present such challenges to analysis.

Indeed it is not clear exactly what this or that 'move' signifies. But then it is the ruling class's 'job' to be 'unclear'.

Here's a current example of a wide disconnect/contradiction that struck me :

[same night recently on The World Service Radio 4]

1)Young turk financial commentators from different global locations were discussing the 'insanity' (their word) of investment banking/market trading ,still flying on madly regardless 165 Trillion dollars traded daily on world stockmarkets (at nano-second speeds)when the 'world economy' is only 'worth' 60 Trillion - what possible basis there is for calculating such a figure escapes me - but that is not important: it was the unreality of such a disproportion between 'value' that the commentators found 'simply untenable' (again their words)

2) A food type programme which went to one of the biggest Potash mines - Potash being the global fertiliser.This mine is a huge complex under the North Sea which includes 600 miles of railways tunnelled under the North Sea. I suddenly realised of course that you can't mine a substance from the seabed and just float it to the surface. It reaches landfall by rail and the workers travel to it by rail: a worker interviewed just happened to be the son of a Durham 'scrapheaped' miner 'glad to have a job'. This specific industry is showing rapid 'growth'.

Fictional speculation: bloke down a mine.

Both perennial aspects of Capitalism but now so far removed from each other that could even a bourgeois economist join up the dots?

Decomposition still strikes me as a defining context : in the sense of de-componenting. These particular components flying so irretrievably far apart that they defy Capitalism's control.

Wandered all over the place  ..

(don't worry: just kick me as you pass)