The final stages of capitalism

Is capitalism going to come to an end?

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Is capitalism in it’s final death throes? Some seem to hope that it is.

But maybe not. China, now one of the world’s biggest economic powers, has moved quickly from failed socialism to a capitalist-socialist hybrid.

Even the most capitalist countries have some degree of socialism.

Political and financial systems will continue to evolve in a very complex world. It’s hard to see an end in the foreseeable future to capitalism or some sort of non-state monetary systems.

Capitalism explained

CapitalismExplained

Not sure what the origin of that is, it’s been posted in various places. I chopped of a heading “This Guy Just Explained Capitalism Absolutely Perfectly” which I think is inappropriate for what is just some great insight and humour.

Dave Brown on “the dinosaur in the backyard “

Dave Brown pops up at The Standard from time to time with some fairly left wing views. It’s interesting to see how others see things.

The dinosaur in the backyard here is the global crisis of capitalism as it goes down the historic drain into climate chaos and human extinction.

This doesn’t leave any room for ideological purity or ideological grandstanding just survival instincts.

The reason why the NACTs have an agenda to smash the unions, drive the surplus army of unemployed into misery, and terrorise us to death, is that they have little time left to rip off the rest of the wealth in NZ before they pull up the drawbridge against the seething rabble.

Screwing the last 10 minutes of labour power from workers, selling off state housing, contracting out the state functions and so on, is all rational when viewed as the emergency plan of the ruling class.

Such is their drive for the preservation of their wealth this is misconstrued as an arbitrary war on the poor driven by bloodymindedness and ideological mania.

Which leads to the delusion that if we lock them up in the madhouse we can save ourselves.

No. Nothing arbitrary about it. This is the reason of classic liberalism. Freedom of the class that owns private property and un-freedom of the class from which the private property was expropriated.

The survival instinct of the dispossessed is to repossess this property as the means of subsistence and species survival.

We are the vast majority and have the power to take control before it is too late. The only thing missing is our consciousness of this fact.

Karol (a leftish Green supporter) responded:

I do not think the majority of right wingers who promote and/or lead such policies, actually think in terms of a long term self-preservation plan: nor that they are involved in such a vast rightwing, well-planned and orchestrated conspiracy.

Their thinking appears to me to be far more short term and self-serving.

I think you may be confusing a possible outcome, with the main intent of such right wing policies.

Typical generalisations. Dave replied.

The “emergency plan of the ruling class” does not need to be a “vast, long-term …orchestrated conspiracy”.

It need only be short term, as in, say, each electoral cycle and NACT parliamentary agenda.
The main reason that this plan can be entrusted to the political representatives of that class is that the dominant ideology of capitalism already prevails in the general population, so no conscious orchestrated conspiracy is necessary to justify the existence of capitalism.

The “emergency plan” as I use it here is a short-hand for the daily profit drive when facing a global crisis of falling profitability so that what David Harvey calls “accumulation by dispossession” becomes a reflex.

This explains cutting wages (hence extracting more unpaid labour), selling off state houses (profits into speculators/cronies pockets) and every other policy the NACTs force through to make the working class pay for its crisis.

Capitalists are individually motivated but collectively organised to advance their class interests. They delegate to the state the function of defending their interests.

One does not need a ‘conspiracy theory’ to explain an actual conspiracy.

“Cutting wages” is a common claim – I’d like to see actual evidence of this.

National’s policy to move state housing to social agencies is not selling to “speculators/cronies”.

“Capitalist” is a class term that’s meaningless in a modern New Zealand context. We have a broad mix of capitalism and social policy, individually (most of us) and especially as a country, whether under a National or Labour led Government.

This is one of Dave’s less radical posts.

Would they have voted National if they knew this?

The Mixed Ownership Model Bill will complete it’s passage through parliament this week.

Would as many people have voted for National if they knew it would pass? It was clearly campaigned on by National and prominently opposed by Labour and voters should have been clear about the chances of it proceeding, so it would be odd if there are defections of support from National because the part asset sales are going ahead.

Asset sales set to pass last hurdle this week

(Stuff) The Government’s plan to partially sell shares in four state-owned companies is set to overcome its final hurdle this week.

Legislation allowing for the sale of 49 per cent of the companies will get its third reading after fiery debate on the issue in Parliament last week.

Despite the continued unpopularity of the scheme, Cabinet minister Steven Joyce said the Government would not back down.

National took the issue to the country before the election and voters understood it was a government’s job to get the books into surplus and create opportunities, he told TV One’s Q+A show yesterday.

People could not say they wanted economic growth and jobs and then turn down policies that would achieve those things.

“You can’t buy a quarter of the package,” he said.

Reasons against asset sales have been extensively overstated. The case for the sales has often been shouted out by the hubris.

It’s fairly well known that National want to sell some assets to reduce how much Government needs to borrow. But Steven Joyce talked about a stronger ereason on Q+A yesterday.

“One of the most important things about it … is the strengthening of the capital markets by getting those shareholdings listed.”

New Zealand’s capital markets had performed relatively poorly over the past decade and the listing of four strong energy companies would strengthen them.

“We need to grow our capital markets because that’s how our companies get the opportunity for more capital, to grow further, to add more jobs.”

The importance of active and strong capital markets isn’t understood by many people – in fact some of the strongest opposition to asset sales comes from idealistic Green and Mana supporters, some of whom want to get rid of capitalism altogether. Some of the campaigning has been as much pro-socialism as it is anti-asset sales, because some see the tow as being the same thing.

But if voters going into the election should have been clear about the prospects of part sales going ahead, so National shouldn’t lose much support for sticking to their main election policy.

PROS AND CONS (STUFF)

FOR

Expected profits of $5b to $7b from the asset sales programme. A target of 85 to 90 per cent New Zealand ownership. Small share packets of about $1000 may be offered to maximise access for “mum and dad” investors. The Government has pledged to retain a majority 51 per cent stake.

AGAINST

The asset sales programme will not dent Crown debt, with no more dividends from assets. Foreign ownership of energy companies – higher power prices, dividends flowing overseas, and fewer jobs. Costs of the sales process – around $120m spent on fees for organising and marketing the floats. The tenuous state of the global economy means assets may not attract a high price.