Beyond the Profits System: Possibilities for the Post-Capitalist Era (New Economics)

Beyond the Profits System: Possibilities for the Post-Capitalist Era (New Economics)

Harry Shutt

Language: English

Pages: 154

ISBN: 2:00226480

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Since 2008, we have found ourselves confronted by an historic financial holocaust that world leaders have struggled to come to terms with. All have willfully ignored its long-term, systemic causes and are thus unable to chart a way to survival. As explained by Harry Shutt – who was almost alone in foreseeing such a disaster in the 1990s (in The Trouble with Capitalism) their continued denial stems from a vested interest in maintaining a capitalist profits system which is not only as destructive as it was in the 1930s but as outmoded as feudalism was in 1789. Thus it can now only be sustained by an increasing reliance to official misinformation, massive criminal fraud and the ever greater dependence of private corporations on state subsidy.

This book makes clear why the desperate resort of Western governments to 'extraordinary measures' to try and avert economic collapse is bound to fail. It also forcefully demonstrates why our only hope of reversing the tide is to abandon the traditional economic logic of endlessly expanding production in favour of responding to the aspirations of ordinary people. Such a transformation, argues Shutt, would make possible the allocation of resources to more socially desirable ends, including the assurance of basic economic security for all as a right of citizenship.

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assets at its behest. At all events it has become clear since 2008 that the US authorities have acquired the effective power to intervene in markets directly by way of purchasing almost any assets with money they can create at will. This was indicated by Chairman Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve Board in announcing its proposal to undertake quantitative easing (actually first implemented in March 2009). For while this was to be used initially to buy in (or ‘monetise’) government debt

have caused serious economic and social distress, particularly in developing countries. While at times such upheavals have been justly attributed to the actions of the petroleum-exporting countries’ cartel, OPEC, this organisation may be said in recent years to have acted more as a stabilising influence in the market, having recognised that it is in their own interests (as well as those of consumers) to avoid sharp fluctuations in prices. Thus, when in the summer of 2008 the world price of crude

contemporary critics of industrial capitalism such as John Ruskin and William Morris – at the system’s tendency to treat labour as a mere commodity.6 However, an unfortunate long-term consequence of this philosophical notion was a dogmatic Communist belief in this theory, which was to play a significant part in the failure of the economic system adopted by the Soviet Union and its satellites. Thus it was normal throughout the Comecon bloc well into the 1980s to find enterprise managers rewarded

sector. Thus it can reasonably be argued that the electoral process in the USA – and likewise in Britain and other Western ‘democracies’ – is no better designed to reflect the popular will or public interest than it was before the introduction of universal suffrage in the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries, when the power of moneyed interests to influence the political process was more explicitly built into the constitution (with the franchise based on a property qualification) than it

for needed investment in commercial projects (e.g. mineral development) that could not be foreseen within the public investment programme. Such exceptional funding from abroad (including any sovereign loans) would need to be approved by the UN donor agency against strict criteria guaranteeing that any resulting debt-service payments would be generated exclusively from the project itself. 5. While the obstacles to forming such regional groupings may seem formidable – particularly in the light of

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