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by Heiner Geissler
Monday, Apr. 07, 2008 at 7:48 AM
"The workers who have to sell themselves bit by bit are a commodity like every other commercial article." This quotation from the 1848 Communist Manifesto is an accurate description of the current system which is morally sick and lacks consensus.
Why hasn’t the collapse of capitalism occurred, the collapse announced by Marx? Could it still happen?
By Heiner Geissler
[This short article published in: Tagesspiegel 3/9/2008 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.tagesspiegel.de/magazin/wissen/geschichte/;art15504,2490488 Heiner Geissler, 78, was the German minister for Youth, Family and Health, general secretary of the CDU and member of the board of directors of his party.]
Marx predicted the collapse of capitalism. He recognized the political dynamic of economic inequalities. This threat to the political order at that time had an effect. Governments took a number of measures from universal compulsory education and social security to the progressive income tax that prevented even greater inequalities. Pure capitalism was deactivated and replaced by a new economic and social philosophy: the social market economy with an ethical foundation and orderly competition to prevent the monopolization of the economy predicted by Marx.
Civilization seems thrown back 200 years in the scope of globalization. While politics is still nationally organized, the economy is globally oriented. Therefore the global economy has become a world of anarchy without laws, rules and social agreements. Global corporations exploit people and pursue wage slavery and destruction of the environment in alliance with authoritarian states like China. They extort states through tax policy and play them off against each other. The stock value of a business becomes the sole criterion for its evaluation. This value rises higher the more people are rationalized away. From a global perspective, shareholder value replaces the social market economy. Capital interests dominate. Financial crises shake the world. “The worst thing is that the new global system sets profits over people,” the economist Lester Thurow says. Nokia, Siemens and BMW prove him right.
“Capital traumatizes the population, centralizes the means of production and concentrates property in a few hands. The workers who have to sell their labor power bit by bit are a commodity like every other commercial article and therefore are exposed to all the ups and downs of competition and all the fluctuations of the market.”
This quotation from the 1848 Communist Manifesto is an accurate description of the current world economic- and financial system which is morally sick and lacks consensus. Unlike the world at that time, the political power that ensures order in the world – and financial economy is lacking today. If women and men of western states do not finally wake up, the prophesies of Marx and Engels will be fulfilled.
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