The Age of Crises- Part I
By Farooque Chowdhury
03 October, 2010
It is an age of crises. Capitalism in its crisis-ridden history has never faced a similar situation like now when so many crises have “come down” on this earth, have joined together, acting together and also, acting against each other, aggravating all, and are threatening not only humanity, with which capitalism’s relation is antagonistic but which is essential for the survival of capitalism, but also the world system capitalism has constructed over centuries. Now it is not the proletariat, the grave diggers of capitalism, but the edifice, the world system capital has devised in its process of accumulation and globalization that is threatening the world capitalist system. The relationship, opposites uniting together and opposing each other, built up by capitalism is the show of its crisis generating efficiency. But, alas, none of the market mongers are there to celebrate this efficiency!
Crisis creating capacity of capitalism is being reaffirmed by the present state of the world. The world system is riddled with crises: The Great Financial Crisis, the Great Hunger, the environmental crisis, the energy crisis including the peak oil reality. The crisis in democracy is not limited in the periphery only. Advanced capitalist states are also showing signs of crisis in their body-politic. The issues of equity and equality, in the realms of distribution, access, entitlement, rights and resources, remain a far cry in the entire world system and thus constitute one of the biggest crises. The crises, on the one hand, are hindering the progress of humanity, and on the other, have appeared as a threat to world peace, to the peace in the lives of billions, to humanity’s quest for prosperity and happiness, to their efforts for a stable life. Thirst for accumulation, adventures for profit, hunger for expansion, and wars – propaganda, trade, diplomatic, and military – for empire have brought these crises that have been and are being designed and directed by a few. The triumph of capital in its globalization expedition has aggravated the situation. The adventure began since capital enthroned itself on the barbarous dream of appropriating all the resources and labor from all the continents and oceans, space and the depth of the earth, centuries ago, since capital crowned itself as the master of the entire world, of all the human beings, and of all life and dead, of history, philosophy, and science. The seed of crises it thus sowed in all spheres of life – nature and society, economy and politics, ideology and education, institutions and relations. It had no capacity to resolve the contradictions, antagonistic and irreconcilable, between the few indulging in unimaginable luxury and humanity striving for survival, created with its greed and cruelties, with its power for accumulation and appropriation, extortion and exploitation, with its energy to destroy and deface. The consequences of aggrandizement now are engulfing the entire earth with all the crises humanity is experiencing.
Has ever the earth experienced so many crises, so many crises simultaneously? Has any of the societies, slave owning or feudal, occidental or oriental, created any parallel to these crises? Had any of the empires, from the east to the west, the power to create any of the crises of this magnitude, global? Have all the civilizations of the past days ravaged resources of the earth to this level and thus created crises that now threaten the entire humanity? Were the crises created in the pre-present world system periods entwined together like the present, one influencing the others, and thus accelerating the speed and velocity towards the earth’s journey to its destruction? Can a single such crisis be identified there in the domains of savages and warlords, in the paths of conquests by conquerors and marauders? Were there crises in all the past phases of the world that joined together, that increased the magnitude of the rest? Not a single instance is there in the annals of human history, and thus the all powerful capital stands unparallel. But, it has gone to its limit, bankrupting itself of all creativity, but the power of destruction that now even threatens itself, and it still plans to reap profit by capitalizing the crises, the climate change, the environment crisis, the food and energy crises, etc., despite the looming demon of destruction over its fate. It has ignited fires of conflict and strife, and is increasing tension in geopolitics. But, it is failing to escape the fundamental contradictions, the contradictions that are embedded in its accumulation adventure.
[This is the 1st part of the introduction of The Age of Crisis by Farooque Chowdhury being serialized in Countercurrents.]