Globalization of Crises [Part III]
By Farooque Chowdhury
03 October, 2010
Extent and power of crisis grows with the expansion of capital’s power to subdue all in this planet and thus capital’s triumphant globalization finds crises spread across the globe and each of the crises has overwhelming power over the other. The globalization by capital thus turns globalization of crises. The analyses, explanations, and ideas, the structures and approaches capital tried to sell over the decades were and are being refuted and rejected broadly with the same force and speed by the reality emerging out of contradictions; a number of allies it tried to nourish and bring into own fold started competing against it; regions it tried to control and appropriate were torn into pieces with strife and bloodbath. A few of the examples are: smallest possible government, least possible state intervention, crowning the economy with privatization, structural adjustment programs; Saddam, China, Russia, religious extremists; Iraq, the Balkans. The funniest example of the dominating capital’s failure in the realm of knowledge is the “brightest” idea on the termination of “history”. No other idea, most probably, has been mocked and refuted so repeatedly and within so short time by reality and by people concerned with the humanity’s journey like the “famous” idea of “end of history”. The money invested to sell the idea and the power of corporate media and corporate academia upholding it tell the power of rejection, and the power of satire the idea faced. On the other hand, there is also capital’s rejection of ideas/analyses that were not fanning the financialization process. Internationally respected economists John Eatwell and Lance Taylor in their book Global Finance at Risk, written 10 years ago, mentioned the risks and failures created by financial liberalization. But those analyses were ignored by the mainstream. The reason: those were not serving the interests of the dominant factions. George Soros informed in an interview on Bloomberg TV that Edward Gramlich, one Fed governor, warned of a coming crisis in subprime mortgages in a speech published in 2004 and a book published in 2007. But, Soros said: “the authorities didn’t want to see it coming.” Analyses by Paul Baran, Harry Magoff, Paul Sweezy, decades ago, and by John Bellamy Foster, and Fred Magdoff, years ago, gathered bitter experience: unheard and unconsidered by the mainstream. This is the fate the power of dominance creates for itself. It creates a complete blindness; class interests throw away knowledge when knowledge does not serve the interests, and thus the class prepares its downward path. Decline of dominance starts in the realm of theory, and the “end”-theory unhesitatingly, probably without any sense of shame, stands down there on the slope of history.
The militarism Toynbee mentioned in his A Study of History as “the commonest cause of the breakdowns of civilizations during the last four or five millennia” is not the militarism the world is now experiencing and apprehending to experience more. “Militarism,” to him, “breaks a civilization down by the local states into which the society is articulated to collide with one another in destructive fratricidal conflicts.” The militarism of today comes from different sources than the sources of “the last four or five millennia” ago. But, it acts in the way that hurts civilization today. Its acts of barbarity today are transmitted from generation to generation; its signatures of destruction are difficult to wipe out from the face of the earth; its marches to invasions and occupations damage environment irreparably. Thus it stands against humanity creating a crisis that most of the time spreads out crossing frontiers. The economy, broadly, of the world system, and specifically, of the centre of the centre compels it to enter into theatres of wars. The economy cannot survive and flourish without militarism, with or without war, with hot or with cold war. No ancien regime or modern day colonial power, no empire prior to the emergence of military-Keynesianism in the centre of the centre of the present world system had that military power that now threatens the entire planet, even its outer space. (see, Foster, et al, “The U. S. Imperial Triangle and Military Spending”, Analytical Monthly Review, October, 2008.) And, contradictions among its subordinate allies are no less insignificant. The contradictions and competitions related to this regime of weapons are connected to profit thirsty arms manufacturers and traders. An equation with this military “game” and poverty, disease, ignorance, etc. makes the face of crisis crueler. The dominating classes in the world stage are generating this crisis simply for their aggrandizement, for their indulgence with accumulation that sometimes appears mindless, indifferent; and the humanity has to deal with these crises. “[M]ilitarism … bears within itself,” as Engels wrote in Anti-Duhring, “the seed of its own destruction.” Militarism ultimately creates burden on respective societies. The initial benefits spread over broader parts of society get lost under the pressure of ultimate stagnation. The limits for expansion cannot be crossed by militarism but it has to face foes from within and outside. It faces its own crisis while it creates wider crisis for others. And, “militarism collapses by the dialectic of its own development” (ibid.). It leaves behind trails of destruction before its collapse and thus it takes toll from humanity. So, the growth of military-Keynesianism and all in its bandwagon is a crisis itself in a period the world system promises to give dividends of peace after the fall of its arch enemy.
[This is the 3rd part of the introduction of The Age of Crisis by Farooque Chowdhury being serialized in Countercurrents.]