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May 01 2011

02mydafsoup-01

David Harvey - Nice day for a revolution: Why May Day should be a date to stand up and change the system | World Politics, World - The Independent - 2011-04-29

[...]

While decolonisation throughout the rest of the world proceeded apace, the spread and, in some cases, imposition of economic development projects brought much of the globe into a tense relation with capitalist forms of development and underdevelopment (prompting a wave of revolutionary movements in the late 1960s into the 1970s, from Portugal to Mozambique). These movements were resolutely resisted, undermined and eventually rolled back through a combination of local elite power supported by US covert actions, coups and co-optations.

The crisis years of the 1970s forged another radical paradigm shift in economic thinking: neoliberalism came to town. There were frontal attacks on organised labour accompanied by a savage politics of wage repression. State involvement in the economy (particularly with respect to welfare provision and labour law) were radically rethought by Reagan and Thatcher. There were huge concessions to big capital and the result was that the rich got vastly richer and the poor relatively poorer. But, interestingly, aggregate growth rates remained low even as the consolidation of plutocratic power proceeded apace.

An entirely different world then emerged, totally hostile to organised labour and resting more and more on precarious, temporary and dis- organised labour spread-eagled across the earth. The proletariat became increasingly feminine.

The crisis of 2007-9 sparked a brief global attempt to stabilise the world's financial system using Keynesian tools. But after that the world split into two camps: one, based in North America and Europe, sees the crisis as an opportunity to complete the end-game of a vicious neoliberal project of class domination: the other cultivates Keynesian nostalgia, as if the postwar growth history of the United States can be repeated in China and in other emerging markets.

The Chinese, blessed with huge foreign exchange reserves, launched a vast stimulus programme building infrastructures, whole new cities and productive capacities to absorb labour and compensate for the crash of export markets. The state-controlled banks lent furiously to innumerable local projects. The growth rate surged to above 10 per cent and millions were put back to work. This was followed by a tepid attempt to put in motion the other pinion of a Keynesian programme: raising wages and social expenditures to bolster the internal market.

China's growth has had spillover effects. Raw material suppliers, such as Australia and Chile and much of the rest of Latin America have resumed strong growth.

The problems that attach to such a Keynesian programme are well-known. Asset bubbles, particularly in the "hot" property market in China, are forming all over the place and inflation is accelerating in classic fashion to suggest a different kind of crisis may be imminent. But also the environmental consequences are generally acknowledged, even by the Chinese government, to be disastrous, while labour and social unrest is escalating.

China contrasts markedly with the politics of austerity being visited upon the populations of North America and Europe. The neoliberal formula established in the Mexican debt crisis of 1982, is here being repeated. When the US Treasury and the IMF ...

[...]

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April 30 2011

02mydafsoup-01
Nice day for a revolution: Why May Day should be a date to stand up and change the system http://ind.pn/iqQs4j #mayday

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// a greater excerpt of the article is also available on soup.io - permalink

  
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