Thursday, March 09, 2023

"Surplus Humanity" Means That NiggaHertz Bout To Go Off The Charts

therealnews  |  Well actually, there’s three new books because I published The Global Police State in 2020, and this year, there are two new books, Global Civil War and Can Global Capitalism Endure? But what happened was I was writing and thinking about and speaking about this crisis from 2008 and on, and then the pandemic hit. And it became clear to me as I started researching that and engaging with other people that the pandemic has accelerated in warp speed the crisis itself, and it’s introduced a whole new set of concerns as we face this crisis of humanity. And that book also goes into considerable detail on digitalization, because the digital transformations underway are absolutely tremendous. They’re linked to everything else.

But then the companion to Global Civil War – And both of these came out in 2022 – Is Can Global Capitalism Endure?, which is really the big summation of the crisis and what we can expect in the following years and the following decades. So if it’s possible, I would love to put out a summary here of where we’re at with this crisis.

This is a crisis like never before. This is an existential crisis. It’s multidimensional. Of course, we can talk about the economic or the structural dimension, deep economic, social crisis. We’re on the verge of a world recession, but I think it’s going to be much more than that. It’s going to be another big collapse which might even exceed what we saw in 2008. But it’s also a political crisis of state legitimacy, of capitalist hegemony, of the crack up of political systems around the world. And it’s also a social crisis of what technically we can call a crisis of social reproduction. The social fabric is disintegrating everywhere. Billions of people face crises for survival and very uncertain futures. And of course, it’s also an ecological crisis, and this is what makes it existential.

I am suggesting that the 21st century is the final century for world capitalism. This system cannot reach the 22nd century. And the key question for us is, can we overthrow global capitalism before it drags down and destroys all of humanity and much of life on the planet along with it?

So let me step back and say that we can speak about three types of crises. Of course, there are periodic receptions, the mainstream goals of the business cycle that take place about once every 10 years, but we’re in something much more serious. We’re in what we can call a structural crisis, meaning that the only way out of the system is to fund it. The only way out of the crisis is to really restructure the whole system. The last big structural crisis we had was the 1970s. The system got out of that by launching capitalist globalization and neoliberalism. Prior to that, we had the big structural crisis of the 1930s, the Great Depression. System got out of that by introducing a new type of capitalism, New Deal capitalism, social democratic capitalism, what I call redistributive nation state capitalism. And before that, just to take it back once more – Because these are recurrent, they happen, these structural crises about every 40 to 50 years – Was from the late 1870s to the early 1890s. And the system got out of that by launching a new round of colonialism and imperialism.

So now, from 2008 and on, we’re in another deep structural crisis. And I know later in the interview we’ll get into that dimension, that economic structural dimension. Technically, we call it an overaccumulation crisis. But I want to say that there’s a third type of crisis, and that actually is where we’re at: a systemic crisis, which means the only way out of the crisis is to literally move beyond the system. That is, to move beyond capitalism. So when I say that we are in a systemic crisis, this can be drawn out for years, for decades. But we are in uncharted territory. This is a crisis like no other. If we want to put this in technical terms, we’re seeing the historic exhaustion of the conditions for capitalist renewal. And the system, again, won’t make it to the [22nd] century.

As you pointed out in the introduction, the ruling groups, at this point, are in a situation of permanent crisis management, permanent state of emergency. But the ruling groups are rudderless. They’re clueless. They don’t know how to resolve this crisis. And quite frankly, they cannot. They can’t. What we’ve seen is that over the past 40 years, world capitalism has been driven forward by this trickle process that I lay out in these two new books, Global Civil War and Can Global Capitalism Endure?, of globalization, digitalization, and financialization. And these three processes have aggravated the crisis, really created and aggravated the crisis many times over. And just to summarize a couple other things here, what we’ve seen over the last 40 years is the buildup of this structural crisis and the problem of surplus capital, meaning that corporate profits in 2021 were a record high even in the midst of us all moving down and suffering. Record high profits. So the transnational capitalist class has accumulated enormous amounts of wealth beyond what it can reinvest, hence stagnation, beyond what it can even spend.

And what this has led to is this mass of what we call – I know we’re going to get into this later in the interview – This mass of fictitious capital, meaning all of this capital around the world which is not backed by the real economy of goods and services. It’s what technically we call fiat money, this unprecedented flow of money. And it’s led to this situation where in the world today we have this mass of predatory finance capital which is simply without precedent, and it’s destabilizing the whole system.

But let me conclude this introductory summary by saying the problem of surplus capital has its flip side in surplus people, surplus humanity. The more the surplus capital, the more hundreds of millions, even billions of people become surplus humanity.

And what that means is that the ruling groups have a double challenge. Their first challenge is what do they do with all the surplus capital? How do they keep investing in making profit? Where can they unload this surplus capital and continue to accumulate? But the second big challenge, because the flip side is surplus humanity, is how do you control the mass of humanity? Because there is a global class revolt underway. That’s the title of the book, Global Civil War. After the late 20th century worldwide defeat of proletarian forces, now the mass of humanity is on the move again. There are these rebellions from below breaking out all over the world. And the ruling groups have the challenge of how to contain this actual rebellion underway and the potential for it to bring down the system from, oh, no.


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