The dynamics of US-China rivalry is an inter-imperial rivalry driven by inter-capitalist competition. Competition for the world market could soon turn into intensifying clashes of spheres of influence and even war. It is not new. It resembles a lot of the dynamics as described in Lenin's Imperialism as the Highest Stage of Capitalism. In the book, published in 1917, Lenin talked about the competition between German and British banks to lend to Latin American countries to build railroads and to ensure the projects would rely on German or British supplies. This is just like talking about the competition between China and the U.S. to offer credits to Belt and Road countries to build infrastructure. In the early twentieth century, inter-capitalist competition led to inter-imperial rivalry culminated in two world wars.
Democratizing finance contrasts sharply with the panicked stimuluses states keep injecting into their zombified economies. Finance should serve a global public mandate, not a nationalistic private one, that throws its power behind productive projects that can help empower global workers and pull them back from the brink. At its heart, democratizing finance aims to reallocate flows of credit and investment away from the casino of non-productive financial assets into the production of things the people and the planet need.
The pandemic and its economic effects have accelerated many of the changing dynamics that I outline in 'Monopsony Capitalism: Power and Production in the Twilight of the Sweatshop Age'. Indeed, the COVID-19 crisis lays bare the consequences of years of overreach by global brands as well as the growth, consolidation and organisation of suppliers in the apparel industry.
There is probably no better example of why “it is much easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism” than governments’ responses to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The problem is not so much that the structural and ideological hegemony of capital accumulation prevents us from imagining alternative forms of organizing the economy, society, and politics. It is that, short of a global revolution that replaces the current world order with an alternative, endless accumulation of capital seems to be speeding up the coming of the end of the world at a much faster pace than contributing to its own demise. “Socialism or barbarism” was an appropriate slogan for the global left in the early 20thcentury, but it no longer is. Considering the deep interlinked crises that are on the eve of destroying the planet, the slogan that reflects the reality of the 21st century is “Socialism or apocalypse.”
Capital, Labor, and the State during the Coronavirus Lockdown
The capitalist world-system we are living in has proven to be completely incapable of dealing with such a pandemic, which is unfortunately the least of our problems, considering the environmental, social, and geopolitical crises that are waiting at our […]
There will be a long political struggle to build an equitable Somalia, it will be complicated and frustrating, and it will require cultivating new social imaginaries that link political, economic, and cultural domains of life in a way that challenges the present era of depressing capitalist realism.