(This us Part 2 of the article “Tweeting the Revolution” Part 1 of which appeared yesterday.)
It won’t help any to engage in highfalutin’ scholarly pedantry to get us an understanding of what capitalism is.
Capitalism is a system whereby one produces and sells what the other consumes. Capitalism therefore thrives on the buying by consumers of the products of the producers, called capitalists. Without this relationship capitalism cannot exist.
Immediately from the above, it becomes easy to see that the reason capitalism grows is because consumers endlessly feed it with their buying.
The more gluttonous capitalism becomes, the more it devises ways to make consumers buy its never-ending line of products. But every time a consumer buys, he lets go of a percentage of the real value of his money because capitalism must have that value for a profit. So, the more consumers buy, the more they lose value of their money till it’s no longer enough to buy what they need.
In the case of workers, the buying power of their salaries and wages, which remain constant, becomes less and less capable of buying them the necessities of living. They become poor even as they already are poor.
The less consumers become capable of buying, the less and less capitalist production results. The culmination of this process cannot but be the crash of capitalism.
In times of crashes, capitalism is saved from total collapse by a variety of designs. But whatever the design is (pump-priming, hedge fund management, decontrol, etc.), they all boil down to active government intervention.
That’s what the government is there for in the first place, to serve its economic masters, the capitalists.
We’ve been long done with that subject matter.
That government goes down and another one will quickly take its place, capitalism back to happy days.
What’s most important in this present discussion is to show that it does not take a great amount of effort to bring down capitalism.
All it takes really is to stop the cycle of capital accumulation.
How do you stop the cycle?
In 2009, the Lehman Brothers banking conglomerate filed for bankruptcy. Its total market value of $46 billion had been wiped out.
What brought about the wipe-out?
Widespread non-payment by US home buyers of their mortgages which had been bankrolled by the conglomerate.
The Lehman Brothers collapse shook not just the US economy but also that of the world, from the Artic to Europe down to Asia.
And yet how much was the Lehman Brothers’ value compared to the world assets at the time estimated at $140 trillion?
A near-insignificant percentage of 0.32.
It takes so little, indeed, to send capitalism crashing.
Just don’t buy.
Simple as that.
End of Part 2. Part 3 will come out in the May Say column next Saturday.