6 December 2008
“Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones … All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.” — Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto
Up until this current crisis manifested itself, it was true to characterize a distinguishing feature of capitalism as the “Constant revolutionizing of production”, that is to say, the destruction and recreation of the means of production, new products created and new or existing markets exploited anew.
However, in a world where there is now global over-production and increasingly impoverished working classes unable to afford the products of their own labours, is it possible that this distinguishing feature has reached a dead-end? And if so, what are the implications? Will general war, as it has in the past, be the only ‘solution’ to this, the greatest crisis of the over-accumulation of capital in history?
Or has the capitalist system finally ran out of road? And if so, are we in a position to replace it with something else?