It’s going to blow!


Dorothea Lange, Damaged Child, Shacktown, Oklahoma – 1936

* * *

Today Machetera presents a translation of Jorge Altamira’s excellent overview of the growing world economic crisis. It brings to mind Fidel’s description of how he became a communist, as told to Ignacio Ramonet:

On my own I came to the conclusion that the capitalist economy was absurd. What I’d already become, before I’d come into contact with Marxist or Leninist material, was a utopian Communist. A utopian Communist is someone whose ideas don’t have any basis in science or history, but who sees that things are very bad, who sees poverty, injustice, inequality, an insuperable contradiction between society and true development. And I also had an ethics; I told you that our ethics came fundamentally through Martí.

I was helped a very great deal by life, the way I lived, and the way I saw the way I lived. When people talked about the ‘crisis of overproduction’ and the ‘crisis of unemployment’ and other problems, I gradually came to the conclusion that the system didn’t work. The courses in History of Social Doctrines and Labour Legislation, which had texts written or compiled by people who’d been educated in theories of the Left, helped me to think more deeply about these things.

* * *

The Worldwide Capitalist Crisis is Unstoppable

Jorge Altamira – In Defense of Marxism

In mid-February, Nouriel Roubini, a North American university professor whose words are followed closely in the financial trade and daily press, outlined twelve reasons to support his forecast of “a growing probability of a financial unwinding and economic ‘catastrophe’ from the banking crisis in progress” in the United States. In addition, he explained in blunter terms, his “pessimism about the ability of political and financial authorities to manage and contain a crisis of this magnitude.” According to Roubini, “one must prepare for the worst, in other words, for a systemic financial crisis.”(1) Inasmuch as the financial system is the crowning glory of the capitalist system, because it’s where all labor production acquires its value, Roubini’s warning makes clear the tendency toward dissolution of capitalist social relations and the inability of the present political system to deal with such a dissolution. It’s obvious moreover, that “an (unstoppable) financial systemic crisis” will not end at the North American borders.

Roubini’s remarks might have been nothing more than one more discussion unleashed by the present crisis, if they hadn’t been endorsed from the least expected place: the editor of the Financial Times,(2) the voice of international financial capital. “Is such a scenario at least plausible?” Martin Wolf asked his readers. “It is,” he responded, “and we can be sure that should it occur, it will put an end to all tales of ‘disconnect’ in regard to the relationship between the economy of the United States and that of the rest of the major countries.” For Wolf, however, the crisis not only has an exit, but it will be imposed as an “iron law:” capital will end up forcefully rescued by the state, whether through assumption of bad debt or inflation, or both at the same time. It’s a shame that the Financial Times editor should have left his argument there, because a mass nationalization of financial capital would amount to a financial collapse of the state doing the rescuing, inflation leading to widespread social ruin; and both to an unprecedented dislocation of social relationships.

The first point expounded upon by Roubini is the sinking housing market, in which if losses reach 20 to 30 percent, $4 to $6 trillion in property values could be swept away and ten million properties put at negative value; in other words, below the value of the loan received to buy the property. In effect, in early March, statistics showed the asset value of homes had gone negative for the first time since the Second World War. This phenomenon precipitated the failure to meet mortgage payments, including by solvent debtors, since the property would sell at a cost lower than that of the debt. Assuming a $50 trillion stock of mortgage debt, the defaults already affect a segment of between 10 and 20% of the total. Although this is still far from the 50% default rate that characterized the bankruptcy crisis of the ’30’s, the rapidity with which it is growing surpasses any previous mortgage crisis. The number of empty and vacated properties is around 2 million.

The devaluation in property prices must be added to the losses experienced by creditor banks and the non-payment of adjustable “sub-prime” mortgages, which has already reached $400 billion but could reach a trillion if the current trends continue. This collapse will affect other forms of credit with mortgages as their collateral, representing a (structured credit) market of $8 trillion, which is presently completely frozen; or in other words, is devoid of transactions.(3) Half of the international credit market consists of bonds with various collateral (the other half are bank loans) which to a greater or lesser degree include uncollectable mortgages with varying characteristics. A scenario exists for a collapse in the debt market, through which flows some $50 trillion dollars. The protection system for these securities, by specialized insurance companies or hedge funds, is in ruins, due to the scarcity of capital held by the insurers. If one assumes a failure rate of 1.3%, some $500 billion dollars will blow up in the traders’ faces.”(4) According to Roubini, things are actually quite a bit worse. The potential losses are equivalent to 25% of the total U.S. bank capitalization: $2 trillion dollars, or a little less than international bank capitalization of $2.7 trillion. If we consider the total speculative transactions on which the stock and bond markets are based, of more than $500 trillion, a default of 2% represents losses of $10 trillion.

The non-payment of various forms of consumer credit, where credit card interest comfortably exceeds double digits, is also part of the impending “catastrophe”. To this is added the commercial mortgage crisis and the impact it is having on regional banks. According to one recent report, “there’s a huge oversupply of retail commercial space.”

Another $500 billion for business loans is stuck in the banks; securities which can’t be sold in the market at their original value. According to Martin Wolf, Financial Times editor, although “North American companies are in good shape, a ‘fat portion’ has low yields and elevated debt.”(5) “Defaults” which would result from the devaluation of this class of bonds held by the banks would provoke losses of $250 billion dollars.

To this unsavory news Roubini adds the disintegration of the “shadow financial system,” or in other words, all the unregulated financial businesses, such as conduits, money market and hedge funds without access to central bank funds.

The ultimate consequence of this cascade of failures would be a crash in the markets and the collapse of capital markets, where financial assets would end up on the auction block at fire sale prices.

Covert Nationalization

The “iron law” referred to by Wolf is already in full operation, as demonstrated in the nationalization of the Northern Rock bank by British Labour and of the German IKB by a German social-conservative coalition. But these nationalizations don’t solve the problem; rather they are symptomatic of the systemic catastrophe referenced by Roubini. It just so happens that these nationalizations are not meant simply to save the skin of shareholders, via compensation, but above all to avoid the auction of assets (loans, bonds) and the consequent failure of the debts assumed to buy those assets. The British must renew outstanding debts as well as take on new publicly guaranteed debt. In this manner, the state has taken charge of a part of the capital market, that which was managed by Northern Rock, which is far more than the nationalization of private capital. On the other hand, the Bank of England has already injected more than £100 billion pounds sterling to benefit the rest of the banks under its jurisdiction, against questionable collateral. As a creditor of growing prominence, the state becomes the owner of loans and capital without a market and guarantor of the bank creditors. Thereby, “bank risk” is exchanged for “state risk” as if it were invulnerable to asset devaluation and able to escape the laws of capital. A failure of the bank rescue by the state financial system would leave a budgetary intervention or tax as the last resort, which would entail a state financial crisis.

Disguised nationalization is far more pronounced in the United States. The North American Federal Reserve has extended $200 billion to the banks to finance unsellable assets. Through two programs, one a fund auction and the other repurchased loans, the U.S. central bank accepts as collateral securities that cannot be sold on the open market, especially those that have already defaulted. Although meant to be temporary, these loans have become a type of indefinitely renewable capital contribution; the “contribution” of the Federal Reserve to the private banks exceeds that which is attributed to the investment funds of petroleum producing or Asian countries and which have been paralyzed due among other things to continuing “discoveries” of new losses by the banks, which liquidated the deposits they received. Just as in the British case, the state did not intervene to liquidate the banks’ unmarketable assets, but rather, to manage their rotation, or else they would be increasingly forced to commit more funds or tolerate greater debt. As one blog (The Ninja Report) says, the Federal Reserve has radically changed its role, because instead of injecting money into the market through the purchase of government bonds, it has taken over the banks devalued assets. Since the Federal Reserve cannot manage this portfolio – that is, sell it – neither can it regulate the circulation of money it has issued as consideration. In fact it has abandoned its role as a central bank in order to become a pawnshop or a residual bank that collects bad debts which however, it cannot go out and sell. Although the total amount in play until now, $436 billion, represents 20% of North American banking capital, the share rises considerably when one takes into account the handful of banks which have received the bulk of the contribution, among which one finds the biggest names, such as Citibank. The Fed’s liquid contributions come to a total of $436 billion: $100 billion in TFA (Term Facility Auction) loans, $100 billion in 28 day loans to financial institutions (TSLF – Term Securities Lending Facility), a $36 billion swap agreement with European central banks, and $200 billion in mortgage backed securities. In the exchange of Treasury securities for mortgage backed debt, bonds will flow to the real estate investors backed by the state: Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, in order to halt the continuing devaluation of their portfolios.

Under the constraints posed by this nationalization of the banks, a columnist for the Financial Times called for the direct rescue of the capital market, in addition to the injection of funds to the banks(6) through direct purchase in the asset market of the most highly appraised businesses, or through entities that would be funded to do so. But here again, we would not have a reconstructed capital market, because in order for that to happen private capital would have to emerge and resume the credit circuit. What we would have would be a rescue with public funds of damaged capitalists. No-one will enter the market until it’s bottomed out, something that no-one, including the Fed, expected in the short term.

Sunlight Through a Sieve

The market that the Federal Reserve is trying to freeze in place, pending a turn in events, continues to move in spite of those efforts, although always downward. In the middle of last month, Citigroup tried to corral its assets within its CSO Partners hedge fund, blocking investor redemptions. The same thing happened with two other Citi funds: Falcon Strategies and Old Lane Partners.(7) In the first week of March, the world’s largest banks withdrew their support for one of the main speculative funds, Carlyle Capital, when the value of its assets declined beyond the bank loans it had received to purchase them. The fund is linked with the Carlyle Group, a financial octopus with tentacles in all kinds of operations, including the Iraq war. The bankruptcy of these funds and the consequent sale of their assets accentuated the devaluation that was already underway in the market and provoked a greater devaluation of the portfolios held by these same banks. The surreptitious nationalizations of the banks, such as those undertaken by the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, could not prevent the fall of assets whose value they had tried to freeze. With investments of barely $700 million, Carlyle had made investments and taken bank loans of $22 billion – 32 times its capital. Many other funds, operating outside the banks, are going through a similar situation.

Much more serious is the situation of companies who, with extremely small amounts of capital, dedicated themselves to insuring the securities traded on the capital market, including public securities such as municipal and state bonds; which finance education, health or infrastructure investments. These insurance companies are now not capable of covering the potential losses or the cessation of payments assumed by the securities under their protection. This has led to a fall in the price of those securities. The recommendations to re-float these insurers through loans or an expansion of their shareholder base has failed miserably. A proposal to issue $1.5 billion in new shares for the insurer Ambac was thwarted by shareholders in order to stop the dilution of their existing capital. The governor of New York has threatened to cancel the insurance contracts for public entities in his state, in order to avoid a drop in their prices and subsequent difficulties with refinancing (Elliot Spitzer was made to pay for this with the “opportune” discovery of his relations with a prostitution network). Since public bonds are not at risk of defaulting on their payments, depriving the insurers of this coverage would leave them with the most vulnerable parts of their business: private securities. The government of the state of California sold debt in the market without an insurance contract. But local governments, who “absorb $2 trillion dollars of the debt market” cannot do this.(8) The inability of the state measures of intervention or covert nationalization to staunch the bleeding of the capital market explains the relentless collapse of the markets all over the world, particularly in Asia.

Gold, or the International Monetary Crisis

Gold approached a thousand dollars an ounce while the crisis was still in diapers. It is the universal refuge of value which lays bare the devaluation of all national forms of capitalist wealth. But the world economy cannot return to a gold standard; namely, virtual and electronic credit and financial speculation (with its bonds, swaps, options and coverages) is irreversible.

From the banking and financial crisis then, we go directly to a monetary crisis, which in the case of the dollar’s devaluation is completely apparent. This devaluation has transformed itself into the main reason for the extraordinary rise in prices for raw materials, with consequent price increases in the majority of countries. To counteract this trend the major currencies are being revalued, augmenting internal debts in dollars and devaluing reserves and international credits in the North American currency. However, a timely collapse of speculation in the raw materials market would drive an international monetary collapse by way of the so-called competitive devaluations. Turkey and the Eastern European countries, with high trade deficits and a huge short-term foreign debt, could become the triggers in this monetary collapse.

Since countries which have adopted the euro cannot resort to devaluation to reduce the weight of their debts and lower the cost of production, they run the risk of a gigantic recession. For this reason, the trend which has unleashed a devaluation of the pound sterling is striking, but not that surprising following the nationalization of Northern Rock. A devaluation of the pound puts pressure on the euro, which it supersedes in value. In other words, the currency crisis is already raising a potential dislocation of international commerce, and of that beloved creation of imperialism, the common European currency.

Disconnecting…in Space

At the beginning of the present crisis it was said, without the slightest remorse, that the demand from emerging countries would cause the United States to avoid a recession.

But if the ideas surrounding “disconnect;” that is, that backward countries would not suffer the blows of the crisis in the core countries, prove themselves correct, the crisis will be still greater. A rise in prices of raw materials maintained for a long period would block an essential mechanism for exiting the crisis, which is the massive devaluation of goods and capital surplus. The more this devaluation is delayed, the more acute the crisis will be in the core countries, and later, the devaluation of goods in backward countries will be even more brutal.

Now that the North American recession is underway, the thesis of “disconnect” has lost supporters. The main stock market declines have taken place in Asia. In respect to Chinese banks exposure to the U.S. mortgage crisis, Merrill Lynch’s chief economist said “I’ve not observed that Chinese banks were buying ‘subprime’ paper, but it’s reasonable to think that the current trade deficit with the United States, in recent years, was disproportionately financed by way of products that yielded plenty of margin.”(9) It’s an elegant way of saying that the Chinese banks are up to their necks in the North American crisis.

In the case of Brazil, an analysis firm indicated that growth in the stock market “has been fed by local banks that have resorted to international liquidity,”(10) or external debt. With extravagant interest rates and a continually appreciating currency, Brazil has attracted massive amounts of speculative capital which will undergo withdrawal as the international crisis deepens. A Brazilian bond which expires in 2045 offers interest of 7.5% above inflation, but a debt to Japan pays only 1%. Borrowing in Tokyo to invest in Sao Paulo has become a real business for Brazilian banks. The extraordinary crashes in reaction to international collapses that have every so often played a starring role in Sao Paulo’s market in recent months, are a manifestation of its financial vulnerability. The re-evaluation of the yen in recent months, increases the price of the loans which act as a lever for investments in Brazil. To appreciate the protective importance of the $150 billion which Brazil has in bank reserves, one must take into account the international debt of its banks and financial entities. In January, Brazil had an outflow of around $3 billion, “the highest figure since 2000.”(11) So far this year, some 15 financial placements were put on hold due to the uncertainty over results. A crisis in Argentina will come primarily as a consequence of Brazil’s financial destabilization, where 35% of Argentina’s exports are purchased. The collateral which sustains financial businesses in Brazil is the growth in prices for raw materials, which has been accentuated since the beginning of 2008. However, there is an international consensus that price speculation encouraged by the dollar’s devaluation accounts for more than 30% of these prices.

The re-evaluation of the yen will not only have disastrous effects for Brazil. Japan itself will be most damaged. The return of its speculative capital will produce a return of depression and deflation, from which Japan has not been able to free itself since the outbreak of the crisis of the mid-’80’s.

In the case of China, inflation which is already at 9% annually despite the re-evaluation of the national currency, is indicating an imminent financial collapse, one predicted by the huge fall of Hong Kong’s stock market and to a slightly lesser extent, Shanghai’s. It’s true that China has sufficient reserves to back up its main banks, but to rely on them would be a version of the Federal Reserve’s covert nationalization, which is to say that they wouldn’t resuscitate the credit market, if that were needed. In the past three months some kind of real estate crisis has also developed in China; the shares of various real estate developers fell more than 50% from their 2007 peak and some of them may declare bankruptcy.(12) China, more than anyone, can be seen affected by the dollar’s devaluation, on the one hand because it devalues its reserves and on the other because it feeds inflation. The re-evaluation of the Chinese currency to counter inflation increases the dollar value of its domestic debt (and could bring numerous banks and businesses to bankruptcy) and, in the same way, devalues its assets. China is losing $4 billion a month between what it pays to absorb its issuance of currency to exchange for dollars, and what it receives when it invests those dollars externally.(13) According to another calculation, this drain represents %% of China’s GDP, some $70 billion per year.

To compensate for a drop in its export market, China should radically modify its present economic scheme, which would affect international capital which has turned China into an export economy (assembling components that it later exports). This means that an international crisis would not bypass China; to the contrary, she would be hit even harder. In all the world crises so far, at least since 1825, the backward or underdeveloped nations saw a jump in their industrialization and their internal market due to the interruption of foreign exports, but this only took place after undergoing a severe crisis; between 1930 and 1932 the Argentine GDP fell a phenomenal 15%. It’s precisely this historical experience (especially the Depression of the ’30’s) that is instructive:

1) the internal development of backward countries takes place after the outbreak of the crisis, never before or with the possibility of prevention;

2) when this development takes place, it exacerbates the tendency to protect the new framework of national autonomy created by the world crisis, at the expense of a recomposition of international trade;

3) only when the world crisis begins to be overcome (some decades later) is the interconnection of the world economy resumed at a higher level.

In the case of the depression of the ’30’s, the return to normality came after Nazism, the Holocaust, the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War with its 100 million dead, the Chinese Revolution, the advance of the Red Army toward the Atlantic and the betrayal of various European and national revolutions (in Asia, Latin America and Africa).

The impact of the crisis in Europe does not only manifest itself in a tendency toward recession. For this reason, the Italian public debt has been devalued compared to other European Union countries, which has increased the cost of its public deficit. The novelty of the political right going to elections next April with a program of economic protectionism, mainly against Chinese imports, reflects the complete impasse of capitalism on the peninsula. But the sum of factors indicate that Italy is at the head of an incipient disintegration of the European Union. Sarkozy has already claimed a protectionist policy on an EU scale; in Hungary there are already strong symptoms of a financial collapse. Italy could end up joining Britain and the Scandinavian countries in rejecting the euro – that is clearly the direction Guido Tremonti, the Economic Minister of a future Berlusconi government, is headed. In Spain and Great Britain the mortgage crisis is growing and with it, the threat of a banking crisis. A large Spanish construction company, the main shareholder of a number of leading banks, SacyrVallehermoso, ended up receiving a call to cover the margins between the loans it had received and the devaluation of its shares.

The dollar’s devaluation, pushed by the United States as a way of devaluing its internal and international debt and improving the commercial position of North American production, reinforces the international dimension which the crisis has had since the beginning. It’s a crisis which is the culmination of several economic cycles. The first, which began in mid-2002 with the opening of China’s market on a large scale and the transformation of that country within the financial circuit of North American (trade and fiscal) deficits. The dollars issued by the United States returned by way of China to finance North American deficits. The Federal Reserve financed the Chinese surplus with North American debt, which the dollar devaluation will now serve to liquidate. The end of this cycle will produce an economic and social crisis without precedent in one country just as much as any other, and will place capitalist restoration in particular crisis. The other cycle about to culminate is longer, starting at the end of the ’70’s with the emergence of a form of capital accumulation centered in financial capital. This form has its own pathology: “When observing how much debt this cycle aggregated to the system in relation to economic growth, above and beyond that which was normal in previous expansions, the amount of excessive credit created totals $6 trillion dollars,”(14) an amount that is half the North American GDP. This data shows the fundamental parasitism of so-called capitalist globalization.

The crisis raises the principle of “de-globalization” of the world economy; the disparity between domestic and international prices is the highest in history. The monetary crisis underway will reinforce this disparity. Far from leveling world market conditions, the tendency to unequal and divergent development has been reinforced. The disconnect between price levels will reinforce protectionist tendencies, including the export retention system in food producing countries in order to avoid price hikes in domestic markets. It’s obvious to anyone that the main central banks have not even tried to coordinate their actions to face the present crisis – or figure out the agenda for the remainders of national salvation. A replay of what occurred after the First World War and definitively, in the crisis of the ’30’s has been configured, clearly on a much greater social and economic scale. In short, in place of a decoupling of the crisis, we have a developing crisis in sight that involves all countries, in varying degrees and rhythm. And instead of a coupling of financial capital to devise a global exit from the crisis, we are witnessing a disconnect in the world economy and the recovery of nationalist tendencies.

The “Iron Law” of Capital

Commentators no longer speak of the possibility of avoiding an international recession, instead taking note of a “systemic financial crisis.” A systemic crisis means deflation of goods and capital and destruction of accumulated capitalist wealth. State intervention becomes the last resort of capital before the dissolution of the markets. As the title of a Wall Street Journal article indicated, “We’re Entering the Era of Rescues.”(15)

The truth, however, is that none of the rescues that were planned have materialized so far, and the successive cuts in U.S. inter-bank interest rates have failed. Owners were opposed to loan refinancing for their homes because they were not willing to acknowledge a mortgage debt considerably higher than market real estate prices. Neither were the real estate financiers, who guessed that the refinanced loans would not be paid either. The extension of the margins held by U.S. federal real estate lenders to lift the market by buying private mortgage assets in default, collided with growing losses that they themselves are suffering as a consequence of the devaluation of their own portfolio of mortgage credit. The North American center left offers implementation of a gigantic public works program as an alternative, which at the same time would respond to the massive deterioration of public infrastructure in the United States. Of course that would have to happen before the imminent collapse of the capital markets and the international economic bankruptcy it would produce.

As a starting point for the exit, North American authorities have embarked on a devaluation of the dollar, that is, to reduce the costs of a domestic rescue and unloading the crisis on the world market. It’s an approximation of the crisis of the 1930’s.

But even if the crisis presents itself as a financial phenomenon linked to the mortgage market, the role of credit in the capitalist economy is to overcome the limits encountered by capital in its realization and recovery. Credit extends the market for personal consumption and productivity and is also a lever to raise the rate of return on capital invested in industry. At a set point, this expansion is definitely expressed in a situation of overproduction. Without explosive growth in North American property loans and without the inflation of values in the credit and capital markets, there would not have been a market for China’s production, and without that, China could not have turned itself into a market for goods and for international capital investment. The overproduction has manifested itself in what the Bank of Basel has called an “investment strike;” with the exception of China and India, which are now suffering the impact of this overproduction, once the possibilities of replacing competition through lower prices have been exhausted. Property loans were not only an enormous lever of personal consumer demand and productivity (construction) but also served to support the development of other forms of credit that baited the consumer market and allowed the collection of higher interest rates.

Recently, Clinton’s former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, noted that although the purchasing power of wages in the United States has not grown since the 1970’s, consumption has grown more than a hundred percent. The answer to this paradox can be found in several factors. Reich points out first, the incorporation of women in the workforce, which accounts for 35% of this increase, although Reich didn’t say that this served, above all, to freeze wages in the context of greater productivity. Secondly, the extension of the working day, which has become the longest among developed countries. The third factor is household indebtedness, which has reached more than 200% of the remuneration received from work. The North American consumer market depends less and less on income from wages and more on consumer credit. On the financial front, a small portion of workers has benefited from stock market inflation and even that of real estate prices to increase what is known as disposable household income. However, with the collapse of real estate wealth, the cutoff of consumer credit, layoffs provoked by the recession and the growth of part-time (lower paid) work, the economic conditions for personal consumption are declining and the situation of the working class is undergoing a change that will be radical.

The workforce, which receives income in the form of wages or remuneration from independent work, does not accumulate the value created by its work; that goes to capital. As the workforce, in contrast to capital, does not establish its own value, eventually its indebtedness does away with its income and wages: wages go to remunerate (banking) capital, not to the workforce. The banking crisis then, conceals a crisis of overproduction, which consumer credit has tried unsuccessfully to overcome: productive forces go beyond the capitalistic framework in which they were created. The explosion of consumer credit (including mortgage credit) empowers economic recession, socially and historically: socially it threatens to generate greater misery than that of previous crises; historically the limits are much higher in order to find a way out, or said another way, the exits are more destructive and (yes!) catastrophic.

The urban and social disaster of Detroit, the historical capital of North American industry, where unemployment reaches 10% and the collapse of public infrastructure and buildings is enormous, is an example of the social perspective left behind by a crisis of the type which has now begun in the United States at large. It’s not a coincidence that protectionist proposals have begun to surface again in the United States among various tendencies of the bourgeoisie.

A Change of Conditions and Perceptions

Unfortunately, in the global labor movement, an agenda for the crisis has not even begun to be discussed, but this will start to happen soon. The covert nationalizations are an opportunity to propose nationalization of the banks without indemnification, since it is clear to the whole society that capital has fallen as a result of its own laws, and that public payment has no place whatsoever in this. But the insinuating catastrophe leaves the need to expropriate all the weapons industries and those linked with war even clearer; they must be turned into industries which benefit the people. On the basis of the expropriation of banking and the war industry, a program of public works and re-industrialization could be a way out for the masses. The issue of layoffs and wages will be on the agenda, and this should lead again to a crisis in the sclerotic union movement. In any case, the important thing is this: the implosion of the market economy, this fiction that has brought the entire leftist world to surrender itself to capitalism. The workers aside, the market will not save the capitalists themselves from the catastrophe in which they’ve been caught. The change of perception and of perspective for the exploited, especially in the most economically advanced countries, will be the best result of the present crisis. It’s imperative then, that the workers vanguard undertake a vigorous effort of political deliberation.

Published in In Defense of Marxism, for the Argentine Worker’s Party, No. 35, March 2008


1. RGE Monitor, February 2008

2. Financial Times, Feburary 20, 2008

3. International Clearing House, March 7, 2008

4. The Economist, February 2, 2008

5. Financial Times, February 20, 2008

6. Financial Times, February 4, 2008

7. The Wall Street Journal, February 15, 2008

8. Financial Times, March 3, 2008

9. Financial Times, January 29, 2008

10. Financial Times, January 26, 2008

11. Financial Times, February 11, 2008

12. Financial Times, February 14, 2008

13. Financial Times, January 31, 2008

14. Financial Times, January 28, 2008

15. The Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2008

One response to “It’s going to blow!

  1. Comrade Altemira,

    Excellent report. Read what Bill Bonner wrote about Timothy Gaethner this week, it reminded me of your article. Please check:
    I posted a topic on your report:
    Congratulations Jorge, you article was written 12 months ago. The crisis is now really “unstoppable”….it may last a decade! – Armando Rozário – Cabo Frio, BRAZIL – March 27, 2009

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s