Friday, November 28, 2008

Capital Offers No Solution To It's Own Crisis

Capital's crisis is now fully public..
.Only twice in the past has the business confidence index been lower - in the third quarter of 2001 - during the bursting of the tech-bubble - and during the 1990-91 period, when a recession battered the real estate, financial and retail sectors.
"In both cases, the drops were followed by contracting business capital investment," the Conference Board said in a release.
Capital spending is a major engine of economic growth, combining with consumer and government spending and exports as the main pillars of the economy. Weak capital spending, at a time of falling consumer confidence and government cuts, will put a squeeze on growth.
The Conference Board said "the latest survey, conducted during the first three weeks of October, as mayhem gripped global financial markets, found businesses were "much more concerned" about the economy and their future financial situations than in the previous poll, taken during the summer.
Nearly 70 per cent of businesses responding to the survey believed that the economy would be in worse shape in six months - compared with 12 per cent who expected an improvement.
The net result of that negative view is that only 25.8 per cent of the business leaders surveyed believe now is a good time to make new investments in plants, technology and equipment, the board said.

And it is having a Flashback....

Hedge fund industry enters time-warp in January 1970, pops out virtually unchanged in 2008

Thought recent develops in the hedge fund industry such as poor performance, SEC registration, and taxation were unprecedented? Yeah, so did we - until Nicholas Motson of the Cass Business School (see related post), gave us a heads-up about a fascinating article from the January 1970 issue of FORTUNE magazine. The entire article can be downloaded here on the A.W. Jones & Co. website (yes, that A.W. Jones - the father of the hedge fund industry).
As you will see, the similarities between the hedge fund world of 1970 and that of 2008 and truly amazing - almost eerie in fact. Even the 39 year old Warren Buffett makes a cameo in this piece. As Motson pointed out to us, “…if you re-scale the numbers it could have been printed yesterday.”
The bizarre parallels begin with the article’s very title: “Hard Times Come to Hedge Funds“. It goes on to chronicle the travails of the $1 billion industry (as a point of reference, the US mutual fund sector managed about $50 billion at the time). FORTUNE estimated there were 3,000 investors in about 150 hedge funds by 1970. Most funds were launched between 1966 and 1970 and “the great bulk” were registered in Manhattan (that’s just south of Greenwich, for those who may not remember the old days).

Speaking of flashbacks the solution to this crisis is a New Regina Manifesto for the 21st Century.....

Public reading marks 75th anniversary of Regina Manifesto
'No CCF Government will rest content until it has eradicated capitalism.'
Ottawa (19 Aug. 2008) - Seventy-five years ago this summer, the Regina Manifesto was adopted at the first national convention of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in Regina. The 4,300-word declaration laid out a socialist vision for the country and has influenced the Canadian left ever since. To this day the document remains an emotional symbol for the New Democratic Party (NDP) – which replaced the CCF in 1961 – even though it includes a utopian declaration that no socialist today expects ever to be realized

The former based upon Fabian Social Democratic tradiditons looked to the State and in particular its economists to deal with the crisis of capital during the Great Depression. As such capital was lost, in the collapse of the stock market. Today the same Great Crisis is occuring but what is obvious is that all socialization of capital can be accomplished without the State and centralized planning; rather through public ownership through workers control, a phenomenon denied by the CCF as implausable, impossible, and associated with the 'Imposibilists" of the Socialist Party of Canada.

Today we have the opportunity to mobilise the mass of social capital, the wealth created by workers through the production of surplus value, as well as through workers investments; their pension plans, RRSP's and investments. Share Capital, that the Wall Street pundits proclaim was the new capitalism, was in fact the expansion of the recognition that all capital is the result of creation of the proletariat.

That is when the casino market of investments and movement of fictional captial; finance captial, collapses all that is left to retrieve capital is real prudction; factories and workers. In other words all capital is actually based on two contradictory sources; inheritence, the dead capital of previous generations of workers, and productive capital; living workers and the means of production.

The hedge funds and private capital investors who dominate the financial markets are based upon the former as George Soros ,himself a benfificary of the fictive capita of hedge funds,l takes pains to point out, the obvious, that without real capital; living workers and factories, all other capital is whiffenpoof.

And credit is the ultimate in dead capital, its only real is when it is spent by living workers through consumption and investment. Otherwise it is merely caluculations made by computers being used by international speculators. The use of 'creative' accounting practices by capitalists allows them to discount their losses over a period, to make them disappear, which has led us to this crisis. The real effect of these practices is to create actual unemployment of workers the very source of all capital.

While it may appear counterintuitive the practice worked for a decade as investors shored up companies that cutback workers, however in this crisis it is the reverse that is now required. Investment to be successful must create jobs such as in infrastructure. And the greatest source of capital remains living workers, both their labour to produce value and the capital they have created in pension funds, mortgages, RRSPs, savings accounts and government bonds. Its as clears as the nose on your face. The credit/capital crisis is the fact that Americans and Canadians have no savings, rather they are overextended on credit, they are in debt, so their nations are in debt. Laying off workers only worsens the crisis, since they now become permanent debtors.

Public ownership, the socialization of all capital under worker and community control, the creation of workers cooperatives as an alternative to corporations, and by extension the creation of peoples banks; credit unions under workers control, is the elephant in the room, that so terrifies the captialist class who keep telling us this meltdown is not the end of capitalism as we know it. Though it should be.


There Is An Alternative To Capitalism

Business Unionism Offers No Solution To Capitalist Crisis

Auto Solution II

Super Bubble Burst

Your Pension Plan At Work

Gambling On Your Future

The End Of The Leisure Society

It's the Labour Theory of Value, stupid

Workers Control vs Corporate Welfare

NDP And Workers Control

A Peoples Program for Alberta

Left, Right and Liberty

State-less Socialism

Cooperative Commonwealth=Free Market

Not Your Usual Left Wing Rant

Populism and Producerism


Historical Memory on the Eve of the Election

Calgary Herald Remembers R.B. Bennett

Social Credit And Western Canadian Radicalism

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1 comment:

Larry Gambone said...

First rate posting. I think we have to spend a good deal of energy pointing out that real socialism (not statism) is a living reality and not a utopia for the future. All those coops, credit unions, worker-owned industries, fair trade groups, etc contain within them the embryo of self-managed socialism. Furthermore, as you point out, the biggest bloc of capital is worker pensions. As I never tire of pointing out, if credit unions are so successful, why do we need banks, if coops are so successful, why isn't everything run this way? The very obiquitousness and conservatism of credit unions and coops, strengthens our arguments, and if even such a moderate conception was generalized throughout the economy, it would be the most radical transformation in history, only exceeded by the Spanish collectives of 1937.