The Eruption of Militarism and The Crisis of American Capitalism
by Barry Grey
...Contradictions of American capitalism
What underlies this colossal hubris?
At the most fundamental level there is the underlying crisis of the world capitalist economic system, whose contradictions find their most concentrated expression in the crisis of American capitalism. For nearly four decades now the bourgeoisie has been confronted with a chronic state of stagnation and decline in the rate of profit, particularly in basic industry. Beginning with the Carter administration in the late 1970s, and then in earnest under Reagan and his successors, the US ruling elite has sought to offset this problem by ripping up the relations of relative class compromise that predominated in the 1950s and 1960s and enormously intensifying the rate at which the American and international working class is exploited.
On the domestic front this entailed the deliberate introduction of mass unemployment and a campaign of union-busting and wage-cutting, combined with the deregulation of industry, tax cuts for big business and the wealthy, and attacks on social programs. In the field of foreign policy it meant a vast buildup of the military and a far more aggressive policy of confrontation with the Soviet Union and military intervention around the world. At the same time the US pursued a deliberate policy of driving down the market price of raw materials imported from abroad, in the process bankrupting the economies of the so-called Third World.
In the end, however, this policy of intensified militarism abroad and social reaction at home did not, and could not, resolve the underlying crisis. As a result, the business boom of the 1980s and 1990s was increasingly fueled by outright fraud and criminality. Swindling, corruption and accounting fraud grew to unprecedented proportions as the corporate elite generated much of its profits by "cooking the books." This not only produced the inevitable collapse of the speculative bubble in 2000, it brought to the fore of American corporate and political life the most backward, predatory and reactionary social elements.
The collapse of the Soviet Union removed a significant restraint on the global imperialist ambitions of the American ruling elite. It left the US in a position of unchallenged military supremacy, and encouraged those elements within the political establishment who believed that American capitalism could resolve all of its problems by means of military force. This was notoriously summed up after the first Persian Gulf War by the Wall Street Journal, which editorialized that the central lesson of that intervention was, "Force works!"
Thursday, October 16, 2003
Warning - Socialist Point of View!
I do not subscribe to this point of view, but I thought it a well written and informative article worth sharing. It gives us a bird's eye view of others' ideas, that may not jive with our own perspective, yet is none the less an important issue in understanding others' thoughts. The entire article is worth a read.