Excerpt from Chapter XI
THE FUTURE OF CAPITALISM
In a little over two centuries, capitalism has done what Alexander the Great, ancient Rome, the Mongol hordes, and even the British Empire couldn’t do: conquer every inch of the world.
Yet despite its conquest, capitalism is again in crisis and unable to meet the economic needs of the global society it conquered. As always, it has undermined itself through its insoluble, self-generated contradiction: profit is contingent upon low wages; low wages limit consumption; lowered consumption slows down production; slowed production creates unemployment; unemployment further reduces consumption.
Because of this intrinsic vicious circle, capitalism has never been able to extricate itself from the regular recurrence of economic crises – which are euphemized as “normal business cycles.” This terminology is calculated to have people view economic downturns as something “natural,” eternal, and beyond human control, like a sudden drought or volcanic eruption. With this mindset, people passively accept the deprivation they suffer during economic crises as “normal.” And indeed, it is normal for capitalism. Throughout its entire history, capitalism, through its exclusive reliance on the profit motive, has served the people only intermittently, indirectly, and sparingly. Today’s crisis is yet another chapter in the ongoing failure of the system.