From the Labor Commission of the CPUSA, updates, information, news, analysis, and organizing materials in solidarity with workers of the world.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Socialism has failed. Now capitalism is bankrupt. So what comes next?

The headline may be a bit sensational but the article offers some food for thought - BA

By Eric Hobsbawm
The Guardian (UK)
April 10 2009

The 20th century is well behind us, but we have not yet
learned to live in the 21st, or at least to think in a
way that fits it. That should not be as difficult as it
seems, because the basic idea that dominated economics
and politics in the last century has patently
disappeared down the plughole of history. This was the
way of thinking about modern industrial economies, or
for that matter any economies, in terms of two mutually
exclusive opposites: capitalism or socialism.

We have lived through two practical attempts to realise
these in their pure form: the centrally state-planned
economies of the Soviet type and the totally
unrestricted and uncontrolled free-market capitalist
economy. The first broke down in the 1980s, and the
European communist political systems with it. The
second is breaking down before our eyes in the greatest
crisis of global capitalism since the 1930s. In some
ways it is a greater crisis than in the 1930s, because
the globalisation of the economy was not then as far
advanced as it is today, and the crisis did not affect
the planned economy of the Soviet Union. We don't yet
know how grave and lasting the consequences of the
present world crisis will be, but they certainly mark
the end of the sort of free-market capitalism that
captured the world and its governments in the years
since Margaret Thatcher and President Reagan.

Impotence therefore faces both those who believe in
what amounts to a pure, stateless, market capitalism, a
sort of international bourgeois anarchism, and those
who believe in a planned socialism uncontaminated by
private profit-seeking. Both are bankrupt. The future,
like the present and the past, belongs to mixed
economies in which public and private are braided
together in one way or another. But how? That is the
problem for everybody today, but especially for people
on the left.

Read more here.

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