the cusp of geopolitical economic change
commentary Feb 7 2008
By Dave Muller
Climate change, Iraq war budget blowouts, financial meltdown
the developed world; 2008 is shaping up as a critical year. There is
increasing nervousness about the supply and price of oil with the
US/Israel threatening war with Iran. But crisis brings change and it is
up to us the people to make this history our own.
Many people have drawn parallels between the later stages of the
Vietnam war and the current state of play in the middle east. President
Nixon in 1970 escalated the war to the rest of Indo-China. But
the war was draining the US financial reserves and on August 15 1971
announced that the United States would no longer convert dollars to
gold at a fixed value, effectively ending the Bretton Woods system set
up at the end World War 2. He also imposed a 90-day freeze on wages,
prices and rents. No longer would the price of gold be officially
valued at $US 35 an ounce. Today as Bush expands the money supply (M3)
to save ailing banks and leveraged financial
derivatives the price of gold is now well over $US 900 an ounce.
The crisis of 1971/72 led to geopolitical change in Australia and many
other countries, shortly to be followed by the oil shock of 1973 which
brought many economies to their knees. By the end of the 1970’s a shift
of global power began with the growth in the Asian tiger economies and
China’s rise to economic importance. Multinational companies
transformed into transnational corporations with no particular
allegiance to the imperial mother country.
And there was structural change in the very nature of monopoly
capitalism. Imperialism, rampant since 1914 when the imperial
fought world wars to re-divide the world began to change. It is
Britain ended the convertibility of Bank of England notes to gold in
1914 to fund military operations during World War I
But by the 1980’s no longer did banks and finance capital own or
control the decreasing number of transnational corporations.
Superannuation and pension
funds began to become the new ultimate owner of these stocks. The
1990’s saw the privatisation of many state owned monopolies with this
new investment capital seeking new markets for their funds.
In today’s global capitalism production is shifted from country to
country to cut costs, but investment is more concerned with market
share and preservation than short term profit. In a philosophical sense
capitalism has reached its end. Yet it is an end where the ultimate end
is more important than the means to that end.
We today have to insure we live in a sustainable world where the means (labour and their pensions)
is the end (the ultimate
consumers). But ultimately we need to put an end to the military-industrial
complex which consumes its own production in destruction and waste.
monopoly of capital becomes a fetter upon the mode of production, which
has sprung up and flourished along with, and under it. Centralization
of the means of production and socialization of labor at last reach a
point where they become incompatible with their capitalist integument.
Thus integument is burst asunder. The knell of capitalist private
property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated.
mode of appropriation, the result of the capitalist mode of production,
produces capitalist private property. This is the first negation of
individual private property, as founded on the labor of the proprietor.
But capitalist production begets, with the inexorability of a law of
Nature, its own negation. It is the negation
This does not
re-establish private property for the producer, but gives him
individual property based on the acquisition of the capitalist era:
i.e., on co-operation and the possession in common of the land and of
the means of production."
See also Partners not Wage workers