the collapse

Image_Elyeser Szturm
Whatsapp
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Telegram

The gravity of this crisis of world capitalist society is not the direct and proportional consequence of the magnitude of the disease. More than that, it is the consequence of the extreme fragility of this society and a revealer of its real state. The capitalist economy is insane at its very foundations

By Anselm Jappe*

Will the coronavirus crisis herald the death of capitalism? Will it bring the industrial and consumerist society to an end? Some fear it, others desire it. It's still too early to tell. Economic and social “reconstruction” may prove to be as difficult as the moment of the epidemic, in other respects.

What is certain is that we live, at least in Europe, what comes closer and closer, since 1945, to a “collapse” – the collapse so evoked in cinema and in the so-called “post-apocalyptic” literature, but also by critics. of capitalist and industrial society.

However, the seriousness of this crisis of world capitalist society is not the direct and proportional consequence of the magnitude of the disease. More than that, it is the consequence of the extreme fragility of this society and a revealer of its real state. The capitalist economy is insane at its very foundations – and not just in its neoliberal version. Its only purpose is to multiply the “value” created by the mere amount of work (“abstract work”, as Marx calls it) and represented in money, without the slightest regard for the real needs and desires of human beings and the consequences of this on nature.

Industrial capitalism has devastated the world for more than two centuries. It is undermined by internal contradictions, among which the first is the use of technologies that, by replacing workers, increase profits in the short term, but dry up the ultimate source of all profit: the exploitation of the workforce. For fifty years, capitalism has essentially survived thanks to indebtedness that has taken on astronomical dimensions. Finance is not the cause of capitalism's crisis, on the contrary, it helps it to hide its real lack of profitability – but at the price of building an increasingly shaky house of cards. We could then ask ourselves whether the collapse of this castle was due to “economic” causes, as in 2008, or ecological ones.

With the epidemic, an unexpected crisis factor appeared – the essential thing is not, however, the virus, but the society that receives it. Be it the inadequacy of health structures affected by budget cuts or the role of industrialized agriculture in the genesis of new food-borne viruses, be it the incredible social Darwinism that proposes (and not only in Anglo-Saxon countries) sacrificing the “useless” to the economy or the temptation of states to extend their arsenals of surveillance: the virus casts a cruel beam of light on the dark alleys of society.

Everywhere, too, the effects of the virus show how the situation of the class supported by profit, in which the world bourgeoisie is constituted, will be less worse than that of the millions of inhabitants of the slums, of the failed States, of the peripheries or of the social classes. poorest left to their fate in the capitalist centers. Will the virus favor a collective learning process?

Nobody knows. However, many are those who already experience the fact that there are many things without which we can go on living without losing the essentials. Less work, less consumption, less frantic commuting, less pollution, less noise... May we conserve what is positive about this crisis! We hear many reasonable proposals these days, in all domains. We shall see if they are like Captain Haddock's resolutions when he vows never to drink whiskey again if he escapes present danger.

*Anselm Jappe is a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sassari, Italy, and the author, among other books, of Credit to death: The decomposition of capitalism and its criticisms (Hedra).

Translation: Daniel Pavan

Article originally published on the website of Radio France, FranceCulture

See this link for all articles

10 MOST READ IN THE LAST 7 DAYS

______________
  • Reasons for the end of the strike at Federal Universitiesbenches 16/05/2024 By TADEU ALENCAR ARRAIS: The Federal Government's new proposal announced on May 15 deserves debate on whether or not to continue the strike
  • How to lie with statisticschair 51 18/05/2024 By AQUILES MELO: The numbers presented by the federal government to education employees on strike confuse more than they explain, thus demonstrating a lack of interest in resolving the problem
  • “Multipolarity” and the chronic decline of the WestJose Luis Fiori 17/05/2024 By JOSÉ LUÍS FIORI: The defense of multipolarity will increasingly be the banner of countries and peoples that are currently rising up against the global military imperium exercised by the West
  • The strike at universities and federal institutes does not…path time 17/05/2024 By GRAÇA DRUCK & LUIZ FILGUEIRAS: The left-wing and democratic forces need to get out of passivity, as if waiting for Lula and his government, as well as the STF, to resolve the political impasses
  • The Caramel horsecaramel horse 15/05/2024 By LEONARDO BOFF: We must admit that we have not respected the rights of nature and its intrinsic value, nor have we controlled our voracity to devastate it
  • The operational universityMarilena Chauí 2 13/05/2024 By MARILENA CHAUI: The operational university, in university terms, is the highest expression of neoliberalism
  • Environmental denialism and the flooding of Porto AlegrePorto Alegre airport flooded 14/05/2024 By CARLOS ATÍLIO TODESCHINI: Porto Alegre has the best flood protection system in Brazil. It is considered a “Dutch mini-system”. Why did this system fail in its function of preventing the city from being flooded?
  • Oza's handJoao_Carlos_Salles 14/05/2024 By JOÃO CARLOS SALLES: The duty of the Brazilian State and the contracted university
  • Fake freedom and the Marquis de SadeEugenio Bucci 18/05/2024 By EUGÊNIO BUCCI: Fake freedom, sadistic freedom, which in essence is the denial of all freedom, is leading Brazil to total shipwreck
  • SUS, 36 years old – consolidation and uncertaintiesPaulo Capel Narvai 15/05/2024 By PAULO CAPEL NARVAI: SUS was not the “stillbirth” that many predicted. Almost four decades later, the SUS is institutionally consolidated and has developed a notable process of republican governance

AUTHORS

TOPICS

NEW PUBLICATIONS