Financial institutions are crashing around the world and governments are using taxpayers money to prop up private companies whose greed got the better of them. Not so long ago public money was again being used to ‘save’ investors in company retirement plans that crashed. Houses are being repossessed (UK) at the rate of 100 per day with worse in the USA and unemployment is steadily rising.
Roughly there is still the same amount of money in the world, there are still people needing homes to live in and people willing to engage in employment. So what has changed? The dominant global system of which we in the UK are a part, is capitalism and for that to survive it depends on a number of factors. It requires continual ever increasing production and therefore an ever expanding market to buy the products. It also needs investors to make future profits and increasingly these investors want quick short term profits.
Money, the paper and coins stuff, are all but worthless in themselves, they represent labour, work, something done by someone somewhere. Investors have money but themselves produce nothing and therefore exist by virtue of someone else’s labour. The global industry can easily supply everyone’s needs but would leave little if anything for those who wish to grab more than their share. So it follows that needs fulfilled are not enough and wants must be stimulated hence, apart from anything else, the emergence of the huge, multi £billion advertising and marketing industry. Wants become acquisitiveness which becomes greed the essential fuel of capitalism. Instead of simply enjoying living with our needs fulfilled we spend our time planning for the future, buying on credit what we cannot afford now, on the assumption that we will be able to afford the repayments way into the uncertain future. We’ve even got to the ridiculous state where mortgages are crossing over from one generation to the next!
As stated earlier money can only represent labour of some kind so when that earning power becomes so far into the future that a return on investment becomes currently worthless something has to give. The erratic cycles of ‘boom and bust’ are an inevitable part of the capitalist system but it is the ‘ordinary’ global citizen who pays the price, every time.