Workshop: Capitalism in Crisis

Today we are facing a renewed global recession that threatens a return of a great depression. This is because the weak recovery after 2008 still required an enormous explosion of debt. The inflationary money printing followed this to cope with the COVID-19 crisis that will require interest rates we haven’t seen in decades to bring under control. That, in turn, will provoke a cascade of debt and broader financial crises across the globe.

Marx had identified the essence of the periodic crises of capitalism as crises of overproduction very early on, even in the Communist Manifesto in 1848. This crisis can only happen because production periodically exceeds monetarily effective demand, which is ultimately determined by the existing size and growth rate of the global hoard of the money commodity — gold.

Overproduction as the underlying cause of crisis, which is based on Marx’s concept of money as the universal equivalent, has been — especially since the end of what remained of the international gold standard in 1971 — all but forgotten, including by most of those claiming to be Marxist.

Mike Treen will use the latest crisis to illustrate how it confirms Marx's crisis theory.