The post pandemic economic recovery looks uncertain and the economic growth projections look gloomy in every stretch of policy paradigm within capitalist imaginations. The strong and existing multilateral cooperation within the Westphalian international system is falling apart and facing its existential threats due to its entrenched Eurocentric bias, democratic deficits and institutional dominance by the erstwhile colonial powers. The world is moving into a long-term crisis within capitalism. The capitalist system has failed to offer any viable alternatives to recover from the crises. It is rather deepening the globalisation of crises and miseries among the masses. The predicaments of hunger, homelessness and unemployment are growing. The idea of accessibility, availability and distribution of essential goods and services are becoming difficult. The markets are shrinking and sinking. Both the producers and consumers are facing the crises in their everyday lives.
The follies of globalisation and its flickers continue to be in denial mode. These illiberal charlatans of power live in the cocoons of their privileged ghettos and argue vehemently that the current crisis is not a capitalist crisis or crisis of globalisation. There is concocted propaganda that the crisis is a product of greedy and irrational individuals, inefficient governments and unproductive states. The free market led systems are only viable and competent alternatives. These reactionary and ahistorical narratives help capitalism by arguing that the current economic, social, political, environmental and Coronavirus led global health crises are products of state and government failures.
The right-wing economists, liberal commentators, salary seeking intellectuals and consultants in different thinktanks continue to glorify and provide ideological justification to capitalist globalisation by hiding its absolute failures in deepening egalitarian democracy, peace and prosperity.
The globalisation of crises under capitalism serves four objectives of the ruling and non-ruling classes. Firstly, these ridiculous propaganda makes people reject the state and government they have formed with the help of their collective will. Secondly, it diminishes citizens faith in their own abilities and own intellect. It weakens and diverts them to analyse and reflect on their own realities. Thirdly, it weakens the state and destroys the capabilities of the governments as instruments of social, economic, political and cultural change for common good based on scientific spirit and progressive future. Finally, it destroys democratic cultures by replacing it with authoritarianism that is concomitant with the requirements of capitalism for its growth. In this way, the fake narratives of reactionary politics and global capitalism helps to achieve these four specific objectives, which are central pillars in establishing authoritarianism accelerated by crises. The globalisation of capitalist crises means globalisation of authoritarian politics and vice versa.
The world is facing six major immanent capitalist crises i.e. i) Coronavirus pandemic led global health crises, ii) environmental crises, iii) economic crises, iv) political crises, v) military crises, and vi) crises of governance. These six crises are integral to each other. One crisis triggers the other. It is impossible to address them separately. Therefore, it needs an integrated and pluriversal approach to understand and address these crises together and find reliable alternatives.
Coronavirus pandemic led global health crises
The Coronavirus pandemic reveals that spill over of virus from their natural habitat to human body is associated with the burgeoning wildlife trade, deforestation and loss of natural wildlife habitat due to over exploitation of nature under capitalism. The monetisation of nature for profit is the foundation of health pandemics.
According to a recent research, two viruses enter into human body from their natural hosts every year for a century now. The Coronavirus led health crisis and other forms of global health crises are products of capitalism, which considers human body and nature as resources to be used for the expansion of capitalist profit. It also uses sickness as business opportunities for health insurance and pharmaceutical corporations. The profit driven healthcare and economic system breeds health crises across the globe. The Coronavirus led pandemic is aggravating existing health crises due to privatisation of public health infrastructures and corporatisation of health services. The alternative is to look at health as human rights and abandon the economic model that seeks profit from illness and business of sickness. The nationalisation and universalisation of healthcare is the only alternative.
The unprecedented environmental crisis is not natural. The environment is degraded and destabilised by the growth of a desire-based society under capitalism. The magnitude and severity of environmental crisis reveals that capitalist economic system creates grave imbalance within the ecosystem by over exploiting natural resources. From global warming to pollutions and contaminations are the products of the productivist and utilitarian ideology of capitalism, which monetised the environment for the maximisation of profit. It has ruined the land, water and air. The outbreak of air and waterborne diseases are products of environmental crisis manufactured by capitalist system. The irreparable damage to environment is a threat to human lives. The environmental crisis aggravates global economic and health crisis. The reversal of profit driven desire-based capitalist economy is inevitable for a sustainable economic and social future.
Economic crisis is integral to capitalism. The faux neoliberal narrative of austerity as an economic policy alternative to recover from economic crisis is the logic of market on steroids. Austerity is not an economic policy but it is an economic project of the capitalist classes, which enforces economic miseries, political despondency and social alienation on majority of population. The voodoo of austerity and its alconomics culture reproduces crisis and empowers market forces by transferring public resources to the private pockets of the capitalist classes. The only way to recover from the crisis in short run is to abandon austerity driven neoliberal economic policies. The permanent alternative from crisis is to destroy capitalism and all its cultures with the help of popular struggles for a sustainable economy and society based on community and democratic control over resources.
The neoliberal shift in economy led to the shift from welfarists social democracy to bourgeois democracy, where uninhibited market forces rule with their invisible free hand. The growth of island of prosperity and continents of miseries are the net outcomes of such a system, which led to the declining legitimacy of the democratic political forces. In this context, there is the rise of reactionary religious and conservative social forces are not only filling the vacuum but also providing legitimacy to the rule of capitalist politics in the name of culture, religion, and nationalism. The recent political upheavals within liberal democracies in different parts of the globe reflects this right-wing shift and reactionary trend in politics. The political crisis is an opportunity for the capitalist classes to dismantle all democratic norms and values in support of authoritarianism. In this decisive period of structural crisis of capitalism, it is only authoritarian politics that can help capitalism to further accumulate at this stage of its growth. The collective politics with collective vision is the only alternative for the survival of the masses.
The authoritarian and reactionary political regimes breed conflicts, disputes and wars to stay in power and control resources. The global growth of nationalist war hysteria is producing military crises in land, ocean, air and space. It is also fuelling international arms trade. The colonial, imperialist and capitalist powers consider military crisis is an opportunity to expand their economic base by selling weapons of mass destruction. The guns and capitalist globalisation move together. The military-industrial complex is deepening the idea of security state led by the defence forces that ensures security to capital at the cost of human lives. The states and governments are spending all their resources on military equipment when citizens are suffering in hunger and homelessness. The military crisis puts citizens welfare in the dustbin. The global growth of defence spending is a threat to environment, human lives, peace and prosperity in the world.
Crises of governance
The world is witnessing the growing crisis of global, regional, national and local governance. The crisis of governance means crisis of rule of law, transparency and accountability. The criminogenic character of capitalism prefers a non-transparent and unaccountable system, which provides absolute freedom to the mobility of capital and control labour and its mobility with different legal mechanisms. The laws are for the masses and the capitalist classes live with legal impunity. This capitalist duality is central in creating crisis of governance. The growth of economic and social inequalities, rise of political illegitimacies and illiberal thoughts are also led to the crisis of governance. The struggle for liberal, progressive, egalitarian, cooperative and democratic governance is the only alternative which is destroyed by capitalism in regular intervals.
These six crises are intrinsic capitalism to overcome its own internal contradictions. The different incarnations of capitalism reveal that capitalism is an incubator of crises. There is no alternative to solve crises within capitalism. The globalisation is the diminuendos of capitalist world economy, which promised peace and prosperity but in reality, it is globalising crises and miseries. The astrologers of capitalism have lost all their gods and worshiping false god of propaganda has expired its usable date. The idolatry of capitalist falsehood is not an alternative to recover from the crisis of its own making. It is time to learn from our experiences with capitalist catastrophe and its history of crises. There is no individual freedom within capitalism in which majority suffer. Our individual freedoms are interlinked with collective emancipation. The glocal emancipatory struggle against capitalism is the only alternative for a collective future based on liberty, equality, justice and fraternity. The national socialism is only possible with practice of internationalism. The worldwide collective actions and resistance movements can revise and re-establish the hidden glory of socialism as only alternative.
*Bhabani Shankar Nayak, Coventry University, UK