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The onset of recession across the developed world should really come as
no surprise – in the capitalist economy bust inevitably follows boom
just as night follows day. 

It would be fair to say that currently even the more astute of the
various business analysts and journalists who are paid to monitor
developments in the markets have noticed this. Many realise that all
they can really do is talk about softening the blow and mitigating the
worst effects of the downturn.

Because the capitalist economy is orientated to making profits and as
the expansion of the competing enterprises in the economy is not
regulated and harmonious, the over-expansion of some sectors, a process
which has a knock-on effect to the economy as a whole, is always a
danger – and periodically a reality. This is what appears to be
happening now. 

The industries that expanded so rapidly during the boom of the mid to
late nineties, such as those involved in the 'dot com' and
telecommunications revolution, have expanded far too quickly for market
demand and the consequences have been severe. 

Sales have fallen, production has had to be cut back, debts have
mounted and jobs have been slashed as companies get into serious
difficulties, in some cases going bankrupt.

A key factor in this is that capitalism's financial apparatus is
largely built on confidence that transactions will be smooth and
payments will be met. When this confidence in the efficiency of trade
and commerce starts to ebb then things can take spectacular – and
serious – turns for the worse. 

The erosion of financial confidence is one of the ways in which a
downturn in one sector - or country - can spread to others. 

If the word 'globalisation' means anything in the era of the Multi
National Corporation, it is surely that the world economy has now
become so inter-related that the worsening of a company's financial
position in one country can lead to them shedding jobs in another. 

This is what currently seems to be happening across the industrialised
world and illustrates why so many of the so-called 'solutions' to
economic downturns in the past (import controls, Keynesian
'pump-priming' economics, etc) are now more transparently useless than
they ever were.

Jt

www.worldsocialism.org


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