Communicator (communicator) wrote,

Past present and future

I don't think it makes sense to say that the world as a whole has run out of money, so we need to spend less. That's like saying people have to stop getting married because we have run out of marriage licenses. Money is a medium, not a fuel. It's just a social convention. You can't use it all up in 2008 and have none left by 2012. If the same products are being made then nothing real has run out. And if fewer products are being made because workers are sitting around unemployed, then the shortages are entirely man made.

What I think has happened is that wages and spending power are the same thing. It's the same figure, with two names. Businesses want to keep wages down. But they want to operate in an economy where spending power is up. That's a tension at the heart of capitalism. About thirty years ago, businesses got the upper hand over workers, and started to cut back on wages. In theory the result would have been a collapse of spending, but for a while the cracks were papered over by easy credit. Part of your spending this year is taken against your wages next year. But this can't go on for ever. And so we see. For example, this year the number of cars bought in the UK has plummeted. It's all going wrong for capitalism.

I think there are only two ways this can resolve. One is for workers - perhaps globally - to get more leverage, and regain some spending power like before. That might happen as a kind of levelling out over the whole world, so people like us might end up quite a lot less affluent. But overall it would be OK. I am thinking that perhaps most people wouldn't be able to buy cars for example, but capitalists could sell other things like public transport. Cheap laptops, all the stuff.

The other way I think is that manufacturers might re-align to start catering for the small class of ultra-rich. That would be a strange world wouldn't it? All of us working to make really expensive stuff we never can buy, and provide services to a super-class we can never enter. A bit like Neuromancer.

I wonder which will happen.
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