I think it fair to say that capital always and everywhere, if unregulated, moves to the point of highest return. The odd ‘ethical’ exception here than there is soon negated by the relentless tide of self-interest. And in that pursuance of maximum return, capital has long since slipped its national leash. Capital has long since gone global and so too has the manufacture of goods, services and people – both those that are able to profit from the system and those that are desperate to be part of it.

If you were a manufacturer, large or small, why would you manufacture something in the US of A when you could produce the very same thing with the very same quality for a fraction of the cost in the developing world. By the same logic, if you did decide to manufacture either goods or services in the United States, why would you employ a US worker at union agreed rates, when you could employ an ‘illegal’ migrant worker for at a considerably lower cost. This is the morality of capital. In fact, capital has no morality per se. It is gender neutral, colour blind and agonistic in belief. Its only rationale is to reproduce itself at the highest rate possible.

Furthermore, capital has no nation and respects no government regulation. It is inherently, neither revolutionary nor reactionary, though paradoxically it can be both at the same time. Global capital might be said to be having a distinctly reactionary effect in the developed capitalist countries whilst simultaneously tearing down old feudal practices and prejudices in the newly developing nations. In fact, even that is a too simplistic a picture. Even in the advanced capitalist nations, capital, it could be argued, is both reactionary in its moribund finance capital form yet still quite ‘revolutionary’ as it seeks to profit from the new generation of clean energy industries and fully automated manufacturing techniques. To say that corporate owned capital has fully exhausted its revolutionary potential may be erroneous wishful thinking. What we can say with some degree of certainty is that capital increasingly concentrated in the hands of a tiny egoistic elite is dragging the entire planet close to the precipice.

So, what is to be done? There seems to be three broad categories of action. Three distinct alternatives facing humanity, to put it a little more profoundly. Firstly, let capital run its course, creating as it does, whole swathes of destruction as well as opening up brand new areas of development and opportunity. Let capital do its thing, unencumbered with burdensome government regulation and irritating taxes. Let government take a back seat allowing capital to create an integrated global economy, even if this means creating vast divisive discrepancies in wealth across the planet. Continue with the neoliberal Chicago School of Economics where the ‘trickle down’ effect is the most expedient way to create wealth for all. This is the current Tory agenda and most probably will be the Trump agenda.

Alternatively, rip up the neoliberal rule book and start to re-regulate the entire financial system. Regulate global capital flows, close the tax havens, rigorously clamp down on tax avoidance and re-introduce a progressive tax regime whereby those that profit most from the system shoulder the biggest burden of taxation. With this redistribution of wealth, nations can then revamp their decaying infrastructure and crumbling welfare systems. Capital remains largely in private corporate hands but it is forced to pay its way. This is the emerging left wing social democratic agenda as espoused by Podemos and the Corbynistas.

There is a third alternative but it is highly unfashionable and, when once tried, proved highly problematic to say the least. Some one hundred years ago a bunch of lunatics had the temerity to argue for complete social ownership of the commanding heights of the economy. Basing their theories on the equally crazed ramblings of a deranged German philosopher, they argued that all wealth was collectively produced and therefore that wealth should be collectively owned and distributed. They even had the audacity to seize hold of their crumbling semi-feudal state and attempt to put their lunatic ideas into practice. Needless to say, it was a short-lived experiment that has been thankfully consigned to the dustbin of history. But what if, one years on, capital has become so moribund, so parasitic, and so destructive, that alternative three might just have to be revisited. What if those crazy adventurers were not so much crazy as a little premature. What if capital has so exhausted its revolutionary potential that its socialization is the only rational option facing humanity. What if…..

End JPK Copyright 15/11/16

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