[OPE] Interview with Samir Amin on crisis, socialism etc

From: <dogangoecmen@aol.com>
Date: Fri Feb 06 2009 - 16:20:31 EST

The Indian Journal Frontline published an interview with Samir Amin.
Details below.

"The dominant view in the media and in policymaking circles is that the current financial crisis is the result of undue deregulation and the greed of a few in Wall Street. We feel that we need to go beyond the superficial and descriptive framing of the crisis and understand it historically and politically. What is your analysis?"

"The financial collapse is only the tip of the iceberg. Under the surface there is a deep crisis of accumulation of capital in the real productive economy, and deeper even there is a systemic crisis of capitalism itself. Let us look at the tip of the iceberg first – the so-called financial crisis. This is not the result of mistakes or irresponsibilities of the banking system operating freely in a deregulated environment. This flawed analysis gives the impression that if regulations are put in place the crisis will be corrected. This has been the expected response of the G-20 in Washington, D.C. And this should not be surprising since the G-20’s feeble declaration has been prepared beforehand by the International Monetary Fund [IMF] in concert with the G8.

I would like to submit another vision of this crisis, and for this we have to get rid of the notion of seeing this as a result of neoliberal globalisation. This is limiting because it is descriptive and not analytical. The reality of the current system is the extreme centralisation of capital and a limited number of
 large oligopolies, some 5,000 in number across the world, that control power at the global, regional and national levels. It is their decisions that are shaping the world. We are at a level of centralisation that is far higher and stronger than we were just 50 years ago. This extreme centralisation of capital has led to a fundamental shift in the logic of the management of the system – instead of investing in the productive economy to produce surplus value, of course with the exploitation of labour, the focus is now on the struggle to redistribute the profits of that surplus value between the oligopolies. This redistribution of profits among them is done through financial investments. Each one of them tries to widen its sphere of financial investment in order to redistribute the profits in its favour. These profits are of another nature – they are monopoly rents. And this is what is being called “financialisation”. And deregulation is essential in this struggle by the oligopolies for more profits through financialisation. And deregulation is not being fundamentally questioned as one can see from the new rules articulated in the November 15 G-20 communique.

The attempt of the oligopolies and their Western governments is to restore the system as it was, and this is not impossible in the short run. Let us assume that the injection of billions of dollars will avoid the breakdown of the major financial institutions and restore a minimum credibility of the monetary and financial system. Th
e second condition for the system being restored is that protests of the victims of this crisis will be manageable. Through inflation, unemployment and reduced pensions, common people will pay, and their protests will be manageable, fragmented and will not disrupt the system. The third condition is that the global South accepts and plays by the rules of the game – that is, the need to maintain the globalisation of the monetary and financial system by being part of it. And that restoring the monetary and financial system needs the inclusion of the monetary and financial systems of the South into the global integrated one. That is the target of the meeting of the G-20 – to bring key emerging economies such as China, India, South Africa, Brazil and others into this project of restoring the system to what it was. Without having these countries on board, any restoration will not last long. Without having a crystal ball, I would say that even if it is restored it will not be for long. We will have another and deeper crisis within a few months, a few years, not much more than that.

What needs more research and more debate among us, people of the Left, is that the current breakdown is not the result of mistakes on regulation, etc. (which is the mainstream view), but a logic that is innate by the very centrality of the struggle for the redistribution of profits among the oligopolies. So the solution to this problem requires radical change, is long term and will come about when the ol
igopolies are nationalised with the objective of socialisation. This is, of course, not on the present agenda. And, therefore, we continue to be in a serious and continuous crisis of capitalism and imperialism, and not just of the financial markets. And this need not be the last one, and capitalism could come out of it sooner or later, but as long as cosmetic changes are applied, the world will continue to go from crisis to crisis."

More at: http://www.flonnet.com/fl2526/stories/20090102252604400.htm

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Received on Fri Feb 6 16:25:51 2009

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