The Poverty of Capitalism

Unemployment Line

The effects of the Great Recession continue to unfold with a vengeance in spite of a “formal” recovery. The unemployment rate is still hovering at over nine percent. Since the beginning of 2007, the number of households relying on food stamps has nearly doubled to 21.4 million.  It therefore comes as no surprise that the number of people living in poverty in the United States has reached a rate of 15.1 percent, which is the highest level seen since 1993. Black and Latino workers have been hit the hardest, given capitalism’s long history of institutionalized racism. Blacks have a poverty rate of 27.4 percent and Latinos have a poverty rate of 26.6 percent.

Alongside extraordinary wealth and scientific development, potent elements of barbarism continue to exist in the United States a decade into the new millennium. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the USA has one of the highest rates of poverty in the developed world (only Mexico, Israel, and Chile surpass the U.S. when it comes to the poverty rate in the 34 countries tracked).   The number of Americans without health insurance has also increased to 49.9 million Even having health insurance can still result in massive debts for serious medical procedures. Poor workers are hit particularly hard under the for-profit health care system in the United States, as they spend more than 20 percent of their income on health care, according to Georgia State University. 

Capitalism has entered into its deepest crisis since the Great Depression, perhaps even greater, and a continual sinking into the barbarism of poverty, unemployment, and other effects of austerity are all we can expect under this system.  In order to attain budgetary solvency, capitalist governments will continue to take back the hard-won reforms of the 1900s.

In order to maintain competitiveness with the so-called developing world, and to overcome the effects of capitalist overproduction, layoffs and savage wage reductions will continue. In short, the bourgeoisie is hell-bent on turning the clock back to the 1800s in order to maintain and increase profitability. Workers instinctively understand that it doesn’t have to be this way and will only be able to take so much of this. Mass outbreaks of the class struggle are inevitable in the coming period, and we will have many opportunities to win workers and youth to the ideas of Marxism.

 


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