Picture courtesy of The Guardian.
The Class Issue is one of the most important issues in Global Economics. We live in a world where the 1% of the World owns 48% of the Global GDP, whilst the poorest 80% owns only 5.5% and this gap is growing. [Hardoon, page 3]
The problem is that we have become confused with the class structure defined by Karl Marx in his writings. The British Working Class refers to those who are working class with British Citizenship. This however does not fit with Marx’s view of Working Class or in his words: Proletariat [Marx. Essential Left, page 15], as most of the products we use, eat, drink, smoke etc. are made by the labour of workers in other countries. Therefore the definition of the British Working Class could be extended to include those workers in foreign lands who contribute to the consumer products used in Britain. This relates for many countries, especially under neo-Liberalism where political borders are not recognised by the current World economy.
Yet these workers do not have a vote in British elections and have no say in the countries that most of the big companies that benefit from their people’s labour, come from. The British Working Class have then not yet earned the vote, except for the few who actually live in Britain. Of course they wouldn’t just be British working class, as there are consumers for the products they made across the globe, especially within the ‘Triad’ [Millet page 1] countries of North America, Western Europe, Oceania and Japan.
This shows that when looking at the neo-Liberal economic system Marx is as relevant, if not more relevant, than when he was active. As the Working Class of the United Kingdom have a strong welfare state, which includes a national health service, benefits, free education and council housing, it must be remembered that these are all paid for with the labour of the working class of the Global South. Although there are levels to oppression within the World, the Working Class of the ‘Triad Nations benefit heavily from neo-Colonialism. Everything that we buy, is only truly worth the labour that went into creating it and bringing it to you [Marx. Capital Page 819].This is a fact that many Western Marxists do not speak about, in fact they appear to be closer with their own governments, which they claim to be trying to bring down, than they are with anti-Imperialist governments within the Global South. It appears that they are in reality campaigning for the Working Class within the Triad nations to get a bigger slice of the Imperialist cake.
Whilst the Soviet style communism which attempted to rival the capitalist Triad Nation’s power may not have been perfect, they did force the Triad to have to at least give more to Global South Nations in fear of them becoming communist, although once the point of no return was passed it also encouraged the warmongering head of the ‘Triad Bloc’: the United States of America to be more likely to overthrow the government. Today there is no alternative to the neo-Liberal policies that plague the World and it seems that only Capitalism can bring itself down.
The problem is that when you have a system based on profit and essentially greed, it will inevitably bring you to the point that we are at. Only by controlling capitalism can one sustain it and keep it running, although many say that due to the greedy nature of capitalism any such measures would only be temporary before someone with money power believes he is entitled to more and uses his influence to completely free the market.
Capitalism is a system that says that you should aspire to be rich, rather than to benefit your society and is inherently evil. Now corporations have become so powerful that even the highest ranked people within them are unable to control them. They have the same legal rights as a human being and are legally humans [Bakan. pages 15-16], yet unlike humans who search for the meaning of their lives and usually have dozens of aspirations and objectives in everyday life, a corporation has only one meaning and objective, to earn huge amounts of money. The monsters that we have created out of our own greed are now in control of us and this system will continue to get worse until we rid ourselves of them.
Capitalism may have been an improvement on the Feudalist system that went before it in many ways and at least now a very tiny percentage of those at the bottom can rise up to high ranking levels within the system, however it is now outdated and the next stage of our political and ideological development must begin. Capitalism has not only failed, but it has become the worst humanitarian disaster of all time.
- HARDOON, D. (2015). Wealth: having it all and wanting more.
- Karl Marx, 1960. Essential Left (U.Books). Edition. Allen & Unwin.
- Damien Millet, 2004. Who Owes Who: 50 Questions about World Debt (Global Issues). Edition. Zed Books.
- Joel Bakan, 2005. The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power. Edition. Constable.
- Marx, K, 1966. Capital: Volume III. 3rd ed. Moscow: Progress Publishers.