A New Crisis of Capitalism

A New Crisis of Capitalism

The current inflation-recession is a crisis of the capitalist system.

At first glance, this proposition may seem absurd. It is all but universally agreed, Left, Right, and Center, that two of the most important causes of our present dismal plight are energy‘ and food prices. But isn’t it clear that the former is largely the result of the OPEC cartel and the latter a consequence of crop failure outside the United States (in turn, often caused by accidents of weather) and of growing global affluence? These things, it may be said, are hardly products of the American economic system.

One can make a slightly more plausible case for my opening assertion by pointing to the way in which Washington’s policies promoted our disasters. Still, were Nixon’s devaluation and Johnson’s war in Vietnam expressions of some structural tendency within the system? Wouldn’t it be more sensible to regard them as the judgments of fallible individuals rather than expressions of an underlying contradiction in capitalism?