A new housing shortage has broken out in Germany’s major cities. Average wage earners currently pay around a third of their income for housing — and rents continue to rise. The fact that this elementary living condition is a luxury the working majority can hardly afford is officially recognized at the highest levels as a “social problem.” Especially during election campaigns, politicians promise to ensure that housing remains affordable. And really that says it all: after 150 years of capitalist growth, for many it is not.
Competition of Capitalists will appear continuously in the political quarterly magazine GegenStandpunkt. This page provides an overview of the table scheme as it has been finalized so far. Updated June 30, 2022. (Download PDF version.)
There is one achievement the capitalist mode of production can count on making a good impression with, or at least commanding respect: unstoppable technological progress, seen in all kinds of consumer goods along with the means for producing them. It is popularly illustrated by sophisticated equipment in fashion at the moment. On suitable occasions it is measured in the few hours and minutes of working time required for producing a certain product nowadays as compared with the past. “Downsides” are not ignored: the oversized “footprint” left by the consumption of resources, destruction of the environment, loss of jobs due to “rationalization” — all this is recognized as problematic. But “rationalization” is still called by that name; and the solution of choice for the excessive load on “nature” is considered to be — alongside a personal willingness to do without things — more technological progress. Yet it is quite clear that neither free choice nor rationality is the reason for the unstoppable technological progress the capitalist mode of production impresses with. It is caused by a practical constraint that industrialists actually create for themselves.
In the market economy, growth is an officially and quite generally recognized necessity. It is taken for granted that the growth of the economy is the precondition for prosperity; when growth slows down or actually stops altogether, there is a risk of want and need. Those who warn that continuous economic growth is an absurdity go more or less unheard in the culture section. Critics who maintain that a growth geared solely to immediate economic performance is too narrow a focus for society’s well-being and who call for broader criteria and values to be included are suspected of being anti-consumerist or anti-progress, or accused of ultimately having no idea of human nature and inherent human needs. Even the most sober reference to “natural limits of growth” will face the accusation of being divorced from reality. And indeed it is — reality being that those in charge of business definitely do not know or recognize any ‘natural limit’ that could thwart the economic purpose that is in effect and being practiced: a market economy needs growth. The only question is why? Where does this absolute necessity come from?
Those who run businesses are said to have certain tasks, expected to achieve this and that, and sometimes accused of neglecting their duties. However, the members of this profession don’t perform any of the positive or negative functions attributed to them unless they do their job. And that is to increase the wealth at their disposal — regardless of whether a nation’s public credits them with creating jobs or blames them for destroying jobs, whether public opinion says they are protecting the environment or damaging it, contributing to growth or jeopardizing it…
President Trump's “America first!” targets the whole world. But the degree to which the US is affected by the politics in other states comes down to more than the differences in numbers that the President loves to read from the figures of America’s negative bilateral trade balance. There is one rival above all others — actually just about the only one — that is ultimately incompatible with “America first!”: the People's Republic of China.
A. Conflicting ways out of the recession
I. Culture War in America
II. Obama’s economic and financial therapy for the nation’s ailing economic base
III. The Republicans’ counterplans
IV. Worries and warnings about the catastrophic consequences of the political dispute help to intensify it
B. The U.S. has to be concerned about its money
I. The U.S. economy is the major exception in global capitalism
II. The identity between America’s national credit and the world’s capitalistic wealth has a price that has fallen due in the wake of the recent financial crisis
III. And the competitors are no longer the same either
Conclusion: New steps in implementing the crisis through the states’ crisis policies
In the Gulf of Mexico, the Deepwater Horizon oil-rig explodes. For months, huge amounts of oil flow out of the borehole into the sea, reaching the American coast and in effect ruining the environment in several states, together with the livelihoods of large parts of the population. According to experts, this is the biggest environmental catastrophe in American history — and in view of this occasion, the country’s president, in his speech to the nation, draws attention to the importance of what is happening on the Gulf coast.