Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Recession and Class Warfare: From Price Gouging to Micro Loans

I have a new post up at Global Comment

The economic experts have finally declared that we are in a recession. I believe a more honest term would be a depression. Each country is undergoing various financial issues and once strong economies are grappling with high levels of unemployment. Workers from the US to Japan are facing the future with an uncertainty that has not been known since the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

In the Communist Manifesto Marx theorized:

“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes”

Class has been issue that we have repeatedly failed to discuss critically. To delve into the ways in which our economies are stratified means realizing that they are built upon the exploitation of the working poor. We must further acknowledge the degree to which we have been complicit in our own enslavement. Instead of protesting when unions were viciously attacked we bowed our heads and allowed the rise of business unionism. The elites attacked unions first because they realized that this is where workers learned solidarity and a true understanding of how the economy works. A single person cannot wage war against a conglomerate but a group of workers have the ability to assert power.

We have turned poverty into an individualized phenomenon even though it is systemically created. To be poor is to be accused of an individual failing. Conversely, wealth is seen solely as the result of hard work.

To maintain the lie of meritocracy we continually assert that those who are currently ranked within the top 5 % have worked harder than those that are deemed working or under class. The value of labour has been so linked with prestige that the physicality involved with most jobs is discounted. When a construction worker is outside in the hot sun or the freezing cold, the labour that that they are performing is absolutely essential to our infrastructure and yet it is the CEO that is rewarded with millions of dollars after leading a company into ever increasing debt. We do not pay based in merit. We pay based in prestige.

Finish Reading Here

No comments: