From Kommunistisk Politik
No. 17, August 18, 2001
The world top leaders cannot see it. The Danish government cannot see it at all. And the media are reducing it to the ordinary types of the financial pages. Nevertheless, the economic world crisis is a reality, and it has, contrary to 1997-98 when it began, now affected capitalism's main countries. The US is in a deep crisis; Japan is in an even deeper crisis, and the EU countries are on their way. It is now official news that the largest economy in the EU, the German, is in a recession. The same holds for the English economy. According to bourgeois economics, a recession is defined by declining growth in two quarters in a row. The crisis of overproduction has gripped the economy in Sweden, where large companies have laid off tens of thousands of workers – and also the Italian has been affected by the crisis. There are clear signs of crisis in the up until now flying French economy.
How is it possible for the Danish economy to avoid the crisis? It is not, even though the Nyrup government is still trying to talk the crisis away. The reason why some of the evident signs of the crisis – company reductions, closures and mass lay-offs – have not been as clear in Denmark as elsewhere is the fact that Denmark does not have many really large companies with thousands or tens of thousands of employees, among other things. But at many workplaces, there have already been lay-offs on a smaller scale, and they will increase. A whole series of company closures is coming up.
The Danish export industry consists of "niches", as the IT business, as well as agricultural export and pharmaceutical industry, which have not been affected that hard. However, the crisis will soon be perceptible in the countries that are the most important trading partners of Denmark, like Germany, Sweden and England.
And in Denmark, as in other countries, the consumption can partly be kept up by credits, lowering of the interest rate, etc., but this only postpones the impact of the crisis.
The capitalist world crisis has caught hold of capitalism's heart region: the production of the means of production. It is the companies' sales of these means of production to each other, including the sale of IT equipment, which have primarily been affected. Mass lay-offs reflect partly that the sales have declined, and partly that the expectations of mass consumption have lowered. But also whole sectors in the production of mass consumer goods – cars, mobile phones and IT equipment – have perceptibly been affected. With millions of unemployed, the purchasing power is reduced, and the crisis will deepen. It will inevitably affect the labour-intensive service sector, too.
This is not a "financial crisis", a "monetary crisis" or a "stock market crisis". It is a traditional capitalist crisis of overproduction, characterized by the fact that the production of goods is higher than the actual purchasing power, and it is becoming perceptible in the main capitalist and imperialist countries, too.
And with the US also being affected by the crisis, it obviously gets a worldwide character, and will affect all countries and peoples.
The crisis increases the difference between rich and poor; it deepens the gap further. Billions of people are being impoverished further. It is the policy of the capitalist states and the multinationals to impose the burdens upon the working class and the general population in order to safe-guard their profits. In this situation, the Social Democratic, reformist and revisionist parties are ready to render first aid to capitalism in crisis.
But the peoples around the globe, not at least in the countries that have been hard and acutely affected by the crisis, such as Turkey, Argentina, etc., are beginning to take things in their own hands, rising in big protest movements, which are also directed against imperialism, against the IMF and the World Bank.
The crisis of capitalism is also the crisis of globalisation. And it will increase many times in the coming months.
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