Poor black people can’t pay their mortgages and supercapitalism collapses. It’s then bailed out (secretly in the UK) to the tune of $5,000 billion worldwide. It’s worth remembering the bailout every time we ask for money to be spent feeding, housing and educating people.
But what is more significant than even the monstrous bailout figure is that, at a time when the left can’t muster a coherent sentence politically, the working class has unprecedented economic power. The power, its been proved, to wreak havoc on global capitalism.
In today’s economy the real money is made speculating and, though statistics in finance are more impressionist than realist, the derivatives market alone is worth 12 times the planet’s GDP. The profits on offer are astronomic and the politics of making it are less about good bets than they are about mobilising people’s money.
Speculation is a simple game of inflation. Get people to invest in the same area and the price rises, this attracts more investment, and the price rises even more. What do credit rating agencies, the financial press and complex mathematical models do if not coordinate investment?
The sharp end of the political economy is about how you get people to invest. Power comes from finding streams of payments (mortgages, mobile phone contracts, student loans, insurance, pensions, pay-monthly deals at DFS etc), which can be securitised, leveraged and sold.
The left has to realise its power in this process, working people are not simply passive, powerless victims of loan sharks. The working class constitutes high finance.
Like in the 18th century, when the left realised its power in the production line and formed unions that secured higher pay, democracy and the NHS, it must realise its power in the financial marketplace.
Progressive voices spend all their time trying to mobilise the political power that will change the ravages of the marketplace, but this rarely happens. Rather the opposite is true, the left gains political leverage when it first mobilises power in the marketplace.
The era of strong unions, mobilising their power in the marketplace, was the era of social democratic governments. Without organising in the marketplace the left will never gain power in the political arena.
Savings unions, local bonds, local currencies and credit unions are all good starting points. Which reminds me, I must sort out a smile account.