The relevance of government in the

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The relevance of government in the

Infirms with over employees accounted for only By it was At the present time, Japanese small firms are going bust at the rate of more that 1, each month.

A similar position exists in Europe. Many small firms have collapsed as economies stagnated and the share prices of the survivors have done less well than those of the big companies. Banks have cut their lending.

World Capitalist Crisis

Yet these figures do not tell the whole story. In the recent period, especially during the boom of the s, the tendency towards the concentration of capital has been enormously accelerated, as the big monopolies made huge fortunes out of take-over bids, often accompanied by all kinds of fraud and corrupt practices—leverage bids, junk bonds, asset stripping, insider dealing, and so on.

The same phenomenon can be seen on a global scale. In the first nine months ofthe number of world-wide mergers and acquisitions stood at 6, The following year, despite the recession, the corresponding figure was still 6, On a different level, one third of world trade is in the hands of giant multinationals with truly staggering sums of capital at their disposal.

The speculative movement of this capital around the world can make or break governments. The power of the big monopolies was revealed by the crisis of the European Monetary System EMSwhen the manipulation of billions in the international money markets compelled the devaluation of the pound, the lira, the peseta, and other currencies.

In the period of capitalist ascent, the bourgeois played a progressive role in developing the productive forces, investing in industry, science and technology. In the epoch of capitalist decline, we see a very different picture emerging.

Speculative activity and investment in the parasitic service sector is displacing investment in productive activity as a source of profit. When huge fortunes can be made by a single telephone call by a currency speculator, why bother to risk capital in costly machinery which may never make a profit?

Gambling on the stock exchange has reached epidemic proportions. While factories were being continuously closed, in the period more than half of world-wide investment was dedicated to services. The rest is made up of massive speculation in international currencies, where fortunes are made in a matter of hours without the need for any productive activity, whatsoever.

The vast sums of money handled by the big banks, and used mainly for speculative purposes, is shown by the following figures.

These figures give a true picture of the power of the big banks and monopolies on a world scale. However, in reality, a handful of giant monopolies predominate. The parasitic and speculative character of these monopolies explains why the boom of had an entirely different character to the post-war upswing.

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Benjamin Friedman of Harvard University points out that between and The statistics show that the fever of speculation vastly exceeds the actual level of production on a world scale. Marx also warned that this process cannot be prolonged indefinitely, but as we now see in Japan, inevitably leads to a collapse of production, once the speculative bubble is burst.

The relevance of government in the

The collapse of the EMS and the permanent instability of world finance markets are a graphic illustration of this power, which is an additional factor for instability, threatening at any time to engulf the world in a new financial crisis, which, given the precarious and unsound state of world capitalism, could end in a deep slump.

Overproduction and Slumps The sickness of the system is shown by the phenomenon of excess capacity which affects all the main capitalist economies. Under modern conditions, the big monopolies have the necessary technology to calculate in advance the available market for their products.

The relevance of government in the

Therefore, they have tended to reduce production before getting to the point of actual over-production. The fact that the capitalists are not capable of fully utilising the productive capacity even in a boom is a graphic illustration of the Marxist assertion that the productive forces have grown beyond the narrow limits of private ownership and the nation state.

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The Local Government Technical Advisers Group | LGTAG

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Socialist Appeal pamphlet, March Introduction to Marxism in Our Time, by Leon Trotsky. On the threshold of the twenty-first century, humanity stands at the crossroads.

On the one hand, the achievements of science, technique and industry point the way forward to a dazzling future of prosperity, social well-being and unlimited cultural advance.

The Local Government Technical Advisers Group | LGTAG