Economic crisis

Whatever happened to the 'Great Recession'?

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"Global Economic Recovery Is Growing, Says IMF." This Daily Mail headline was typical of the media's response to signs of economic recovery in August.

Marxists face two dangers when trying to assess the state of the economy. The first is to attempt to shoehorn the facts to fit with a preconceived account of crisis. The second is to simply accept at face value the analysis put forward by economists.

The figures for the second quarter of 2009 do show a low level of growth in Germany and France. Their GDPs (a measure of the total goods and services produced) rose by 0.3 percent. Japan's grew even faster and there are some indications that the US recession is bottoming out. However, the signs of recovery remain weak.

Zombie Capitalism

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Chris Harman, Bookmarks Publications; £16.99

Lenin once wrote of politics, "There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen." For people around the world, rich and poor, young and old, this statement could rarely have rung more true than late in 2008 when the economic orthodoxy came down to earth with an almighty bump.

Leap of faith: The ruling classes' "solution" to the economic crisis

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The media greeted the London G20 Summit as a great success and declared it to be "the day the world came together to fight recession with a plan for economic recovery and reform". Chris Harman looks at what lies behind the hype and the so called solutions put forward

According to Barack Obama the London G20 Summit was "historic" and "a turning point". Did it in fact represent an answer to the deepening crisis?

Interview: David Harvey - Exploring the logic of capital

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Joseph Choonara spoke to acclaimed Marxist theoretician David Harvey about capitalism's current crisis and his online reading group of Karl Marx's Capital which shows the revival of interest in this work.

Some commentators view the current crisis as arising from problems in finance that then impinged on the wider economy; others see it as a result of issues that arose in production and then led to financial problems. How do you view it?

Slump, boom and climate change

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From the European Union to Barack Obama, promises have been made to give priority to a "green agenda". In reality, they are using the recession to go into reverse.

A recent, bad TV programme made one interesting point - that devastating transformations in the climate, as a result of the apparently slow build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, will hit people at some point with the same suddenness as the economic crisis that is now sweeping the world.

Lehman Sisters?

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A steady stream of recent articles blames "macho behaviour" for the financial crisis. Judith Orr challenges the assumption that women would do it better.

Would the economic crisis have happened if women had been in charge - if instead of Lehman Brothers it had been Lehman Sisters? This has been a recurring argument in the pages of analysis of recent events.

Economic crisis and job losses: who's to blame?

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Nationalism is always a dead end for the working class movement, argues Martin Smith, after the wildcat strikes that demanded "British jobs for British workers"

Two things became abundantly clear when standing on the picket line outside the Lindsey oil refinery in Immingham. It was the second day of the wildcat strike and for the first time since the economic crisis started there was a whiff of the class struggle we have witnessed across the Channel in Europe.

The economic crisis deepens

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Joseph Choonara looks at a new phase of the economic crisis that could see whole countries go bankrupt.

The global economic crisis is entering a new phase. The first phase came as concerns over subprime mortgages and the "toxic" assets derived from them spread, leading to repeated attempts by central banks to "inject liquidity" into the financial system to prevent it seizing up.

Interview: A structural crisis of the system

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István Mészáros won the 1971 Deutscher Prize for his book Marx's Theory of Alienation and has written on Marxism ever since. He talks to Judith Orr and Patrick Ward about the current economic crisis.

The ruling class are always surprised by new economic crises and talk about them as aberrations. Why do you believe they are inherent in capitalism?

I recently heard Edmund Phelps, who got the 2006 Nobel Prize in Economics. Phelps is a kind of neo-Keynesian. He was, of course, glorifying capitalism and presenting the current problems as just a little hiccup, saying, "All we have to do now is bring back Keynesian ideas and regulation."

Mobilise against system

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The protests that have shaken Greece are a sign of things to come. Initially over the shooting of a teenager by police in Athens, demonstrations and riots spread across the country, threatening the future of the government and crystallising the depth of bitterness and anger among working class people.

A deep economic crisis of the sort not seen in most of our lifetimes, following from a credit fuelled boom which failed to deliver for many people, creates a highly explosive situation. Inequality has grown, workers are under greater pressure of exploitation, and there is an ideology which repeatedly blames those at the bottom for everything that goes wrong in their lives.

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