To recapitulate an argument I made earlier. The economic and financial crisis is not (yet) a crisis of capitalism. By that I mean there are policy choices that could save liberal-democratic capitalism from the present crisis, although this would require a turn left to social democratic compromise: nationalizing some of the banks, shutting down insolvent banks, and permanently nationalizing, in part, the utility function of banking; and funding a full-scale green industrial strategy to retrofit every home and produce green transport, green energy capacity, and new infrastructure.

The primary danger to capitalism comes not from the economic impossibility of such solutions,  nor from any organized force presenting an alternative to capitalism, but from political contradictions within. Despite neoliberalism’s loss of legitimacy, there is also still an incredible strength and resilience in various strains of market ideology, particularly in the Republican party, that makes enacting the necessary policy solutions very difficult, if not impossible. If the crisis continues without appropriate remedy, it may indeed become a crisis of capitalism in a fuller political-economic sense. The dynamic we could be facing is that the right will block an appropriate adjustment, then reap the rewards of policy failures and usher in an even more authoritarian kind of capitalism.

This crisis will not be a crisis of capitalism unless we make it a crisis of capitalism by organizing with sufficient strength and capacity to bring about a viable alternative. It is our job to put alternatives on the agenda.


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Corvin Russell

Corvin Russell is an activist, writer and translator living in Toronto.