Karl Marx was supposed to be dead and buried. With the collapse of capitalism in the Soviet Union and China, Communism abolished the glittering backdrop of James James Bond films or the devious mantra of Kim Jong Un. The classic conflict that Marx believed to determine the course of history seemed to melt away in the prosperous era of free trade and free enterprise. The far-reaching power of globalization, linking the farthest corners of the planet with lucrative financial bonds, external resources, and "borderless" production, offered everyone with plenty of opportunities to get rich from the Silicon Valley tech guru to Chinese farmer girls. In the last decades of the 20th century, Asia witnessed perhaps the most remarkable record in the history of humanity in the fight against poverty, all thanks to the very capitalist tools of commerce, entrepreneurship and foreign investment. Capitalism seemed to keep its promise. Raise everyone to new heights of wealth and prosperity.
Or so we thought. With the global economy in a protracted crisis and workers in the world burdened with unemployment, debt and stagnant incomes, Marx deceives capitalism's critique that the system is characterized as unfair and self-destructive cannot be so easily removed. Marx theorized that the capitalist system would inevitably crush the masses, as the wealth of the world was concentrated in the hands of the greedy few, causing economic crises and intensifying the clash between the rich and the working classes. "The accumulation of wealth at one pole is at the same time the accumulation of misery, fornication, slavery, ignorance, cruelty, mental degradation at the opposite poles," wrote Marx.
The growing body of evidence indicates he could be right. Unfortunately, unfortunately, it is very easy to find statistics that show that the rich get richer and that the middle class and the poor are not. September study The Washington Institute for Economic Policy (EPI) noted that the median income of a full-time, male worker in the United States in 2011 was $ 48,202 less than in 1973. From 1983 to 2010, 74% of profits made 2013 wealth in the US tops 5% and bottom 60% in EPI counted. It is not surprising that some gave a second view of German philosophy in the 19th century. In China, the Marxist country that turned to Marx, Yu Rongjun was inspired by world events to write a musical based on Marx's classics Lesson Capital:. "You can find the realities of what is described in the book," says the playwright.
It cannot be said that Marx was quite right. His "dictatorship of the proletariat" did not produce as much results as he had intended. But the effect of this widespread inequality is exactly what Marx predicted: The class struggle is back. The workers of the world are more alarmed and demand their fair share in the world economy. From the floor of the US Congress to the streets of Athens to southern China, political and economic events are shaped by escalating tensions between capital and labor, unnoticed to the extent of the communist revolutions of the 20th century. How this struggle unfolds will affect the direction of global economic policy, the future of the welfare state, China's political stability, and who heads Washington from Rome to Rome. What would Marx say today? "Some differences: 'I told you so,'" says Richard Wolf, a New York Marxist economist at New York. "The income gap brings to a level of tension that I have not seen in my life."
In the US, tensions between the economic classes are on the rise. Society is perceived as a split between "99%" (ordinary folk, to fight for) and "1%" (associated and privileged domination grows every day). In: Request for Pew Research Center Two thirds of those polled last year thought the US was suffering from "strong" or "very strong" conflict between rich and poor, a 19 percentage point increase from 2009, rating it as the No. 1 segment of society. .
Elevated conflict has dominated American politics. The party struggle over how to fix the nation's budget deficit was largely a classic one. When President Barack Obama talks about raising taxes for the richest Americans to close the budget gap, conservatives are screaming that he is waging a "classic war" on the rich. However, the Republicans are engaged in their own class struggle. The GOP's tax health plan effectively reduces the burden of adjustment by reducing social services on the middle and poor economic classes. Obama based much of his re-election campaign on describing Republicans as incompatible with the working class. GOP nominee Mitt Romney, who the president accused, had only a "one-point plan" for the US economy. "To make sure people at the top are playing by different rules."
Despite the rhetoric, there are signs that this new American classicism has changed the debate over the country's economic policy. Complicated economies, which claim that 99% success will benefit 99%, have come under heavy scrutiny. David Madland, director of the Center for American Progress in Washington, believes that the 2012 presidential campaign brought renewed focus to rebuilding the middle class and looking for another economic agenda. "The whole way of thinking about economics is turning heads," he says. "I feel a fundamental shift is happening."
The brutality of the new class struggle is more pronounced in France. In May of last year, as the pain of the financial crisis and budget cuts made poorer richer riches more common for ordinary citizens, they voted for François Hollande of the Socialist Party, who once declared: "I don't like the rich." has proved true to his word. The key to his victory was the propaganda promise to earn more than the rich to maintain the welfare of France. To avoid drastic cuts in spending, other policy makers in Europe have forced a budget deficit to close, and Hollande plans to raise the income tax rate to 75%. Although the idea was created by the country's Constitutional Council, Hollande plans to pursue ways to implement such an event. At the same time, Hollande's government turned to the average person. He canceled his predecessor's unreliable decision to increase France's retirement age, reducing it to some 60 for some workers. Many in France want Hollande to go even farther. "Hollande's tax proposal should be the first step in a government that recognizes capitalism in its current form, has become so unfair and dysfunctional that it runs the risk of no deep reforms," said Charlotte Bulanger, head of the NGO Development Office.
However, his tactics are brought back by the capitalist class. Mao Zedong may argue that "political power grows out of a gun barrel", but in a world where das capital: more and more mobile, the weapons of the class struggle have changed. Rather than pay for Hollande, some of France's wealthy people are leaving, taking bad jobs and investing with them. Jean-Emil Rosenblum, founder of Pixmania.com online retailing, is setting up his life and new business in the US where he feels the climate is much more welcoming for businesses. "The rise of the classical conflict is a normal consequence of any economic crisis, but its political exploitation has been demagogic and discriminatory," Rosenblum says. "France is not relying on (entrepreneurs) to create the companies and jobs we need."
The rich poor division is probably unstable in China. Surprisingly, the same challenge confronts Obama and newly-formed Communist China President Xi Jinping. The intensification of the class struggle is not only a phenomenon of a slowly growing, debt-based industrialized world. Even with the rapidly expanding markets emerging, the tension between rich and poor remains a top priority for policymakers. Contrary to what many disgruntled Americans and Europeans believe, China has not been a paradise for workers. The “iron rice bowl” – the practice of Maoism to guarantee the lives of workers, abolished Maoism, and workers had little rights during the Reformation. Although wage earnings are rising significantly in Chinese cities, it is the rich-poor gap is too wide. Another Pew Study: found that almost half of the Chinese surveyed thought that the distribution of rich poor was a big problem, while 8 out of 10 agreed with the suggestion that in China "the rich are just getting rich and the poor are getting poorer."
The discontent reaches a boiling point in Chinese factory cities. "From the outside people see our lives very generously, but the real life in the factory is very different," says factory worker Peng Ming at the southern industrial enclave of Shenzhen. Facing long hours, rising costs, indifferent managers, and often late wages, workers are beginning to sound like a real proletariat. "The way to get rich is by exploiting workers," says Guan Guau, another employee at the Shenzhen factory. "Communism is what we expect." Unless the government takes more action to improve their well-being, they say, workers will be more and more willing to take action. "Employees will make more," predicts Peng. "All workers must unite."
It may already happen. It is difficult to keep track of labor unrest in China, but experts believe it has increased. A new generation of factory workers, better informed than their parents, has become more prominent in the demands of higher wages and working conditions thanks to the Internet. So far the government's response has been mixed. Citizens have raised minimum wages to boost their incomes, tightened labor laws to give workers more protection, and in some cases, to strike them. But the government still discourages independent labor activity, often by force. Such tactics left the Chinese proletariat distrustful of their proletarian dictatorship. "The government thinks more about companies than we do," says Guan. If Xi does not reform the economy so that ordinary Chinese can benefit more from the growth of the nation, he is at risk of inciting social unrest.
Marx predicted exactly such an outcome. When the proletariat awakened to their general class interests, they overthrew the just capitalist system and replaced it with new, socialist miracles. The Communists "openly state that their aims can only be achieved by the forced overthrow of all existing social conditions," Marx wrote. "The proletariat has nothing to lose but their chains." There are signs that workers worldwide are increasingly impatient with their weak prospects. Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of cities such as Madrid and Athens to protest against stratospheric unemployment and austerity measures that exacerbate the issues.
For the time being, however, Marx's revolution has yet to materialize. Employees may have common problems, but they are not solved together. Union membership in the US.For example, continued to fall in times of economic crisis, and the Occupy Wall Street movement was inflamed. Prot scholars, says Jacques Rancher, an expert on Marxism at the University of Paris, do not aim to replace capitalism, as Marx predicted, but simply to transform it. "We do not see protest courses calling for the overthrow or destruction of socio-economic systems," he explains. "What is creating the class conflict today is calls for systems to be more viable and sustainable in the long run by redistributing the wealth created."
Despite such calls, however, current economic policy continues to exacerbate class tensions. In China, senior officials have paid to narrow the income gap, but have practically broken the reforms (fighting corruption, liberalization of the financial sector) that could happen. Debt-ridden governments in Europe have cut welfare plans, even if unemployment has increased and growth has increased. In many cases, the solution chosen to restore capitalism was more capitalism. Political analysts in Rome, Madrid and Athens are under pressure from creditors to protect workers for dismantling and further regulation of their internal markets. Owen ones ons, British author Chavs. Dismantling of working classThis is called a "classical war from above".
Are there few people standing in the way? The emergence of the world labor market shattered trade unions in the developed world. After facing Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan's free market, left-wing political failure has not developed a viable alternative course. "Virtually all progressive or left-wing parties at some point contributed to the growth and accessibility of financial markets, and pushed back welfare systems to prove that they were capable of reform," Rancher notes. "I would say that any prospect of Labor or Socialist parties or governments that significantly transforms, which is less reversed, the current economic systems is rather weak."
It gives a terrible opportunity. Marx not only diagnosed the shortcomings of capitalism but also the result of those shortcomings. Unless policymakers find new ways to provide a fair economic opportunity, world workers can simply unite. Marx can still take revenge.
– Bruce Crumley / Paris reports. Zhengzhou iang yang / Beijing; Shan Shan Wang / Shenzhen
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