The day after the collapse of investment Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers, a New York Times editorial concluded with, “The nation needs a new perspective on the markets, one that acknowledges the bent of unfettered capitalism and its ability, unchecked, to wreak havoc far beyond Wall Street.”
Indeed. In a single day of bubble-bursting decline, about $700 billion evaporated from people’s retirement plans, government pension funds and other investments; tens of thousands lost jobs and realtors and automakers couldn’t sell their products.
Stringent new regulations won’t help. When the capitalists needed higher profits, they had their friends in Congress dump the rules enacted after the Great Depression. Any new regulations would face the same fate.
What more proof could anyone want that the mystical market has failed? The chaos of capitalism simply cannot meet the needs of the majority of people. Karl Marx called for a perspective much broader than just regulating the thieves on Wall Street: replacing them and their decision-making authority with a planned socialist economy.
For today, it is the job of the union movement to stand up to protect working people from a future of breadlines and helplessness. For tomorrow, capitalism has got to go.