World Polarization, Destruction and Transformation
Editor’s Note: This article is the first of two adapted from the October 2019 Political Report by the Central Committee of the LRNA.
We are witnessing the exponential advance of the electronic revolution and its impact on the economy. We see an acceleration of the efforts by the ruling class to grapple with and to maintain their hold on private property as polarization and crisis in the world deepen. Within ruling circles both nationally and internationally a struggle is underway, grappling with changes in the world economy and geopolitics. The world order that has been in place since the fall of the Soviet Union, a unipolar, hegemonic order dominated by the U.S., is being challenged by the rising of a new multipolar world order, particularly the Russian Federation and China, as they rise to contend with U.S. hegemony. The overriding quality of the process is deepening polarization and instability.
It is in this environment that conscious revolutionaries have to develop a subjective polarization, based on the program of the new objective communist class. Revolution is now an objective historic inevitability. The overwhelming political demand today is to prepare the people for this inevitability through the introduction of new ideas. New ideas are the indispensable catalyst of revolution. The revolutionary new idea is essentially this: Computerized, electronic, automated production is just beginning and is irreversible. Each stage of its development requires fewer workers and depresses the wages of those who still work. The situation is becoming more and more intolerable. Production without wages makes distribution without money according to need both understandable and inevitable. Carrying to the people, in the midst of their fights, the new idea of reorganizing the mode of distribution is the most revolutionary task of our time.
Polarization is the process of separating the opposing or contradictory elements that make up an entity. Polarization – the process of one aspect going entirely, or almost entirely in one direction, and the other aspect going in the other direction – must take place before there is motion.
Polarization of Wealth and Poverty
Once polarization does take place, a struggle between the two poles begins. This is evident in a society when all the wealth goes in one direction to one class, and all the poverty goes in the opposite direction to another class. As this process takes place, the opposing classes begin to stir – begin to fight each other. Only when there is motion – movement and struggle – on the part of the opposing social forces, is it possible for the revolutionaries to play a role in history.
We are living in a period when the contradiction between the developing productive forces (robotics) and the productive relations (capitalism) has been replaced by antagonism. Antagonism is the basis of destruction and the transformation to a new quality. Antagonism today is expressed in ongoing deep economic, social and a growing political polarization within the country and around the world.
Today, with the introduction of robotics, production is increasing by leaps and bounds with less and less labor. The result is that human life is becoming cheaper and cheaper. As labor is no longer needed in production, the value of that labor-worth goes toward zero. Thus, a section of society becomes absolutely destitute. Those who are working are competing with the computer and the robot. Their wages are steadily falling because they can’t compete.
On the other hand, products created by robots with little or no labor in them, are sold alongside products entirely created by labor and sold at the same price. Therefore, the more the automation of industry, the richer the owner gets. In this way, all the wealth is going in one direction, and all the poverty is going in the other. This polarization is the result of the productive forces developing very rapidly and the productive relations failing to develop along with them. The political polarization being expressed now is a result of these underlying changes in the economy.
Much of humanity has barely escaped extreme poverty, with just under half the world’s population – 3.4 billion people – subsisting on less than $5.50 a day, which is the World Bank’s new poverty line for extreme poverty in upper-middle-income countries. The “World Inequality Report 2018” showed that between 1980 and 2016 the poorest 50 percent of humanity only captured 12 cents in every dollar of global income growth. By contrast, the top 1 percent captured 27 cents of every dollar.
Compare this to the life of today’s ruling class. Today, the top 1 percent of households own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined. A 2018 Oxfam study found that eighty two percent of the wealth generated last year went to the richest one percent of the global population, while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world saw no increase in their wealth. According to a June 2017 report by the Boston Consulting Group, around 70 percent of the nation’s wealth will be in the hands of millionaires and billionaires by 2021.
The 2019 Oxfam report, “Public Good or Private Wealth?” gives an indication of the depth of this polarization worldwide. In the 10 years since the global financial crisis, the number of billionaires has nearly doubled. The wealth of the world’s billionaires increased by $900 billion in the last year alone, or $2.5 billion a day. Meanwhile, the wealth of the poorest half of humanity, 3.8 billion people, fell by 11 percent. Between 2017 and 2018, a new billionaire was created every two days. Yet wealthy individuals and corporations are paying lower rates of tax than they have in decades.
The Rise of Massive Debt
With the polarization and instability in the global economy, and the increased number of countries integrated into that economy since 2008, along with the massive amounts of national and personal debt and the vast expansion of a global new class pushed to the margins of survival, the next inevitable financial meltdown will be one of catastrophic proportions.
Deepening government and personal debt are expressions of the increasing inability of the capitalists to circulate commodities/products based on the declining number of people having jobs with wages who are able to buy what is produced. Laborless production means valueless production – and hence, profitless production. Speculative capital came to dominate the financial system as less and less value could be realized in production. So, capital shifted into purely speculative investment. Speculative capital does not create value or realize surplus-value, but makes money mainly from amassing vast sums based on debt.
Global debt has ballooned over the past two decades: from $84 trillion at the turn of the century, to $173 trillion at the time of the 2008 financial crisis, to $250 trillion a decade after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s collapse. In November, the IMF warned that almost 40 percent, or around $19 trillion, of the corporate debt in major economies such as the U.S., China, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Spain was at risk of default in the event of another global economic downturn.
The polarization of wealth and poverty and the insurmountable debt are part and parcel of creating the accelerating growth of the new class since 2008.
Polarization Accelerates World Instability
The advance of globalization, the widespread use and effects of electronics in production, and the dominance of speculative capital are transforming the foundation of the global economy. With the creation of a world market, national corporations have become multinational, multinationals have become transnational, and transnational corporations become supranational. Supranational corporations have blended into and become part of national States. The U.S. attempts to use its domination over the world financial system and the dollar, backed up by military aggression, to control the world’s economies.
January/February 2020. Vol30.Ed1
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The age-old vision of a world without scarcity, without exploitation, class domination, organized violence, and stultifying labor has been the dream of millenia. The new completely socialized labor-eliminating means of production ... sets the basis for its realization. Now human history can begin, the light of the individual shining in the full brightness of liberated life, that can only be realized within true equality and cooperation: communism, a cooperative society.'Without Vision, the People Perish'
Rally, Comrades ! May/June 2011