Economy for Whom?

February 23, 2014

The Democratic and Republican politicians, along with the monopoly-controlled mass media, keep trying to sell the American people on the alleged benefits of "increasing foreign trade" and "U.S. competitiveness in the global economy."

One might well ask: why all this fuss about foreign trade and exporting U.S. capital abroad? Why do the capitalists insist on gearing production to conquer foreign markets and control the economies of other countries, rather than on raising the standard of living of the American people?

The answer, of course, is that the capitalist economic system is not based on meeting the needs of the people but only on maximizing profits for a few. This basic law of capitalism distorts the entire economic development of our country as the capitalists seek higher profit margins through foreign trade, the militarization of the economy, parasitic financial manipulations, etc., even while the industrial capacity of our country is destroyed and the peoples' standard of living falls.

Today, the intense scramble on the part of U.S. monopolies and the capitalists of other countries to gain control over world markets and spheres for capital investments, reflects the sharpening of the world-wide crisis of the capitalist system.

Since capitalism in each country, and on a world scale, limits the ability of the working people to buy back and utilize all of the products which their labor has produced, capitalism is facing a world-wide crisis of overproduction. In nearly every industry – in auto, steel, electronics, computers, etc. – it is estimated that world capacity is at least 40% greater than the world market can absorb. Thus, each monopoly group, in order to protect its own capital and its profits, is trying to maximize its access to and control of the limited world market and economy. For example, exports account for 20% of the yearly profits of U.S. corporations. Hundreds of U.S.-based multinational corporations are scrambling to increase their investments on every continent.

Through this globalization of the economy, the capitalists increase the competition amongst workers on a world scale and drive down wages. In the U.S., the capitalist class has openly declared that its aim is to reduce the standard of living and wages of American workers to the level of the dependent and neo-colonial countries. It is this drive to "increase trade and competitiveness in the global economy" which is behind the continuous downsizing and restructuring of U.S. industry. It is this drive which is confronting the workers with plant closings and mass lay-offs as well as continuous downward pressure on wages.

What could more thoroughly condemn an economic system than the fact that, while exploitation and poverty are increasing at home, our country's industrial capacity and economic policy are directed toward "conquering" foreign markets and global economic territory?

The problem arises from the fact that the capitalist system is organized, not on the basis of guaranteeing the well-being of the people or the all-around development of our country, but on the basis of gaining maximum profits for a few. It is this system which must be changed so that the vast productive forces of our country can be utilized to secure the well-being of all.