Capitalism: Boom to bust?

Is this as good as it gets?

The Celtic Tiger economy made a lot of cash for the already rich. A little of it trickled down to the rest of us. For many workers it saw increased wages, even if a lot of us still couldn't afford to buy our own homes. There were also those who never saw any benefits because they were stuck in low pay jobs or were considered too old for retraining. And let's not forget that many of us had to shell out for health insurance because the government has refused to put serious money into our overcrowded and understaffed hospitals.

The computer industry has been shedding workers over the last few months. Fujitsu, Nortel, Lucent, Gateway, General Semiconductors, Tellabs, Trend Technologies and SMTC are just some of the employers who have dumped workers.

We can't say how long it will be before this downturn spreads into the rest of the economy, but we can say that it is only a question of time. Capitalism moves from slump to boom to slump. As an economy booms more and more investment flows into factories, machinery and raw materials. Because too many investors want a slice of the same action we end up with so-called 'overproduction' - where there are more products than people who can afford them.

Redundancies and closures follow, which means less consumer spending. That leads to yet more job losses. For the majority of us, capitalism cannot even guarantee the 'security' of an average job. Our bosses take their profits when times are good, and discard us when things slow down. This time lots of workers facing unemployment could end up with unpayable mortgages.

The cycle of boom & bust is part and parcel of capitalism. It is one more reason why we want to get rid of that system. The alternative we advocate is production to satisfy human needs and wants, direct participation in the decisions that effect us, freedom to run our own lives as we see fit as long as we don't interfere with the freedom of others. Its name is anarchism.

This page is from the print version of the Irish Anarchist paper '
Workers Solidarity'. We also provide a PDF file of the latest edition (with pictures) for you to print out and distribute locally

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This edition is No66 published in September 2001

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Workers Solidarity Movement

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