It has become evident that our world is caught up in a crisis of multiple dimensions—ecological, financial, economic, social and political. They are all interconnected—recent political eruptions of one sort or another reflect crises of inequality and social exclusion exacerbated by economic pressures on ordinary people everywhere that are rooted in the crisis of finance capitalism and its consequences including rising food and energy prices, growing unemployment and cuts in the social wage. Neither are these social and economic pathologies solvable within the terms set by the current, ecologically unsustainable model of capitalist accumulation (‘growth’); which has already resulted in exceeding the limits of our planet’s carrying capacity, with increasingly catastrophic effects. Ultimately, what we are seeing is a crisis of the values on which world society is to be constructed—the values that govern relations among people and between humanity as a whole and ‘Mother Earth’. That’s why more and more people are speaking of an ethical crisis, or a civilizational crisis; and are pointing to the activities of people in various parts of the world to build new ‘orders’ that are just, harmonious and sustainable and that draw on the rich and diverse cultural forms that are the common heritage of humanity.
As one of the most open societies in the world, our Caribbean is inevitably—and immediately—impacted by the multiple interconnected global crises. And in the months and years to come, we can expect these ‘crisis events’ to continue, and to intensify. While the focus of this blog is on Caribbean Political Economy, we have over the years taken on board hemispheric and global issues which affect our region and its Diaspora. Our underlying belief is that our people and states are as capable as any other of responding to these challenges; that better understanding is a necessary precursor to action; and that we have a duty and a responsibility to contribute to this understanding and to the exchange of relevant experiences.
All of which is to explain why we plan to re-name our ‘Global Economic Crisis’ as well as our ‘Globalisation and the Caribbean’ category (both on the left sidebar of the Home page) as simply ‘Global Crisis’; and to post on them items that comment on different dimensions of the crisis. The aim is to draw attention to the interconnectedness of events that are often presented as separate phenomena, or at least as ‘problems’ that are amenable to ‘solution’ by disconnected ‘policies’—and to flag global issues that have a direct bearing on our own reality.
For a start, we post a recent analysis of the global crisis by Samir Amin, known to many readers and regarded by many as one of the most knowledgeable and insightful contemporary thinkers in the world. Samir’s article is not the proverbial ‘easy read’. It requires a prior knowledge of Marxist theory, of his previous work and of a literature not always familiar to Anglophone readers. But I believe it is worth the effort. We further post Horace Campbell’s thought-provoking and highly researched analysis of the meaning behind the downgrade of the U.S.A.’s ‘triple A’ rating by a leading credit ratings agency. The third recent item is a revealing statistical analysis of the grotesque inequalities in income and wealth in the United States; background to the ‘crisis of regulation’ of finance capital and of the fiscal crisis of the American state.