Marxist economist Rick Kuhn will be discussing introducing this session on the state of the global economy today and its impact on class struggle.
In Australia the gap between corporate profits and workers’ wages is at an all-time high. While the economy appears to be recovering from the COVID-induced recession, it’s a recovery for the bosses alone. Wages have been stagnating for decades but the sharp increase in the CPI has meant real wages are rapidly going backwards. Over the last year, wages have increased by 2.4 percent on average, while inflation has reached 5.1 percent and is predicted to reach 7% by the end of the year.
Internationally, the global economy bounced back from the pandemic-induced recession, driven on by a sugar-rush of government stimulus. Yet two years on bourgeois economists are pessimistic about the state of the global economy. High levels of both state and corporate debt, alongside runaway inflation has central bankers nervous. They have responded by increasing interest rates, a dramatic shift away from decades of low interest rates and cheap credit.
In the Global South the runaway price of staple commodities and state debt has many countries on the brink of crisis and famine. The uprising in Sri Lanka, sparked by food and fuel shortages, could be an omen of things to come with many countries facing inflation and debt crisis after decades of neoliberal reforms.
Where is the global economy headed and what are its implications for class struggle? How do Marxists respond to the mainstream debates around inflation?
Rick Kuhn is the author of ‘Henryk Grossman and the recovery of Marxism’ and ‘Labor’s Conflict: Big Business, Workers and the Politics of Class’.