Why Capitalism Forces Us to Do Without and Why We Could Work Less
By Lothar Galow-Bergemann and Ernst Lohoff
Excerpt from a text in the book Shutdown. Klima, Corona und der notwendige Ausstieg aus dem Kapitalismus ISBN 978-3-89771-292-8, Unrast Verlag, 14,00 €
The world as we know it is disintegrating at a rapid pace. For years, the word crisis has taken on a life of its own – regardless of whether it is a matter of climate, finance, economics, social systems, democracy, migration, or international relations. In the critical social sciences, people talk of an age of „multiple crises“ (Brandt/Wissen 2017). With the spread of the corona virus, this general crisis has come to a head at a speed and scale that hardly anyone could have previously imagined.
The corona and climate crises demonstrate how ‚our economy‘ is failing to meet the existential challenges of the time. Eternal growth, maximum profit, and rising share prices are the lifeblood of the economy. Without them, it immediately begins to crumble. The climate crisis reveals that growth programmed for infinity will amount to the destruction of the planet in the medium rather than the long term. The challenge posed by the corona pandemic, on the other hand, has abruptly demonstrated that such an economy can produce mountains of corpses in a very short time1 if it is not subjected to massive intervention. At first, many countries tried to rein in the market economy to varying degrees and, on the whole, not very successfully. Incidentally, in doing so, they did a remarkable job, in the blink of an eye, of reducing to absurdity much of what had previously been considered irrevocable and sacred – from the “debt brake” to faith in the supposedly beneficial effects of the market itself. For a brief moment, it became clear that acting against the economic logic of capital is not only possible, but also necessary for survival. This is an important experience that should be sustained, because it is highly valuable for any emancipatory movement.
But it did not take long for the brutal constraints of capital exploitation to gain more and more ground against the lukewarm health policy measures. Weiterlesen