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Inflation: Reframing the narrative

 

 

By Sam Gindin

April 5, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project — Fighting inflation is on the public agenda today in a way not seen since the 1970s. The orthodox response – having central banks raise interest rates to slow the economy, and ultimately, prices – is already in play. Yet current price increases aren’t the result of the traditional phantoms haunting central banks of overheated economies and the excessive power of unions. What we’re facing today is an inflation of a particular kind – the knock-on effects of a unique non-economic shock.

Covid forced states to do something never done before in consciously placing major parts of the economy on hold (even during WWII productive activity was reoriented, not stopped). As the pandemic faded and the economy was set on returning to ‘normal’, a series of international bottlenecks emerged. Resetting an internationalized economy that was in deep-freeze confronted a distressingly uneven revival of global supply chains and transportation networks, causing severe downstream shortages. Notably, this included the computer chips now ubiquitous in our economies and loading/uploading line-ups at ports that delayed crucial oil and grain shipments for months.

The crisis of capitalism and the disappearing centre

 

 

By William Briggs

June 6, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The political centre is shrinking. The evidence is there for all to see and it is keeping the ruling class in all countries awake and uneasy.

There is a phenomenon that can be observed across the world. Bourgeois political legitimacy is crumbling. The old verities of a tightly held two-party system of centre left/centre right domination that increasingly merges in ideology and practice is being challenged as never before. People are deserting the traditional parliamentary parties, and what were only recently seen as irrelevant edges, are becoming stronger.

There is another phenomenon that has been emerging over the past few decades and is a causal factor that affects the shrinking of the political centre. There has been an economic squeezing of the middle class. It has shrunk, as its members are increasingly returned to the working class, from whence they came in earlier generations. The crisis in global capitalism has led to a rise in social inequality, the concentration of wealth into fewer hands, the proletarianisation of the developing world, a loss of security and, within the developed economies, a middle class that is becoming smaller and more threatened.

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