Will Western Mainstream Capitalism Survive The Current Crisis?

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By Dr. Sawraj Singh

Three countries can be called the leading countries of western mainstream capitalism: USA, Germany and the U.K. All three are passing through a very challenging period in history. This crisis is not a cyclic crisis, which is an integral part of capitalism. This may very well represent a terminal crisis for mainstream western capitalism.

America is the most powerful country in the world today and can be called the leading country of the mainstream western countries. It is the only superpower of the world. However, American influence is clearly waning. The President of a country like Philippines, which can be called a client state of the U.S., called President Obama “a son of a whore.” China made Obama come out of the side door of the airplane (Air Force One) without a standard staircase and without a red carpet. The Chinese authorities did not allow the American journalists to come close to the site where he was deplaning. They did not allow American security to accompany him like the Americans would have liked. When the Americans objected to this treatment, the Chinese authorities told them that this was their country and they will do things as they want to.

Hillary Clinton can be called a true representative of the mainstream. She and her husband are typical products of the mainstream American political system. Donald Trump is taking stands which can be considered a complete diversion from the mainstream political system. His style, language and expression are different from mainstream politicians. He speaks and acts more like a common man. He seems to be closing the gap and the momentum seems to be on his side. His domestic and foreign policies can be very different than what can be considered mainstream policies. The rise of Trump is a sign that many Americans are frustrated with mainstream politicians in America.

In Germany, Merkel is taking a big beating. Many Germans are upset with her policies on immigration. They feel that by letting in a large number of immigrants, particularly Muslims, she is risking the stability, quality and way of life in Germany. They have vented their anger by making Merkel taste a humiliating defeat in the state elections in the North East part of Germany. Merkel’s party could not even get to second place and was pushed to third place. One can imagine what will happen to Merkel if the general elections were held in Germany today.

In England, Brexit represented a big setback to mainstream politics. Again, the main reason for the victory of Brexit was the people’s concern of the large number of Polish immigrants as a result of the European Union’s policies. Just like Germany, where people were concerned about the effects of an influx of a large number of Muslim migrants on their way of life, the British were concerned about the large number of Polish immigrants for their society. Immigration played the major role in the outcome of both elections. It will be no exaggeration to say that immigration has become a major concern and issue for the whole of Europe. Europe is very concerned about losing its European identity.

Immigration has become the central issue for mainstream western capitalists. Immigration is a natural phenomenon. The basic principle in nature for immigration is from relative scarcity to relative abundance. However, immigration in capitalism is not based upon natural principles and is exactly opposite to natural phenomena. Whereas migration in nature is based upon needs, migration in capitalism is based upon desires. Immigration in capitalism is the result of greed of the capitalists to maximize their profits. They use migrants as a cheap source of labor as well as to put pressure on the local workers to cut back their demands for higher wages and more benefits. Capitalists, working on the supply and demand principle of capitalism, flood the market with surplus labor, thereby increasing the supply in relation to demand. This keeps wages and benefits down. This maximizes their profits. Moreover, immigration helps them to constantly expand their market, which is another fundamental principle of capitalism.

In the long run, capitalist migration has done more harm to the countries from where people migrate as well as to the countries which receive these migrants. I have seen this both in Punjab as well as in North America and Europe. A big majority of the mainstream people in both North America and Europe feel that the quality of their lives has suffered because of immigration. All studies show that a big majority of white people in North America and in Europe have negative feelings towards immigration and immigrants. Incidentally, the same is true in Punjab. Many people seem to feel that Punjab has become more unstable and the values have deteriorated. If we compare Punjab to the neighboring states, which have much less immigration compared to Punjab, then it becomes obvious that there is more social stability and less erosion of culture and values in those states. Lenin once said that capitalists will gladly sell you the rope with which you can hang them. From what we have seen in Europe in the last couple of years, it is becoming clear that Lenin was not too far off from the truth about capitalists. Will immigration prove to be that rope?

Capitalism created nation-states. However, they are not necessarily natural. Nature created different cultures. Therefore, cultural entities are more natural than the capitalist nation-states. Capitalism is itself now violating national boundaries and has started seeing national boundaries as impediments to the free flow of capital. Therefore, capitalism is trying to break the national borders which it created. This is being done under the pretext of globalization. This globalization is only for the capital and not for the human beings because capitalists will never allow free flow for them. Human migration will be guided by the requirements of the capitalists.

Another fact is also becoming obvious: models which are different than the mainstream western capitalist model are performing relatively better. The reason for this is that these countries have adopted distinct cultural features. Therefore, compared to mainstream western capitalism, these are more natural. China, Russia and the other Asian countries can be included in this group. I feel that western mainstream capitalism will not be able to survive beyond the middle of this century without bringing fundamental changes in it.

Dr. Sawraj Singh, MD F.I.C.S. is the Chairman of the Washington State Network for Human Rights and Chairman of the Central Washington Coalition for Social Justice. He can be reached at [email protected].