Rafał Woś: The crisis is not that bad

Let’s help Ukraine – you can help too

  • If you think about it that deeply, the crisis is still ongoing and it’s a permanent state
  • Crisis has always been inherent in the nature of capitalism. And philosophers dreamed of taming him
  • The fight against the crisis will only be successful if it is done through the efforts of the community

There is a saying that commentators have predicted ten of the last five crises. Yes, this is not a mistake. It’s about ten out of five crises. Not five out of ten. You could even say it is nature of economic debate. Come here it threatens with crisis and crash every day and without ceasing. So there is no such power to not hit in the end. Even the biggest nerd who always throws himself into the right corner of the goal will save a penalty in the end.

I don’t want to convince you that there will never be a crisis. Contrary. I have long believed that the crisis is inherent in the nature of capitalism. This type already has it. All these black thursday, crashes and major recessions are not at all aberrations and punishments for the wrong functioning of the system. Conversely, it is quite natural consequences of the functioning of capitalismthat is, a mechanism that continuously and unceasingly generates inequalities. And what is the crisis if not the cyclically recurring effect of those inequalities that have accumulated in the meantime in various areas? And now the measure is over.

If you think about it that deeply, the crisis is still ongoing and is a permanent state. We in Poland have had a few better and quieter years. Lately, the workers on the Vistula have had a bit more breath, slightly better wages and a few years of low unemployment. But it is enough to look at countries that are not so far away. Italy and Spain have been struggling for years with high unemployment, low growth and falling real wages. Great Britain and America they are trapped in a trap where the youth generation (perhaps outside the elite) has no chance of the stabilization, standard of living and prospects experienced by their parents.

And now a few things have gathered for us.

First: the pandemic has disrupted global supply chains of goods and services under the so-called globalization. Covid-19 has made many fundamentally important goods (raw materials) much more expensive. This situation led to a series of geopolitical tensions. Anyone who wants to can of course see Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as a symptom of the Russian leader’s madness. In fact, however, we are dealing here with the first (and probably not the last) attempt to undermine the model of globalization fit for the West. Here suppliers of increasingly expensive raw materials have started to see whether the West can withstand them. Or will they humbly put their ears back after their electricity and heating bills have risen significantly?

Yet it is not the case that all the sins of neoliberal capitalism have been rectified during the crisis of 2008. Inequalities in the distribution of national wealth have not diminished in the West. All the mechanisms driving the next Great Depression still exist and work unobtrusively in the background.

Crisis has always been inherent in the nature of capitalism. And philosophers and various political dreamers have always dreamed of taming him. To plan it all better. The absolute alternative has not been reached – as we know, no one has established this. But let’s not fall into black despair. There are many good remedies to make real capitalism more bearable. And to protect our vulnerable lives from the tragedies of cyclically recurring crises.

So it’s not that we’re completely helpless. We have three basic ways of self-defense. We have a state. We have a democracy. And we have each other.

The state can protect us from the effects of the crises and vagaries of capitalism. When the private economic situation slows down and the economy goes into recession, the state must play the game and fuel the second engine of the economy, which is public demand and assistance to the citizens. Then one should not look at those who say that the crisis must go wrong. We can’t waste time complaining that we can’t afford to fight the recession.

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Democracy (however flawed and imperfect) must justify what we’re all doing this for. This fight against the crisis will only be successful if it is done through the efforts of the community. There must be a fundamental belief behind this that no matter who is in charge, there is work to be done. This job is in the interests of the majority and the job must be done.

And finally ourselves. You have to believe that we are not helpless. You can start by not giving in to hopelessness and panic. Just look to the future with hope. Because without hope there is nothing. Neither in life, nor in the economy.

Rafał Woś

The author of the column presents his own views


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