Wednesday, 7 January 2009
by Auckland union activist 7 January 2009 During a recession, what are the priorities in a class divided society? Is it meeting human needs and dealing with the worsening of world poverty and hunger? Or is it refilling the coffers of bankrupt millionaires? Are the brutal effects of capitalism apparent only in a recession, or were they always there? Latest figures show that governments around the world have collectively spent around $13.39 trillion of their people's taxes to bail out wealthy stockbrokers and bankers (a figure which is expected to be increase). UN statistics reveal that the cost of ending world hunger completely (as well as the many diseases caused by poverty) is $329 billion a year, only a fraction of the tax money given to the worlds wealthy to bail out their biggest failed profiteers. $13.39 trillion would, according to the UN figures, completely pay for eliminating poverty and hunger for 40 years! These are indisputably the bald figures of a class divided world. If poverty can be so easily relieved by just diverting our taxes to it, then redirecting the massive private surpluses of capitalist production to meet social needs, instead of the profits of the rich, could totally eliminate poverty altogether. The inequalities, exploitation and crisis that afflict capitalism is an inescapable product of the market system itself. Logically we should go further than just relieving poverty. To be rid of poverty and economic crisis we need to be striving to build a broad movement of people that aims to achieve structural change. We simply have to challenge the whole system and its destructive logic.