Fernando Botero (born 1930, Bogota, Republic Columbia).
Manuel Marulanda "Tiro Fijo", 1999
Canvas, oil, 45,72 х 33,02 cm
Museum of Botero, Bogota.
Collection of Bank of Republic, department of plastic art.
Gift of Botero
The crisis of neo-liberalism
“Like the readers of sacred books, the proclaimers of miracles and those selling lotteries on paradises and nirvanas,” – as the poet Zalamea would put it, in the wake of the collapse of the socialist camp, the vermin of every variety stampeded to proclaim the “end of history”, the eternal nature of capitalism, the death of the Marxist doctrine and the imperious necessity of submission to the unregulated rules of the market, to which all other economic, political and social relations must be subject.
According to the neo-liberals, the transformations of present day capitalism are such that they
have created unlimited possibilities for human well being to the point that differences between
people are not generated by the system, but by the inability of individuals to make use of these
advantages. From this they come to the conclusion that not only the struggles but also classes
themselves have disappeared from the horizon of history. This vision is the exponent of an
ideology that aims to present capitalism as eternal in a process of permanent reproduction that
completely rules out social revolutions. It tries to hide the new forms and content manifesting the
contradiction between labour and capital, thus erasing the class significance of the struggles
various social elements carry on in the heart of global society. The scientific-technical advances
and the transformations of the global and national economies have produced changes in the
social and class structure that makes up the popular sector. Nevertheless, there is growth in the
impoverishment, oppression and exploitation to which they are all subjected by an economically
and politically strengthened bourgeois class, thus utterly unwilling to give up its status as ruling
class and the burgeoning privileges that go with it. The motive of ever increasing profit (surplus
value) brings the capitalist impresarios, the transnational corporations and governments to
increasingly incorporate everything that can generate wealth, to the worldwide, global extension
of capitalist relations of production and to a tight inter connection of all the areas of the world
with respect to achievement of their particular objectives.
But this same process is realized by generating its opposite: redoubled exploitation, incorporation of new masses of people, territories and countries, etc. into the logic of the dominant transnational capital that in its turn generates the temporary or permanent exclusion of masses of persons, factories and even regions of some countries.
The selective incorporation of only some social groups in the countries, and of only some countries at the world level has lead to a higher level of concentration of wealth and power, which translates into a new level of the unequal distribution of income that exists at all levels.
This accentuated polarization is impelled by the neo-liberal strategies that, via control of the state, transfer state resources (privatizations, subsidies, loans, financing, tax reductions, etc.) to the benefit of economically powerful local groups and transnational corporations on the one hand, and on the other, by means of the destruction or control of the labour unions, erode existing labour legislation, lower wages and impose flexibilization to facilitate redoubled exploitation of the workers and increase capital accumulation.
In general it can be stated that the main cause of the deterioration of the distribution of income is the enormous benefits capital enjoys with respect to labour.
Some statistics can demonstrate this statement:
358 multi millionaires have income that exceeds thatof countries with 2.3 billion people, in other words, 45% of the world’s population.
The fifth of humanity that lives in the countries with the highest incomes possess 86% of the GDP, 82% of the export markets, 68% of direct foreign investment and 74% of the world’s telephones; meanwhile, the fifth that live in the poorest countries have about 1% in each of these sectors. But this disparity does not exist just between countries; in like manner, inequality has grown within many countries, like those of the OECD, especially the U.S., U.K., and Sweden.
The 200 richest persons in the world doubled their net income in the four years prior to 1998, reaching more than one trillion U.S. dollars.
The wealth of the three richest billionaires is greater than the combined GNPs of the least developed countries and their 600 million inhabitants.
With respect to the concentration of industrial power in mega corporations, in 1998 the ten leading telecommunications companies controlled 86% of the global market. In the same direction, in 1993, just 10 countries were responsible for 86% of spending on research and development and controlled 95% of the American patents of the last two decades.
A rebel fighter checks his escape route as government troops advance towards his position. Photo: Jason P.Howe, 2002
If the world population were shrunk to that of a hamlet of 100 persons, preserving the proportions of all the world’s peoples, the situation would be as follows:
6 would own 59% of the wealth and they would be from the U.S.,
80 would live in sub standard housing,
70 would be illiterate,
50 would be malnurished.
This polarization inherent to the capitalist system has accentuated the contradictions between workers and capitalists, those who own and those who are dispossessed of the means of production and the developed and underdeveloped nations. This has generated rejection by a very broad movement of social and political forces worldwide –environmentalists, women, youth and students, aboriginal people, blacks and campesinos, etc., who are unfolding numerous actions and have manifest growing activity and militancy as was notable at the demonstrations against the meetings of the WTO, the Group of 8, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, among others.
When these battles are eminently popular, they are directed against the exploitation of capital and in pursuit of a society of social justice without exclusion or sex, race, ethnic and age discrimination.
The crisis of the neo-liberal economic policies, made obvious by the evolution of th world economy in the 1990’s, comes on top of the problems arising in other areas like the realm of society where there has been an important rise in the numbers of unemployed and underemployed, not just in the underdeveloped countries, but also in the developed ones, with the consequence of growing poverty that has now reached the approximate figure of 1.5 billion people.
Segun el Banco Mundial, de una poblacion de 6.000 millones de habitantes, unos 2800 millones de personas, casi la mitad, viven con menos de dos dolares al dia, y 1200 millones, una quinta parte, con menos de un dolar al dia.
En el plano politico se presenta una crisis de gobernabilidad nacional y mundial, que el informe del desarrollo humano 1999 PNUD, caracteriza como “desequilibrada geograficamente (dominada por el G 7 normalmente, pero tambien por el G-1 muchas veces) y basada en acuerdos multilaterales que han ayudado al establecimiento de mercados globales sin considerar sus impactos sobre la humanidad, ...y donde no hay mecanismos para obligar a los individuos y las corporaciones no solo a los gobiernos a respetar los derechos humanos y los principios eticos... Una gobernabilidad, la actual, donde las estructuras y procesos a la hora de disenar las politicas globales son poco representativos (FMI, BM, G-7, G-10, OCDE, OMC ) “.
Si a esto anadimos la crisis ambiental, consecuencia de la irracional explotacion de los recursos de todo tipo existentes en el planeta por las potencias imperialistas y la crisis etica, generada por la promocion del individualismo, el consumismo y la competencia salvaje, podemos arribar a la conclusion de que el neoliberalismo en general como concepcion del mundo se encuentra en crisis.
Ante esta circunstancia el socialismo no requiere demostrar su superioridad frente al capitalismo, despues del triunfo, esta empieza a manifestarse desde el momento en que el capitalismo empieza a negarse a si mismo.
Como senala Marx: “Conforme disminuye progresivamente el numero de magnates capitalistas que usurpan y monopolizan este proceso de transformacion, crece la masa de la miseria, de la opresion, del esclavizamiento, de la degeneracion, de la explotacion “.
“... El monopolio del capital se convierte en grillete del regimen que ha crecido con el y bajo el”
El imperialismo, condenado a saquear cada vez mas al mundo y en la misma medida a promover el descontento y la rebelion universales se encuentra indefenso y como tal tiene que apelar cada vez mas a la negacion de su democracia burguesa y a la utilizacion de la fuerza para mantener su dominio.(guerra del golfo, de Yugoslavia, de Afganistan ) y desarrollo del Plan Colombia como componente militar del ALCA entre otras medidas de ese corte.
Para Colombia en particular, rige el mismo analisis general, y arroja resultados similares. En la decada del 90, el coeficiente de Gini, que mide la concentracion del ingreso, paso de 0.47 a 0.52(uno de los mas elevado del mundo), la diferencia de remuneraciones por niveles de educacion se amplio, los ingresos laborales disminuyeron su participacion en el PIB y la concentracion del capital se acentuo en forma apreciable, aumento el desempleo(21% ) sumiendo en la pobreza y la miseria a 33 millones de Colombianos, 3millones de ninos estan desnutridos y mal alimentados, 1.7 millones
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