The Face of Global Capitalism and the Economic Crisis

Yesterday, I was struck by a photo of a woman reduced to living in a box car with nothing but a bed b/c of the devaluation of the Zimbabwean currency after the required dollarization imposed by IMF. The story of the link between growing poverty and inequality resulting from dollarization is hardly new. It is one of the many truths of how late/global capitalism both exacerbates existing and creates new inequalities in resource rich nations. In the same way this story is often left to be told by grassroots organizers and so-called “fringe” lefties and radicals, the story of increasing inequality under the global economic crisis is also falling by the waste side as we worry about the endurance of banks and corporations. The reason seems simple: if we look at what is happening to the elderly, the sick, women, children, ethnic and racial minorities, and the queer communities, etc. we can no longer talk about this moment as unexpected and unique.

I don’t want to spend a lot of time on words with this, I think the images speak for themselves. So I am going to be posting several in the next few days with the captions from the original BBC News site on:

zimbabwe1

bangladesh

chileanrepression(protest in Chile where the government responded by tear gas in the crowd)

——

images

  • Zimbabwe pensioner with her useless savings/Katie Holt
  • Bangladesh/AP
  • Chile/AP

3 thoughts on “The Face of Global Capitalism and the Economic Crisis

  1. Wow, that first picture is powerful. Those weathered hands toiled for the bills and now the bills are worthless.

    As for the 2nd photo…I spent a month in Bangladesh in 2007 with garment workers. Shortly after my visit, the global food crisis hit. The workers make $24 per month and the cost of rice to feed a family of four shot to $15 per month, leaving little for clothes, shelter, education, etc. The crisis was blamed on subsidies in the developed world, drought, rising corn prices due to ethanol, etc. Whatever factors played a part life got much harder in Bangladesh.

    I’m not an economist but I have watched the Simpsons. A particular episode comes to mind. Homer introduced rabbits to Australia. As he left on the plane Australia was being ravaged by all of the unintended consequences that came with the rabbits introduction. I’m not saying economies are natural as eco-systems, but when we screw with either of them bad things that we never thought would happen often do.

    Thanks for sharing the photos.

    • welcome to the blog Kelsey. Thanks for the info on the salary-cost differentials in Bangladesh due to the “crisis.” I was just standing in a store the other day looking at big bags of rice and wondering what happened to the rice shortage that was announced just before Obama took office. Surely he couldn’t have solved a global food shortage just by becoming president . . . This is why I don’t think looking at this moment in time as unique is helpful. Global capitalism brings global greed, oppression, and economic meltdown. You saw it first hand.

      The Simpson’s episode is actually a spoof about the real importation of Rabbits to an area where they were not indigenous and the subsequent decision to shoot them because they were eating all other animals and farmers out of home. I can’t remember which country this was but there was an actual “rabbit infestation.” But yes, the idea that certain kinds of economic systems are unnatural is a really solid comparison. And the idea that imposing systems on top of existing ones as a way of solving problems is a questionable practice is a really astute observation to make off of a Simpson episode. Good on you!

  2. Pingback: the face of global capitalism « Raven’s Eye

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