William I. Robinson on capitalism's structural crisis - Greanville Post
Just want to make a recommendation for this commentary by William I. Robinson, Professor of Sociology, Global Studies and Latin American Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. I have found his work, particularly Promoting Polyarchy, which described the ‘democracy promotion’ mode of imperialism, and the interviews that he gives from time to time, very insightful and clear.
A tidy explanation of the structural crisis in global capitalism, which underpins all of the escalating violence and repression we see today. I don’t want to get carried away in quoting the piece, but it’s hard not to:
“We are currently witnessing a radical restructuring and transformation of global capitalism based on a much more advanced digitalization of the entire global economy and society. This process is driven by so-called fourth industrial revolution technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, Big Data, autonomously driven land, air and sea vehicles, quantum and cloud computing, 5G bandwidth, bio- and nanotechnology and the Internet of Things, or IoT.
…The pandemic lockdowns served as dry runs for how digitalization may allow the dominant groups to step up restructuring time and space and to exercise greater control over the global working class…
The changing social and economic conditions brought about by the pandemic and its aftermath are accelerating the process. These conditions have helped a new bloc of transnational capital, led by the giant tech companies, interwoven as they are with finance, pharmaceuticals and the military-industrial complex, to amass ever greater power and to consolidate its control over the commanding heights of the global economy. As restructuring proceeds, it heightens the concentration of capital worldwide, worsens social inequality and also aggravates international tensions and the dangers of military conflagration.”
As I tried to convey in my Earth Day comment, the pandemic fraud should be considered a mode of imperialism, a war waged on behalf of capital against most of humanity. A new market for biotech, genetic engineering, the IoT, for security, AI and Big Data. Hence the military-grade propaganda etc.
If the pandemic scandal has helped the transnational capitalist class (TCC), as Robinson says, it’s only a small step to admitting that those who benefit the most are capable of artificially prolonging the scandal to get what they want. And that’s exactly what they are doing. It’s a mode of imperialism that’s perhaps only obvious to those who began with diving deep into the science and working outwards, but in the end it falls into the framework Robinson describes here. And it’s easily as violent and existentially dangerous in the long run as the traditional military escalation which is also taking place.
Again, I would like to emphasise that the energy and ecological crises which are now converging will, in the long run, serve to undermine the 4th industrial revolution, which requires vast amounts of energy (and other resources) as these people envisage it. It will stumble. It will be confronted by a grassroots, global ecological movement that has escaped from the traps laid for it by industry and the TCC.
Where will capital go then?