Hoisted from Comments: J. Thomas on the Ethics of William Greider
Contango...

A Historical Document: Mistaking the Birth Pangs of Capitalism for Its Death Throes

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels from the Neue Rheinische Zeitung Revue at the start of 1850:

Reviews from Neue Rheinische Zeitung Revue: [T]he greatest threat to 'order' in England does not lie in the dangers emanating from Paris but is a direct consequence of [England's political, commercial, and financial] order... a fruit from the English liberty tree: a commercial crisis....

[T]he surplus capital of the period of prosperity found its usual outlets blocked. For the speculators there remained only the possibility of unloading all their capital either into industrial production, or into speculative ventures in colonial foodstuffs and the key industrial raw materials.... [I]ndustrial production naturally grew with extraordinary speed, and as a result the markets became saturated. Thus the outbreak of the crisis was significantly accelerated.... For four weeks the situation in the key industry, cotton, has been completely depressed and within this industry it is the main branches — in particular the spinning and weaving of coarse fabrics — which are suffering most. Cotton yarn and coarse calico have already fallen in price far more than raw cotton. Production is being cut back, and almost without exception the factories are working short time....

The results of the commercial crisis now impending will be more serious than ever before.... This dual crisis in England will be accelerated, widened in scope and made even more explosive by the convulsions which are now simultaneously imminent on the Continent; and the continental revolution will take on an unprecedentedly socialist character as a result of the repercussions of the English crisis on the world market.... The Tories have no popular universal panacea for the crisis, such as the repeal of the Corn Laws. They will be forced at least to carry out a parliamentary reform. This means that they cannot avoid assuming power under conditions which will open the doors of Parliament to the proletariat, place its demands on the agenda of the House of Commons and pitch England into the European revolution...

Mistaking the birth pangs of modern capitalism for its death throes

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