Everybody seems to be in debt, this is sort of puzzling in a way.”
And I would say, no, and one reason why is because there seems to be this feeling since
the 70’s that basically all social problems can be solved through debt.
One theory I saw, which is kind of interesting, it’s the autonomist reading, Midnight Notes
Collective, it’s a group of Italian autonomist Marxists.
But they had this very interesting reading of the two phases of post-war capitalism.
What they basically said is that after World War II they kinda gave a deal to the North
Atlantic white working class and they said, “Okay, if you guys don’t become commies we’ll
give you free education, free health care in most places anyway, we’ll give you social
benefits of various kinds.”
And social struggles between 1945 and 1975 where more and more people asking in on the
And there is a tie between productivity and wages.
So whenever, and the lines go up together, increases of productivity are met with increases
Since the 70’s the deal is clearly off and one reason is because they reached kind of
crisis of inclusion that you can’t actually give that deal to everybody without fundamentally
changing the nature of the system.
So first minorities, so you have the Civil Rights Movement, other people who’ve been
left out of the deal want in, people in the Global South want in, women want in, feminist
It reaches a point where it just sort of snaps and you have this fiscal crisis, oil crunch,
ecological crisis and they say, “Alright, deal off, we’ll give you another deal.
No longer will wages be connected with productivity, you can all have political rights because
political rights don’t necessarily give you any economic benefits, but you can have credit.”
So the credit solves everything, everybody’s being, that’s why you have microcredit saves
the Third World, why you have 401k’s and mortgages and there’s this huge extension of credit.
And you could say the same thing happened, right?
More and more people want in on the deal and more and more people are getting credit to
the point where people they’re just doing these crazy sub-prime scams and things like
that are beginning to run the system.
And when it cracks it looks almost exactly the same, you get the oil shock, you get the
financial crisis, you get the visions of ecological catastrophe.
It’s the same thing all over again except at this point it’s not clear what they’re
[chuckles] gonna come up with next.
So, in that sense, yeah, you have this unprecedented series of bubbles, built on bubbles, built
And I’m speaking as someone who’s working the Global Justice Movement and we were like
doing our studies for the G20 as part of like several intellectual collectives where they
kind of, the activists kind of told us, “Alright, well, they’re all meeting to come up with
their evil plan and tell us what their evil plan is likely to do so we can oppose it.”
And so we figure it and I guess they’re gonna have to do green capitalism, declare an emergency,
we had various ideas for what would be a viable solution.
And they kept not doing it; they just fight each other.
In fact one of the reasons why the Global Justice Movement fell into such a problem
is, like, at least in 2000 we knew what their evil plan was [laughs] and we could oppose
And now they don’t seem to be able to come up with one, we had better ideas for their
evil plan than they did.
So we were sitting around and saying, “Well, come on guys come up with your formula and
we can fight you.”
And they wouldn’t so they were sort of stuck on this credit like bubble system that fell
apart and they haven’t quite come up with what they’re gonna do next.