Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Second Annual Mayday Political Print Poster Art Show, May 2008 - Kismet Gallery, Troy, NY
Capitalism cannot meet the basic needs of the world’s people. Despite record profits for big business, half of the world – nearly 3 billion people – lives on less than $2 a day.
For the super-rich, capitalism is a bonanza. A few hundred of the richest people spend as much wealth as the world’s poorest 2.5 billion.
Capitalism hits hardest women and the young. Women make up 70% of the 1.3 billion people in absolute poverty. Every second child in the world lives in poverty and 125 million children never attend school.
The environment is degraded by profit-driven capitalism. Half of the forests that originally covered 46% of the Earth's land surface are gone and desertification threatens nearly one quarter of the land surface of the globe. Scientists predict that continued global warming is likely to result in a rise in sea levels, leading to more coastal erosion, flooding and greater threats to human health.
Capitalism cannot take society forward. Millions live in abject poverty in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Even the much vaunted ‘economic miracle’ in countries like India and China see the majority of the population left behind and inequalities widening. India has an average wealth of only $6,500 per person. The top 10% in China own 40% of the country’s wealth.
But even in the ‘rich’ West, inequality grows. The US has the widest gap between the rich and the poor of any industrialised nation. The poorest 60 million Americans have average incomes of less than £7 a day. The US and Britain, the first and fourth ‘richest’ countries in the world, are, according to a new report, the “worst places” in the major industrialised countries to be a child.
And all this during the so-called ‘boom’ years for capitalism!
Recessions and slumps will be even more catastrophic for working people. Recent big fluctuations on the financial markets show the world economy is fragile. Major convulsions will wreck the lives of millions of working families.
Under capitalism, wars and violence are endemic. Over 70 armed conflicts were recorded since the end of the Cold War. World military spending reached $1,001 billion in 2005, equivalent to 2.5% of world GDP. The US accounts for almost half of the world total, followed by Britain, France, Japan, China and Russia. Intensified competition between imperialist powers, in their desperate scramble for energy resources, profits, influence and power, will lead to yet more armed conflicts, in which working people and the young will be the main casualties.