Political Economy

Topics: Trade union, Capitalism, Marxism Pages: 13 (4988 words) Published: June 23, 2013
COSATU General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi’s, Keynote Address to the COSATU International Policy Conference 16 May 2012
COSATU NOBs,
Members of the COSATU CEC,
Leaders of Alliance partners,
Distinguished International guests,
Esteemed delegates and Comrades,
Allow me to convey special greetings from the leadership of the federation and its structures. We are gathered here today to soberly reflect on the changing global balance of class forces and imperative of how best to reposition the federation and the whole working class movement in order to deepen the crisis of the capitalist system and simultaneously build a solid foundation for real alternatives. During the recent period we have preoccupied ourselves with a need to understand the global financial crisis, which erupted in 2008, as a systemic crisis, a crisis of a capitalist accumulation, a crisis of over accumulation and overproduction. Such a crisis gives us concrete examples of the inherent battles for social surplus produced by workers and accumulated by a capitalist class. This is a crisis of a capitalist greed that is forever in search of possibilities to exploit and accumulate, through whatever means possible, be they be legal or not, be they moral or immoral. The centre of gravity of this all-round economic crisis has been the advanced capitalist countries of the North, but with even more devastating impacts for the countries of the South. World unemployment stands today at 210 million - the highest recorded level of unemployment in history; 64 million more people have been pushed into extreme poverty; 34 million more people unemployed as a result of the crisis, according to the ILO; 23 million more people would be without a job today, were it not for the stimulus packages adopted to confront the crisis - programmes which apparently now stand to be phased out rapidly over the time ahead, as governments (particularly in Europe) fall over one another in their rush to exit from the crisis And this “decent work deficit” can only worsen in the coming years, as there are also a record number of young people entering the labour force all the time - 45 million new job seekers each year… many increasingly desperate for opportunity as we have seen in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and neighbouring countries but also Spain, Ireland, the US, Africa, Latin America, Asia; youth unemployment is a global fear for our young people. The estimates of unemployment of 210 million people is a significant underestimate of its true depth since many millions of people seeking work, particularly women, are not registered and the informal economy is growing with the struggle to soak up these unregistered individuals who have given up hope of secure, formal livelihoods. Inequalities between and within nations of the world is demonstrated more dramatically by the statistics of priority spending in most developed countries is as indicated below; Global Priority| $US billions|

Cosmetics in the United States| 8|
Ice cream in Europe| 11|
Perfumes in Europe and the United States| 12|
Pet foods in Europe and the United States| 17|
Business entertainment in Japan| 35|
Cigarettes in Europe| 50|
Alcoholic drinks in Europe| 105|
Narcotics drugs in the world| 400|
Military spending in the world| 780|
This should be compared to the spending on basic needs for all| Global Priority| $US billions|
Basic education for all| 6|
Water and sanitation for all| $9|
Reproductive health for all women| 12|
Basic health and nutrition| 13|
| |
The struggle for a new and just world order should be firmly anchored in the perspective of transforming the global economy to re-orient its priorities, spend more on human and basic needs for all and cut spending on the war industry, which is responsible for not only mass destruction, but excessively unnecessary expenditure for human development. Therefore, the spread of neoliberalism must be understood...
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