ON Wednesday, the FTSE 100 had its biggest fall since August last year with almost 30 billion pounds wiped off the value of the 100 leading corporations and businesses listed on the London Stock Exchange.
This dramatic plunge in value was attributed to the surprise shock to the investors and speculators that their confident predictions, that inflation was finally falling as a result of 14 consecutive interest rate increases by the Bank of England (BofE), were false.
They banked on the rate rises ushering in a new period where the BofE would cut interest rates from the 14-year-high of 5.25% making debt once more affordable for all those corporations who rely on borrowed money to survive.
The nasty shock was that inflation – as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) – jumped to 4% in December up from 3.9% in November.
This jump may seem slight, but it was enough to derail completely all the confident predictions of the bankers and speculators that the era of zero rate interest rates and free money was on the horizon.
Lurking in the background of the panic that set in, was the knowledge that the fall in inflation had nothing to do with the BofE pushing up interest rates, but was almost exclusively down to the fall in the cost of oil and gas internationally.
With the imperialist nations, led by the US and UK, expanding the war throughout the Middle East in support of the genocidal war being waged against Palestinians by Israel, oil prices are set to explode once more driving up the already intolerable cost-of-living crisis that is pushing millions of workers in the UK into poverty.
Added to this, is the escalating cost of goods as the supply chains that serve Europe, the UK and US are ‘disrupted’ by military action in the Red Sea.
As the world crisis strangles capitalism with debt, the ruling class and economic commentators flounder around seeking a way out.
The total collapse of any coherent way out of this crisis was summed up in an article in The Daily Telegraph by its leading business and economics commentator, Jeremy Warner, where he lamented that Britain was ‘hooked on cheap money’, after 16 years of the BofE pumping trillions of worthless paper money under its Quantitative Easing (QE) programme, along with near zero interest rates to stop the banks from going bust in 2008.
Not that Warner objected to QE or near zero interest rates to save the banks, after all the Tories have spent over a decade making the working class pay through savage austerity cuts to wages and services that has left workers’ wages on average £13 a week less than in 2008, while the NHS has been deliberately defunded to the point of collapse.
What Warner is worried about is that far from solving the capitalist financial crisis these policies by the BofE, and every other central bank, has accelerated inflation, and that all attempts to rein in free money is going to send capitalism into a death spiral of debt ‘addiction’.
Capitalism is an economic system that can only survive through accumulating more and more debt, and print more and more worthless paper money, just to keep the corporations, businesses and banks from complete collapse and bankruptcy.
The only way out for the capitalist class is to try and impose this financial collapse onto the backs of the working class, by forcing it to accept poverty level wages, the destruction and privatisation of the NHS, and every other social service along with mass unemployment, as weaker businesses go to the wall.
This crisis of imperialist war abroad and class war at home has revolutionised masses of workers and youth who have shown they are not prepared to be driven back to the poverty conditions of the 19th century to keep bankrupt capitalism staggering on.
The time has come to force the TUC to organise this strength by immediately calling a political general strike to kick out this crumbling Tory government and bring in a workers government and socialism.
A workers government will expropriate the bosses and bankers, placing production under the control of the working class to meet the needs of all people, not just for the profit of a handful of bloated capitalists.