The rich are much richer and the poor are much poorer under 21st century capitalism


BRITAIN’S richest people have never been richer having cornered £520bn between them, says the Sunday Times Rich List. The 26th annual Sunday Times Rich List profiles the 1,000 richest individuals, virtually the whole of the ruling class.

There has been a ‘phenomenal’ rise in personal fortunes, by as much as 15% in the last year. This means that the UK has more billionaires per head of population than any other country.

The Hinduja brothers, wooed by Mandelson when Blair was PM, were top of the list with a joint fortune of £11.9bn.

Peter Mandelson was forced to resign from the Blair government, despite strongly denying claims that he pulled strings to help Srichand Hinduja secure a UK passport in return for a £1 million sponsorship deal for the Millennium Dome while Mandelson was in charge of that project.

Governments come and go but the plutocrats remain in place for ever, or until a revolution puts an end to their domination. This year, Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja replace Arsenal FC shareholder Alisher Usmanov at the top of the annual list. In fact, the £520bn enjoyed by the ruling class is equal to a third of the UK’s gross domestic product.

Meanwhile, PM Cameron insists, ‘We are all in it together!’

The highest new entry is Carrie and Francois Perrodo and their family who own the London-based Perenco oil and gas operation. They are worth £6.14bn and come in at 14th on the rich list.

One place behind and also a first-timer on the list is German Khan, who runs the global oil and gas fund L1 Energy and is said to be worth £6.08bn.

It was the collapse of their capitalist system in 2008, when the banks and the major industries went bust that plunged the working people and the poor of the world over the edge of the abyss into poverty and a permanent austerity.

The working class were made to pay to keep the ruling class in place. This has ruined the working class, while the rich are richer than ever!

Wages and benefits have been slashed, the cost of living has rocketed upwards, including energy costs, creating a situation where people are made to choose between paying their bills or feeding their children! More and more live by the grace of ‘foodbanks’.

Proper jobs have been replaced by zero-hours slavery contracts. We are told that these are necessary to drive up productivity so that capitalist society can be saved.

Poor people are being made to pay a bedroom tax, while the super-rich, who pay the minimum of taxes, have mansions with hundreds of bedrooms, while the whole of central London is being rebuilt at vast cost to accommodate them and their entourages, while workers are being driven out of the capital!

Now we are being told that the ‘housing bubble’, whose collapse triggered the crisis in 2008, is about to burst again, with even graver consequences.

It is not that capitalist politicians are blind and stupid, whatever the appearances. It is just that they are slaves to a system that operates according to its own laws. They see their job as ensuring that however deep the crisis, the rich flourish and the poor pay for it!

They agree with the prime minister of Turkey who has set millions of workers on the march by saying that mining and disasters are inseparable, and miners just have to get used to it, ‘it is their destiny’.

The UK bankers say that under capitalism there will always be crises, but the trick is to make the working class pay for them!

Karl Marx, long ago analysed these phenomena and their source in the contradictions of commodity production. Out of this analysis, he derived the laws of the capitalist crisis.

Central to this perspective is that the most critical moment of this crisis will leave the working class with no alternative except to carry out a socialist revolution to put an end to capitalism and go forward to a socialist society and production to satisfy not the profiteers but people’s needs.

This critical moment is fast approaching. The need of the hour is to build up the revolutionary party to ensure that this revolution is successfully carried through.