Capitalism and unemployment

BY:Art Perlo| January 27, 2012

Mass unemployment has been a feature of capitalism since it emerged as the dominant social system in 17th century England and spread throughout the world. It is also an essential part of the system — the misery of the unemployed and underemployed fuels the profits, which keep the capitalist economy going.

That’s not what we hear from big business economists and their Republican congressmen. They call the wealthy class “job creators” and claim that if rich people and corporations are freed from taxes and regulation, there will be plenty of jobs. History shows they are wrong. The Great Depression followed, a decade of low taxes and unregulated capitalism, with government at all level supporting the interests of business against workers and farmers. Just like the depression we are now experiencing.

Why can’t we rely on the wealthy “job creators” to create jobs?

Capitalists as a class — the people who own the banks and the big corporations (the 1% in today’s language) — are not in business to create jobs. They are in business to make profits. When they are unable to meet the demand for whatever they produce, they hire more workers so they can increase output. When they can’t find buyers for their products or services, they cut back and lay off workers.

There are some who argue that full employment would be good for business. After all, full employment would mean a booming economy and lots of customers. So you would think the Chamber of Commerce, the Wall Street Journal and Fox News would all be calling for passage of President Obama’s American Jobs Act. But you’d be wrong.

Capitalists and the economists, and politicians who work for them, don’t like full employment. When there are plenty of job openings, workers can say, “If I don’t like the pay or the conditions or the boss, I can quit and find another job.” A former factory worker explained it this way: “I never had trouble finding a job in my life until now. I was laid off, and my unemployment benefits ran out at the start of 2009. I lost my house, I have so many bills I can’t pay including hospital bills. I’ve looked for industrial work and even tried door-to-door sales. Anything looks good now — which is probably where business likes it. Everyone’s so desperate they’ll take anything.”

Read the full article at peoplesworld.org



    Art Perlo lives in New Haven, Conn., where he is active in labor and community struggles. He does research and writing on economic issues in Connecticut, including work with the Coaltion to End Child Poverty in Connecticut which helped pave the way for the movement for progressive tax reform in the state. He writes on national economic issues for the People's World, and is a member of the CPUSA Economic Commission.




Comments (7)

Cameron | May 15, 2012 at 12:40 AM

I agree, i believe that unemployment is one of the downsides of capitalism, whereas under Communism everyone would have a job. If there was any unemployment under Communism it would be very minimal. I like how you said “job creators” that’s true. MSNBC does like to use that word a lot so do the Republicans except when MSNBC uses its true because the fact is the wealthy yeah they may create jobs but overseas where it doesn’t benefit us in any way. When the Republicans use the word they make it seem as if the wealthy are nice people, basically they try to make US feel bad for the wealthy, US!! We are the people that have been abused by corporations just in the sake of profit for the company and they want us to feel bad for them because yeah “corporations are people too”, BS. We need Communism instated that is the only way this country will get better it may take a couple years to get out of the debt, but it would be going in the right direction instead of were its going now.

Professor Popadoplis | May 03, 2012 at 6:24 PM

I would like to see an article on this website about the living conditions in North Korea and Soviet Age Russia

Old USA | May 01, 2012 at 5:07 PM

My heart sank to the soles of my shoes when I found this site. There can be no hope for mankind if any rational person today believes that socialism/marxism is a viable solution. Read a history book for crying out loud. Absolute power corrupts…. absolutely.

“We need to surrender our attachments to government in every aspect of life. This goes for the right and the left. We need to give up our dependencies on the state, materially and spiritually. We should not look to the state to provide for us financially or psychologically… Lets us understand that it is FAR BETTER TO LIVE IN AN IMPERFECT WORLD THAN IT IS TO LIVE IN A DESPOTIC WORLD RULED BY PEOPLE WHO LORD IT OVER US THROUGH FORCE AND INTIMIDATION.” – Dr. Ron Paul (the last great man in politics).

John Doe | February 29, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Communism sucks doesn’t deserve to be in the USA. we were based on democracy not crapumism.

Richard | February 23, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Welcome to the growing class of corporate serfdom, the ‘new America’.

We are no longer free men and women. We are the new class of droids. This is the new age of ‘friendly American fascism’.

Kick back and ramble through the dusty memories of America – the way it used to be and never really was – as we journey together into the long dark abyss of governmental corporatism.

-OR- stick your head in the sand and pretend it isn’t so, because that’s how we got here in the first place.

John | February 17, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Hey Art you did a great job on this article.
Very clear.

Great job.

Alex | February 16, 2012 at 9:24 AM

Great article. This makes the essential good points on exactly why capitalist want the economy to fail. That is, To control government.
And, To exit from the office of presidency an undesirable president that all business’s do not feel is representing them exclusively.

Keep job growth low by putting the brackets on trickle down economics.
Close essential U.S. resources while maintaining desired investments world-wide and manipulating the stock market for gain and loss’s.
Keep the rich republican media pushing business elitism through repetitious statements about the economy which they themselves intentionally create or brake through immoral motives. Keep the millions rolling in while discrediting the the value of an excellent unwanted president.
Do the same in each state of the union.
Keeping rich republican politicians in office.
Basically every effort is made by the rich even in the past, Wal Mart Americas #1 Employer told employees not to vote for Barack Obama, and Rush Limbaugh who had six ancestral members of his family who served in the civil war, all confederates, said that he wanted Barrack Obama to fail.
And sure enough. Put a whole lot of rich people together with a whole lot of power and this is what you get.
A bunch of confused manipulated poor people being led blindly, and controlled by corporate business, media, and politicians that represent them.

Great article.

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