"History of Capitalism" (part 4 to part 7) by Michel Beaud (2000)
- From the Great Depression to World War I (1873-1914)
- The Great Depression (1873-1895)
- The end of British hegemony.
- The assertion of the working classes
- A new age of industrial capitalism
- The age of imperialism
- Greater turmoil (1914-1945)
- From war to the crisis
- A broken world
- The great leap forward in capitalism (1945-1978)
- From war to the crisis
- The new mutation of capitalism
- Late twentieth century: The beginning of a shift in the world?
- The transformation of the late twentieth century
- Lines of force affecting the world
Capitalism is a logic based on the production of goods. It became prominent in Britain along with Europe and the United States during the "early industrial" era from 1770 to 1860: Textiles, machinery, railways and arms. But capitalism in its historical movement, also concerns the capitalist nations, social classes, the state, ideas and beliefs. Thus, the family, capitalism, has a reproductive function, keeping the work force, as always, the reproduction of the global society, and transmitting the basic norms of this society, but without family, there would be no social movement.
From 1880, capitalism started spreading and establishing itself: Through technology and new industries, based on ever more powerful concentration of capital and openness in the world with the collapse and expansion of imperialism, with the rise of the labor movement and the establishment of new means of domination of workers.
It was a tidal wave of the first Great Depression that led to imperialism. The "Great War" and a reconstruction with a brief prosperity and the rise of fascism rocked the crisis of 1929 and the Second World War. Finally, there was the new reconstruction, decolonization and growth, until the outbreak of a new "Great Depression" world. A century of rapid industrialization, modernization and "development of underdevelopment” took place.
Every phase of capitalist industrialization has always been through fairly regular cyclical movements: Good times slowed by a recession or broken by crises. The loss of markets, the tightening of markets of rural people, and more, the development of excessive production capacity, tougher competition, lower profits and lower prices were causing the "crises in the nineteenth century.
1873: The Vienna stock market crash was followed by bank failures in Germany and Austria, the German heavy industry was experiencing declining prices, and unemployment was growing.
In the United States, due to speculation, scarcity of labor and rising costs of construction of the railways, profitability fell and the stock market panic and bank failures resulted in no progress. English exports fell by 25% between 1872 and 1875, there were successive bankruptcies, unemployment was rising, prices were falling and overcapacities were enormous.
1882: The stock market crash of Lyon was followed by numerous bank failures and industrial mining, metallurgy and textiles’ decline. Unemployment rises and wages fell.
1884: "Railway panic" in the US, construction reducing from 18600 km in 1882 to 6300 km in 1884 due to higher prices and competition between companies. Then there was bankruptcy of banks, slowing industrial activities and unemployment.
Germany in 1879 saw the path of protectionism and cartelization. Britain saw its exports decline, its activities slowing, its wholesale prices falling and especially, unemployment increased. The depression ended in 1886-1887.
1889: The French company that had to build the Panama Canal Company went bankrupt. Panic market, credit crisis and return to protectionism happened.
1890: The British Bank Barings, financial agent of Argentina, suspended payments. Despite the intervention of the Bank of England among others, depression didn’t reduce. It also affected Germany, which, thanks to one hundred and thirty seven cartels, entered a new mode of regulation of the economy.
1893: The US experienced a period of prosperity, with the formation of large trusts (Morgan, Carnegie, Rockefeller) and the protective McKinley tariff of 1890, but again the profits of railways fell. In 1894, the depression deepened, with unemployment and development efforts to reduce wages.
[...] It was a relative decline as a whole; trade, production continued to grow because of their global influence, but it can not be measured by the dynamic German, North American and the Japanese capitals. Then followed a "decline in entrepreneurship and innovations". In short, the crises of the late nineteenth century, in part, effected a recovery and an overshoot of capitalism of English-and French capitalism by new German and North America. 3.The assertion of the working classes From a phase where capitalism developed by using manpower, came a phase where the capitalist bourgeoisie had a working class that was organized and required a new balance of power. [...]
[...] The old methods of contract work involving the sweating system and the sub- contractors, gave way to a more efficient equipment and highly automated system, an introduction to methods popularized by Taylorism and Fordism. Other positive changes were also implemented such as working around the clock in shifts so that the expensive equipment and infrastructure usage could be maximized leading to intensification of work in service industries. So through diverse processes that essentially called for overworking the employees, companies were able to up productivity during the mid 90s. [...]
[...] At the same time, the empire collapsed due to the intensification of exploitation at the international level, the compulsion to overwork, injustice, leading to aspirations for independence, often promoted by wealthy intellectuals. French first Already with the Tariff Act of 1928, France organized the imperial preference. Tariffs between the metropolis and the colonies were removed, to cope with the intensification of global competition. This drop increased with the imperial crisis of the 30s, growing trade with the colonies reduced some of the effects of this crisis. [...]
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