The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilisation. The cheap prices of commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians’ intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilisation into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image.’
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: ‘The Manifesto of the Communist Party.’
Capitalism (and State Capitalism) is Global. Its damaging effects affect everyone. The present pandemic of inflation across various countries is no exception to the rule that capitalism impacts negatively on the working class and especially the poor.
Charles Dickens character, Mr Micawber, who is always hoping that something will turn up, epitomises the everyday struggles that millions face.
‘Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.’ Inflation causes the annual expenditure to increase with nothing to show for it or, for a belt tightening that disproportionately affects those least able to weather the effects of continually rising costs.
The mental health implications caused by the stress of ever more expensive day-to-day living are another of capitalism’s horrors.
Japan is the latest country to face these head-on.
“More than half of Japanese households have experienced worsening living standards as a result of soaring inflation, the latest survey conducted by the Bank of Japan has shown.
In its quarterly report, the BOJ said 53% of people surveyed admitted that their wealth had slumped last year compared to 2021, while only 3.7% said their livelihood had improved. This is the highest percentage of households reporting financial problems in almost 13 years.
The report indicates that consumers will be unwilling to increase their spending without growth in wages as a record 63% of respondents named inflation as a decisive factor for their spending activity this year.
Data shows that price growth is spreading across various sectors of the Japanese economy and companies are passing on the burden of rising costs in energy, food and raw materials to households. Aside from utility bills, prices rose for a broad range of goods from fried chicken to smartphones and air conditioners in a sign of mounting inflationary pressure.
In December, price growth in Tokyo exceeded forecasts and reached 4% for the first time since 1982, data from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs showed.
The Bank of Japan also expects that prices will continue to rise and has doubled its inflation forecast for the coming year to a record 10%.”
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