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Global capitalism in turmoil

By Malcolm King - posted Wednesday, 18 March 2020

We are witnessing the unravelling of large sections of global capitalism, starting with supply chains. The trigger is the coronavirus but the genesis can be found in the economic ructions of the last 40 years.

The Dow Jones Black Monday crash in October 1987, shed 22 per cent of its value and sent shock waves across the global financial system.

Some may remember the recession of 1991. Tens of thousands of men and women lost their jobs. Some older men never worked full time again.


The GFC in 2008, rocked the global economy and like an immune disease, has weakened the most powerful economies in the western world. A kind of chronic fatigue which never ended.

In the last two weeks, we have seen more than $500 billion wiped from the ASX. That's 25 per cent of its value, due in large part to panic caused by the spread of a novel form of the Coronavirus.

The suits who control our financial and banking system – which the Australian taxpayer saved in 2009 – don't want you to panic.

Those faceless men and women who run our superannuation accounts, don't want you to panic. Even though a contributor on a standard investment portfolio, would have lost around three years of savings so far.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison – who I call Billy McMahon in a baseball cap – doesn't want you to panic.

The question is, 'when is it a good time to panic if not now?'


In truth, panic will do no good. Normally pump priming the economy works (for a while) but it's short-term government-funded jobs building community based projects that saves the day.

This is not the GFC. This is the unravelling of large sections of global capitalism, starting with supply chains and which ultimately, will end with the banks.

The real pain will be felt by the punters. Flat wages over the last five years has hit household savings and shredded the retail sector.

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About the Author

Malcolm King is a journalist and professional writer. He was an associate director at DEEWR Labour Market Strategy in Canberra and the senior communications strategist at Carnegie Mellon University in Adelaide. He runs a writing business called Republic.

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