a) We are witnessing, in a certain sense, the installation of a new mode of accumulation of capitalism. There is a generalisation on the world scale of the main tendencies of capitalist globalisation:
financialisation of the economy but a new growth of industry and services in certain countries (emergent countries or specialisation for some key countries, new technologies in the US and equipment goods in Germany).
continuation of privatisation
tendencies towards the unification of the labour market on a world scale.
These main tendencies develop on the basis of an integration in the world market of new sectors like the countries of Eastern Europe, Russia and China.
They have led to rates of growth in the world economy which average 4-5% with rates of 8-10% in the developing countries or in China.
b) World growth is drawn by three locomotives : the USA, China and India. 5% for the USA and 10% for China, without forgetting India with more than 7%.
Nonetheless the dynamic of US growth remains unhealthy. It rests on a basis of huge deficits : a trade deficit of 6% of GDP, a budget deficit of more than 4.5%. Americans buy more than they produce and spend more than they own, in particular because of a brutal policy of tax cuts for the rich and an explosion of arms spending.
This policy risks being aggravated with the rise in prices of raw materials.
External indebtedness is financed mainly by China and Japan, notably through the purchase of US treasury bonds. Internal indebtedness - resulting from a high level of household consumption - is paid for by a systematic policy of credit, in particular in the area of property. There is now a huge property bubble in the USA which accounts for more than 50% of jobs created in the recent period.
Things are holding together, and the entire chain of the world economy and capital has an interest in the system continuing to hold. It should be said that anti-crisis mechanisms have been used to contain crises leading to potential collapse - since the crises of 1994, 1997 and 2001 in Argentina, there has not been anything similar - but for how long will that hold?
c) This new phase of the world economy also involves a reorganisation. There is a rise in power of the “emergent countries”, China but above all India and Brazil, even if Brazil has had mediocre growth rates in the recent period. The discussions of the WTO and the role played by India and Brazil, who have negotiated new positions for their economy, in particular the agro-export sector, are an indication of this. The positions taken by Brazil and Argentina on the question of the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) and involvement in Mercosur are a second indication. Socio-economic and political capacities - the ability to manage mass movements - to create the conditions for a temporary stabilisation form a third element.
d) In this phase of growth of the world economy, Europe is “dragging its feet”, with rates of 1% to 2% and a certain weakening in the face of world competition. The current phase of globalisation also has a specific dimension in the USA/China/Europe competition. The contradiction between the growing integration of “old Europe” in globalisation and its weak growth rates, like its unfavourable position at the level of monetary policy - a euro which is too strong faced with a weak dollar - lead to a hardening of all bourgeois economic policies, notably in France and in Germany.
The European “social models” are, in the eyes of the neoliberals who want to smash them, an obstacle in the competition between the great powers. Targets of these policies: the deregulation of social relations, the smashing of the labour code in France, the liquidation of the rights of the jobless in Germany and so on. In any case, in a country like France, the right is now attempting to liquidate the fixed duration contract of employment (the “CDI”) - which was the typical work contract - in favour of work contracts allowing employers to dismiss workers without explanation from one day to another. That exists in other countries but in France it amounts to a major turning point. This aggravation of competition can even lead some European countries or the European Union to attempts protectionist policies.
e) Finally, far from disappearing, the role of states is also still decisive. More precisely they are regrouping, focusing on the defence of the interests of the dominant classes, abandoning a series of social domains. States are concentrated on the policy of economic liberalisation, but also form an instrument in the economic war and in competition. We witness the authoritarian hardening of states, against the social movements and the revolts or explosions linked to the increasing precariousness of the living conditions of millions of people, and in immigration policies. We witness above all the hardening of states in the policy of armament and political-military domination of key territories, as shown by the US in Iraq and in central Asia. Capitalist globalisation is accompanied by armed globalisation. The state has a strategic place in these developments. .