The economic crash of 2008, starting with the collapse of Lehman Brothers, set off the deepest world recession since the 1930s, and led to the destruction of tens of millions of jobs around the world. It became the occasion for a historically unprecedented government bailout of the banks, as world governments, led by the newly-elected Obama administration, handed out trillions of dollars to ensure the bad debts of the financial speculators, even while imposing 50% wage cuts on US autoworkers and impoverishment of the broad population.
David North, chairman of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site, argues that the rapid growth of social inequality, rooted in the historic crisis of the capitalist system, will bring on titanic class struggles internationally. The complete breakdown of democratic forms of government, the turn to the far-right by today’s ruling elites, the mad pursuit of escalating wars, and the emergence of working class struggle, all provide further confirmation that far from being at an end, “History” is very much with us.
These three lectures analyze the background and continuing implications of the 2008 crisis, which arises from deep contradictions in the world capitalist system, centered in the increasingly global forms of production and the long-term decline of the United States.