Julian Jones examines what the record gains of big tech companies during the COVID-19 pandemic mean for the Marxist understanding of capitalism, monopolisation and crisis in 2020.
One of the key features of capitalism is the recurrence of periodic, systemic crises. These crises are either denied by capitalist economists, attributed to specific circumstances (and thereby taken as an exception rather than a rule) or it is claimed that, actually, the cause of the crisis was state intervention and attempts at planning which have thwarted the logic of the market and deformed an otherwise perfect system.
Capitalism, once a progressive force in both social and productive terms, becomes more parasitic and moribund throughout its development. More and more, the social relations of production, crystallised in a social and legal system based on protection of private property, begin to hold back the development of society’s productive forces. More and more, labour is wasted in socially-useless production or financial speculation. Capitalism daily fails the majority of people, impoverishing them in order to make the rich richer.