Cap­i­tal­ism and con­spir­a­cies Our read­ers air their views

The Guardian Weekly - - International news -

The in­ten­si­fy­ing con­cen­tra­tion of the wealth of the world’s su­per-rich is not so much a re­turn to the US Gilded Age of the turn of the 20th cen­tury as it is the emer­gence of a global Can­cer­ous Age of 21st-cen­tury cap­i­tal­ism (World’s su­per-rich are now worth $6tn, 3 Novem­ber).

The can­cer­ous dy­namic is ev­i­dent in a num­ber of ways:

The in­her­ent need for un­end­ing eco­nomic growth is in­creas­ingly out­grow­ing eco­log­i­cal con­straints.

The rel­a­tively se­cure jobs in man­u­fac­tur­ing as­so­ci­ated with the Gilded Age that helped to cre­ate the so-called mid­dle-class are be­ing de­stroyed and ei­ther not re­placed or re­placed by in­se­cure and low­er­paid jobs, as well as by an in­creas­ing num­ber of the work­ing poor.

The now dom­i­nant role of fi­nan­cial cap­i­tal in the global econ­omy en­sures that the ever-in­creas­ing growth in debt – along with the volatil­ity of move­ments of cap­i­tal – is the new, un­con­trol­lable nor­mal.

The growth of in­equal­i­ties be­tween na­tions shows no sign of slow­ing down, and is in­ten­si­fy­ing.

Just as a can­cer in the body in­volves the de­struc­tive growth of tu­mours, so cap­i­tal­ism ex­hibits the same un­con­trol­lable symp­toms. It will take more than a re­run of a Roo­sevelt New Deal or a Bev­eridge wel­fare state to change this re­al­ity. It will take the eco­nomic, so­cial and cul­tural equiv­a­lents of the surgery, ra­di­ol­ogy and chemo­ther­apy used to deal with bod­ily can­cers. Even then, of course, suc­cess is not guar­an­teed. Ste­wart Sweeney Ade­laide, South Aus­tralia

• The phil­an­thropic gifts made by the su­per-rich seem to be di­rected at things that en­rich their own lives. Art gal­leries, sports teams. No men­tion of hous­ing for home­less peo­ple, do­na­tions to women’s refuges or sup­port for school lunch pro­grammes in poor neigh­bour­hoods. It seems that what counts as phi­lan­thropy when you’re a bil­lion­aire is get­ting “stars, sheikhs … all in the same room talk­ing about the ball” – spend­ing their vast wealth on their own fun. Su­san Grims­dell Auck­land, New Zealand

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