Beyond the Systemic Crisis and Capital-Led Chaos

Theoretical and Applied Studies

by Rémy Herrera (Volume editor) Wim Dierckxsens (Volume editor) Paulo Nakatani (Volume editor)
©2014 Edited Collection 260 Pages
Series: Business and Innovation, Volume 9


The current crisis is the expression of the struggle of a dominant ‘fictitious capital’ over real capital to redistribute the global mass of wealth. It is translated into an expansion of assets in financial markets sustained by an inverted pyramid of credits without being backed by a major growth of the real economy, which is increasingly global in scope. The conversion of fictitious capital into real capital is a geopolitical item to understand acquisitions of land in the South to produce agro-fuels, for example. Conversion from fictitious to real capital also happens, the other way round, when military expenditures are financed by more public debt, as is the case for the US today. Financial capital engages in a warlike strategy to establish a global order under its hegemony, without borders and citizens. Employment, social-economic security and political stability will be a worldwide problem. The greatest fear of the capital is that the Eurozone will become a part of the Euro-Asian Continental Bloc. This definitely means a possible military conflict of the US with Russia and China. This crisis is one of the Western ‘civilization’ itself.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Foreword
  • Contents
  • Introduction
  • Wim Dierckxsens, Rémy Herrera and Paulo Nakatani
  • Part I: General Framework
  • Chapter 1. The Struggle for a New Civilization: Challenges and Threats
  • Wim Dierckxsens
  • Chapter 2. A Critique of the Hegemonic Ideology and its Roots
  • Paulo Campanario
  • Part II: Global Problems
  • Chapter 3. The Great Depression of the 21st Century and the Military-Industrial Complex
  • Antonio Jarquín and Wim Dierckxsens
  • Chapter 4. Is a ‘New Green Deal’ an Alternative?
  • Paulo Campanario, Antonio Jarquín and Wim Dierckxsens
  • Part III: Rebuilding Theory
  • Chapter 5. Fictitious Capital and Fictitious Profit
  • Reinaldo A. Carcanholo and Mauricio de Souza Sabadini
  • Chapter 6. The Great Depression of the 21st Century and Fictitious Wealth: On the Theoretical Categories of Fictitious Capital and Fictitious Profit
  • Reinaldo A. Carcanholo
  • Part IV: Analytical Approaches to Rebellions and Struggles
  • Chapter 7. The Dialectical Unity of Capital and Non-Capital: The Role of Overpopulation in Popular Rebellion Today
  • Wim Dierckxsens and Andrés Piqueras
  • Chapter 8. Notes on the Class Struggle in Late Capitalism
  • Andrés Piqueras
  • Part V: China: A Case Study
  • Chapter 9. Financial System and ‘Chinese-Style Market Socialism’
  • Tony Andreani and Rémy Herrera
  • Chapter 10. Some Problems (and Paradoxes) Related to the Internationalization of China’s Economy
  • Rémy Herrera
  • Conclusion
  • Wim Dierckxsens, Rémy Herrera and Paulo Nakatani
  • Editors and Contributors



International Observatory of the Crisis (IOC) and Ecumenical
Research Centre (DEI), The Netherlands and Costa Rica

National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS), France


Federal University of Espírito Santo (UFES), Brazil

In this book, our common statement is that we are entering ‘the Great Depression of the 21st Century’. The current crisis is not merely an economic chaos or panic that is overwhelming us. One frequent error made in interpreting this crisis is that it is financial in nature and is contaminating the sphere of the ‘real economy’. On the contrary, it is a crisis of capital, whose one of the most visible and publicized aspects has emerged within the financial sphere because of the extreme degree of financialization of contemporary capitalism. We are dealing with a systemic crisis that affects the very heart of the capitalist system, that is, the power centre of finance that has been controlling accumulation over the past three decades.

The crisis has worsened recently, mainly since 2006-2007, starting with the hegemonic centre of the world system and becoming more widespread. It is developing into a crisis that not only has socio-economic, political and humanitarian dimensions, but it also concerns food, energy and climate – and again, it is always financial, particularly affecting European countries, such as Iceland, Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Italy. Consequently, it is not ‘the beginning of the end of the crisis’, as perceived by some advisers to President Barack H. Obama. It is not a usual and conjunctural credit crisis, nor yet a temporary liquidity crisis, through which the system reorganizes and reinforces itself and begins to function ‘normally’, with a new growth of productive forces in a framework of modernized social relations. It is much more serious.

To analyse this particular capitalist crisis, or capitalist crises in general, it seems to us fundamental to refer to Marx because, in spite of numerous difficulties and uncertainties, Marxism – or Marxisms – provide(s) us with powerful tools, concepts, methods and theories for conducting such an analysis, even of political outcomes. It is the strongest and most useful theoretical framework for understanding and analysing the crisis and, above all, for comprehending the current transformations of capitalism and clarifying the post-capitalist transitions that are opening up and getting underway, for reasons and in conditions that we shall be developing here.

For some years now, there have been a number of Marxist thinkers who maintain that the devalorization of capital was inescapable and that it would be brutal and on a large scale. Basically, this crisis could be interpreted in Marxist terms as a crisis of over-accumulation of capital that ensues from the very anarchy of production, leading to a pressure on the tendency of the rate of profit to fall when countering tendencies – including new ones, linked to financial instruments, as we shall see – have dried up. This over-accumulation manifests itself through an excess of sellable production, not because there are not enough people who need or desire to consume, but because the concentration of wealth tends to prevent an increasingly large proportion of the population from being able to buy the merchandises.

Nevertheless, instead of it being a question of a standard over-production of goods, the expansion of the credit system makes it possible for capital to accumulate in money-capital, which can take forms that are increasingly abstract. By its nature, fictitious capital is complex, dialectic and both imaginary and real at the same time. Its nature is partly parasitical, but this kind of capital benefits from a distribution of surplus value – its liquidity gives its owner the power to convert it without loss of capital into money, ‘liquidity par excellence’. Therefore, this capital nourishes an accumulation of additional fictitious capital, as a way of remunerating itself.

The current crisis is also the stage where different interests fight to manage the economic and political processes at a global scale. Fundamentally, it would seem that the conditions are combining so that a major consequence of this crisis could be the deepening of the North-South confrontation – in spite of co-optation within the G20. The North-South confrontation is taking place in a world where the levels of contradictions are becoming increasingly complex: between the ruling classes and the classes they dominate; between the different ruling classes that control the states; and between the countries of the South themselves. All this, however, is with the predominance, at the moment, of the contradictions between ruling classes, together with the rise of the ‘emerging’ countries – among them, China.

The crisis is the expression of the struggle to redistribute the global mass of real wealth. This redistribution no longer pits countries of the metropolis against each other, like in the past world wars. This time, financial capital engages in a warlike strategy to enlarge its areas of influence and to establish a global order under its hegemony through the creation of a global state without borders and citizens. By referring neoliberalism, defined as the doctrinal system on which the global strategy of domination of high finance is developed, to the functioning of the capitalist world system and class content, we entered into a casino-type economy, which is increasingly global in scope.

In the last decades, financial capital resorted to a significant expansion of credit to finance its commitments to the future. This translated into an increased expansion of assets in financial markets that was sustained by an inverted pyramid of credit without being backed by a major growth of the real economy. As long as the objective of appropriation and concentration of real wealth is maintained, credit will serve only to finance this speculative movement. This upward spiralling does not only generate (fictitious) profit, it is also a mechanism of appropriating the mass of real wealth produced in the world by a minuscule club of the super rich that have control over this process. Nevertheless, we believe that sooner or later, fictitious capital will disappear in an unprecedented financial collapse.

In Part I of this book, we propose a general framework to analyse the implications of this capital crisis. In Chapter 1, ‘The Struggle for a New Civilization: Challenges and Threats’, Wim Dierckxsens studies the strategy of those who possess this gigantic pyramid of portfolio investments to incorporate as many mechanisms as possible that allow them to hoard the lion’s share of the productive or real wealth before or when the collapse takes place. According to him, the greatest fear of the Anglo-American financial capital is that the Eurozone will not only transform itself into Great Germany, but, worse, they will do so in alliance with China and Russia as part of the Euro-Asian Continental Bloc. The constitution of this mentioned Bloc would imply the definitive defeat of global Anglo-American capital. This idea clashes with unilateral and imperialist conservative forces in the United States and means a possible direct confrontation with China and Russia. We can hear the drums of war again of a direct confrontation among superpowers. The strategic objective of the Anglo-American project is not only to destabilize the euro, but also the dollar. Global bankers want to take advantage of the panic to replace the dollar and the Federal Reserve Bank with a global monetary authority controlled by the global bankers themselves, free of any state control, even of the US government. There is a faction inside the US power bloc that opposes this political project, and there are conservative forces that are trying at all costs to preserve the hegemonic power of the United States. Thus, it is important to them to keep the dollar as the leading global currency in order to fund their military might, but this current project looks more and more difficult to sustain.

In Chapter 2, ‘A Critique of the Hegemonic Ideology and its Root’, Paulo Campanario states that there is a Eurocentric dominant worldview that is held by most members of society, not just the West. A global power commands humankind today, without threats, but is unable to solve basic problems: unemployment, hunger, environmental destruction and others. Increase opposition movements, economic crises and geopolitical problems (Iraq and Afghanistan, China and India ascension). Despite its weaknesses and oppositions, this power still survives thanks to a strong ideology that justifies it, which is based on principles formalized in ancient Greece and accepted worldwide today. This thought is still alive, at the root of the hegemonic ideology. In the past, it sustained the ideologies of violent and unjust systems such as slavery, monarchy or feudalism. Consequently, it will probably continue to sustain and give life blows to the ideology of the global system until an alternative appears, which will replace the simplistic and Manichaean principles by others that are more appropriate to the complex challenges ahead and serve the interests of the greater part of the population.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2014 (August)
wealth economy public debt fictitious capital real capital
Bruxelles, Bern, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 260 pp., 8 fig.

Biographical notes

Rémy Herrera (Volume editor) Wim Dierckxsens (Volume editor) Paulo Nakatani (Volume editor)

Rémy Herrera is Researcher at the National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS) and supervises PhD theses at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. He has been a consultant at the OECD and the World Bank. He is currently Executive Secretary of the World Forum of Alternatives. Wim Dierckxsens is Coordinator of the International Observatory of Crisis. He is also a senior researcher at the Departamento de Investigación Oeucumenico; former administrator for the United Nations; and professor at the National University of Honduras and the National University of Costa Rica. Paulo Nakatani is Professor at the Department of Economics, Federal University of Espírito Santo (UFES), in Vitoria, Brazil. He has been President of the Brazilian Society of Political Economy (SEP, Sociedade Brasileira de Economia Politica) and Director of the academic review of the SEP.


Title: Beyond the Systemic Crisis and Capital-Led Chaos
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