Last Friday, the City entered what experts call a "bear market". This means that the FTSE100, which reflects share price levels for the 100 largest companies, is down by over 20% from its last peak, in October 2007. In fact, the fall is even more abrupt for the largest 250 companies, whose shares fell by an average 32% over the past year.
For decades, share prices have been going through ups and downs, due to the speculation of the tiny layer of individuals and companies which are rich enough to make profits out of this monkey money. Overall, however, share prices went up over that period. This was not due to the skill of speculators, who do nothing other than bet on their monkey money, but to on-going attacks against workers' conditions. There seemed to be no limit to the rise in company profits. Just by squeezing always more labour out of workers, the capitalists thought they could increase their profits while making minimal investment.
Today, this exploitative castle of cards is crumbling. With the credit crisis, the majority of speculators do not believe in the "healthy fundamentals" of the economy that Darling keeps preaching to us about. They have been betting against their own system and this is what has brought the stock market down.
But why should the ups and down of the share betting shop be of any importance to us? Why should we, who produce all the value in this society, be affected by the speculation of parasites who produce nothing? The present crisis may dent (marginally!) the wealth of some capitalists. But neither the credit squeeze nor the fall of share prices has affected the ability of the working class to use its labour to provide for all the needs of society and produce new wealth.
The only obstacle to this is the profit system itself. The tens of thousands of redundancies underway in the construction and related industries expose the madness of this system. When hundreds of thousands of working class families need decent, affordable housing, those who could build it are pushed onto the junk pile!
Capitalism and its profit-driven madness has long passed its sell-by date. We need a society which is organised to cater for the needs of all, not one which is organised to satisfy the parasitic greed of a few!