During the height of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France was seen carrying around a copy of Capital by Karl Marx.
Maybe he should now pick up a copy of another book (Anti-Duhring) by Marx's collaborator Friedrich Engels.
In this book, Engels (seen here) made a persuasive argument about the anarchic nature of capitalism.
"Anarchy reigns in socialised production. But the production of commodities, like every other form of production, has its peculiar, inherent laws inseparable from it; and these laws work, despite anarchy, in and through anarchy. They reveal themselves in the only persistent form of social interrelations, i.e., in exchange, and here they affect the individual producers as compulsory laws of competition. They are, at first, unknown to these producers themselves, and have to be discovered by them gradually and as the result of experience. They work themselves out, therefore, independently of the producers, and in antagonism to them, as inexorable natural laws of their particular form of production. The product governs the producers," Engels stated.
This anarchy was said to exist within capitalist enterprises, between different types of capitalist enterprise, and within the system as a whole, creating tendencies of disproportionality between sectors, periodic overproduction and crises.
More than 150 years later, obviously the nature of such capitalist anarchy has undergone much transformation.
But it is certainly still exists, and is revealed today in the anarchy that prevails between different types of capital - mainly between finance capital and productive capital - as well as in the contradictions between different capitalist countries (which is popularly referred to as global macroeconomic imbalances).
It operates to create markets that seem to be beyond anyone's control, which deliver undesirable and volatile outcomes that seem to be in no one's interests and yet cannot be altered.
So we have a peculiar global situation in which global leaders seem to be at their wits' end in controlling a market system run amok, in which all their efforts at damage control and enabling recovery end up having the opposite effect of creating more havoc and instability.
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons