How a Global Financial Shock Could Lead to Supply Chain Collapse

There are a number of mutually-reinforcing systemic crises — called “terminal crises” of “Late Capitalism” for good reason — that threaten the current model of globalized corporate capitalism. One of these is Peak Oil, which drastically increases the cost of long-distance supply and distribution chains. Another is the Fiscal Crisis of the State (which James O’Connor explained decades ago), which results from the need for increasing taxpayer-subsidized inputs into the capitalist economy (fuel, transportation, raw materials, properly trained human resources) and taxpayer purchases of capitalist outputs in order to maintain profitability. A third is the tendency toward financialization and the growth of a fire economy (including the enormous amounts of capital that collect guaranteed returns on state debt, itself incurred as a result of the Fiscal Crisis) as a response to the imperatives of overaccumulation and surplus capital.

And as David Korowics argues in “Trade-Off — Financial System Supply-Chain Cross-Contagion: a study in systemic collapse” (June 30, 2012: Metis Risk Consulting & Feasta) that collapse of the financial system can be amplified and mutually reinforced by the other terminal crises, leading to the drying up of supply and distribution chains as commercial credit dries up.

The good news is that the modular building blocks of a relocalized economy — micromanufacturing, Permaculture, and mutual credit systems for exchange outside the finance-capitalist system — are already all available and rapidly replicable. And the current series of rolling crises is exactly what’s likely to spur their adoption.

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