conomic growth, which was supposed to ensure the affluence and well-being of everyone, has created needs more quickly than it could satisfy them, and has led to a series of dead ends that are not solely economic in character: Capitalist growth is in crisis not only because it is capitalist but also because it is encountering physical limits.
It is impossible to imagine palliatives for one or another of the problems that have given rise to the present crisis. But its distinctive character is that it will inevitably be aggravated by each of the successive and partial apparent solutions to its problems.
While it has all the characteristics of a classical crisis of overproduction, the current crisis also possesses a number of new dimensions that Marxists, with rare exceptions, have not foreseen and that what has until now been understood as “socialism” does not adequately address. It is a crisis in the relation between the individual and the economic sphere as such; a crisis in the character of work; a crisis in our relations with nature, with our bodies, with our sexuality, with society, with future generations, with history; a crisis of urban life, of habitat, of medical practice, of education, of science.
We know that our present mode of life is without future; that the children we will bring into the world will use neither oil nor a number of now-familiar metals during their adult lives; that if current nuclear programs are implemented, uranium reserves will be exhausted by then.