The basic disease of monopoly capitalism is an increasingly powerful tendency to overaccumulate. At anything approaching full employment, the surplus accruing to the propertied classes is far more than they can profitably invest. An attempt to remedy this by further curtailing the standard of living of the lower-income groups can only make things worse. What is needed, in fact, is the exact opposite, a substantial and increasing standard of living of the lower-income groups, not necessarily in the form of more individual consumption: more important at this stage of capitalist development is a greater improvement in collective consumption and the quality of life . . . It follows that there is at least the objective basis for a cross-class alliance between those who suffer most from the system's crisis and the more far-seeing elements of the ruling class. This is similar to the situation that existed in 1933 and gave rise to the New Deal. But history never really repeats itself, and there is no need to assume that such an alliance would take the same form as it did half a century ago. The workers were very much the junior partner then. Do they have to be this time as well? The answer, in my opinion, depends not on logic or theory but on what actually happens in the course of the struggle. And that, I think, is not only what we cannot predict but should not try to predict. Better to join the struggle and try to affect its course. Not only the people of the United States but the peoples of all the world have an enormous stake in the outcome (Sweezy, 1981, p. 148).Forgetting the lessons of the Great Depression by Paul Burkett
This is the primary lesson we should draw from the Great Depression.
Review of Social Economy, Vol. 52, 1994