Well, it looks as though there is a good deal of work to do before these once familiar ideas are again part of the public discourse. Let me reply to the various comments one point at a time.
1. Balanced growth has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with what happens to someone's portfolio. When an economy grows, what happens is that more goods [and services] are produced. Now, much of what is thus produced is used, in the next cycle of production, as input into further production. Even if the market value of the produced goods increases, the mix of actual physical goods and actual services [not the portfolio of financial instruments supposedly representing those goods and services] may not match whist is required in order to expand production. There may be too much steel produced, and not enough aluminum. There may be too many new homes built and not enough vegetables or clothing produced. In short, the growth may not be balanced. In that case, there are bubbles, bottlenecks, shortfalls, excesses, warehouses piling up with the wrong goods, etc etc. Too many arbitragers, not enough elementary school teachers. Marx observed, and experience has shown, that capitalists, responding to market cues, routinely create booms and busts because of the unbalanced nature of the explosive growth that capitalism engenders. That is what I was talking about. Today, I heard the news that new home sales fell 27%, the largest drop ever recorded. That is a case in point.
2. Contradictions, to use Marx's term, have nothing to do with the fact that people have conflicting interests. A contradiction is a structural situation that results in self-defeating actions, in actions that produce precisely the results that are NOT desired. For example, to use once again a famous example from the MANIFESTO, capitalists, seeking to increase productivity, bring workers out of their crofts and cottages and into factories, where they can be put to work on steam driven machines and move intermediate products [flax spun into thread, etc.] quickly and efficiently to the next stage of production But the unintended consequence is that workers see one another, meet one another, and begin to learn that they have common interests, which in turn leads to labor organizing. Because capitalists are in competition with one another, each of them cannot afford simply to go on in the old way, because if he does, he will not be able to sell his wares as cheaply as the next factory owner. And so forth and so on. These are contradictions, a term Marx [unfortunately] takes over from Hegel. The purpose of socialism is to arrive at social decisions about investment and growth by collective deliberation [and disagreement, of course] rather than by the haphazard accumulation of large numbers of private and independent decisions by particular capitalists. There is nothing pie in the sky about this at all. It is what happens every day that Congress is in session. It is called democracy.
3. The economic crashes that occurred before governments were bailing out corporations were just as terrible, and wreaked havoc just as surely with the lives of the defenseless millions. Please try to get a little historical perspective on these matters.
4. No, my position is not at all close to the Free Market libertarians. They are like people who say that they are all in favor of jumping off a forty story building and enjoying the ride down for the first thirty nine floors, but that they have ideological objections to that last fifteen feet. To preserve a micro-sized free market economy and not allow it to grow ineluctably into the world we now live in would require the exercise of a degree and scope of state power that would make totalitarianism look like a walk in the park. They are in the grip of a fantasy. They might just as usefully say that they really like the upswings of a seesaw but don't agree with the downswings. Let us please try to be serious about this. It is important.
5. Yes, of course, workers need factories and raw materials and tools in order to produce goods. But they don't need capitalists. What do capitalists do? Simple. Since they own the tools and factories and raw materials, and employ soldiers [the police] to protect their ownership, they must be persuaded to allow the workers to work. They do this, quite gracefully, by paying them as little as they can get away with and taking for themselves the lion's share of what the workers produce. How very kind of them. Some of the capitalists also work as managers, a useful function, for which they are, or can be, paid a reasonable salary. But profits are net of the salaries of managers as well as of the wages of workers. The capitalists, per se, perform no useful function at all!