Being aware that the majority of the scientific community and the public opinion see behind the current global economic crisis the existence of an elaborated plan, which aims at the accumulation of wealth into the hands of few oligarchs and the return to medieval working conditions, this article will clearly support the opposite: that – considering the choices of global capitalists and their facade, the banking system – there is neither nationally nor internationally a “Directoire” of capital, nor a universal long-term plan with specific goals behind the implemented policies. On the contrary, a “wait and see” tactic prevails together with the logic of “every man for himself”.
By general consensus, the system is totally blocked while political leaderships seem incapable not only of reacting but even of understanding the problem, which is apparent from the fact that there is not a common approach, not only among the EU member-states, but also among ECB, the European Commission and IMF.
Transferring to the people the cost for the banks’ bailout, after they had opportunistically undertaken high risks (e.g. the German banks’ loans account for just 1% of their own resources, while the 99% is plastic money) is preposterous and harms not only those citizens that have always been harmed (workers, farmers, women, young people, immigrants e.tc.) but also those that thought they were untouchable, like the self-employed, the merchants, the small, medium and in some cases – especially in production fields – even big business men. Thus, since public deficit actually is private surplus, the economy’s key problem is not deficit itself, but its overall weakness to produce enough income in order to cover the deficit. Nowadays, we don’t just lack in new income production, but on the contrary we are facing the confiscation of the existing or even past (e.g. through successive taxation that exhausts savings) and future income. Moreover, the sellout of public property makes the implementation of any social and development policies impossible, even in the long run.
Given how worthless the civil personnel and the ruling elite are worldwide, their intellectuals and older generation politicians try to sound the alarm for their sake, by suggesting a completely different policy than what Europe is carrying out, a policy that is nothing else than a modern “new deal”, a contemporary form of Keynesianism.
However, all these suggestions intend to “correct” or rationalize capitalism, which in its current form leads humanity to barbarism, while at the same time subverts its own future. Whether they’ll be put in action, giving the system a new lease of life, is to be seen. The only thing certain is that it is impossible to find a solution for global economic problems within the economic cycle.
The argument concerning the absence of a “Directoire” of capital and the lack of a universal long-term plan with specific goals, is primarily based upon the following thoughts:
- Monetarist policies that result in depression, deflation, debt and deficit reduction, unemployment increase and drop in consumption and have been implemented in every country with deficit problems, cannot be the outcome of a rational choice on behalf of the capital, whatever their hidden or obvious purpose served may be. These policies occur from the enlargement of the existing imbalances among the various types of capital, from the unprecedented over-concentration of wealth in the hands of few, from capital’s inability to maintain long-term high profits in any kind of investment and from the shift towards visual economy and parasitism.
These policies are convulsive choices that mostly indicate panic and lack of targeting on behalf of the elite and the ruling class, rather than a dark and satanic plan. And that is because, sooner or later, these choices will turn out disastrous for capital itself or at least for a large part of it, while at the same time they are related with the current stage of development or, may say decay, of global capitalism.
Capitalism has always required growth, consumption and a middle class in order to exist. The over-concentration of wealth leads to overall social bleeding and results in the reduction or disappearance of the middle class. It’s not only the drop of consumption that’s going to be hardly manageable, but also the dissolution of the political alliance, within which the middle class always constituted the “crutch” for capital’s conservative choices, as long as it had a minimum decent living.
The internal imbalance of capitalism brings us before unknown developments that the system has never confronted before. The bloc of power will face four major obstacles in its attempt to impose its policies:
- It has to confront a society that, despite not participating the past 30 years in social struggles, is highly educated and used to conditions of prosperity for almost two generations up to now.
- At some point, the crisis will have a boomerang effect on the ruling class, nationally and internationally. The collapse of banks and large corporations will probably come as the most extreme consequence of poverty, because of deposit withdrawals, loan profit losses, consumption drop e.tc.
- The self-dissolution of the state may provoke a general political unrest, especially in countries like Greece, where the state plays traditionally a major role in regulating the labor market, redistributing income and stabilizing the economic life. At the same time, the state with its ideological mechanisms constitutes the key administrator of the common imaginary by disseminating nationalistic stereotypes to the social body. The self-limitation of the state to a tax collector and a suppressive mechanism is opposed to deeply ingrained beliefs of the collective imaginary that think of the state not just as the guarantor of “national security” and the symbol of “national pride”, but also as the incarnation of “national identity”. A state of traitors that impoverishes people in order to pay loans of dubious legality to foreign usurers, is very unlikely that it will be able to maintain the pre-described roles.
- Ideologically speaking, the ruling class and its political system have no alibi and no excuse for the crisis, which is “completely theirs”. There is nowhere a strong union movement, the Left wing doesn’t have the social impact it used to have from the end of WWII to the 1980s, there are no more antagonistic forces like the USSR and the Eastern bloc that supposedly necessitated the increased flow of social funds into military equipment on behalf of the Western countries. The last 20 years capitalism has no opponent and what we’re living today is completely its own creation.
- The absence of a central, long-term plan of the elite, nationally and internationally, doesn’t mean that there won’t be groups or individuals related to the capital which will benefit from the crisis. But this does not apply to the ruling class, the predominant strata as a whole, but only to some individuals or groups active in specific fields. Some sectors of the big capital and mostly the banking sector, might be benefited from the crisis – but that by no means implies that there will be an overall enhancement for the ruling class. In order for this to occur (namely the overall enhancement of the ruling class) there must be an ideological domination upon society, along with the establishment of such conditions that will guarantee the overall profitability of capital – prerequisites that are difficult to achieve in a state of crisis, since a large part of the capital will not endure in such an environment of relentless competition between states, different types of capital and corporations with common interests.
The solution already underway is the merger and buyout of the weakest businesses by more powerful ones – a procedure that is certainly not a solution to the problem, since the giant corporations established after that will operate like black holes, swallowing everything in their way. The higher the concentration of wealth the bigger the depression caused, since global market and every economic activity will eventually run out of money and resources.
- The notion that “it is impossible for the masters of global capitalism not to know what they are doing” is metaphysical and is based upon neither a dialectic approach of history nor the current situation. History is full of mistakes that were made by rulers and “accidental incidents” that couldn’t be estimated and predicted by any kind of “expert”. Otherwise how could we interpret the decay and collapse of so many empires, the outbreak of so many revolutions and the unpredictability of historical developments over time?
The blind faith in an indomable determinism and in instrumental methods for predicting human history is not historically justified and it simply constitutes a metaphysic conception of humanity. The current crisis may well be a product of poor choices on behalf of the capital and the predominant classes, since it’s not advantageous for all of them and wasn’t launched with equal responsibility by all sections of them. Besides, individuals and social classes, the social strata, have limited viewing and monitoring on large-scale historical developments, since they experience history through their restricted measures of living. For example, who could predict the advent of the French Revolution in 1788 or the upcoming collapse of “the actually existing socialism” that shattered like a glass tower in 1988?
- Finally, it has to be understood that the supported absence of a capitalistic “Directoire” and an elaborated plan constitutes neither an optimistic nor a pessimistic point of view; it is just a rational conclusion that is going to be proved true or false. And if proven correct, the final solution seems to be political rather than economic.
It is very doubtful whether an economic shift towards “growth policies” – as it is suggested now by some of the intellectuals of the upper class – would help solve the debt crisis, since such “growth” was previously based on and financed by a sort of “casino” economy that is now drowning. It would require not just a shift towards “growth” in general, but a completely different kind of growth, focusing on the primary and secondary sector, as well as on research and society’s real needs and not overproduction and over-consumerism.
However, the high priests of neoliberalism who govern and lead the international organizations cannot carry out such policies. In that sense, the solution can only be political.
It is still unknown whether capital and the predominant class will wage a war or establish dictatorships as a way out of the present situation, or whether societies will give the solution by a radical change of the social system.
Nevertheless, the awareness on behalf of the people that the enemy is not invincible and has reached a deadlock, could prove of significant importance for the internationalization and the massification of the movement, for its enrichment with new tactics and for its shift towards more ambitious goals than just the regaining of what is lost during the past three years.
There is a word that burns everybody’s tongue and nobody dares to come out with it. A word that shows the way and is neither “rupture”, nor “overthrow”, nor “uprising”. It is simply revolution.
The article in greek