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The state in the free economy (Part Five) - A check on the criteria of social value in the 'free' economy PDF Print E-mail
The Labour Movement-Economy

ParliamentAll this philosophy of supposed 'freedom' in the economy belongs within the context of the assessment of the capacity for enrichment as an absolute value, which is something atavistic and very ancient and is concerned solely with survival, but now not as a need, but as a value which is transformed into superiority.

Insistence upon primitive instincts, regardless of any logic of the instinct, which is grounded in need, brings to light the distortion of the logic of the instinct, for example, of survival.

For this reason, we shall draw attention to the following:
1. The concept of capacity for enrichment
What does the capability for enrichment mean and how are we to accept it as a criterion for the exercise of such freedom if we decide, of course, as a society to set such a criterion? What will happen with the criteria for other abilities? Shall we ignore them with Nietzschean logic, or shall we include them?

In the free economy, the valuability of man is summarised in these few, crudely direct, words about the lust for power which Nietzsche articulates in his book The Will to Power. This is now obvious today, in the age of the world economic crisis, of the decade of 2010 now beginning, when there is an exceptional accumulation of wealth, and, at the same time, a dramatic reduction in the incomes of the many, who have ended up as group of units under management, precisely as Nietzsche says in this book. On what criterion did we reach this dire position? Money as a means to power.

An example of the Nietzschean theory is the following: "Value consists in the highest quantum of power that man is able to absorb – a man, not mankind! Mankind has been, from a much earlier stage, a means rather than an end. It is a question of type: mankind is simply the experimental material, the awful surplus of failures: a field of ruins."(1)

Is this a social value? Of course not. Naturally, the crude champions of power would say (or they would think it but would not admit it) that society, in any event, is not of interest to them and does not fall within the values which they profess. The proponents of the supposedly free economy have done the latter: they have spoken about a false freedom for everyone, whereas they knew in advance that this would not be realised, as they have hidden the truth and with the bait of profit, and, at the same time, of the security of big ideas (whereas these cannot be combined with one another) have led astray the multitudes of the West, relying on the foolishness, greed, and wilful or involuntary failure of thought on the part of the masses, who have grown accustomed to living in contradictions.

2. The reversal of values
This thinking implies values, even though all those who embrace it could say bluntly that there are no values, but a full reversal of values (according to Nietzsche) and an absence of order. "We should devise a reversal of values for a certain possible kind of man of a supreme spirituality and will power, and for this purpose we should slowly and carefully release a host of instincts which at present are kept under control and slandered."(2) What has prevailed today is crude power both as a lust for money and as the destruction of social welfare, that is, precisely in tandem with the words above, in which, of course, 'spirituality' is itself a reversed value as it has not the slightest connection with true spirituality.   

In reality, the concept of value is inherent in the human consciousness, but for some people values have no moral content and morality is a weakness. Nevertheless, they are treated as reverse 'values' which prompt these people to follow them. Absence of order , which is used as an excuse for whoever is the strongest to dominate (if, in fact, there was real disorder!) does not have aims and therefore does not direct the actions of men or beings towards some objective.

Such devotion to power, however, reveals an order in a bad sense - as a distorted response to real values (for example, of order) which are moral, and this is not the case because the churches or the weak say so, but because this is latent in the necessary relation between individuality and Wholeness, in which Wholeness is transcendence and quality, and not quantity. This correlation alone precludes immorality - in spite of the fact that morality here does not have the familiar, conventional, malicious, and weak character which has made the concept of morality despised (by the hasty, of course, and the unthinking  who are unable to distinguish what happens from the concept).

3. Negative globalisation
And for those who have their doubts about the application of the Nietzschean logic to the market economy, let us take a look at the quotation below: "Once we possess that common economic management of the earth that will soon be inevitable, mankind will be able to find its best meaning as a machine in the service of this economy — as a tremendous clockwork, composed of ever smaller, ever more subtly 'adapted' gears; as an ever-growing superfluity of all dominating and commanding elements; as a whole of tremendous force, whose individual factors represent minimal forces, minimal values."

"In opposition to this dwarfing and adaptation of man to a specialised utility, a reverse movement is needed – the production of a synthetic, summarising, justifying man for whose existence this transformation of mankind into a machine is a precondition, as a basis on which he can invent his higher form of being.
He needs the opposition of the masses, of the "levelled," a feeling of distance from them! He stands on them, he lives off them. This higher form of aristocracy is that of the future. Morally speaking, this overall machinery, this solidarity of all gears, represents a maximum in the exploitation of man."(3)

These words should not call forth in us horrified surprise, but should urge us towards circumspection, prudence, and responsibility. And, without any doubt, human beings today are being prepared for 'levelling', without this meaning that they will necessarily be defeated, if, of course, they resolve to change direction.
And again from Nietzsche we quote the following: "We must not fool ourselves: the many needs of all the little people form a sum only in the feelings of strong men. To think of yourself in moments of great danger, to derive benefit for yourself from the losses of the many: this can be, in the case of a very high degree of divergence, a sign of a great character who becomes master of his feelings of sympathy and justice."(4)

It is clear here that, in an age of the globalisation of the economy, the many are for the few a dehumanised totality, useful to them for the acquisition of profit. But it is these people themselves who have accepted these ridiculous criteria of value (money) for life, and most of them, if they were powerful, would commit the same crimes. For this reason, there is no way out of this impasse. Some thousands of years of history have demonstrated this, in spite of the serious developments of civilisation. It seems that mankind does not yet have the capacity to establish rational criteria and to reject competition.

Rightly did Pascal say: " ... For whom will men choose as the most virtuous and able [to be a ruler]?" He said this about the case where someone became ruler simply because he was the son of a king, without any other value. And he went on: "Reason can do no better, for civil war is the greatest of evils ".(5)
Concealed beneath the above is another, more profound, problem of man: the fact that he wants to regard morality as his possession, and to gain the honour which this accords. This is also because of his spiritual tendency, which is inherent, but as consciousness is still far removed from it, he turns it into an object for acquisition. There is nothing strange in the abuse of ecclesiastical authority throughout history and in all religions – this was nothing but 'spiritual' selfishness.

4. There are no arguments in support of values
Consequently, we reach the conclusion that there is a central problem: that there are no values capable of support by argument which can be applied in the human environment. Values exist, but they have no true supporters, only temporary champions who say one thing and do another.
This state of affairs is assisted by the self-blinding of people, who are unwilling to discern the truth, so that they can live with fine words and ugly actions. For this reason, a thorough analysis of the reasonableness or absurdity of choices is able to break down this barrier of blindness and bring man to a crisis which perhaps will lead him to the rejection of fantasy.

The choice, then, of the capacity for enrichment as a central social value on which the whole economic edifice must be grounded, and, by extension and inevitably, that of culture also - whether this is admitted or not - rests on the naivety and greed of man, but there are other human tendencies in the margin which are suppressed by money and power as being pointless.

5. Values are indispensable for Wholeness and sociability
And one wonders: is everything a commodity? What kind of people are those who regard everything as an object of commerce and the only value that of a commodity? As individuals, they may like the fine arts or something of the kind, but the collection of objects of value or likes which serve only individualism are false attributions of value, because no such attribution is exclusively individual. It is exclusively individualistic only when there is no relation with wholeness; it is an individual value as separateness and over-definition of identity. And again Nietzsche is topical: "What is nobility: ... the collection of valuable objects, the needs of a lofty and discerning soul; not to want anything in common with others. Your own books, your own landscapes."(6) A Nietzschean civilisation is no civilisation at all.

Who would have believed in the early twenty-first century that Nietzsche would be so topical? But people wait for weapons to speak first before they wake up, forgetting that sleep is not only rest, but often also inertia. We often refer to this thinker in order to make it clear how close to us as a 'concept and value' what seems to us in other circumstances repulsive is.

Other abilities involve more the abstract and the social. Medicine, education, the arts, the sciences are gradually being pushed into the margin and emerge from it only by chance or if they bring in profit for a few. In no circumstances do we mean that these fields are in the hands only of people of integrity. Nevertheless, many people who are useful to the world will be active more in areas of culture than in the economic field, where they are relatively rare, nearer to the apex of its pyramid.

The capacity for enrichment without any other implications for consciousness (and we are not speaking of superficial acts of charity) is based on atavistic instincts, whereas it ought to now be subconscious and not be the centre of the world. Abilities, as they evolve, must be transubstantiated, must be transformed into more abstract abilities which are closer to the spirit than to the material. This does not mean that they should not arrive at an external result, but that their value lies in the abstract as transcendence. If the motive for the acquisition of money has to do with wholeness as transcendence (that is, not as a state or a nation or suzerainty), then it loses this material character and becomes equally spiritual.

Anyone could maintain, of course, that these are his criteria, and be lying. Nevertheless, today's wealthy can in no way argue anything of the sort, because they have used money in such an imprudent way as to demonstrably have plunged the world into poverty and insecurity.

To quote Pascal again: "A severed limb can only lead a perishing and dying life. Inasmuch, however as it does not know that it belongs to a body, it aspires to be its own centre and its own all."(7)

6. The handling of power  
Another point where clarification is necessary is that the observation above does not mean that the few should undertake the 'duty' of acquiring money for the benefit of the rest - not as long as money is a means to power. This would be like political representation, where politicians ambitiously seek a position, but not for the benefit, in reality, of the citizens, but only for their own. Power must not be handled only by representatives or figures from the world of the economy, so that they can dispense charity afterwards, but, for reasons of the protection of democracy in its essence, it must be transposed, a priori, to civil society by various methods which it is our duty to devise. And this with a view to the avoidance of a major concentration of power in the hands of a few.

7. Abilities, values, and models
For values and abilities apart from those of wealth and of the capacity for enrichment and the power of enforcement to come to the forefront as dominant, the models of human beings and their society must change. Useful abilities are based on true values, and thus cannot be the object of competition because they are harmonised both with the individual and with the whole. True values are holistic and for that reason there is room within their framework for all and for evolutionary enrichment.
But as long as man is in the world of need and desire which gives rise to imaginary needs, this will be impossible. Today's abilities, even when they are not an undisguised opportunity for enrichment, are almost all correlated with money and survival (art, for example), which gradually robs them of a living content.  For the development and operation of the best abilities of man, another approach to work, and to leisure time, is required, because today work is slavery and ambition, whereas leisure time is a void of unwinding. These two factors destroy man's abilities and bring him closer to the governed 'herd animal', as Nietzsche would put it.

But the world of need cannot be abolished as long as the direction of our life, our models do not change, and, at the same time, because a hypothetical abundance together with the absence of a right direction would lead to arrogant vanity and the reinforcement of delusion. Need must be replaced by intellectual alertness and vigour and evolution, otherwise it is invincible - and so it has to be.
Consequently, it is in our own hands for us to emerge from the state of a 'herd animal' and become real individuals, not as separateness, but as expressions of a Whole whose nature is freedom and familiarity. Otherwise we shall end up one-dimensional - this time totally - and in the future today's situation will seem ideal in comparison with that which will have been created.

(1) Nietzsche, Friedrich, The Will to Power [Greek edition], publ. Nisides, p. 334, para. 713.
(2) Op. cit., p. 440, para. 957.
(3) Op. cit., p. 406-7, para. 866.
(4) Op. cit., p. 443, para. 965.
(5) Pascal, Blaise, Pensées [Greek edition], publ. Pournara, 1999, Thessaloniki, p. 267, para. 320.
(6) Nietzsche, Friedrich, The Will to Power [Greek edition], publ. Nisides, p. 267, para. 320.
(7) Op. cit., p. 373, para. 483.

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Ioanna Moutsopoulou, Lawyer 
Member of the Secretariat of Solon NGO
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