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The fourfold deficit in synthesis and the handling of the complex internal and global crisis PDF Print E-mail
The Labour Movement-Economy

stock exchange"If we are to escape the impending disaster which hangs over our present disintegrating world, we must make a far - reaching and fundamental revision of the old established patterns of thinking, and institute completely new principles."[1], Oliver Reiser
If one has followed the history of the sciences and of politics up to the present, an internal deficit in synthesis is observable.

This internal deficit in synthesis is chiefly to be noted in the sphere of the human sciences, and is now particularly apparent in its sedimentation.
It is manifested in the impossibility of unifying the schools of thought which have developed around theories of law and theories of society. On the terms of a liberal development based on the principles of the Enlightenment, the inability to reach a synthesis of the constructive schools of approach to each major sub-sector, as, in the present case, between the two sectors mentioned above, is obvious.[2]

What is observable, that is to say, is the phenomenon of each side - those of economics, law, politics - developing theories as an internal evolution and specialisation of their field alone.

Typical is the case of the fragmentary and specialised approach to the evolution of law or of the evolution of the schools of economics and politics which each of these sciences has made on its account from the inter-War years to the post-War era. By way of the economic crisis of 1929, we passed from the liberal positivist approach to the economy and from the school of the markets to the school of public finance intervention, of public expenditure, and of the social planning of the economy.

Thus, economic policy and theory was displaced from the positivist liberal classical school to Keynesian theory and policy. At the same time, allowing for a difference in phase, there was a transition of constitutional and juristic approaches from the positivist phase of law to the theory of the welfare state, of social commitment through the crisis of the Second World War, which had its roots in an earlier social crisis. We also passed from positivist law to natural law, once more, to a new dimension, and the rule of law took on a more social colouring, while, at the same time, positivism was put under the control of reason and of pre-constitutional and constitutional principles.

However, the theoreticians of these developments have continued to observe them in a one-dimensional way. Thus, they have not noticed that a similar development has been taking place in the science of economics. And this is because they did not have an apprehension of its field, but also because each specialised field of knowledge, though tending to be fruitful in the process of specialisation, from a certain point onwards enters upon a decline in performance.

What is observable, that is, is that there is a deficit in synthesis in sub-disciplines and between disciplines. Also observable is that there is a political deficit in synthesis, since politics today shows a limited ability to absorb developments in knowledge. And there is an experiential anthropological deficit as to the transfer of knowledge on terms of a functional, structural, and experiential synthesis in the everyday life of man, in its embodiment, that is, in a new exemplary anthropological model.

These four fields of a deficit in synthesis are directly in front of us, as we are again passing through a major world economic crisis which will, very obviously, bring with it political crises. The political phase of the crises has a delayed action, and, clearly, the same applies to theories of law. Law, up to a point, has been tied down by the notional scrutiny of post-War and post Cold War issues and those arising from today's asymmetrical political tensions and threats of every form.
Today, a political crisis has broken out and we cannot guess what dimensions it will take on, just as an observer could not have guessed in 1929 what the state of affairs would be in 1933, or in 1936, or in 1939.

We cannot speculate on or diagnose substantively the direct political developments, as we believe that there is every indication that the crisis, regardless of whatever statements are made to 'alleviate' panic, will continue for a long time. Probably, it could take on the same scale of dynamic as that of 1929 - on certain conditions, a greater one - and, consequently, will alter the whole of the landscape as we know it today.

It is now that we should make the effort to start out with a new theoretical approach to deal with these deficits in synthesis, creatively, with dialogue, and reflection.

If we wish to deal with the crisis effectively, we must act resourcefully and creatively in the face of the deficits in synthesis described above. The markets have proved incapable of learning from the experience of the present crisis.[3] Man has not been able to act as a manager of the markets in such a way that they can become self-regulating - and this is because he has had as his model human beings as puppets of the markets, and of their economic idolisation.[4]

Because the world crisis is before us and because it goes hand-in-hand with the environmental crisis, we still have an opportunity, at the last minute, to involve ourselves in dealing substantively with their causes. The causes of this impending crisis, at the level of thought, can be described, in summary, as 'deficits in synthesis'.

[1] Reiser, Oliver, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, author of World Philosophy: A Search for Synthesis [Greek edition].
[2] See above.
[3] 'Mammoth reform in the world of finance', imerisia.gr 17/06/09: "Wall Street seems to have a weaker memory about how near we came to the abyss than I would have expected." Barack Obama.
[4] Nouriel Roubini, kathimerini.gr 06/06/09, 'End of an era for the uncontrolled free market'.

Ioannis Zisis, writer

Photo from wikimedia

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