|Unconsidered aspects of the economic crisis|
|The Labour Movement-Economy|
In all planning there is the motive, the general purpose, and the aim. The same applies to the economy. The motive and the general purpose of the economy are factors which lie outside the economy; they are to be found closer to the psychological make-up of humans than to economic science in itself.
The aims as specific planning now function under the influence of the more general purpose and of the motive which set that purpose, even though the aims themselves can also have many gradations, until they arrive at the field of the completed realisation of the purpose.
If we attempt to explain the economy in so-called economic terms, we will not get any satisfactory answer, because the economy takes many things for granted or 'self-evident' (and the 'self-evident' is the assassin of the truth), and, apart from that, we will miss the broader perspective, as we move in the sphere of a predetermined purpose of economic practice, leaving the purpose itself untouched.
The purpose of the prevailing economic thinking in the age in which we live is evident and freely admitted - it is uncontrolled profit (in spite of the fact that for many the economy cannot escape from the issue of survival). But human beings rarely ask themselves about the true face of unrestrained profit and the probable complications which this gives rise to. This does not mean that a controlled economy is unclouded. It is precisely the observation of this double failure that should prompt man to think deeply, outside the calculating economy which cannot apparently provide solutions with the fanatical and superficial oppositions between systems which it proposes.
1. The inflation of economic magnitudes and the economic 'bubble' cannot be excused by the term 'errors', or by isolated references to various suspect economic products and economic circumstances.
These references are inadequate, and presuppose, naively, the conviction that economic management on the part of the powerful has been superficial, and that, after the collapse, led to an attempt to counterbalance economic loss or opportunistic profiteering. But in this way we do not come close to the heart of the problem, and, furthermore, specialist economic knowledge is required, thus rendering true knowledge inaccessible. This does not mean that the necessary knowledge must be rejected and things must be unduly simplified, as the elites, the politicians, the lazy, and the ignorant do. But, certainly, this must not be bound either by the lack or the existence of specialist knowledge when the latter is used to conceal a different truth – one which does not involve the field of knowledge itself, but is the cause of its creation. It can, of course, be argued that all knowledge and thought has an ulterior motive, but this cannot be avoided, even if it is the crutches of fanaticism. In the last analysis, both complicated and futile knowledge and the fanatical rejection of knowledge are - both of them - a part of totalitarianism of thought.
Money, then, has ceased to be an economic magnitude - and probably never was from the beginning - and has become a vehicle of power and force. It has become a means of exercising control, not only when it has accumulated, but also by its very nature and function in its entirety (as regards the groups which have the strength to control it). Furthermore, the excessive accumulation of wealth itself cannot in any circumstances simply serve real needs which can be served by money (health, education, survival, recreation, etc.), but only psychological needs of man functioning in the sphere of the abnormal. This, naturally, calls for extensive analysis, and, again, it would not be possible to touch upon every single aspect, because each human being is complex and individually unique.
This is the unadmitted truth and points to the distortion of the economy's function, the overturning of the relation between supply and demand, with the wholehearted participation, of course, of the peoples who succumb to any advertising pressure and to every desire for recognition and superiority through the acquisition of things and with the division of the economy into the real and that which pretends to fill the human void.
This void is expressed by the many as consumerism and by the elites as power. Consumerism is a small form of power over the lifeless thing possessed, whereas power, as such, imposes itself over everything, lifeless and living. It is the power to destroy subjects, which in this way are turned into objects, such as slaves, and, consequently, it is a power which is deeper and more satisfying because it imitates death.
2. They do not explain why they do not concern themselves at all with private debt which is, perhaps, greater than public.
But here we must note that the constant demands of the masses for money and equality of means, but in the absence moreover of the assistance of critical thought as to the role of profit in human life and its real anthropological value, seduce man into following directions mapped out by power, through the models which are put forward, which tend towards the cancellation of the possibilities for true peace, since they are by their nature competitive and dependent on the deeper quality of the model. For this reason, a critique of the function of wealth alone is not sufficient to deal with the problems, because this critique may at times be based on competition and not on a different approach to life, and, moreover, may conceal a similar tendency towards coercion on the part of many people, which, however, cannot be put into practice for various reasons, or gives expression to the conception that a system is by nature superior to human beings, and, therefore, solely responsible for their options. In this way it denies man's prospects for genuine freedom. It is not that a system does not have such potential, but this is the potential which man permits it to have. The strange thing with responsibility is that it lends freedom to man, but also the subjectivity related to [allied with] that freedom.
3. Bad management on the part of states, and the expenditure of peoples beyond their means are represented by politicians and figures in the world of economics as negative criticism.
4. The European leaders and the experts invoke the activities of profiteers as responsible for attacks upon the economies of Europe and make the fact that they must be dealt with a subject for discussion. But they themselves created these profiteers, since they guided and pressed for laws which permitted the economy and profiteering to be unbridled, and established their unregulated status by law. Lack of transparency has become an institution by means of the institutionalised confidentiality of deposits, the permitted free movement of capital to destinations which remain obscure (e.g., by means of off-shore companies), and by means of corporate anonymity and complexity, which means that natural persons cannot be detected, either because they are holders of unregistered shares, or because it is practically (even if not legally) impossible for the average citizen to gain access to their particulars, and, a fortiori, to acquire the whole of the interrelating corporate picture of each natural person who may own or have shares in a great many companies and even be promoting contradictory activities.
5. The control of states by their creditors has been accepted, unlike the control of failing companies by the states which lend to them.
6. The 'continuous' development which is invoked and pursued remains unclear to the average person, and, moreover, to economists, otherwise why do these two very basic questions remain unanswered:
Very few people talk about de-development. However, the meaning of a correct and happiness-orientated de-development could not be elucidated unless we understand the causes of man's tendency towards continuous development. What is the meaning of this tendency of man towards continuous development? What is certain is that it has no connection with economic development. Economic development operates in the sphere of need and under the fear of death, with the distortions which this causes, and attempts by means of the excessive amassing of wealth to escape from the need, into a 'freedom' which enslaves everyone else as power, because, in reality, it is not possible truly to escape from the sphere of need. The human tendency towards development, on the other hand, is related to the urge for duration, victory over death, and expansion, which are related to the tendency of the consciousness towards development and towards unity through a broadened apprehension and response, given that nothing is static. If, however, the consciousness, through these processes, is ignored, then this tendency turns into a cumulative factor - for example, in the economy. Much could be said here on this subject, but it is not our concern at present. However, it was for this reason that Nietzsche, the intellectual of power, rejected a concern with the consciousness and regarded it as a corrupter of power.
7. The acceptance of the 'free' economy is regarded as indisputable and self-evident, whereas it is obvious that it has already failed, at least as far as the world's peoples are concerned. It is an assertion which perhaps has as its aim to take human apprehension by surprise, by suggesting that only truth could lie behind such a strongly-held certainty. Any involvement of states in this failure is not a justification, because, a fortiori, private factors, whether as business interests which apply pressure in the political field, or as public servants functioning as private individuals and not as agents of the public interest, or as citizens who look upon the state as an inexhaustible reservoir of benefit without any obligation on their part, are responsible for the failure of states. The private individual factor is obviously the fundamental cause of failure, and for this reason cannot, in any circumstances, support a truly free economy for the greatest good of the greatest number - which is, according to the great liberals Mill and Bentham, the desideratum.
8. Closer control of the functioning of the economy - which others favour - is not absolutely sound and adequate, precisely because it is these imperfections of man that undermine its foundations and give rise to a host of distortions. Here, that is to say, we have a double failure of human systems of economy and governance. Totalitarianism lurks as a possibility in every domain, and this fact has to lead man to a revision of his whole manner of approach, without looking for systems which will serve as a panacea on his behalf and without his own responsibility.
9. The need for competitiveness is invoked, without, however, two of its features being adequately explained:
10. Sound organisation and administration are required. Although this is correct, it must not be an end in itself, but the result of a real well-being, material and anthropological, because these things, on their own, do not guarantee true success for man, the foremost example of this being those - the same - people who have plunged the world into disaster with the policies they have implemented and their models. Here it is true that "organisation and 'sound' administration are not an end in themselves; if the element of freedom is missing, we have to feel fulfilment in its futility". But cynicism rejects with irony whatever is not realised profit alone for power and comfort.
Ioanna Moutsopoulou, lawyer
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