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The Quest for a Liberal-Socialist Democracy and Development
The Quest for a Liberal-Socialist Democracy and Development: Against the Behemoth By
The Quest for a Liberal-Socialist Democracy and Development: Against the Behemoth By Vjeran Katunarić This book first published 2018 Cambridge Scholars Publishing Lady Stephenson Library, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 2PA, UK British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Copyright © 2018 by Vjeran Katunarić All rights for this book reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. ISBN (10): 1-5275-0907-9 ISBN (13): 978-1-5275-0907-8
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Acknowledgements ................................................................................... vii Introduction ................................................................................................ ix Chapter One................................................................................................. 1 Liberal Socialism Faced with the Behemoth Chapter Two ................................................................................................ 9 The Higher Immorality of the New Power Elites Chapter Three ............................................................................................ 16 The Impossible Self-Production Chapter Four .............................................................................................. 27 Endless Wars between the Madding Narcissuses? Chapter Five .............................................................................................. 39 Liberal Socialist Openness and Neoliberal Exclusiveness Chapter Six ................................................................................................ 44 Irrational Sources of the Mainstream Economy Chapter Seven............................................................................................ 54 The Intellectual Self-Closings Chapter Eight............................................................................................. 66 The Alienated Workers in the Former Yugoslavia and Contemporary Venezuela Chapter Nine.............................................................................................. 78 The Elective Affinities to Non-Democracy Chapter Ten ............................................................................................... 86 A Brawl in the Family or the Common Ruin?
Table of Contents
Chapter Eleven .......................................................................................... 91 A Liberal-Socialist Agenda for the 21st Century Chapter Twelve ....................................................................................... 102 Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies Designing / Performing / Protecting and Stimulating / Decision-Making / SWOTing / Conclusions with an Epilogue / Epilogue Chapter Thirteen ...................................................................................... 156 Towards a Democratic World Government Chapter Fourteen ..................................................................................... 166 Conclusions The Old and the New Behemoth / The Soviet Rejection of the New Behemoth / The Behemoth’s Experts and Intellectuals / The Irresistible Charm of the Nobility / The Self-Incurred Immaturity / A View to the Future References ............................................................................................... 180 Index ........................................................................................................ 191
This is my sixteenth book, with the first one published in 1978. Most of them were written in Croatian. Some parts of this book integrate various topics dealt with in the other books within a common framework that may be termed the dialectics of societal development. In the growth of knowledge about this process, I have mostly learned from my late professors Rudi Supek and Ivan Kuvaþiü, sociologists and colleagues at the famous journal Praxis, which gathered leading minds of socialist and liberal thought in the former Yugoslavia and the world at large. They were preoccupied with the issue how sociological theory might be adapted for the sake of building an idea of an advanced socialism. One of their central tenets, for which I am immensely grateful, is that socialism must be a form of society in which the individual is obliged to take part in various types of collective activity, but must also be free to get out of the collective for any reason, thus alternating between the social and personal aspects of life. The idea of a dialectical relationship between the individual and the collective is entrenched in most parts of this book, with a focus on liberal or democratic socialism as the most appropriate political and economic framework for the sustainable development of human society in the coming future. In the preparation of this book I am especially indebted to my colleagues and friends, in particular Dragan Laloviü for many fruitful dialogues, including criticisms, on the topic of liberty as, what he maintains, a mission impossible for both liberal and socialist thought. Next, I am also grateful to Biserka Cvjetiþanin for many years of our collaborative work on cultural policy research, which served as a platform for designing the policy of sustainability in this book. My special gratitude goes to John Jacobs. His extraordinary good work in editing of the manuscript made many places in the book clearer and much easier to read than beforehand. Last, but not least, I am deeply indebted to Blanka Katunariü for her encouragement to continue with writing the manuscript based on an idea that leads through an uncharted territory rather than routine pathways of a theory about society. Her genuine interest shown in my reading aloud of parts of the manuscript corresponded to her concerns about the future of
humanity, which she expressed in another way through her abstract paintings. Given that I have written so much about the opportunities and pitfalls of contemporary societies in their attempts to come up with a really bad habit—which is to purposely impose upon themselves and others schemes of development which their leading elites know very well cannot provide adequate answers to the main problems of development; but I am not sure that my arguments have reached the right ears—this book is most probably my last attempt to put forth some reasonable hope for our common good and our common future as a society of humanity par excellence. For holding on to this last thread of patience I must thank eventually many of my anonymous readers, at least those from the area of the former Yugoslavia, a country that for some time stirred a hope in many of us. This book is dedicated to all the victims of the tremendous delusions that dismembered the country into the hopeless parts of what Monty Python called “something completely different”. Zadar, 9 September 2017 Vjeran Katunariü
[T]he meeting went on and on. (Ilf and Petrov, The Twelve Chairs) You will die when you begin to doubt your ideals. (Silvije Strahimir Kranjþeviü, Mojsije [Moses]) [T]he fundamental and final purpose of the revolution was not, as some have thought, to destroy religious authority and weaken political authority. (Alexis de Tocqueville, The Old Regime and the French Revolution)
This book is not written as another tribute to the laudable writings of Alexis de Tocqueville. Of course, it is to his credit that he first recognised counterrevolutionary processes in the pioneer democratic countries, i.e., France and the United States, thus uncovering self-defeating elements within the democratic revolutions (Tocqueville 2010 ; Tocqueville 2000 ). One such element is the penchant for centralized government. Another is the emergence of the new aristocratic class in the shape of industrial capitalists. He noticed that they, like the old aristocrats, distance themselves from the workers. Nevertheless, Tocqueville shied away from egalitarianism because, as he admonishes, it converts equality into the strongest source of a new despotism. Tocqueville’s criticisms represent central points of reference in modern political and social theory. Most authors, including contemporary Marxists, share Tocqueville’s pessimism as regards the present-day democracy. This is not surprising, since no sober commentator can close his/her eyes before the tremendous rise of social inequalities along with the revival of authoritarianism at the top and the bottom of contemporary societies. These processes do not represent a chapter of social egalitarianism and obviously do not fit Tocqueville’s anti-egalitarian tenets—apart from the fact that they have some relevance in the study of early Soviet socialism. Against his explanation, however, speaks the very fact that eventually the idea of equality was abandoned in the policies of both socialism and liberalism. At the same time, and probably for that very reason, the (core) meaning of liberty (for all) has also been dramatically changed. Eventually, the longer the increase of social inequality lasts, the heavier
the consequences. One consequence is the exhaustion of the willingness for social change along with the imagination of a more equitable society. Evidently, democratic optimism lived briefly, when democracy was young and flourished in a few countries. Typically, political movements smell of optimism until they reach their peaks: in that moment they feel that everything is possible. This sense was so strong that both democratic parties, i.e., liberal and communist-socialist, assumed that they even did not need each other as partners in democracy. Precisely this is the crux of the main argument in this book, i.e., how the decoupling of the revolutionary motto, born in the French revolution, namely liberty and equality (cum fraternity), has gradually destroyed democracy. This certainly does not represent the crux of Tocqueville’s explanation. The ambiguous political moves for and against democracy, both in the first liberal-democratic societies, France and the United States, and in the first socialist-communist society, the Soviet Union, have undermined the lawful interdependence between liberty and equality. In liberal democracy, the free market and privatisation became unconditional and exclusive principles. Liberty is constitutional, but only halfway. Alone, without being informed by educational, health, employment, and other welfare policies, freedom limited to free entrepreneurship facilitated increasing social inequalities. Eventually, the latter debased liberalism into the neoliberal doctrine of the unfettered market and of the minimal, i.e., military and police, state, eventually stripped of its socially protective functions. In the case of the Soviet Union, social equality in terms of the overall distribution of the relative poverty, except among the political elites, engendered a totalitarian regime in which liberty was ruled out as the “bourgeois ideology”. Of course, the modern democracy had its stellar moments. However, these were short-lived. Apart from the first year of the French Revolution, before the introduction of the state terror, and the first years of the October Revolution in Russia under Lenin’s leadership, the great moments shone forth in the French Third Republic, then in the anti-war movement in the United States which signified the termination of the war in Vietnam, as well as in the rise of social liberalism in parts of the West and of elements of direct democracy in Yugoslavian countries in the second half of the 1960s. In those cases, the hope for a more equitable society twinkled in politics and broader society. Still, again, the barriers to such developments were much stronger. This book explains why this happened, why the two democratic ideologies repelled each other like halves of a broken magnet. It will also
The Quest for a Liberal-Socialist Democracy and Development
be shown later in the book that some affinities exist within these democratic ideologies, even in parallel from their beginnings, toward nondemocratic ideologies. The same tendency is also equally responsible for the failure of liberal socialism, a democratic ideology devised as a sustainable mixture between liberalism and socialism. The main philosophical explanation of the non-democratic tendency within democratic ideologies concerns their “self-incurred immaturity”, as Immanuel Kant designated the immaturity of humanity as regards its unpreparedness to cease with wars and consequently inaugurate a long era of peace (Kant 1784). A similar fault is identified by leading liberal and socialist authors, such as Mill, Marx and Trotsky. They were intellectually ahead of their time, replete with authoritarian rather than democratic habits.1 Yet, they tended to ignore the uglier face of the revolutions, Jacobins and American vigilantes among liberal revolutionaries, or consider Stalinists, as in the case of Trotsky, just as bureaucratic perverts. Albeit by the end of the rule of Stalinism, the Party was prepared to initiate a process of de-Stalinisation and somewhat democratise the political atmosphere in the Party, this attempt was rendered useless and all too late to remove the democratic deficit. Hypocrisy marks the liberal democratic mannerism in today’s West, with a neoliberalism which is openly impressed by the sovereignty of big corporations and is obviously prepared not only to cast off any idea of the economy democracy, but also to eliminate the classical liberal mechanism of the three independent branches of power (judicial, parliamentary and executive power) by means of securing support in all three branches for the operation of those big corporations. Another source of the divergence between the two originally democratic and basically non-contradictory ideologies of freedom and equality emerged from a niche in Big Science and social science, as well. It is the idea of a self-producing system. Although the idea was born from a metatheory of biology (the latter meticulously elaborated in functionalistic sociology), and not from empirical research, it captures the conundrum of the tendency toward separation between liberalism and socialism, and individual and society alike. The broad obsession with the idea of self-production, especially in American politics since 1960s, has been reinforced by the diffusion of the culture of pathological narcissism.
Otherwise, this seem to be a very old republican vice that can be traced from Plato’s Republic to some European Renaissance towns’ epigram that reads Obliti privatorum publica curate (freely translated as “The public sphere should not succumb to the private sins”) (cf. Lonza 2006).
The core belief in self-sufficiency created a cultural black hole that absorbed the rest of the democratic potential and opened the way to restrengthening the linkages with authoritarian ideologies. As a result, both ideologies have established their partnerships first of all with nationalism2 and then an array of non- or anti-democratic ideologies. Another consequence is the enthronement of “crisis management” and the demotion of the agenda of disarmament and peace that was ostensibly pivotal in the international politics of the 1980s, which signified a peak in the process of the détente between the West and the East. Due to such a complete degradation of democratic values, the contemporary crisis of civilization cannot be taken as a replication of previous declines in history, such as of the empires of Byzantium, Turkey and Britain, or of the city-states of Venice and Genoa. Their collapses were followed by the relatively fast rise of new empires and states (cf. Thomson 1998). The contemporary decline is much more devastating. The capitulation of socialism brought into question the value of at least one democratic principle, social equality, and probably of both equality and liberty, for their existence is fundamentally interdependent. Last, but not least, the contemporary decline casts doubt on the possibility of the peaceful survival of a large part of humankind. Instead, millions, tomorrow probably hundreds of millions, from the global South are prepared to migrate through deserts and seas, knowingly risking their lives to reach a place in the global North. Meanwhile, the former democratic contenders who have become antagonists become more similar rather than more different through their ideological defaults. Thus, the contemporary neoliberalism resembles the former “actually existing socialism” in that it rules over its parts of the world by its version of Politburo. The Communist Politburo had its seat in the Kremlin, whereas the corporate one has many seats, thanks to the worldwide networking of the neoliberal hegemony, in the boards of the World Bank, IMF and, of course, in a host of big corporations (cf. Stiglitz 2002). This way the contemporary post-democracies that have arisen both from the old democracies in the West and the new democracies in the East, advance their agenda of re-establishing links with undemocratic countries, from China to Middle East sheikdoms. It seems now that the 2
In this book as well as in many other works, nationalism is not designated merely as a conservative ideology, although nationalism was progressive for a relatively short time, like in anti-colonial movements (which, again, were not necessarily democratic). Later on, nationalism became mainly an authoritarian ideology, as many nation-states, shortly after their establishment, denied the existence of some national minorities or persecuted them (Tamir 1993).
The Quest for a Liberal-Socialist Democracy and Development
West takes both its own pre-democratic past and the undemocratic traditions of non-Western countries as its model for the new empire. Even though some other processes affected the decline of democracy, such as the economic crises that hit both capitalistic and socialistic economies, the self-closing of the democratic ideologies furnishes the most vigorous cause of their decline. Since the beginning, the belief in self-sufficiency was vested among the Soviet communists with the doctrine of Bolshevik socialism as a one-size-fits-all for export as a salutary invention for a world exploited by capitalism or feudalism (cf. Trotsky 1980 ). This animus led the Soviet Union to totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is what Karl Popper has depicted as the closed society (Popper 1944), though liberal capitalism is by no means an open society, at least for installing forms of democracy other than representative. In a similar vein, once (neo)liberalism joined the different conservatisms, the closed society of the Western hemisphere developed into an antagonistic society, for it cannot be maintained without real or fabricated enemies. So, neoliberalism replicates the liability of Soviet socialism. For instance, Paul Krugman writes about neoliberalism as a great economic irrationality, for it paradoxically implements austerity policies during recessions. This nonsense is, he contends, the product of “unthinking”, thus echoing John Maynard Keynes’ allusion to proponents of the doctrine of the self-propelling market (Krugman 2015). Slavoj Žižek addresses the general shortcomings of neoliberalism as the product of a new fundamentalist ideology, for it typically ignores the bad consequences of its doings. This in turn reopens, he suggests, chances for a new socialism (Žižek 2015). Is the situation really favourable for the emergence of a new socialism? In any case, to come back to the centre-stage, a new socialism must necessarily re-establish its links with liberalism. The same goes for a renovated liberalism. This is the platform of this book. Various chapters will provide arguments in favour of a mixed economy under democracy. It presupposes that the welfare state can and must be reinstalled, this time at a regional and, moreover, a global level in order to recover the balance between liberty and equality for the sake of humanity as a whole. If any lesson can be learnt from modern history, it is that the two principles are symbiotic. If one is depreciated, the other one is, too. The increase of social inequalities in any society primarily threatens people belonging to the lower social classes, which almost everywhere constitute the social majority. While some authoritarian regimes (Brezhnev’s Neo-Stalinism, Tito’s somewhat softened repression in Yugoslavia or Gaddafi’s religious-
military regime of Libya) provided welfare benefits for workers and other citizens, these benefits made for a zero-sum in terms of democratic principles. People enjoyed welfare privileges at the expense of freedoms, primarily the freedom of speech, the very basis of any democracy. This contradiction obscured the outlook for building a truly democratic society out of these regimes. The latter will more likely arise from a common and deliberate effort by (formerly) advanced democracies, including the United States, and some former socialist countries, including Russia. Such an achievement may further pave the way to a cosmopolitan democratic state, a topic which will be developed more in the concluding chapter of this book. Now several notes follow which clarify mostly what this book is not about. This remark is inspired by critical comments on some of the author’s earlier works dealing with similar topics; nevertheless, most arguments in this book are rather more specific, more elaborated and as such new. Granted, this book does not discuss Republicanism (Rousseau and his present-day followers), as the author does not understand Republicanism as a missing link between Liberalism and Socialism, nevertheless such a position is theoretically legitimate, of course, depending on its capacity to explain why divergences between liberalism and socialism have prevailed or why republicanism in some countries, mostly in the United States actually, is a proxy for the alliance between corporations and far-right movements, including nationalism. In a couple of footnotes, starting with this one,3 it will additionally be clarified why the author considers Republicanism as a democratic, yet non-liberal and non-socialist, ideology that, except in the above-mentioned conservative and regressive forms, was never translated into a democratic political practice in the sense of “non-domination” as a virtue for all (why this does not mean equality then?) (cf. Maynor 2003). Nevertheless, in another part of this book, in particular in Chapter 12, a position will be expounded that may fit the definition of modern republicanism. It is about the virtues of aristocratic or elite culture that might perhaps become the ideal in a 3
Such a republican is, for instance, Charles Taylor, who interprets Rousseau as the mastermind behind Marxism: “There are no direct followers of Rousseau today, but this master idea of the general will does animate a number of views about democracy which are very alive in our day … the most influential heir of Rousseau in this sense is Marxism, and in particular its Leninist variant. There is an assumption deep in Marxism that conflictual opposition comes from class society, that once this is overcome, an underlying harmony of purpose emerges, in which ‘the free development of each become the condition for the free development of all’” (Taylor 1986/2017).
The Quest for a Liberal-Socialist Democracy and Development
democratic society as well—unlike primitive egalitarianism, such as uravnilovka in earlier socialism, for instance. Also, this book does not focus on China as an example of the appropriate synthesis of socialism and liberalism. This is primarily because of China’s infamous record on human rights and freedoms. One can only hope that China will become able to shift its politics toward democracy and condemn such tragic events as the killing of students protesting on Tiananmen Square in 1989, a crime committed directly by the Communist Party. Next, this book does not provide a list of political parties or movements with liberal-socialist components nor does it analyse differences in their programmes. Instead, much more attention is devoted to the dividing lines between social liberalism and liberal socialism as the two probably closest, yet not integrated, political-economic doctrines. Furthermore, this book does not properly discuss the merits of the classic works of socialism, e.g., Marx, Engels and Lenin, or of liberalism, e.g., Locke, Hobbes and Mill. Likewise, and referring to other critical remarks, the thesis that classical liberalism and neoliberalism are different doctrines is correct. Nevertheless, they do not come from different planets. For instance, no liberal classics explained why or when the market should be free or regulated or to what extent or with what presumable consequences. Correspondingly, one cannot blame Milton Friedman, for instance, because he strongly argued against any governmental intervention in the market and emphasised that government must serve the market and not vice versa. He can be blamed for ignoring the worst political consequences of imposing his model in the case of Allende’s and Pinochet’s Chile. This is his moral, civic and intellectual responsibility, whether he possessed such virtues or not. However, finding a proper solution for the problem of the balance between state and market was primarily a task for socialist thought, notably its classics, although even nowadays socialist thought, as it stands, is not substantially closer to a solution probably because a good part of the Left does not consider economy as its domain, but rather leaves it to neoliberals and subsequently blames only them for terrible years in the world economy. To be sure, a point of balance between the planned economy and the free association of producers, whether associated by market or some other way, is not fixed once and forever. Nevertheless, the thesis, very popular among many Marxists, that the actually existing socialism of the 20th century did not correspond to Marx’s ideas is not entirely true. The crux of the problem with sanctifications of liberal and socialist or communist classics probably lays in the fact that they could not know everything or
predict the future, as we cannot either, simply because any empirical prediction or recommendation generated on this basis or formulated in a way that deviates from the neoliberal model is obstructed in many ways by the new focal centres of the central power, which keep a close eye on new developments in the scientific communities. Finally, the merits of liberalism and socialism, such as whose morality, whether that of the free market or socialist planning, is closer to the needs of humanity (cf. Williamson 2017), are also beyond the scope of this book. An appropriate answer staying in line with the arguments in this book might be that truth does not necessarily correlate with the middle between the two opposing sides. The truth is more pragmatic and is rather around the middle—and is not fixed. If nothing else, both parties may change their positions. Even in the case of an ideal cooperation or balance, e.g., in the distribution of seats in parliament or in corporate boards, within a democratic system, their merits will certainly change contingently, i.e., depending on situations in which the merits come (interchangeably) to the forefront. Everyone can achieve their best results when their abilities are wanted, whether participating or managing in freedom and creativity or in equality and solidarity with others. In politics and society, though, it is impossible to proclaim a winner in the Olympic manner, i.e., for all times. At any rate, this book takes into account different theories and disciplines.4 Finding solutions to the major problem of democracy and sustainable development requires many efforts for which academic and policy communities are not prepared enough. The same is true for broader society. It lacks some important virtues, primarily social solidarity and changing habits of learning about the world. The key explanation in this book is that the problem mostly originates in power elites and their strategies of selective ignorance and of irresponsibility. It is the greatest misfortune for a society to be led by people who are equally or even more immature than the rest of society. This is the case of the new negative selection that we, who lived under the former socialism, experienced as the main cause of its decay. In a similar vein, today’s leading figures expeditiously spend our remaining time and resources. Their last option seems to be initiating endless local wars. In parallel to these rebuffs we, of course, necessarily lose purely academic arguments, as well. 4
For the same reason the chosen references in the book are just a tiny sample of the large body of references from different subject areas, ranging from a psychological explanation of the economic irrationality of neoliberalism to a pseudo-ontology of the monadic element in systems theory to Kant’s concept of the self-incurred immaturity of humanity.
The Quest for a Liberal-Socialist Democracy and Development
The last part of the book maps out ideas for a sustainable and democratic economy and society based on a permanent peace. In this regard, especially due to the swiftly vanishing arguments for peace, the end of the book brings a surprise—even for someone whose habits of thought are not different from his habits of heart. This time the heartbeats were somewhat faster than what the power of the mind can follow. It is the presumption of the durable existence of a primordial and very large community of peace in space, which is far from us in terms of miles and light-years, but not so far for a balanced mind and heart. This postulate sounds risky, as a deus ex machina in the old Greek dramaturgy, yet only for positivist and other non-humanistic science, not otherwise.
CHAPTER ONE LIBERAL SOCIALISM FACED WITH THE BEHEMOTH
Liberal socialism1 appeared earlier in the 20th century, as a reformist ideology endorsing the mixed economy—in Germany in the works of Eduard Bernstein and Werner Sombart, in Italy in those of Carlo Roselli, in Great Britain in those of R. H. Tawney, in Hungary in those of Oszkár Jászi, etc. (Gaus, Kukathas, 2004). Some of their ideas were implemented in the Western welfare states’ policies following the end of the Second World War and between the 1960s and the early 1980s in policies of liberalization in some Eastern communist countries. Certainly, this period is most important for understanding the assets and liabilities of liberal socialism, at least in the former Yugoslavia. The first impediments on the road to liberal socialism arose between the two world wars. Economist, political thinker, and second president of the Italian Republic, Luigi Einaudi, recognized a fundamental problem of democracy as a tendency within the democratic ideologies toward selfclosing, which eventually may lead to their self-erosion. To avoid this major threat, Einaudi recommended that liberalism and socialism, as the (only) two democratic ideologies, next to competition, establish dialogue and co-operation. For him, liberal socialism is basically a pragmatic idea that should be dedicated to providing practical solutions for the sake of establishing equilibrium between liberal and socialist principles: In the face of concrete problems, the economist can never be a liberalist or an interventionist or a socialist at any cost. From time to time he opposes protective customs duties, because he believes that economic activity is maximized when the path is open without limits to competition from foreign goods… If the solution is liberalist, it wins out not because it is 1
Other names include Socialist Liberalism, Ethical Socialism, Organized Liberalism, and Libertarian Socialism, sometimes even Social Liberalism, although they do not always have the same meanings, esp. as far as Social Liberalism is concerned.
Chapter One liberalist but because it is more advantageous than the others. (Einaudi, 2006: 74)
Despite the moderate approach, liberal socialism was not a challenge to the rising Fascism (corporatism in Einaudi’s terms) in Italy. Admittedly, Italian Fascism implemented many of the policies of socialism (e.g., full employment, social healthcare and housing), but it grew into a totalitarian ideology similar to Stalinism that redesigned Marxism-Leninism as an entirely anti-liberal ideology geopolitically framed as “Socialism in one country” (Stalin, 1978). In between the two world wars, different ideologies offered a variety of new deals between governments and populaces (cf. Mann, 2012). The most famous one, the American New Deal, was left-centred in contrast to preceding governmental politics in favour of industrial corporations and banks. Earlier, Fascists in Italy and a decade later Nazis in Germany, militarists in Japan, and their counterparts in other countries, launched their versions of welfare regimes in combination with nationalist and racist resentments. One basic feature of the extreme right welfare policies was the exclusion of the others, and this was intended only for compatriots of the same race. Such politics reached their apogee in Nazism with the “final solution” (Endlösung), the programme of annihilation of Jews and other “lower races”. A similar, yet non-racist, blueprint of welfarism as a means of social integration was introduced by liberal and socialist parties. Yet, soon their sectarianisms purified the socialist elements in liberalism, and, vice versa, the liberal elements in socialism. Over time, the purified contents became increasingly similar to the non-democratic ideologies of their forerunners, i.e., feudal aristocracies and monarchs. Hence, former enemies became allies. Such, for instance, is the alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia first established in 1933. At first glance this looked like a marriage of convenience. But, political truths, as all other truths, have limited duration and varied scope. Also, they change their substantial beliefs and eventually become similar to a non-democratic ideology, rather than the other way around. This is because the regression of democracy runs its course faster than the progression of authoritarian regimes toward democracy. This trend is further caused by different historical trajectories. Authoritarian rule lasted for thousands of years, practically from the beginnings of civilization or first empires. Modern democracy, on the other hand, is young and frail. The Soviet system passed through several phases, from Lenin’s New Economic Politics (NEP), which introduced the market prices for agricultural and industrial products, to Stalin’s terror over peasants followed by his
Liberal Socialism Faced with the Behemoth
terror over the intelligentsia and other members of the middle class. From 1926 onwards, economic planning was completely centralised with no sign of liberalization until Stalin’s death (1953), more precisely until the end of the short-lived reforms authored by Nikita Khrushchev (1957-1963) (cf. Nove, 1975). The elements of the Soviet new deal occurred afterwards, during Brezhnev’s era of neo-Stalinism, which will be addressed in Chapter 2. On the eve of the Second World War, the geopolitical platforms of the main players on the European stage were prepared both for war against the Soviet Union and for collaboration with it.2 Where did this ambiguity come from? It is not immaterial to argue that the conservative West expected a lot from Hitler. Although a bizarre right extremist, he was expected to establish a new outpost of the Western bulwark against communism. Basically, Hitler was deeply ambiguous. On one hand, he admired Western colonialism and racism alike. On the other hand, he was deeply disturbed by the German defeat at the hands of the Western powers allied in the Entente in the First World War. Russia was also a member the Entente, but it had to withdraw from the war due both to the demoralisation of its army and to revolution in the country. Western conservatives led by British Prime Minister Chamberlain, who in 1938 signed the Munich Agreement with Hitler (due to which the latter dismembered Czechoslovakia and annexed the Sudetenland, the part in which the German diaspora lived) assumed that Hitler would soon turn the tables and attack the Soviet Union. He was expected thus to complete the mission of the anti-Bolshevik bloc of nations and various antiCommunist factions in the 1920s. These, nevertheless, failed along with the anti-Bolshevik White Army that launched an anti-Semitic image of Bolshevism. The Bolsheviks were labelled as the organiser of the Jewish conspiracy against the Christian West, this time under the guise of anticapitalism. In his speeches, Hitler also propounded the anti-Semitic image of the Bolsheviks, but not on the grounds of the Bolsheviks’ antiChristianism. 2
Note: most facts and data in this chapter, concerning the natural history of the Second World War, are not properly referenced, since they belong to general history and most of them may be taken for granted. Another reason, of course, is technical, i.e., the avoidance of accumulating too many references from various research areas in the book. Of course, some interpretations, such as some specific reasons for the decision of the United States to enter into the war are solely the author’s and are specifically connected to the general topic of the book, i.e., the relations between liberalism and socialism in various periods, including the last world war.
Actually, Nazis started their political campaigns against Bolshevism earlier on with the spectacular Great Anti-Bolshevist Exhibition from 1936 to 1938. This was the first serious attempt at a symbolic positioning of the Nazi ideology vis-à-vis the Bolsheviks and, indirectly, the West. Yet, the exhibition was not properly an announcement of an imminent war against the Soviet Union (see http://research.calvin.edu/german-propagandaarchive/anti-bolshevism.htm). Also, the follow-up from the German invasion of the Soviet Union was more reminiscent of what happened with Napoleon’s invasion of Russia than the ideological ferociousness of the White Army by the end of the First World War. What followed the Munich Agreement, however, was a shock to the Western Alliance—not Hitler’s occupation of Poland, Czechoslovakia, and France, but the fairly unexpected German-Soviet (Ribbentrop– Molotov) pact from 1939 to 1941. Albeit short-lived, the pact was a warning sign to the West, primarily Great Britain which, amid the frequent German air-attacks, was not defeated. It was obvious that Hitler needed a provisory peace with Russia in order to penetrate deeper into Western Europe. The Munich Agreement, thus, was Hitler’s geostrategic gesture indicative of his strong resentment toward his Western neighbours. It was also clear that Hitler’s racism was by no means the same as Western racism in general, including anti-Semitism. Hitler’s racism served rather to reinforce his imperialistic ambition. Besides, he had decided to build the West Wall as a bulwark against possibly new breakthroughs from the West (cf. Short, Taylor, 2004). For Germany, the wall was a clear indication of distrust toward France and Great Britain, despite their whiteness. It turned out that without victory in this “intra-racial” war against Anglo-Saxons, non-allied Romans, i.e., France, and Russia, it was practically impossible for Nazi Germany to win the war against the “lower races”, i.e., colonised peoples, as well. Actually, Hitler considered direct war(s) against subaltern races not only unnecessary, for these peoples alone were weak enemies, but also futile as long as their white masters are not defeated. More than any defeat in the previous war, in which he was a soldier of the German Army, Hitler was offended because of the humiliation of Germany by the imposition of enormous amounts in war retributions. Last, but not least, at the end of the First World War, Germany established a peace treaty with Russia. This act could by no means be taken as a sign of German defeat or capitulation, unlike with the Western Entente. The new pact with Soviet Union, signed in 1939, symbolically reinstated the terms of 1917, when Germany was still waging war against the West. Now, Hitler secured a provision of peaceful coexistence with Russia.
Liberal Socialism Faced with the Behemoth
Likewise, he established the terms of internal coexistence between the two faces of German ideology. One was socialism in an exclusive, nationalistracist form combined with an authoritarian welfare policy inherited from Bismarck. The other face of the new German ideology was anti-Communism in combination with a form of domestic monopolistic capitalism (the Krupp family). The ideological pedigree was further complicated by the spectacularisation of Hitler’s godlike figure and his anti-intellectual speeches. It was a storm of words coming from an obscure background consisting of Teutonic Siegfried and an updated patriotism. In a similar vein, his internationalism was feigned mostly for tactical reasons, contingent on the military alliances with Italy and Japan. The Soviet Union was also a war enemy, yet less ideological than military. For Hitler, the Red Army represented the strongest menace from the East, yet not equally obnoxious as the West, for Russia did not actually defeat or humiliate Germany in the previous war. Likewise, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, leaders of the communist uprising in Berlin in 1919, were not properly Lenin’s novices. Also, the Soviet Union did not provide military assistance to the communist rebels. In sum, German ideological resentment against the Soviet Union was comparatively weaker than its imperialist resentment toward France and Great Britain. The latter were viewed along with the US, as enormous wealthy economies basically owned, according to Nazi propaganda, by a Jewish plutocracy. Besides, powerful Jews in the Soviet Politburo, such as Trotsky, had at best political, but not financial, power. Thus, the Soviets could not destroy German economic power other than by military means. Why then did Hitler cancel the Pact and invade the Soviet Union? Again, the ideological motives were probably less relevant. Even Hitler’s military motives were questionable. How might he have counted on being able to conquer Russia, Great Britain, and the world as the whole, or at least Asia (with the support of Japan)? Evidently, he did not have that capability nor did his generals believe that he was such a military genius. The only explanation left concerns Hitler’s irrationality. He had a grandiose ego-projection that manifested a pathological narcissism combined with a delusional desire to rule over the whole world. In this case, two forms of pathological narcissism were merging, his own personal form and that of the German collective. The collective pathological narcissism resulted from years of mass rallies and meetings, with Hitler as the central figure, all of which served as a brain-washing machinery that was as efficient as liberalism in Weimar’s Germany was inefficient in planting its roots in traditional community-based Germany.
Franz Neumann named this tendency of transforming the masses, uprooted from their idyllic communalism, into a huge bureaucratic and military machinery a “Behemoth”, with an obvious reference to the omnivorous monster of the Bible (Neumann, 2009). Nevertheless, as will be shown in Chapter 3, the pathological narcissism is the product of the economic and political system as much as of the exclusive ideologies. The ideological tendency was crystalized in the theory of autopoietic, or self-producing, systems that are allegedly immanent in all living beings. This was the most popular part of the general systems theory embraced both by American and Soviet scholars interested into upgrading cybernetics after the Second World War. On the other hand, there was no direct link among the Nazi, Western, and Soviet technocratic ambitions, except in developing space technology as the most powerful branch of the military buildup, which significantly shortened the path of ballistics from departure to the end point on the Earth. Naturally, the common denominator of all these efforts is an ever-increasing power of destruction. Now, let us go back again to the stage of the Second World War in order to elucidate the role of the fourth big player, namely, the United States. As at the beginning of the First World War, the United States did not want to take sides (except to support the British), although it was close to the cause of Western anti-fascism, although not close to the Soviet Union as an ally. The United States waited for three reasons. One was the sense of exceptionalism in the American international doctrine, based on the unpreparedness of the American public to accept a massive engagement, and the consequent losses, in another world war taking place in Europe. The other reason was, of course, the war that was going on with Japan in the Pacific. And the third reason was that it assumed that it had already secured dominance in the world in 1919 with the Treaty of Versailles and the fall of last three historical empires, i.e., Austro-Hungarian, Turkish, and Russian. Yet, the new version of the Russian empire, i.e., the Soviet Union, was threatening to rise again after the defeat of the German Army in Stalingrad by the end of 1942 and the subsequent breakthrough of the Red Army into Eastern Europe. Soon thereafter, the United States opted for the Soviet Union as the new, yet only temporary, ally.3 Both the American and the Soviet ideology, the liberal and the socialist-communist, were already “vaccinated” against the mutual approach. So, any prospect 3 Symptomatically, at the beginning of 1943, following the destruction of the German Army on the Eastern front, even Fascist Italy, Romania, and Hungary were prepared to abandon their alliances with Germany.
Liberal Socialism Faced with the Behemoth
for their convergence toward a liberal or democratic socialist order did not exist until the 1980s. Most recent versions of the New Deal economy had been incorporated into the welfare-states in the West under American control and in a way (e.g., full employment) in the East under Soviet control. Although new versions of welfarism lasted for decades, they were absorbed by the Cold War enmity. For, sometimes it looked as if another world war was underway. Still, even after the breakdown of Eastern socialismcommunism, when the door was open for the breakthrough of neoliberal capitalism into Eastern Europe, the design of the global free-market offered a reminder of the warning issued by classical sociologist Émile Durkheim about the nature of the free and deregulated market. He maintained that such an anomic interplay among market forces is another version of the brute of the Hobbesian natural state, i.e., the continuation of the war by other means (Durkheim, 1964: 203-204). The martial character of the free market has been reshaped thanks to Western neoliberalism, which then moved beyond the West, into areas, including the new Russia, where it showed its ugliest face in terms of crony capitalism. Russia under Putin has entered a capitalist wilderness inside the country and undertaken some military expeditions in the neighbouring north Caucasus and Ukraine countries, in imitation of the republican-styled White House and Pentagon-directed action in the Middle East. Yet, beforehand it entered the war against Chechnya as its internal territory. What were or still are the corresponding aggressive strategies in the American zones of interest? Analogous cases include the “Arab springs” with a series of brutal civil wars from Libya to Syria, mainly countries ruled by various dictators reluctant to sell their most valuable resources to multinational corporations. Nowadays, similar sabre-rattlings take place around the Baltics, Serbia, Poland, North Korea, China, Qatar, and everywhere else where conflicts for natural resources, including strategically important territories, involve local or smaller countries, as well as superpowers and big multinationals. This also sets the stage for the process of transition for formerly mature democracies into post-democracies. It brings about a new authoritarian rule that, like its predecessor in earlier centuries, enters international wars primarily to tighten control over their home societies. The same conditions obtained during the Cold War era. The new cold war in preparation similarly creates the conditions for an anomic international society, i.e., one without any respect for strict regulations, with a long series of “hot” wars waged with increasingly more technological conventional arms complemented by new generations of robotised soldiers. Their main task would be to serve
the many-headed monster, the newest appearance of the behemoth, by destroying everything that moves and hinders the business of the multipolar capitalistic imperialism. Unfortunately, the current destabilisation of the international order as a result of the reintroduction of the free market and deregulation are not the only destructive impulses. The new behemoth appears in the form of an expansion of supply and demand that is additionally fuelled by expansive militarisation in many areas in the world, especially in divided societies in which the hunger for arms is insatiable. Still, the main impulse toward destruction comes from the inside, where the monadic ideological core of the system is digging a black hole, the most energetic of which is the financial. Into this hole, the enormous amounts of money that major banks receive from indebted citizens and countries virtually disappear; they never return through reinvestments. Also, debt forgiveness has been removed from the agenda. This is why the whole destruction is radial rather than just externalised. Indeed, it first destroys external objects, but sooner or later it completes its destructive wave with the devastation of the interior of the disoriented power system. This account of the destruction will be developed further in the coming chapters. Therefore, the process leading to the collapse of the welfare states in both hemispheres in the 20th century began with the growth of a deeply asocial, immoral, and arrogant ego at both the individual and collective levels. It has given rise to extraordinary authoritarian states and to corporate autocracies. Both are insensitive to the hardships in natural, social, and broader international environments. The first contours of the new behemoth emerged shortly after the end of the Second World War with the renewal of ideological polarization between liberalism and socialism and between the USA and the USSR, respectively. These ideologies did not look like their original blueprints produced during the French Revolution, when human intuitions of freedom and solidarity with others were deeply interwoven.
CHAPTER TWO THE HIGHER IMMORALITY OF THE NEW POWER ELITES
In first decade of the Cold War era, American sociologist C. Wright Mills astutely described the outgrowth of authoritarian and fundamentally irresponsible elites under capitalism and socialism as “the higher immorality”. By this he primarily meant the replacement of the core of democratic ideology by “empty rhetoric”: Perhaps nothing is of more importance, both as cause and as effect, to the conservative mood than the rhetorical victory and the intellectual and political collapse of American liberalism … They have brought into public view the higher immorality as well as the mindlessness of selected upper and middle circles. And they have revealed a decayed and frightened liberalism weakly defending itself from the insecure and ruthless fury of political gangsters …The higher immorality can neither be narrowed to the political sphere nor understood as primarily a matter of corrupt men in fundamentally sound institutions. Political corruption is one aspect of a more general immorality … The higher immorality is a systematic feature of the American elite; its general acceptance is an essential feature of the mass society … “Crisis” is a bankrupted term …; as a matter of fact, it is precisely the absence of crises that is a cardinal feature of the higher immorality. For genuine crises involve situations in which men at large are presented with genuine alternatives, the moral meanings of which are clearly opened to public debate. The higher immorality, the general weakening of older values and the organization of irresponsibility have not involved any public crises; on the contrary, they have been matters of a creeping indifference and a silent hollowing out. (Mills, 1962: 332-345)
Also: As a political ‘utopia,’ liberalism has been historically specific to the rising middle classes of advancing capitalist societies; Marxism, the proclaimed creed of working class movements and parties. However, in
Chapter Two each case, as power is achieved, these political philosophies become official ideologies, and—in differing ways—are engulfed by nationalism. In terms of each, the world encounter of the super-states is defined, and from either side, fought out. In the Soviet Union, Marxism has become ideologically consolidated and subject to official control; in the United States, liberalism has become less an ideology than empty rhetoric. (Mills 1962: 20)
These remarks elucidate what has changed in the modern ideological makeup and why. Mills explains that these ideologies used to be openended and democratic-oriented because it was useful to their rise to power, when one needs more friends than foes, so to speak. Thereafter, the ideologies became self-assertive and exclusionary toward their former allies.4 After the end of the terror, the ruling groups established a variety of social contracts with the lower social strata. In the United States, the contract was based on the growth of the welfare state provisions,5 which has given a taste for consumerism among the working and the middle class. In practice, the government policy continued the one-hundred-yearsold “politics of maintaining paternalism” that was commenced in the agricultural South of the 19th century and ended only in 1965 (Alston, Ferrie, 1989). The new consensus, like the old one, was populistic. In this way, it was easier for the post-democratic political order that emerged by the end of the 20th century, especially for the Republican governments with a neoliberal affinity for welfare programs that are mostly encouraged by corporate greediness. This was unavoidable in a democratic victory won by a tiny majority vote (or the Zifferndemokratie, numerical democracy, as Max Weber called it). Such a tailored majority imposes
The first exclusions happened during the years of the Jacobin terror shortly after termination of the revolutionary turmoil in France. In a similar vein, the Bolsheviks liquidated the centrist and leftist factions remaining after the October Revolution (Bone, 1974). In the United States, the regime was less brutal, for elements of liberal democracy were still alive, and liquidations of political enemies subtler and actually fewer than in revolutions. In America, the terror was mainly focused on trade union leadership, seen as the fifth column of Soviet Communism, a feeling which was intensified by mainstream obsession with the Red Scare (cf. Knox, 1973; Goldstein, 2014). 5 Welfare programmes, prior to the 1960s and Lyndon Johnson’s “war on poverty”, mostly due to sharp criticism by conservatives, were rather weak in comparison to Franklin Roosevelt’s policies in the 1930s. Still, the United States had a tradition of welfare policies before Harry Trumann and Dwight Eisenhower and has continued them in subsequent decades.
The Higher Immorality of the New Power Elites
restrictive and basically undemocratic rules upon essentially the rest of the society. The Soviet sort of welfare state that followed the era of terror was also based on populism or the “organic consensus” (Zaslavsky, 1994). This policy was mostly embraced by manual laborers. They preferred job security to markets risks and a political pluralism that basically favoured the expansion of the job market, but no longer with permanent jobs. Eventually, when a consensus could no longer be maintained on the grounds of job security and social security, the Soviet regime launched a policy of official nationalism typical of the imperial rule, in which the central elite secured the loyalty of local elites of different nationalities in the numerous provinces, but also, directly or indirectly, introduced horizontal, interethnic conflicts. Thus, the policy of the Soviet power elite was ambiguous and likewise of a higher immorality. Sometimes it stressed the key role of the working class, sometimes that of nationality, in particular the role of Russian nationality, as the political cement of the multinational society. In a similar vein, in the United States—albeit without an ideologeme analogous to the role of the working class in Soviet politics—welfarism became a transclass policy. Still, in the 1950s, most Americans supported governmental campaigns against “reds”. Accordingly, Soviet Communism, the key ally in the war against Nazism, took the place of Nazism in the American ideological scheme.6 Something similar marked the rise to power of Donald Trump. To penetrate to the roots of his strategy, with considerable doses of nationalism, racism, and sexism, the whole political shift which replaced the “progressive” neoliberalism of the Democrats, and which abandoned the old welfarism and joblessness of the many white manual laborers, but still respected political correctness (cf. Fraser, 2016), to a regressive neoliberalism, one must go back to the beginning of the welfare state era in the United States and some other Western countries. The American social consensus was not made on the premises of national consensus typical of the European welfare states, which had a longer tradition of coupling state and civil society, where the state takes care of keeping a social balance and of reducing the proportion of social inequality, 6
“The White House began to perceive the Soviet Union as replacing Nazi Germany, as the epitome of totalitarian expansionism, and when governments in Greece and Turkey were threatened by Communist influence, Truman determined on an epochal change to American foreign policy” (Heale, 1998: 3). Nevertheless, he did not engage in the use of nuclear weapons against the great enemy, as he did in the case of Japan (see also footnote 20 in Chapter 12).
accordingly (Chirot, 1994). Of course, such a system is, to reiterate again, not necessarily democratic. The authoritarian welfare system was established by the end of the 19th century in Prussia with Chancellor Bismarck’s reforms. These reforms forged a consensus between the ruling power, embodied by him, and a large portion of the trade unions. Bismarck’s deal is structurally similar to the policies of social democrats in Germany and other Western European countries after the Second World War. These policies were based on a democratic consensus defined as a tripartite alliance among the private sector, trade unions, and the government. Likewise, social democrats were inclined to international cooperation in peace. In any case, the synthesising motto “freedom and equality” was and continues to be more theoretical than practical, although liberals and socialists, and even communists (primarily the “EuroCommunists” in Spain, France, and Italy in the 1970s and 1980s,), were recognized as democratic agonists. Yet, doubts overwhelmed the sense of democratic fairness.7 Another difference between authoritarian and democratic corporatism lays in the willingness of the latter to open the door to a competitive ideology of democracy, whether socialist or liberal, in particular in designing economic policy. Nonetheless, it would be far-fetched to assume that, for instance, Swedish policy, directed by Prime Minister Olaf Palme, who, next to Willy Brandt, was the most left-oriented European 7 Ambiguities in this regard were prominent among classics on both sides. For instance, Marx did not want Communist revolutions to eliminate free speech, although he was not entirely clear in this respect. Likewise, in his Capital he devised a dualistic concept consisting of state planning, on one hand, and “free associations of producers,” on the other (Marx, 1996). Furthermore, how far the fissure between theory and practice might be troublesome illustrates Marx’s political debacle in his rivalry with anarchists in the Paris Commune in 1871. Similarly, his lifelong friend and collaborator Engels was politically defeated by anarchists in the Second International. Max Weber’s political theory and practice represents an analogous example of liberal ambiguity. Theoretically, he advocated a combination of the bureaucratic welfare state and liberalism. He even expressed his admiration for socialism, which he saw basically as the idea of human brotherhood. Nonetheless, he strongly criticized the Bolshevik Revolution as the strongest source of bureaucratization in history. In his political commentaries on international affairs he was a German cultural nationalist who advocated the strengthening of the prestige and the influence of Germany. Furthermore, he shared the classical liberal belief in a “democratic peace” (as a product of the growth of international free trade). Lastly, again similarly to Marx, he was unsuccessful in his attempts at a political career (defeated as a candidate of a liberal party in the elections for the city assembly in Frankfurt am Main).
The Higher Immorality of the New Power Elites
social democrat after the Second World War, was delighted with Yugoslav self-managing socialism. Palme declared himself a “democratic socialist”. Thereby, he positioned the United States as the type of society he is against because of the extreme gap between rich and poor. (https:// www.reddit.com/r/socialism/comments/1aaew9/olof_palme_why_i_am_a _democratic_socialist/). Although this specific view was almost identical with the Yugoslav doctrine of socialism, Palme was very much critical of Tito’s policy of persecution toward the political dissidents and of authoritarian socialism in general.8 In the main, neither the West nor the East wanted to open its doors to the winds blowing from the opposite side. One might contend, though, that such an opening might have produced various consequences similar to those in the Soviet hemisphere in the beginning of the 1990s. Given that the epochal change has not only swept away the actually existing socialism, but also discouraged dreams of a better society in socialist camps throughout the world, the present-day remnants of the Red Scare are misplaced. Yet, the Red Scare is still underpinned by an apocalyptic vision of the United States as a liberal-socialist state (in 2016, provoked by various speeches in the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders). Paradoxically, something similar has happened in the former leading country of socialism. In post-Soviet Russia, liberal socialism has been ruled out in favour of the crony capitalism of oligarchs orchestrated by Putin’s presidential rule. Because of that, Russia again looks like an imperial power. When we compare this context with Mills’ remarks in the 1950s, “the higher immorality” of the ruling classes seems fairly resurgent nowadays. In the words of a student of Mills’ work: When The Power Elite was published, the three most important Cabinet positions in a Republican administration were occupied by a former corporate attorney (Secretary of State) and by two former corporate executives (Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense). The President of the United States had been a general. (Whitfield, 2014: 540) 8
Because of the criticism of Tito’s hard-line policy against dissidents, a rumour circulated through the rank-and-file of the Yugoslav League of Communists that Palme was a CIA-agent. This is an example of a specific form of the higher immorality qua hypocrisy. Such a harsh reaction against Palme was probably a result of what happened during those years with Tito and the Nobel Committee. In 1973, Tito was proposed as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. The proposal was rejected by a majority vote by the Nobel Committee (in Oslo) on the grounds that Yugoslav prisons were full of political prisoners (this clarification, thus, was congruent with Palme’s remarks regarding Tito).
The current state of the higher immorality is slightly modified. Instead of an Army general (Dwight Eisenhower), the power elite, in addition to corporate executives installed as secretaries in the government, America now has another corporate executive at the pinnacle of power, the President himself. Of course, the capitalist system is basically immoral, but it is highly legalized, backed by the Constitution. Likewise, the supreme power is created according to the rules of the game generated by the popular vote (ultimately, the voters via their electorates opted for a big businessman rather than a politically correct, yet female, neoliberal). Properly immoral and fairly contradictory to neoliberalism itself is Trump’s revision of the American faith in globalization. Globalization, he says, ruins the United States mostly due to the intrusion of Chinese and German capital. This assumption signifies the resurgence of parochialism in the midst of a country that until yesterday glorified globalization as the great opportunity. Now, it is labeled as an anti-American conspiracy. This is clearly a step backwards by the leading post-democratic power onto the pathway of an old imperial mercantilism characterized by imposing high tariffs on imported goods. This zigzagging in American economic policy is, of course, astonishing to orthodox free-marketers from America to China, who reiterate that antiprotectionism is the only sustainable policy in a sound economy. Presently, America does not want to accept contingency and interdependence as pathways for contemporary capitalism. Instead, it prefers the 19th-century format of a national economy. This is a step forwards on the scale of the higher immorality, whereby the rest of the world is seen as the plaything of the USA. The next step in the proliferation of the higher immorality would probably come up with the proclamation of the basest version of Social Darwinism, in which no holds are barred and the only rule is that there is no rule—unless the strongest player happens to lose the game. Thus far, the veil of universality and the cosmopolitan hope that might have gained its momentum upon the fall of the Iron Curtain now retreats back into the Westphalian era in which all major disagreements among the main players were expected to be resolved through wars. This way, the higher immorality heightens international irresponsibility with the rule of sheer violence. The power of violence ultimately decides who is or soon will be the strongest player in the global economy. Simply put, the predominant military superior power, which is the United States, may instantly destroy any contender’s military installations and economic infrastructure shortly thereafter.
The Higher Immorality of the New Power Elites
The newest political shift in the United States represents the triumph of the anti-liberal core of neoliberalism. It moves away from the liberal idealism of Immanuel Kant’s vision of “eternal peace” and “universal hospitality” (Kant, 1795). A genuinely new power elite under democratic rule, which would be aware of and at same time responsible for the consequences of its policies, must deny exceptionalism as the secondworst impediment, next to the arms race, on the road to a durable peace. Instead, the new higher immoral power elite fabricates a belief according to which all that is good for American big business is good for America as a whole. Beyond this false equation, the other belief is quasi-sociological. It is the vision of a homogeneous American society or at least a great part of it. This is not only impossible as a fact, but it is also hardly presumable that the President himself seriously takes his promise of being good to (so many) Americans. Yet, even this is not necessarily the last step on the stairs of the higher immorality. Another, and by far the worst, step would be that the power elite openly declares, following Social Darwinism as its genuine doctrine, that it simply does not care about the predicament of the numberless losers in society. (The current attempt at dismantling Obamacare illustrates the cynicism that impatiently waits for the dethronement of the official democratic ideology and its replacement with a form of scientific racism).
CHAPTER THREE THE IMPOSSIBLE SELF-PRODUCTION
The recession of the democratic ideology and its transformation into two separate and self-standing units received confirmation from a higher theory, namely, systems theory, more properly, one of its branches which propounds the idea of self-producing systems. It first became popular in different disciplines in the 1970s. The concept itself is fundamentally controversial. Its bias can be considered as monadological. Monadology is a philosophical notion based on the assumption of the existence of a closed and self-standing unity, i.e., monad. Originally, Leibniz, in his premeditated dialogue with the Christian theologian Thomas Aquinas, described the monad as a living entity “with no windows” (Leibnitz, 2010). This is supposed to be a fully self-sustainable being, due to which monadology shares with theology God as its central idea. The idea must not necessarily be considered wrong as long as it is kept within the confines of what Karl Popper describes as the “Third World ideas”. These concepts, he explains, are products of human thought without reliable empirical support (Popper, 1978). Hence, no place for such a concept can be found in research or any other practice based on dealing with objects or persons.9
All ideas are not, of course, condemned to grow in the realm of the imagination. Such unfinished ideas as projects—and democracy is a good example of these— are capable of being translated into practice time and again nowadays or in the future. Therefore, there is no impermeable membrane between the three worlds. Nonetheless, the membrane is impermeable for the idea of the existence of a perfect, hence self-sufficient, being. This is not only contradictory in itself or absurd (as the ancient theologian Tertullian put it). The idea also becomes dangerous when, by means of a theocratic rule, it penetrates into the real world(s) of people considered to be God’s servants or victims. It is, of course, not because God (“alone”) might do this. It is because this is made by the self-proclaimed vicars of God, most often by religious fanatics, but also, if rather seldom, by the president of a powerful state who might press his finger on the nuclear doomsday button.
The Impossible Self-Production
In systems theory, the analogous term for the monad is the “autopoietic” system. It designates a self-producing system capable of reproducing and maintaining itself with or without crucial support from the outside. Thus, the environment is an auxiliary world servicing a central system. The latter reminds one of the black hole, for it takes in everything and gives nothing back. This assumption is as contradictory as the idea of the monad. Hence, it must be kept within the framework of a speculative theory—or, as will be shown, it must be viewed as a metaphor for an economy that takes all inputs from outside, mostly from the periphery, while it returns no compensation to the latter. Of course, such an entirely one-sided, speculative, and exploitative economy may exist temporarily, yet it is very costly for the environment. As a result, it inevitably decays. Interestingly enough, the term “autopoietic system” was originally created by the cognitive biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, i.e., representatives of the science of life. Their definition, however, is surprisingly different from the meaning of the term or even their intention. For them, “living systems … exist in an ambience … [and] cannot be understood independently of that part of the ambience with which they interact: the niche; nor can the niche be defined independently of the living system that specifies it” (Maturana, Varela, 1980: 9). So far so good, but why it must be designated as a self-producing system when it cannot survive outside its environment(s)? If so, why is the system denoted as “self-producing” instead of, say, “coproducing”? Obviously, an implicit or subconscious assumption is virulent in this case, which undermines the consistent mind-set inherent in the above citation. It is less difficult to understand this contradiction by taking into account the sociological version of “autopoiesis”, which was meticulously elaborated by the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann in his social systems theory (Luhmann, 1995). Moreover, because he conflated the term self-producing with related terms, such as “self-referential”, “selfdescriptive”, and “self-reflexive”, as well as other self-oriented systems. Unfortunately, the additional terms multiply rather than reduce the initial perplexity.10 10
The following interpretation of the bias of Luhmann’s concept is not aimed to disqualify all other aspects of his theory. Even his concept of autopoiesis may be understood more methodologically than theoretically, for it reminds one of Max Weber’s concept of the ideal type. It is a useful construction of virtually nonexistent (social) entities (such as different, yet ideal, types of political power or, in Weber’s terms, traditional, charismatic, and rational). This is aimed to facilitate an understanding of real and certainly more complex social phenomena. However, it is less understandable why Luhmann did not reinterpret his concept in this manner.
In the course of his work, Luhmann refers to Leibniz’s “monad”. He interprets it, however, as an elusive attempt at conceiving of individualistic bias, i.e., the assumption of the existence of the individual independent of society: When one uses the semantics of individuality to avoid old social differences, this, nevertheless, has some profound consequences. When individuals are taken as the centres of their world, as Leibniz’s monad or as a subject, they are forced to a radical new understanding of society … Now, one should make clear that social order is possible, amid the individual subjectivity of people—whether through a social contract or through interchangeable reflection or through a common “transcendental” residual substance. Drawing on these premises alone, however, a theory of society cannot emerge. (Luhmann, 1998: 1021)
However, like his colleagues working on systems theory in biology, the author has not clarified the relationship between Leibniz’s concept of the monad and his own concept of autopoiesis—so that one may only conjecture about the level of (in)congruence between the two concepts. If Luhmann understands individualism as a biased and basically nonsociological idea, where should the autopoietic understanding of individual and society be applied, then? However we interpret Luhmann’s concept, individualism and collectivism are not simply reductionist models aimed at supplementing the analytical concepts of individual and society. They also serve as ideological devices celebrating the individual or the collective as separate beings. This bias has a long prehistory, when religious worldviews, first in Mesopotamia and Egypt, were integrated into imperial cosmologies with a special emphasis on the figure of emperor. The veneration of the autopoietic Self reached its apogee in the belief of the existence of an absolute and monadic being immune from natural laws and social norms, whereas society is taken as an instrument in the process of materialization of the interests of the grand Ego. In various forms of collectivistic socialism, as in the Soviet Union and China, the Grand Ego is projected onto the Great Leader (e.g., Stalin, Mao). In Western modernity, the bourgeoisie takes its forerunner, i.e., the feudal aristocracy, more and more as a model for its own social distinction. This reversion merges with a pathological change in the culture of the bourgeoisie, a topic which will be addressed in the following chapter. When the projection of the self-sustaining Ego was in the process of being diffused downwards, first to the Western middle class, it was
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transformed into a secular religion that glorified individual freedom as a descendant of the anti-social absolute. Being “absolutely free” corresponds to the state of consciousness of the new nobles, not people on the bottom of the social pyramid. To protect their wealth, the new nobles, and the old nobility alike, harness police and military officials for their own purposes or, independent of the government, pay for recruiting their own security guards or troops, thus creating a para-state apparatus (mostly in Third World countries). Unlike the aggrandized self of the upper classes, the self of the underprivileged classes (e.g., peasants, workers) is critically dependent on cooperation with others. Also, people from lower classes often borrow or share things. As a result, their socialized self is more sustainable than the egocentric self. This is because no individual or collective, whether an organism or an industrial production system, can be maintained without support from the outside, actually from others. History itself corroborates this and shows that, as Émile Durkheim remarks, individualism is a product of society, especially its contractual division of labour, rather than the other way around (Durkheim, 1964). In other words, individual freedom is constructed by society which, for the sake of enabling further development, needs more creative impulses from individuals than in collectivistic societies (which Durkheim designates as societies with a “mechanic solidarity”, i.e., where people automatically imitate their leaders or some others in the group). Yet, collectivism at all costs, like unconditional individualism, cannot be a prominent source of further social development.11 In its populist version, socialism was offering unreliable promises to social majorities. Such promises, however, could have been materialized instantly by simply making shortcuts to achieve its objectives, such as pillaging the private properties left upon the dispossession of the wealthy classes.12 This opened the way to the criminal despoliation of anybody 11
The distinction between individualistic and collectivistic cultures is not necessarily congruent with the distinction between liberalism and socialism, and modern and pre-modern societies, respectively (cf. Hofstede, Hofstede, Minkov, 2010). 12 The pillage of private property was a side effect of the egalitarian revolutions. Nevertheless, the effect was prolonged and became crucial. This became manifest by the end of socialism, when the institutional order based on state or collective (i.e., social) ownership (e.g., companies in the former Yugoslavia) was resold to new private owners. In other words, what began as pillage ended up as pillage practically because the communist parties were the subjects, i.e., owners, in a way, of both the revolution and its consequences.
who was labelled as disloyal to the regime. Such practices cast a very long shadow over the egalitarian revolutions. The frivolous seizure of property, without proper legal procedures, became habitual for the new class ruling in the name of socialism. This character flaw became a remarkable trait of sectarian socialism and its social upheavals, the most dramatic of which was the Maoist “cultural revolution”. It opened a long season of hunting for the “remnants of the bourgeoisie”, including intellectuals and higher educated people in general. Eventually, many members of the elite in the former socialist countries took advantage of the opportunity to grab positions of power and wealth in the period of transition to capitalism and liberal democracy. Although the communists were supposed to remove the market errors by introducing more equitable rules into the economic game, the ultimate balance sheet of economic injustice under socialism and liberal capitalism is nearly equal. Both ruling classes, the red and the white bourgeoisie, have shared a common obsession: to become maximally independent of the others, primarily the lower social classes, mainly through policies aimed at the depreciation of their work. This tendency has increased further with the expansion of robotics, from androids to drones. Moreover, new technical inventions are supposed to replace workers, soldiers, and generally the work of most people (cf. Wajcman, 2017). Yet, to achieve such a goal, which resembles the Nazi dream of getting rid of the “lower races” either by extermination or by conversion into slaves, a serious impediment is likely to pop up under the conditions of an entirely commodified economy. It is the economic law of demand and supply. The aim of decimating the human working population and replacing it with robots stands in stark contradiction to this economic law, provided that the robotised industries will compensate for lost wages and salaries through paying taxes for welfare enrolments for the human working population. It is, however, questionable whether such an “intelligent design” is economically sustainable under the merciless iron law of the capitalistic market (either buy and sell or—perish!). It is not difficult to imagine that, with the creation of an artificial intelligence workforce, production can rise effortlessly and enormously. But, is it imaginable at all, or in what type economy, that the production and self-production of robots can run without a proportional growth of the consumption and consumers capable of purchasing goods, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, a growing number of technicians whose task is to fix the likely numerous repairs on such complex technical systems? Will future governments under such conditions perhaps rent or sell the greater part of their hollowed-out settlements and infrastructure, deserted
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by their depleted or exiled populations to some alien race? Admittedly, such a reflection may seem bizarre. But, it is such because robotisation does not make sense in the contemporary context with its tendency to commodify everything. Or, would robots, perhaps, be not only the producers but also the only buyers of goods in the automated production? Such a scenario belongs to a similar and also dystopian genre of science fiction, namely, Asimov’s selfproducing society of robots. It seems that the idea of total robotisation is feasible only in a reorganised socialist system willing to introduce a general tax policy into the robotised economy with an aim at covering the costs of living as well as of introducing new niches of work for the unemployed human population. For the same reason, such a policy is virtually impossible under the rule of the new behemoth created by the capitalist owners of the new production system, after which exchange and redistribution among humans might easily be abolished. Another nonsensical assumption is that robotised production can be profitable amid the shrinking number of consumers of such products and services. This is certainly, to paraphrase Krugman, an example of “unthinking” in the repertoire of neoliberalism. It clashes with its central motive, i.e., profit-making. Also, such a split imagination of the brave new world of robots reveals the flawed core of the whole worldview. Due to distorted visions of the self, the performance of the selfproducing system is not possible to account for. For example, in the era of economic take-off in developed countries, liberalism favoured external incentives. Thus, in the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, borders were open to Southern immigrants, mostly in Western Europe, and equal opportunities as well as full employment were respected as legitimate goals of the economic policy. The same goals were inherent in the Soviet economy even longer after the Second World War. Meanwhile, economic expansion virtually disappeared, first in the East due to the dismantling of socialism, and then in the West, especially following the 2008 financial breakdown that signified the end of capitalism as we know it. The amount of financial means in banks has sky rocketed at the same time as the unemployment rate has significantly increased and the socioeconomic gap has become the biggest in the last hundred years. Furthermore, the Western openness to the South has been replaced by strict border control and increasing securitisation, which is accompanied by new waves of racism, sexism, and other prejudices, thus giving rise to
restrictions put on public finances and to practical self-exclusion of the power elites from the concerns of this world.13 Ultimately, the destructive tendency operates radially, i.e., outwardly and inwardly. In such a system with the wrong algorithm of selfproduction, a symmetry exists between self-production and self-destruction. An era of self-affirmation through an economic boom is followed by a crisis and the denial of consistency. The latter is represented by the Western policies, led by those of the United States, which have disavowed the rapprochement with the Soviet Union and socialism in general. At the same time, they have established friendly relations with undemocratic regimes prone to criminality and police brutality. These practices are inappropriate in a democratic society with clearly defined legal norms, as accepted by most people, which John Locke termed as “law-abiding equality” (cf. Hunt, 2016). Collaboration with criminals, however, makes the main economic motive stark naked, which means turning a profit under any conditions (to paraphrase what Franklin D. Roosevelt supposedly remarked with regard to Nicaraguan president Somoza—he is son of the bitch, but is our son of the bitch). Such a motive for collaboration reflects a behavioural pattern typical of criminals who are unsatisfied with their corrupting demands and who also consistently disregard legal norms, in particular, human rights. Eventually, such a collaboration creates a parasitic symbiosis between the centre and the periphery, which sooner or later ends up exhausting both natural and human resources. These resources were useful to the corrupting enrichment of a chosen few both in the peripheral community and on the boards of big corporations. In a genuine democracy, based on the original principles of liberalism (e.g., John Stuart Mill or the ethical paradigm of classical liberalism in Kant’s work) and socialism (e.g., the works by Karl Marx, but also those by Norberto Bobbio and Rudi Supek, who postulate liberal principles as 13 Unlike Wallerstein, who introduced the notion of the “two cultures” of capitalism (Wallerstein, 1990), here the ideological “zigzagging” of the “red bourgeoisie”, i.e., the Communist vanguard and its descendants in the former Eastern Europe, from left-wing to right-wing parties, and from extensive industrialisation to selective and exclusive policies of employment and privatisation, can be considered as double-faced as the proverbial “white bourgeoisie” (cf. Katunariü, 1998). Put differently, the words “white” and “red bourgeoisie” were used as nicknames in different political subcultures, mostly the radical left, and among disappointed Communists and middle-class people in the former socialist states in Eastern Europe who were not communists (cf. https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/black-red-correspondents-down-with-thered-bourgeoisie-of-yugoslavia.a4.pdf).
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the basis of socialism and, vice versa, socialist principles as the basis of liberalism), collaboration with criminals resembles the collision of matter and anti-matter, which results in sheer nothingness. Therefore, liberal and socialist democracy cannot perpetuate as two separate systems without investing enormous amounts of energy, including through wars, to maintain such degenerated systems. Albeit the tendency toward self-sufficiency appeared relatively early in the evolution of society and is rather primitive, it became harmful to modern civilisation and its democratic follow-ups during the first several decades after the French Revolution. As Reinhart Koselleck explains, the breakdown of the unique motto of the French Revolution, freedom-equality-fraternity,14 and its transformation into separate ideologies of freedom and of equality began in 1848, during the “Spring of Nations” in Europe. From then on, in the first place in Germany, freedom became more and more synonymous with national freedom, where individual freedom is sacrificed for the national cause.15 Concurrently, equality became a social principle in terms of (Bismarck’s) welfarism.16 As a result, liberalism and socialism became
Of course, the period between 1789 and 1848 was far from being an idyllic age of democracy in France, more properly, in Paris. This is masterfully depicted in Victor Hugo’s The Wretched, albeit in the Romanesque style. At that time, on the French scene a long series of rebellions and resurrections followed one after the other, where the former were sparked by counterrevolutionary mobs, backing the reactionary minority in power, while the latter were sparked by revolutionary mobs concerned for the human rights and interests of the social majority (Hugo, 1982). 15 This coheres with Rorty’s following remark: “Consider the attitude of contemporary American liberals to the unending hopelessness and misery of the lives of the young blacks in American cities. Do we say that these people must be helped because they are our fellow human beings? We may, but it is much more persuasive, morally as well as politically, to describe them as our fellow Americans—to insist that it is outrageous that an American should live without hope. The point of these examples is that our sense of solidarity is strongest when those with whom solidarity is expressed are thought of as ‘one of us,’ where ‘us’ means something smaller and more local than the human race. That is why ‘because she is a human being’ is a weak, unconvincing explanation of a generous action” (Rorty, 1989: 191). Thus, Rorty reiterates the truth that there is nothing originally natural in solidarity with other human beings. Broader solidarity can appear only as a product of learning and habits acquired in the evolution of a global democratic state and society. 16 Fraternity, the third in the tripartite motto, has been degraded, as Mona Ozouf rendered it, into a “poor cousin” to Liberty and Equality (Ozouf, 1988). Thus, the whole motto of the revolution was overwhelmed by the spread of nationalism in
enemies rather than democratic contenders or coalition partners. Koselleck concludes that the deepening divide between the two ideologies climaxed in 1962 with the Cuban Missile Crisis, which brought the world to the brink of the abyss. The crisis, he remarks, “stems from a mainly Utopian self-conception” (Koselleck, 1988: 5). Where does the utopian Self come from? Probably from the same source as the obsession with the idea of the self-producing system which marks upper-class recklessness in the first place. The self-reference of the upper classes eventually instigated the regression of the democratic ideologies to ideologies that glorify eternal inequality and conflicts, according to the implicit agenda of the post-democratic ideologies in establishing links with non-democratic regimes.17 The same circle of irrationality and unaccountability makes friends out of would-be enemies under a democracy. As a result, former democrats continue to use, what C. Wright Mills called, democratic rhetoric as a cover for their real intentions. First and foremost, they dislike democracy. This reconversion is motivated by superficial calculations, with globalization as a growing source of opportunities for a quick profit-making. Such an approach to globalization lacks a broader view and scrupulousness as regards the complexities and harsh developmental problems of the world. Instead, global society is exposed to banal and essentially irrelevant messages, mostly through various commercials which basically resemble the political messages of media controlled by private corporations or by local political parties in collusion with the former. At the same time, many local communities throughout the non-Western world, from Latin American countries to China and Russia, are controlled by local criminal economy networks. These are made by cronies in companies and local administrations. By controlling both the economy and its ideological representation through media, this crony capitalism represents itself in a way fundamentally similar to the former socialism in the East in that it speaks about itself as the real existing and at the same time the only possible (political-economic—in this case, capitalistic) system. If so, why have liberal democracies fought criminal organizations? Or, why did Fascism under Mussolini crack down on Mafia activities in Italy at a time when the American government undertook actions against mafiosi in many cities? Despite their different contexts, these actions had France and elsewhere in Europe as well as in the colonies, which embraced nationalism as an ideology of freedom. 17 The old link refers to early capitalist colonialism and slavery. Early socialism was fraught with terror and authoritarianism. When it assumed some liberal elements, it abandoned its egalitarian origins.
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one thing in common. For many reasons, it is in the interest of governments to get rid of hidden economies and of illegal, yet powerful, competitors, from the production of alcoholic beverages to the lottery to the illegal drug trade. After all, the First World War had the same basic motive: to eliminate competing powers in the seizure of colonies. Present-day mafias in the peripheral countries are collaborators with rather than competitors for the big corporate players with their headquarters in developed countries as a part of their struggle for control of the global markets (cf. Castells, 1998). This is why criminality on a larger scale seems ineradicable and, in many cases, is an important partner of governments. The climax of the polarisation between liberalism and socialism, along with the decoupling of the legendary revolutionary pair “Liberty and Equality” emerged during the course of the thirteen days of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Although a third world war was prevented in the last minutes, this did not impugn the destructive-cum-suicidal system design that perpetuates wars instead of a durable peace. Eventually, the chain of doomsday events bypassed the Cuban front and moved forward into an era in which permanent wars on a smaller scale would continue, thus substituting Apocalypse for a total annihilation of the Enemy. Thereby, intermezzos in the chain of wars might serve as a brief period for recovery and rebuilding of the civil infrastructures and also for refilling the arsenals. This process is studied today under the fairly cynical notion of “resilience” (cf. Pike, Dawley, Tomaney, 2010; Sörensen, Söderbaum, 2012). Resilience means that potential victims must be prepared to adapt to extreme hardships in order to survive. Such immunity is supposed to provide evidence for the goodness of a design of the world ultimately based on the delusion of a self-producing system. The whole process gradually takes on the appearance of a real hell. For some religious people, however, a medieval representation of this world may represent a substitute for the search for real exits by dialectical rationality, similar to the revolutions in Marxian dialectics. Some Christian medieval theologians presumed that this world, much too negative to be real or sustainable, is basically contingent and can be created all anew and in a different way instantaneously. This assumption points to the logic of the Matrix, in which actors switch from one dreamed reality to another. The basic idea for the plot of the movie is taken from the Spanish playwright Pedro Calderon de la Barca’s Life Is a Dream, published in 1635. Hopefully, a similar outcome of change, all anew, must not necessarily happen. Of course, in terms of the concept of sustainable development that
is alive in many places throughout today’s world, from the UN to the many local communities living mostly off what they produce locally through agriculture, the final outcome will mostly depend on the individual and collective character of those people who have the opportunity to manage a society with a mixed economy under a democracy. If it is true that institutions may influence the formation of the social character of a people, then a society that combines liberalism and socialism in its institutional design may become an attractive object for the billions fed up with the looming threat of tumbling down into the abyss of a new barbarism and irreversible despair. At the same time, the instigators of civilisation’s regression count, times and again, on the perpetuation of a chain of endless wars in which people are expected to be resilient, people for whom the mere idea that the world might be different causes nausea, a conditional reflex that prevents the development of the human mind and the evolution of a practice leading to a better future.
CHAPTER FOUR ENDLESS WARS BETWEEN THE MADDING NARCISSUSES?
The problem was how to keep the wheels of industry turning without increasing the real wealth of the world. Goods must be produced, but they must not be distributed. And in practice the only way of achieving this was by continuous warfare. (Orwell, 2008: 150) [T]he revolution has been defeated, but the counterrevolution has gone insane. It is reduced to a will to destroy any possible eventual adversary, inventing moral pretexts as it goes along. It has become institutionalized paranoia, a mortal danger to human civilization. (Johnstone, 2017: 6)
The Cuban Missile Crisis, when the Soviet Union eventually withdrew its battleships to avoid a close encounter with the American battleships, anticipated their final withdrawal from the competition with the West three decades later. Today’s biggest power, the United States, seems to be heading in the opposite direction. Sometimes it looks as though it wants to fight against the whole world. This “totalitarian temptation” (Revel, 1978) is best depicted by Orwell, in the above citation, as maintaining conditions for continuous warfare. Such an adventure is largely facilitated by the exclusion of all elements of socialism from the neoliberal agenda in America and almost all other countries. Accordingly, governments take on the role of night watchmen, designed by classical economic liberalism. Essentially, military-police fortresses keep the peace by all means necessary, mostly by making people resilient to hardships and uninterested in resisting repression. The last barricade to the incorporation of the new capitalism has been spectacularly removed with the fall of the Iron Curtain. The last internal obstacle left to the expanding neoliberalism is neoliberalism itself, more specifically, its idea of a self-sustainable free market backed by the hegemonic state and its military-industrial complex. This way, a series of wars may be contrived in cooperation with local governments in different parts of the world. What else could be expected from the leader of the higher immorality? It is better armed and more
dominant than ever before and concurrently less and less prone, as Orwell notices, to the redistribution of its produced wealth. One face of the power gives lip service to the establishment of a truly liberal society with accordingly small social inequalities. The other and truly agile face opposes the idealism of the former face and is anxious to perpetuate the economic and technological gaps by all means necessary, including through wars. Consequently, the (neo)liberal curtain is rising to the skies. It is thrust into the current rhetoric, actually a mask of the first face, according to which the system is still democratic and even immune from any totalitarian penchant. In addition, the term totalitarianism in the mainstream political theory is helpfully reserved for Fascism/Nazism and Communism/Stalinism, respectively. Besides, both ideologies grew up in cultures of collectivism, whether populist or nationalist, which apparently supports the liberal theory of the roots of totalitarianism. A symptom of the “exculpation” of liberalism on collectivistic grounds appeared somewhat paradoxically in Karl Polanyi’s seminal work The Great Transformation (Polanyi, 1944). He distinguished economic liberalism from its repercussions in terms of the fascism that emerged as a defensive reaction on the part of a collectivistic society against the disruptive impact of the self-propelling market economy. Likewise, his vision of a better organized socioeconomic system gives the impression of an idealization of Bolshevism rather than of an appropriation of liberal socialism. Polanyi moves closer to the idea of a mixed economy only at one juncture in the book, when he points out that individual freedom will become an imperative in developed non-market economies and societies: “Every move towards integration in society should ... be accompanied by an increase of freedom; moves towards planning should comprise the strengthening of the rights of the individual in society ...” (Polanyi, 1994: 246). Yet, he did not explain how freedom may increase with further development of the planned economy. As is known, the Soviet system collapsed immediately upon introducing liberal reforms in the 1990s, which represents another piece of evidence that contributes to Polanyi’s thesis that the market economy has a strong tendency to expand beyond all limits. In turn, the free market principle becomes a major impediment to further development (cf. Burrawoy, 2013). Christopher Lasch was the first among non-Marxist authors to discern the source of the new authoritarianism in liberal society. He found it, somewhat unexpectedly, among rebellious young Americans in the 1970s, individualists par excellence who belonged to countercultural movements, and who fought against recruitment efforts during the Vietnam War (Lasch, 1979).
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Apart from Lasch’s focus on the narcissism of the youth, one must take into account that the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 marked the end of classical warfare for the US army and allied armies and with it the end of the disembarking of troops on foreign terrain for a long-term conflict. This changed the motives for warfare, as well. In classical warfare, soldiers were motivated by the cause of the war and took part in it with a dose of altruism, including a preparedness to sacrifice their own lives, as it was in the Second World War, which signified the battle of humanity against an utterly genocidal ideology. It was not possible to revive this capability in the Vietnam War. More and more young people in the USA did not see their own interests being furthered in any war that was not fought on the soil of their homeland and as such directly endangered their lives and habitats. Of course, the definition of what is properly American in an age of imperialism loses its proper relevance. The new shape of American global interests and their outer frontiers, especially as regards the competitive global politics with the Soviet Union, continued as earlier in the 1960s, but ended up painfully unsuccessful due to the defeat in Vietnam. Since the 1990s, the USA has taken over the role of a “world policeman”, yet while still avoiding any other attachment to the world which is not economic in a narrow sense. Nevertheless, such instrumentalism is typical of the bourgeois mentality in general, both of the white and the red bourgeoisie, a view of the world as a huge network for commerce garnished with military bases. This, in turn, has provoked the excessive growth of pathological narcissistic selves, at both the individual and the national level. In response to the emergence of the new narcissism, the militaryindustrial complex increasingly relies on the production of advanced weapons, from rockets to drones, whereby blood-and-flesh soldiers look like Marius’ mules (the nickname for Roman soldiers due to the amount of gear they had to carry on and for themselves). If by chance soldiers are engaged in actual combat, war operations must be instantaneous and surgically precise in destroying the enemy targets. These technical compensations for the disengaged Self has caused a tremendous increase in the production of sophisticated weapons and, correspondingly, in the pressure to empty large arsenals of conventional arms by exporting them to battlefields where people or nations are prepared to fight wholeheartedly for their causes, unlike the distant American Army. The economic bottom line of this change is still capitalistic in nature. Note that capitalism is an economic system in which products cross borders and boundaries, unlike most people. In this respect, the theater of continuing wars is congruent with the landscape of new capitalism. In
both, most people are stationary, locals, while products move across borders and around the world with unprecedented speed. Lasch did not discuss the parallelism between cultural and military change. He commented on the end of the war in Vietnam in a different sense. He saw the termination of the war as a clear sign of the shift from the politics of serving a professed cause to the politics of spectacle. The new politics denies that even the war against communists in Vietnam was of any importance to the USA. Concurrently, the younger generation celebrates its heroes of peace, mostly rock stars and leaders at anti-war rallies. Lasch contends (similarly to Georg Simmel at the end of the First World War) that the focal interests of the young have been shifted from persons to objects (Lasch, 1979: 36). This contention is not far from admitting that the new warfare, based mostly on technological devices, results in the realization of young Americans that the interests of American big business in distant areas of the world cannot represent their own interests. In turn, the American Army has been entirely professionalized, yet still keeping under arms more than one million soldiers, but without a need for using them immediately or simultaneously in more places in the world. Besides the psychological change from normal to pathological, Lasch concentrates on the concomitant cultural change. As a conservative, he appreciates traditional patriarchal authority. Moreover, he sees it as a reliable basis for democracy and an important source for the growth of a sound person and normal narcissism, respectively. This belief resembles the myths of a golden age in the past. Lasch’s version characterizes traditional American families and businesses as a pool of self-sacrificing figures—fathers, mothers, employers ... On the other hand, he highlights the new authoritarianism as the product of the advanced liberal democracy. This aspect, as well as Lasch’s implication of the cyclic history of modernity, going forth and back along an imagined straight line of progress, accords with one of the central arguments of this book concerning the elective affinity of the self-referential versions of liberalism and socialism to non-democratic ideologies. As a consequence of the rejection of traditional patriarchal authority, Lasch further argues, “the superego in individuals increasingly derives from the child’s primitive fantasies about his parents—fantasies charged with sadistic rage—rather than from internalized ego ideals formed by later experience with loved and respected models of social conduct” (Lasch, 1979: 12). Although with somewhat romantic retrospection, the author’s diagnosis is correct. He reveals the long-term consequences for an ego that has cut off his/her social ties. One of the consequences of this
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seclusion is an illusionary feeling of sovereignty. Actually, such an ego is weak and cannot stand for a free individual. The insecure ego is submitted then to “the new therapeutic culture of narcissism”, Lasch points out, an ambience replete with talk about the subject’s personality. In society, however, the self-centred person is subjugated to the hegemony of big corporations led by the new ruling class of managers and professionals (Lasch, 1979: 218). The relationship between the weak Ego and a strong We represented by groupthink characterizes collectivist cultures and the political movements generated in such cultures. Yet, the new authoritarianism projects the irresponsibility of the individual self onto the new grand We, i.e., the new corporate actor or resuscitated American patriotism that was directed against the Soviets until recently and nowadays against Muslim militants and the broader circle of Muslim people intimately sympathizing with the militants and serving as a potential source for recruiting terrorists. Very often, however, the boundaries between these circles—terrorist cores, a supportive circle of Muslims, or those who just sympathise with the cause of the first, and the rest of the Muslim world—are arbitrary and easy to transgress, depending on the situation. However justified the measures for fighting terrorism, the outlook of each side towards its enemy is basically authoritarian and resembles a typical war doctrine in which the conflicting sides become homogeneous and, accordingly, polarized and demonized. The besieged worldview of parties in conflict was outlined by Mills in his description of the higher immorality, in which the rules of the game occasionally change, and the individual ego is exposed to unexpected outcomes. The individual in such circumstances (created by the new authoritarianism) adopts the higher commands as a score catering to his/her selfish personal accounts. In Lasch’s words “[t]he new paternalism [read: collectivism] preaches not self-denial but self-fulfillment.” This connotation reminds one of Aldous Huxley’s portrayal of individual happiness in a dissociated social world, where one “worked all day, and all day he was filled with an intense, absorbing happiness.” (Huxley, 2002: 90). Happiness is a biologically autonomous emotion and is remarkable in children, in particular. Can children or new children among their elders ever be able to perceive the difference between an authoritarian and a totalitarian society? Lasch’s description of the new authoritarianism, however, does not suggest a new totalitarianism. Also, he notes that some rules of democracy still exist, although as ritual procedures, for these do not involve the active participation of citizens. Ultimately, the representative democracy is
functional just because it is not demanding for a basically apolitical and uninterested person. The new authoritarianism, thus, may be somewhere between democracy and totalitarianism. The atmosphere in the offices and halls of new corporations reflects the new constellation. The expanses of the corporate facilities are equipped with monitoring devices through which many little “big brothers” in the higher organisational echelons control the efficiency and loyalty of the lower positioned employees. Lasch’s evasion of the term totalitarianism reflects the conventional understanding of totalitarianism among liberals and conservatives in the United States, as a product of collectivistic cultures and ideologies in which the individual is subsumed into the group. Another of Lasch’s remarks, nevertheless, speaks indirectly about the totalitarian temptation. He says that the new authoritarianism does not draw on (old) collectivism anymore. Now, the “collective” is made of a mass of atomized individuals who do not care about the predicaments of other people, from relatives to colleagues at work to foreign people, including victims of wars and other catastrophes. Certainly, this makes for an appropriate basis for expanding the control of the authorities over society. One may also contend that, unlike the old totalitarianism that reigned by inducing fear and terror from the inside, i.e., by the regimes’ adoption of propaganda and repression, the new totalitarianism induces the fear of dangers coming both from the inside and from the outside. Many terrorists that have committed crimes in Western cities in the name of radical Islam were born in the West, but as “sleepers” were linked with terrorist headquarters. Also, one cannot know how many of them were recruited as spies by Western states or how many have converted to play double roles, thus eliding the boundaries among different Muslim groups as well as between the domestic and external theatres of war. The push for national homogenisation among Westerners as a reaction to the current circumstances must not definitively undermine the basis of pluralism and democracy—as long as a larger mass of people is not consumed by fears or suspicions toward a broad circle of potential enemies, from immigrants to neighbours. Another possible consequence is that people might voluntarily accept an indefinite prolongation of the state of emergency as an equivalent for a (false) sense of security, which also gives impetus to the rise of an overall control of society. Lasch’s warning about the anti-democratic propensity of the narcissistic culture resonates with Alain Badiou’s interpretation of another conservative critic of democracy, namely, Plato: Plato’s thesis is that sooner or later this manner of existence, grounded in the indiscipline of time, and its correlative form of State, representative
Endless Wars between the Madding Narcissuses?
democracy, will bring about a visible manifestation of their despotic essence. Because that is what it comes down to: the real content of all that youth and beauty is the despotism of the death wish. That is why, for Plato, the trajectory that begins with the delights of democracy ends with the nightmare of tyranny. (Badiou, 2011: 13)
Albeit Badiou is a socialist, he and Lasch and a number of intellectuals of different backgrounds share a common disappointment with the achievements of modern democracy. Their pessimism is reasonable due to the obvious transformation of democracy into something else. And indeed, given the self-defeat of the democratic ideologies due to their exclusion of the concurrent democratic ideology, this process seems unavoidable. Of course, all critics of modern democracy do not offer the same explanation for the roots of the new dictatorship. For Lasch, the “eternal return of the same” or cyclic history in place of the progressiveness of modernity, and the triumph of corporatism, would provide a rationale. Another answer that is congruent with the main argument in this book would be that the project of democracy, in which freedom and equality are coupled rather than divorced, was inappropriate for liberalism and socialism alike. The worst consequence and simultaneously the cause of this incapacity was that these ideologies did not want to recognise their own weaknesses. Eventually, they did so indirectly by choosing undemocratic ideologies as their allies. The new circumstances facilitate the transition from the pathological narcissism of the individual to the pathology of collective or in-group narcissism that is primarily national. Thereby populism assumes many ideological guises, including neo-Nazism or neo-Fascism (cf. Foster, 2017). Admittedly, this reconversion is still more likely to happen in Russia and some other formerly socialist countries. This is, first and foremost, because the process of transition is half-hearted, mostly due to economic policies which do not provide enough opportunities for most people to live more comfortably than they expected. People who work and live as servants of new bosses are inclined to embrace nationalist or fascist propaganda that leads them and the rest of their society into war with other countries and peoples, as in Southeast Europe, the Middle East, and the Caucasus. Second, in the case of future wars, the West, unlike Russia or China, must count much more on sophisticated arms than troops. The others, especially if they wage defensive wars, must count primarily on troops that will wholeheartedly fight on their own soil for what they consider as their homeland. In a way, collective narcissism, though not necessarily so aggressive that it will initiate wars against the West in its own backyards, becomes a reliable pattern for societies that are not mostly bourgeois or
middle class. Their troops will probably not be deployed anywhere like the American troops in Vietnam. The Soviet Union, for example, attempted to do the same in Afghanistan in the 1980s, but its military mission completely failed. The Mujahedin, like the North Vietnamese, fought wholeheartedly. Granted, the armed forces of the former communist superpowers, i.e., China and the Soviet Union/Russia, are less likely to provoke a war with a preventive attack on the West. This is reasonable inasmuch as any preventive attack would be followed by a much more destructive retaliation by the West or merely an American counterattack, which might be fatal for China or Russia. It would be more likely that the West might somehow hit first. Why? It is because the protracted economic crisis in the West, which commenced with the financial breakdown in 2008, has generated such immense debt that it is practically impossible to repay for any country or economy, including the American—a predicament which has shaken the very foundation of contemporary capitalism. This fact pushes Western, and especially American, political leaders closer to the “final solution”, i.e., (self-)annihilation via nuclear warfare. The fundamental source of this tendency is recognised in Chapter 3 as the black hole in the system which consists of the absurd core-belief in the possibility of a monadic or self-producing system in which the environment is allegedly useless. It is like a perpetuum mobile (perpetual movement) without any energy source. It suggests a hopeless vision of a desolate planet Earth roaming through space. Evidently, the military and wars provide no solution to any major developmental problem and should by no means become a reliable threat in the global competition. The only relatively peaceful possibility for winning or losing in the global competition is economic, provided that the losers are not condemned to perpetuate their unenviable position. However, this is certainly not guaranteed in contemporary catch-as-catchcan capitalism. The American president Trump acknowledged this indirectly when he realised that Chinese, German, and other national currencies have dangerously penetrated into the US economy. He then decided to introduce high taxes on this foreign capital. Along with this he, not accidentally, instigated a new arms race by imposing an increase in military budgets on his Western allies. Is he going to commence with another Great War? Probably he will if he realises that Russia, China, or Germany have not collapsed because of the new American barriers to free trade or that, moreover, America continues to lose in the global free market, faced with the unstoppable march of less expensive products and the enormous incomes generated by other countries’ industries and their desirable banks.
Endless Wars between the Madding Narcissuses?
This situation brings to mind Émile Durkheim’s study on suicide (Durkheim, 1951). He differentiated among three types of (individual) suicide, among which two are relevant to this situation. One is the “altruistic suicide”. It characterises classic wars, when soldiers sacrifice their lives for the cause or the survival of their fellow combatants. The other type is the “anomic suicide” that is typical of businessmen who go bankrupt. With only a small leap of the imagination, one cannot be surprised if, in the case of American economic defeat in the global market game, a democratic president would withdraw or be condemned to lose the subsequent election as a mandate. Nevertheless, his biggest source of pride is still the army as the invincible armada, provided that it primarily relies upon its superior technology and does not deploy the troops or at least not for a long time and not in places that are too distant from America or where the local population disavows American military intervention. Last but not least, collective narcissism is not necessarily analogical to individual narcissism. Collective narcissism is far from being simply benign or only transitional to pathological narcissism in its own right. Nevertheless, today it can hardly have an appetite matching that of Nazi Germany. The basic feature of collective narcissism in the former East is nationalistic and protectionist alike, rather than imperialistic, especially because imperialism never succeeded in creating a common frame of identity that includes conquered peoples, as well. In this case, the main goal is not to allow multinational corporations to dominate the country’s economy. Such a policy objective can be economic—for instance, in the interest of state capitalism or for the sake of nationalisation of an important sector of the economy. The national resistance can, however, also be military, although this is less likely, for example, by closing down state borders and threatening neighbouring countries that are loyal to the West. In both cases, collective narcissism with heightened patriotism is the main mental force behind the antagonism,18 especially in countries that are economically or technologically inferior to the United States and most 18 “Collective narcissism … [is] an emotional investment in an unrealistic belief about the in-group’s greatness—aiming to explain how feelings about an in-group shape a tendency to aggress against outgroups” (De Zavala et al., 2009: 1074). This is an almost universal tendency of in-group-outgroup relations, but the pathological forms of “Me-ness”, when the individual self is subsumed in its internal world, and “We-ness”, when the individual self is subsumed into the group consciousness, are different. The former results from breaking ties with the external social world, and the latter, from the breakdown of the institutional order and inter-group links, accordingly, mostly inter-ethnic (cf. Lawrence, Bain, Good, 1996).
other Western countries. Today’s Venezuela might be a candidate for such a resistance, provided that the current government succeeds in maintaining the support of the majority for such a plan. Collective narcissism becomes pathological when it flexes it muscles and provokes international incidents. The North Korean regime is an exemplary case, showing also what the Soviet Union might have become in the case that it accepted the challenge from the West and continued with the arms race, very likely a ragged and oversensitive giant. This did not happen, albeit the Soviet withdrawal did not significantly contribute to weakening the arms race, least of all to the relaxation of the capitalistic obsession with unfettered market forces, including the marketisation of the proliferation of arms. One of the consequences of untying the strings of state regulation over the market economy was the neoliberal revision of the idea of the “civil society”. The new version of the idea was introduced by American international policy following the fall of the Iron Curtain. The policy is focused on reducing governmental administration, in particular, of nationstates in the peripheries, to the role of caretakers of the free flow of capital. In correspondence with this “rapture” of capital, the “civil society” is supposed to be self-reliant, i.e., without governmental support, as in the European continental tradition of the civil society. But, in a warlike context fuelled by the expansion of the market and commodification of everything, the “civil society” consists of a set of self-organized communities, tribal or religious, similar to the self-governing, yet authoritarian, “millets” for non-Islamic communities in the Ottoman Empire. These lived as parallel worlds within the empire. Such disruptions of society were assisted by the Western military interventions in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, and partially in the former Yugoslavia, which revived, directly or indirectly, the old ethnic and religious divisions within those societies: In the name of security NATO and Western liberal states are locked into long-term overseas engagements and peace-building and state-building missions from Afghanistan and Iraq to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, while at the same time refining and imposing new techniques of surveillance and control domestically, over their own cities and citizens. (Sörensen, Söderbaum, 2012: 2)
Practically speaking, notwithstanding the official rhetoric of the protection of human rights, the new policy of the West—i.e., intervening in local societies, but not integrating them into the Western hemisphere—hinders society from establishing its civic integrity.
Endless Wars between the Madding Narcissuses?
One should not forget, however, that the former socialism also failed to establish fair relations between the government and what was supposed to be the civil society sphere (which in the 1980s was in its infancy only in Poland and in Slovenia as a part of the former Yugoslavia). This incapability was caused by an unwillingness and lack of interest among communist leaders to bring socialism to a higher level of economic democracy that Marx envisioned, as a society in which everybody’s needs are met (Marx, 1970). This leap could not be made by liberal reformists within the Party, who tried to add more elements of the market economy and eventually introduced the multiparty democracy. All of that was immediately rejected by neo-Stalinist hardliners, a good part of whom soon converted into nationalist-populist leaders.19 This outcome proved fatal both for the former communist socialism and for liberal socialist factions within or allied to the communist parties. Regardless, by the end of the former socialism, a plausible answer to the key question was still lacking. Whether and, if so, how liberal elements can be balanced with socialist elements under the common roof of a democratic state? Put differently, how can the free market be put under public or governmental control without throwing out the baby with the bathwater? It is also unclear whether or how governments in countries with a prevalence of cooperative forms of economy can provide institutional space for the private individual, which is today by default expansive and hardly able to be stopped. For instance, how much could the private sector of the economy have grown in the former Yugoslavia?20 Of course, it would be a fallacy of strong determinism to contend that the failure of the Yugoslavian experiment was inevitable and that liberal or democratic socialism cannot assume a permanent shape in terms of a 19 For example, in the first months of his meteoric political career, Slobodan Miloševiü, the most powerful nationalist leader in the former Yugoslavia, was proclaimed as a “new Tito” (the former Yugoslav president). By then, he was expected to reunite Yugoslavia on the basis of a populist movement named “the anti-bureaucratic revolution”. His major opponent was the prime minister Ante Markoviü, the prominent market-oriented reformer, whom Miloševiü targeted for allegedly promoting the Croatian and Slovenian nationalistic agendas under the pretext of liberalization. To beat him and other, mostly nationalistic, opponents (that Markoviü was not), Miloševiü took control over the finances, including the Yugoslav central bank, and over the Yugoslav People’s Army. Following this coup, the wars of the former Yugoslavia were fought under the banners of different nationalities. 20 The percentages of the privatized parts of the economy in the former Yugoslavia were 25% in the agricultural sector and 5% in other sectors, according to estimates by the World Bank in 1983 (Saric, Rodwin, 1993).
mixed economy under democracy. The deterministic assumption is typical of the ideology taken by the pathological narcissism, which removes all that counters its self-image. Hence, the key question remains theoretical rather than practical. In practical terms, polarisations and extremes may more easily be replaced with approaches which are more gradual, continual, and—peaceful. Naturally, peace is indispensable in a balanced development. It grows in a vivid and nuanced world which decomposes the narcissistic personality, both individual and collective, and recreates a social individual that needs both to participate in social or political life and to withdraw into solitude, whether to meditate or just to be left alone from time to time. Only then can we proudly state that “[a]lone we can do so little; together we can do so much” (Hellen Keller). The pathological narcissistic formations are harmful because people cannot properly grasp the external reality, whereby the individual and the collective stand in contradiction. In the same vein, when antagonistic perspectives prevail and wars perpetuate themselves, the sense of reality falls below the level of political realism needed to moderate conflicting interests. Above all, the tendencies to eternalize war as “the father of all” (Heraclites) are not only inhumane: they are also unrealistic, as much as it is absurd to expect that electricity can run between two minus poles.
CHAPTER FIVE LIBERAL SOCIALIST OPENNESS AND NEOLIBERAL EXCLUSIVENESS
This chapter deals, respectively, with socialist reformism and openness to liberalism, and then with liberal rejection of socialism.21 To restate: the collision between the two doctrines of democracy was a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for the decline of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe. A more complex explanation, however, would require more space and would considerably deviate from the path of this book (for a number of different explanations of the decay of Yugoslavia, see Joviü, 2009; see also footnote 22 below). Instead, some fragments will be cited from works by selected authors who examine liberalism and socialism, respectively, from two different points of departure.22 Subsequent quotations will also 21
Symptomatically, the first collection of texts by classical liberal authors (Mill and others) with a special reference to their criticism, actually rejection, of socialism qua collectivism appeared around the end of the former Yugoslavia (cf. Gligorov, 1988). 22 This notification needs some clarification, for the selection of authors might have been different, of course. For instance, to compare liberal socialists with their counterparts among notable social-liberal economists like Krugman and Armatya Sen, or Neo-Keynesians like Stiglitz, Robert Reich, and George Akerlof. These authors demonstrate smaller differences vis-à-vis socialist reformists or liberal socialist authors, than is the case with the selected liberal author, namely, Hoppe. Although social liberals, unlike (neo)liberals, advocate for state intervention in the economy, there is no other major difference between social and pure liberals, especially with reference to the issue of the ownership over the means of production in a mixed economy. For instance, Branko Horvat, who is cited below, prefers workers’ ownership, yet not in all areas of the economy. In this respect, Keynesianism designates the last frontier of neoliberals vis-à-vis social liberals, while pluralism of the forms of ownership designates the last frontier of social liberalism vis-à-vis liberal socialism. Why, then, is Hoppe selected for citation in place of social liberals? One detail is crucial. By the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, the demise of Eastern Socialism was underway alongside the political decline of socialist reformists, including Branko Horvat in
reveal the essentially different positions of the two parties. Reformist socialism was more convergent with liberalism than the other way around, since welfare-state or social liberalism in the 1980s was “reformed” in the opposite direction by glorifying the free market, the brand of the sectarian political-economic doctrine, i.e., neoliberalism. As will be demonstrated below, the socialist authors were more inclined to the liberal market and liberal democracy than the liberal authors to the planned economy, socialism, and economic democracy. Besides, for a (pure) liberal, Keynesianism represents the outer limit of the scope of socioeconomic changes under liberal-democratic regimes. Thus, the selected liberal author, Hans Hermann Hoppe (2010), who is close to the Austrian school of economics, in particular to the legendary Friedrich von Hayek, explains that the existence of a deep and permanent cleavage between liberalism and socialism is a must, while Keynsianism is viewed as a Trojan horse of socialism: By resorting to a Keynesian policy of deficit spending and unanticipated inflation, the effects of raising the socially guaranteed minimum provisions for non-producers at the expense of more heavily taxed producers could be delayed for a few years (the motto of the economic policy of former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt was “rather 5% inflation than 5% unemployment”) ... As a result, not only was there much more than 5 percent inflation, but unemployment also rose steadily and approached 10 percent; the growth of GNP became slower and slower … Instead of being an expanding economy, the absolute number of people employed decreased; more and more pressure was generated on foreign workers to leave the country and the immigration barriers were simultaneously raised to ever higher levels. (Hoppe, 2010: 79-81)
Among theoreticians of economics and politics with socialist predilections, there is no equivalent position to such liberalism. In what follows, some quotations from the works of two authors will illustrate this difference. One of these is Branko Horvat, author of the theoretical model of market socialism. He summarized his “systemic approach”, based on his experience of running the Yugoslavian Planning Bureau, as follows: This systemic approach is not identical to sociological functionalism which ends up in functional determinism. On the contrary, individual Yugoslavia, Radovan Richta in Czechoslovakia, and János Kornai in Hungary. The subsequent transition to rapid liberalization and privatization was mostly facilitated by the meteoric rise of the influence of neoliberal doctrine and its advocates in the Western as well as the new Eastern governments (cf. Katunariü, 2007).
Liberal Socialist Openness and Neoliberal Exclusiveness
economic agents are free to follow their separate interests and their individual choices are not predetermined … As is well known, the classical labour theory cannot explain the formation of prices. Values and prices differ, both theoretically and at the market place, and for that reason the theory is not of great use. But neither could I make much use of the neoclassical theory because it is largely ideological, tautological and/or subjective. A revealing episode is the neoclassical theory of the firm when applied to the labour-managed firm. It produced predictions of the perverse behaviour on the market which has never been observed in reality. The conclusion drawn was not that the neoclassical theory—at least as practised by its adherents—was a poor theory, but that the theory was correct and the labour-managed firms do not conform to it because they do not behave rationally ... Not unexpectedly, I found that [the market] operates differently [in] a statist command economy and differently [in] a capitalist market economy. As far as the latter is concerned, the capitalist market is just one and not the only type of market ... The market of a labour-managed economy is an alternative one. (Horvat, 1999: IX-XIII)
Horvat maintains that the market economy is not a problem for socialism, provided that workers in the capacity of owners decide about the use of the surplus generated by investments, while (re)distribution is determined by prevailing social values (supposedly based on the principle of sharing and solidarity).23 23 Here a comment is needed concerning a view among some radical critics of the Yugoslav experiment. It is that the experiment was fallacious due to the neoclassical formation of the leading economists, including Horvat. For example, while opposing liberalism and neoliberalism, respectively, Bockman discards any inclusion of the market-friendly ideas and policies in the theory and policy of socialism as a fatal flaw (Bockman, 2011: 212). In essence, this position is symmetrical to Hayek’s or Friedman’s. For both, as soon as one accepts at least one element of the opposing economic theory, sooner or later one must take in all of its elements and wipe out one’s own theory. This is the most upsetting aspect of the radical criticism which merges with the monadological exclusion of contradictions. Likewise, the failure of Yugoslav socialism, like the retreat from the full-blown welfare state in Sweden or Germany, does not necessarily mean that these mixed welfare economies are dysfunctional. This also does not mean that neoliberalism has definitely triumphed or that statist socialism may not return (even in its worst form resembling fascism). The latter may possibly happen due to a belated attempt at solving the growing problem of climate change on the planet, when the free market would unavoidably and drastically be reduced, practically to bazaars, while indispensable resources, e.g., drinkable water, might be put under strict centralised global control and bureaucratic planning. This could be a step toward a global fascism.
The other author, Norberto Bobbio, an Italian political theorist of a liberal background, describes his “eclectic” political theory: In my eclecticism, I have never considered the two methods incompatible (I have no hesitation in using the word “eclecticism”, which means “looking at a problem from all sides”, and it is an approach which is reflected at a practical level in my political “moderation”, another word which I am not ashamed of using, as long as it is interpreted positively as the opposite of extremism and not negatively as the opposite of radicalism; quite the opposite, I believe them to be mutually beneficial ... Roosevelt’s New Deal and Attlee’s Labour Party, is social liberalism, which differentiates itself from the classical liberalism of laissez-faire liberal parties by its egalitarian element, and can thus be counted among the doctrines of the left without any contradiction. (Bobbio, 1996: 93-96)
The socio-economic sensitivity and democratic potential of liberal socialism notwithstanding, some processes were digging a gulf between the two ideologies and made liberal socialism impractical so far as it goes. One process is the conversion of official Marxist economists in the East to neoliberalism in a not-so-impossible combination with populist nationalism (this combination has popped up recently in the United States, for example). Nevertheless, some sources of the great bifurcation of liberalism and socialism remain obscured, i.e., irrational. To be sure, the consequences of a social change of such magnitude must be irrational simply because they are not easy to account for among most people. Basically, irrationality, like rationality, is socially determined. However, irrational ideas or actions, unlike rational ones, are inconvenient for most people in the long term; e.g., charismatic and other non-democratic governments are prone to economic wastefulness that may or may not be profitable in a capitalistic sense. Basically, both systems, liberal and statist, are socially irresponsible. Also, such powers do not really care about the outlook of ordinary people simply because the former consider themselves chosen and as such secluded from the plebeians who, besides, due to the coming robotisation of industrial production, may become useless. The contemporary conversion of many of the post-Communist governments to authoritarian capitalism illustrates a similar tendency. It is a cocktail of diverse ideologies with nationalism as the common denominator. This way, syncretism rather than pluralism comes to the fore. In peripheral areas, the left and right side of the political spectrum can hardly be distinguished, which in turn forges corrupting links between the new rich and politicians or higher officials in local governments (cf. Cvejiü, 2016). In such a context, neither socialist nor neoliberal policies can be implemented in their modelled forms. In a way, local societies and governments react
Liberal Socialist Openness and Neoliberal Exclusiveness
similarly to what Karl Polanyi described as a massive fascist response to the threat of the free market disintegration of the tissue of traditional society prone to communalism and cooperation (Polanyi, 1944). This time, however, there is not enough space for the reemergence of a fullblown historical fascism, including its military apparatus, but only for a moderate variety whose task is to protect the local free circulation of capital, including that of the big multinational companies, so that they can take, on a more or less regular basis, their part of the cake. Thus, only more highly immoral, i.e., socially irresponsible, versions of neoliberalism and socialism may find a place in the actually existing democracy.
CHAPTER SIX IRRATIONAL SOURCES OF THE MAINSTREAM ECONOMY
To understand why divergence has prevailed in the relations between liberalism and socialism, one must, in addition to substantial differences in their respective economic theories, include some “parasitic undercurrents”, as well. These belong to the domain of the irrational and, as such, may be explained by the unsurpassed Freudian account of the unconscious roots and unaccountable consequences of all human activities, including economic ones.24 Similarly to Darwin’s account of natural evolution, Freud denies the existence of a rational principle in the evolution of the human psyche and human societies. Enlightenment and the revolutions carried out on behalf of universal human rights invested a lot of time and energy into furnishing evidence for the long-coveted victory of the rational (as universal) principle in all human endeavours. Nevertheless, they could not eclipse the colossal magnitude of greater antagonisms and destructions. Such an account resonates with Joseph Stiglitz’s recognition that contemporary neoclassical economic thought rests upon irrational grounds. He takes the example of the disregard on the part of leading economists to the imminence of the explosion of the financial bubble in 2008. Stiglitz compares the ignorance of mainstream economics, and the resulting financial crisis, respectively, with collective suicides among some animal species and with Diamond Jared’s example of the inhabitants of the Easter Islands, who cut down all of the trees in their own forests, which eventually caused the decline of their own civilisation (Stiglitz, 2010: 108109). Irrational impulses also inform the divergence between liberalism and socialism. What else, for example, could be the motive of the European 24
For Freud, life is a process in which two competing energies struggle for primacy, including a permanent competition for goods in economic life. One of the energies inclines to destruction and death, and the other to pleasure and continuing life (cf. Freud, 2000).
Irrational Sources of the Mainstream Economy
social democrats who have abandoned their position of welfarism and redistributive justice and have replaced it with neoliberal austerity policies—other than to demagogically please a mass desire for quick gain in a casino economy under the provision that they, the socialists, would make things better than the liberal or conservative parties in power? A deeper layer of such economic behaviour, disrespectful to the hardships of an increasing number of people, might also have biological roots. For instance, different species do not take care of each other, either, and, accordingly, solidarity across species or group boundaries does not appear in nature. Additionally, ruthlessness in contemporary human societies is reinforced by social climbing, which involves the struggle for a dwindling number of higher positions by a growing number of eager climbers. Another and admittedly the strongest mechanism that reinforces this ruthlessness is the waging of wars, where enemies are regularly seen as inhuman or monstrous beings. Such a stance negates universal moral norms, including the prohibition against killing people (Haslam, 2006). Eventually, this ruthlessness is reinforced by the propaganda of greed and recklessness as behavioural motors of a successful economic enterprise, which is typical of the indoctrination on the part of the neoliberal management. In sum, neoliberalism produces a new variant of Social Darwinism that intimately adheres to non-democratic ideologies. Taking into account the predominance of irrationality in the processes of social change so far, there are not many counter-arguments at one’s disposal. One can be found in human creativity in the arts and sciences, including the social sciences, in which, I note, some liberal and socialist ideals have their roots. These activities establish a connection between positive emotions and constructive ideas. Because of the emphasis on equilibrium between opposed forces, the approach put forward in this book draws attention to certain tenets of general systems theory (Bertalanffy, 1968), mainly in formal terms, and to its sociological versions, as well (Parsons, 2005; Buckley, 1967). Systems theory has been fully developed in the West since the Second World War as a metatheory of the nascent field of cybernetics and social engineering. They gave the intellectual impetus to the economic growth managed by the welfare states in the 1960s. Moreover, in systems theory (at least without the flaw of the monadic concept of self-producing systems), the economy is a part of society and the living world on the whole, and not an exceptional or absolute system. In the interplay between state institutions and economic growth, the central mechanism of societal integration was created, thus opening the door to a massive influx of migrant workers from the South. Yet, as welfarism and Fordist capitalism have receded, the
systems theory paradigm, as the largest branch of sociological functionalism, has been marginalized (cf. Müller, 1995). Hence, a more socially sensitised design of systems theory might confound the theory of liberal or democratic socialism. Actually, such a theory is holistic rather than functionalistic. It is also normative and quasiprogrammatic, and not strictly based on empirical analysis. Such an approach also pertains to Horvat’s and Bobbio’s scrupulousness rather than to the indifference of abstract systemic intelligence. First and foremost, this means that the value-free concept of balanced development in the economy and society is inappropriate. The functionalistic assumption of equilibrium for its own sake represents the governing principle of authoritarian rather than democratic states. In a holistic sense, in contemporary society, which has become increasingly global and complex, balance between different parts of society and between society and nature can be achieved only under democratic conditions. This is so because every single part of the complexity must have a voice in the process of the common decisionmaking. Furthermore, social balance is a worldly and contractual rather than predetermined or transtemporal arrangement. In striking a balance, actors, whether individuals or groups, accumulate historical experiences marked by struggles for social equality and the redistribution of produced wealth in a political and economic context that is unfavourable to such demands. Nevertheless, a symmetric distribution of power between democratic agonists is virtually impossible to achieve. Their relations cannot be equalized in terms of reciprocity, either, and such a mechanistic equation cannot be the goal of democracy. Societal integration and balance can be achieved through a slight and, most likely, temporary prevalence of one side over the other, but not through a permanent hegemony based on class, gender, ideology, or any other identifier. Liberal socialism, however, is basically a non-militaristic social order and, accordingly, rules out any arms race as part of a national or international competition. Furthermore, in conditions of a slight prevalence, whether in favour of the private sector or the public sector, classes may be transformed into quasi-horizontal occupational strata, provided again that the prevalence of either party, one preferring the private and the other preferring the public sector, is not long-lasting, say for decades, let alone for a century. For the same reason, social ranks cannot be entirely flattened. Likewise, the optimal coexistence of different interests cannot be defined once and for all, as it could not have been done with the welfare state in the West or with liberal reformism in the former Yugoslavia and, for a short time, in the former Soviet Union. In general, the balance between political agonists in
Irrational Sources of the Mainstream Economy
democracy, and between the public and private economy, respectively, cannot be established only on one, but on several points on the curve of development, at least more frequently than in the 20th century (for more on this, see Chapter 12). After all, the preponderance of the divergence over the convergence between liberalism and socialism, which tends to perpetuate itself, leads to the restoration of non-democratic power. This may also be understood as a result of the work of the irrational in that the originally united democratic ideologies of liberalism and socialism have narrowed their frames of reference vis-à-vis the opposing democratic ideology. This tendency has given rise to the (re-)establishment of absolutistic powers, one based on profit-making and the other on political dictatorship. In the contemporary geostrategy of neoliberalism, non-democratic regimes are increasingly perceived as less risky and more conducive to economic investments aimed at relatively quick profit-making along with the denigration of workers’ rights. By the same token, economic inefficiency is ascribed to democracy. This truism rests on the assumption that inexorable cleavages and conflicts, especially between employers and employees or their trade unions, complicate the life of big business (cf. http://www.debate.org/opinions/is-a-dictatorship-more-efficient-than-ademocracy). Last but not least, an important element in the new antidemocratic process is that authoritarian regimes and parochial cultures are unparalleled in their longevity. To fully address the oscillating relations between liberalism and socialism, one must examine arguments from a variety of disciplines and theories in order to explain the intersections between ego-centric and socio-centric tendencies, and between the irrational and rational impulses in contemporary societies. Of course, all of these forces cannot be examined here. In addition, the intersections that inform third way politics (in Great Britain, Australia, Nordic countries, Southern Europe, and partly in South America) have been replaced relatively quickly by a hasty transition to neoliberalism and, along with it, ravenous privatisation. For now, pluralism as a form of coexistence between different ideas is best accomplished in the social sciences, which is theoretically akin to Bobbio’s position. This affinity also provides evidence that science, as a search for truth in the ambience of academic freedom, does not belong to the most powerful agencies in society. And, vice versa, where the most powerful agencies, i.e., monetary and military power, are concentrated, concern for pluralism through consensual dealing with resources is practically non-existent. Consequently, the problem of pluralism is solvable in a soft power milieu, as in the social sciences, with its inclusive
argumentation style that does not devalue different arguments just because they originate from different theoretical backgrounds. As Bobbio said, eclecticism might be fundamental to harmonious and peaceful political thinking and doing. This approach is exemplified in the construction of sociological theory by George Ritzer. For him, the exclusiveness of some theoretical approaches is a remnant of the Cold War era, marked by the polarisation between Marxism and functionalism. In place of a monoparadigmatic sociology, he proposes a multi-paradigmatic one (Ritzer, 2001). The latter is not simply an ensemble of different perspectives that may be calibrated depending on the selected topic or reduced to the geopolitical context of the pre- or post-Cold War era. In Marxism, for instance, conformism continuously designates individual alienation and social hypocrisy rather than social behaviour appropriate to a free individual. Nevertheless, Ritzer concludes that the time is ripe for restructuring the antagonized perspectives for the sake of establishing the pluralism of different perspectives open to dialogue. A similar conclusion can be drawn from consideration of the advantages and drawbacks of polarisation and convergence, respectively, between liberalism and socialism. Ultimately, liberalism and socialism are “multi-paradigmatic” ideologies of democracy in the sense that they, for the sake of maintaining their democratic and cognitive potential, must acclimatise liberty, as an originally liberal idea, to equality, as an originally socialist-communist idea. To further articulate the arguments in favour of convergence between liberalism and socialism, a distinction must be made between two states of aggregation for contemporary processes of social change. One aggregation is “solid”. It elicits polarisation and antagonism between different views of democracy and their corresponding policies. Such is, for instance, the social change marked by Cold War rhetoric and the clash of civilisations, respectively. The same applies to the rhetoric of the war against terrorism. On the opposite side, a symmetrical idea, proclaimed by Islamic militants, fosters a continuation of the Holy War against Christians. The other form of aggregation for the processes of social change is “liquid”. It results in a mutual openness to opposed perspectives, which is basically the democratic position. However, this result is less common and is more theoretical than practical. Still, theoretical pluralism in the social sciences may facilitate the process of democracy in respective countries. Political exclusiveness, however, facilitates reductionism in social and political theory. Thus, the reductionist assumptions of (Marxist) class analysis obfuscate the other analytical dimensions of social reality. Class analysis alone is not sufficient to explain, for example, the fragmentation
Irrational Sources of the Mainstream Economy
of the working class, to identify which parts cannot or do not want to express their solidarity with other parts of the class. It is also hardly possible to explain only with the tools of class analysis why the struggles for power within communist parties’ leaderships in the former Eastern Europe produced a mentality of loyalty and conformism, which eventually proved detrimental to freedom and creativity in science and technology. If, by chance, the creative potential, including in academic and research communities, had been harnessed without political surveillance, then a more adequate response might have been elicited to the challenges of the “capitalistic perestroika”, i.e., the breakthrough of the new information technology (cf. Castells, 1998). In that case, instead of the failed attempt at liberalising Soviet totalitarianism, the door might possibly have been opened to the rise of a more creative stream in society. Nonetheless, theoretical formlessness is by no means an objective in the social sciences. As Max Weber said, even though he was an advocate of the value-free approach to the study of society, it is our “practical duty to stand up for our own ideals” (Weber, 1949: 58). Hence, the objective of the scientific methodology is to reintegrate analytical results within a broader picture of social reality. In contrast, the objective of ideological discourse is to interpret pars pro toto, i.e., one aspect as a substitute for all other aspects. Such a strategy rules out the holistic approach to society as a set of interdependent individuals and groups. Instead, it favours the entrenched interests of particular, conflict-driven, groups in their ambition to forcibly integrate various interests into a homogenised unit. The latter is usually a prelude to mass mobilisation for a nationalistic or similar cause that rules out democratic pluralism. The same applies to sectarian liberalism and socialism alike. In them, a particular perspective is taken as the substitute for all other perspectives. Very often, a particular research perspective, which serves as the scientific interpreter of the interest of the concerned ideology, is taken as the only genuine one, while other perspectives are discarded as unscientific or “ideological”. For example, neoliberalism considers neoclassic economics as truly scientific, while discarding Marxist and other perspectives critical of the capitalistic economy. At the same time, neocommunism (a version of which will be discussed in the next chapter) holds its critique of the political economy (which is the target of most of Marx’s works on economics, with its philosophical origins in Kant’s critique of pure, i.e., speculative, reason) as a trump card for establishing central planning and collective ownership as the exclusive principles of the socialist economy. Although justified as a point of criticism, this approach is by far insufficient to provide arguments in favour of a sustainable development.
In the latter case, capitalism with private entrepreneurship as its basis must not be hegemonic. The same goes for liberal criticism of socialism, which ordinarily disqualifies all of the deeds of the latter, most of all its collectivism. Still, the liberal argument alone cannot explain the roots of the market failures without borrowing some arguments from institutional economics and from the socialist camp alike, such as that the market economy is a device of different groups to seize economic as well as political power. In a similar vein, the socialist or communist argument alone cannot explain why a centralized state is unable to efficiently allocate economic resources, primarily human capital. In this respect, liberal arguments in terms of flexible planning combined with market competition may better complement the socialist argument in favour of more rigid planning. The former promotes the inclusion of some elements of the free market economy, while the latter promotes some elements of planning. The two must not necessarily be contradictory to each other. On the contrary, their flexible integration might be a mechanism as important as the system of checks and balances is in liberal democracy.25 Eventually, the whole process of transition and change from the 1990s on did not result in further convergence between adapted modes of the market and the planned economy—likewise, the process did not correspond to the once fashionable theory of convergence between the West and the East, which represented an intellectual version of the politics of détente in the 1970s (Loth, Soutou, 2008). Rather, the transition was unilateral, with an economic liberalisation that has had disrupting effects on the socioeconomic balance in transitional countries. For the South, in particular, this was a déjà vu with reference to its own failed transition to capitalism of the Western kind. This time, the South has had nothing new to learn from the experience of post-communist Eastern Europe. The latter suffered from the same repercussions that hit the South in the failed attempt at following the receipts of the IMF and other Western agencies of development. At the bottom line of receipts such as export-led economies or permanent austerity measures, lies a misleading assumption that underdeveloped countries may solve their problems simply by implementing a policy of swift marketisation and privatisation that would then allegedly move these countries closer to the developmental level of Western capitalism. This chapter opened with remarks on some of the irrational foundations of the mainstream economy. The risk of oversimplifying through the 25
In chapter 12, it will be more elaborated on when or where the market is better suited than planning, and vice versa.
Irrational Sources of the Mainstream Economy
dichotomy between rational and irrational notwithstanding,—and a broad space must be left open, however, for intermediary categories, as well, such as a-rational (on which critics of classical rational choice theory insist: cf. Elster, 2007)—irrationalism in the economy may calmly be identified with one-sidedness and aversions to other economic models, which inevitably subverts the basis of democracy. The latter is recognized as the incapability to mediate or manage in the face of conflicting interests. At the same time, rationalism grapples with the challenges of complexity. Eventually, rational economic policy attempts to make a hologram out of different and often contradictory tendencies, and creates something entirely new. Such a hologram, for instance, was the welfare policy in the midst of liberal capitalism. On the contrary, irrationalism reduces complexity to simple and often antagonized units that, to put it bluntly, cannot cooperate with each other. This further leads to the denial of social reality as such, i.e., its heterogeneity and plurality. Certainly, this is the source of the vast irrational radiation that represents basically the irrelevant and destructive response to the problems of societal development. This incapacity is typical of modern imperialism, for it reduces the environment of the empire to a lower-class position that is, by definition, incapable of further development. The same belief characterizes the foundation myths of the old empires, according to which the empire as well as the world as such was created through “foundational wars” in which the victors become eternal rulers over the life and death of the rest of the world. The core of the myth extends to the foundation myths of contemporary nation-states (cf. Stroumsa, 1998). This, in particular, concerns states transformed into imperialistic powers. They have inserted basically inconvincible modifications in terms of constitutional democracy. However, this is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. On the surface, it manifests as a democratic and peaceful order. Underneath, a powerful and deeply irrational mechanism works with the ultimate end of destroying the social life-world and beyond. Above and beyond the process of destroying the social world, the perpetrator puts his own existence at risk. Destruction in its entirety runs radially, from outside to inside. Such an ongoing phenomenon can hardly be redirected to a creative process of development, for the latter is based on self-criticism instead of self-glorification. Is such a self-correction plausible anymore as far as the Great Powers are concerned? To reiterate: any uncritical relationship with the world, in this case, the economy, starts with the rejection of any and all counterarguments, as if the latter come from an unaccountable party and not from the worldly experience of
actors sharing the same world. (In this regard, socialism has proven to be a better solution than purist liberalism in some areas, such as health, job security, some areas of education, and cultural policy.) The rejection of different experiences continues with the implosion of the interior world of the uncritical and imperialistic self-consciousness. Internal disorder (the “unthinking”, to recall Keynes’ phrase) drives socioeconomic development in the wrong direction, in which moderations are more and more unlikely, and aggression against the world continues somehow automatically. Still, this decay does not happen instantly. It may take time for something like this to occur, a breakthrough of the “unthinking” due to which the strategy of development that supposedly was aimed at bringing good to all turns into a strategy of radial destruction. The signs of the decay are socially manifested in the deepening gap between rich and poor, whereby the percentage of the former becomes smaller and smaller, and the latter, accordingly larger and larger. This problem appears habitually unsolvable to the rich. They are traditionally inclined to make wars instead plans for development as a common concern. In a moment, the decimation of the poor by either means appears to them as a reliable solution. An option most promising in this regard is instigating local wars legitimated by national or religious intolerances, since it concurrently increases the sense of an extraordinary mission of the grand ego of powerful groups, which is actually a blind force leading to general catastrophe. At the end of executing such delusional idea, the human multitude emerges as an unnecessary burden to the blind force. This is the end result of the workings of the unconscious beneath the neoliberal doctrine of a self-propelling market. Of course, one must bear in mind that an entirely rational economy or politics, where all problems are solvable or seem such, is also impossible. But, “entirely” and “mostly” have different meanings. In democracy, the system of checks and balances represents the only mechanism that is essentially rational. Yet, it does not work with clinical precision. In the sense propounded in this book, the fundamental balance originates from moderating the views of two polarized positions: one is egocentric individualism, and the other is all-absorbing collectivism. Too much tilting to either side is essentially irrational and, in the long run, lethal. In an interval between the two extremes, which is a broad field rather than the exact middle, like an Archimedean point of equilibrium, lies the rationality of politics and its economic policies, respectively. In other words, in different parts of the world as well as in different stages of development, the point of balance shifts within the span between the two extremes.
Irrational Sources of the Mainstream Economy
In the next chapter, some intellectual sources of the divergence and irrationalism alike, exemplified by some purified versions of the ideologies of liberalism and socialism, will be delineated. These intellectual opposites are similar to other opposites. They are prone to sharply delineating their positions vis-à-vis their opponents. In this case, the relationship between a market society and a society based on voluntary exchange looks disparate and their convergence, impossible. Yet, only ideal types can be so disparate. In reality, they present fragments of a broader and basically plural world of exchange relations, economic and otherwise. At the same time, neither of the two self-idealising positions is able to explain its own misjudgments merely on the basis of its experiences with its own mode of exchange, whether market competitiveness or economic statism and economic anarchism, as in the case of contemporary Venezuela, for example. However, since they deny their own mistakes, they cannot manage a society, nor can they properly understand the diversity of exchange relations. Actually, they ignore diversity. Of course, it remains questionable and will hardly ever be answerable whether sharply opposed policies can be moderated—to paraphrase Ilf and Petrov in another way—through dialogues, no matter how much time they take, for the peaceful condition is, if nothing else, the central purpose of the conversation. Obviously, some sense for the play as well, such as playing music and other art performances and generally sublime expressions of social life-worlds are chronically lacking in mastering the two concepts of the “pure reason”, i.e. market and planning, to eventually synthesize different experiences with sustainability in a continuing process of change and development that will hopefully not explode and dissipate into irresolvable contradictions (for more on that, see Chapter 12).
CHAPTER SEVEN THE INTELLECTUAL SELF-CLOSINGS
The Cold War era showed that liberalism and socialism were approaching the end of the period of their “peaceful coexistence”, i.e., without direct military confrontation, that lasted from the 1920s to the 1980s. A relative exception, of course, was the Cuban Missile Crisis. Like every exception, however, it revealed the latency of an alternative development. In this case, it was creating the conditions for permanent warfare rather than peace. This was the ultimate consequence of the transformation of both camps into illusory self-producing systems. Liberalism became the rhetorical tool of the self-propelling market economy and private entrepreneurship, purportedly the only solid bases of freedom. The “actually existing socialism”, on the other hand, became a state bureaucratic octopus. Eventually, both systems came to operate as archenemies rather than democratic agonists (cf. Mouffe, 2005). In the West, democratic socialism was recognised only through the social democratic parties that accepted capitalism, even in its worst form, as a fait accompli. In the Soviet Union and its satellite states, except for Yugoslavia for some period of time, capitalism based on private entrepreneurship was undesirable in any form. The most prominent feature of such exclusivism was ignorance of its own shortcomings. This resulted in the incapability of creating the conditions for a sustainable development economy under democracy. The misleading “end of history” triumphalism on the part of liberalism (Fukuyama, 1992) that followed the fall of the Iron Curtain resembled the Soviet aspiration of creating world socialism (Lebowitz, 2012). The main reason for the imperialistic one-sidedness of both parties was their attempt at protecting the higher immorality of the ruling classes and their existing line-up—with corporate capitalism on top in the Western version of the world and with Stalinist hardliners on top in the Eastern version. Either way, they shared dominance over the world, among other reasons, to prevent substantial changes to the system. Now, by prolonging their dominance unilaterally, when the Soviet threat and socialism on the whole have disappeared, neoliberalism continues with its conquest of the entire world. The calculation is clear and simple, but basically failed: if
The Intellectual Self-Closings
the economic and military arms race was able to exhaust the Soviet Union, it will most likely compel the rest of the world to submit in the face of the neoliberal campaign. However, the world turned out to be more complex and more difficult to conquer than socialism. Soon after the demise of historical socialism, some forms of the Cold War reappeared under different banners. A major new cleavage appeared with elements of militancy and warfare under suggestive signifiers, i.e., Jihad vs. McWorld (Barber, 1995), which looks like a travesty of the era of Crusades in the medieval times. In fact, conflicts in many parts of the world, from the Balkans to the Middle East and from North Africa to East Asia, were or still are fought for different causes that mostly escaped the above signifiers as well as the celebrated “clash of civilisations”. Yet, ideologies, especially non-democratic ones, adore sharp dichotomies like old religions of god (confronted with the devil). Besides, for rather banal reasons, many conflicts are prolonged due to continuous and most often commercial supplies with arms from different countries. Evidently, the roots of some conflicts are arational, i.e., both rational in terms of the lucrative arms trade and irrational in terms of the interests of most of the people forced to live in the war zones. Irrational impulses are in large part articulated by the means of ideological arguments that directly or indirectly conflict with modern worldviews, including scientific fields. Thus, some tenets of the new fundamentalisms assume a scientific or quasi-scientific guise. This is the case, for example, with neoliberalism as the self-proclaimed distillation of neoclassic economics for the sake of a policy of economic development. Yet, however we understand neoliberalism, whether as a system of ideas and the hegemonic policy that springs from a group of right-wing economists from Europe and the United States (e.g., Friedrich von Hayek, Milton Friedman) or as a politics initiated in Chile in the 1970s, under the watchful eye of the United States (cf. Connell, 2014), it has developed into a global hegemon. Furthermore, its pretensions have matched the old imperial cosmologies in which everything was predetermined and deemed eternal in favour of their dynasties. Present circumstances are convenient for such tendencies due to the fact that the opponents are political, not economic. Even Islamic terrorists are funded by a network of wealthy people enriched through different markets. To be sure, the Marxist view of capitalism as a complete, i.e., political-economic, power serving the interests of the dominant class, a smaller fraction of society, and thus not representing the whole (scientific) truth, may be correct in principle. However, economics, like sociology, is a multi-paradigmatic science, but,
in any consensual version, it does not represent the interests of all classes or, in a separate theory, the interests of the proletariat alone. The Marxist school called “scientific socialism” can be traced in some of the works of Marx, but its full-blown version was developed by Engels and later elaborated in Marxism-Leninism. However, times change, and neither critique of the political economy nor trust in scientifictechnological progress characterise neo-Marxists and post-Marxists alike. The former mostly recycle class analysis in some modified forms, yet without programmatic platforms. The latter, as a branch of postmodernism, explain the dominance of capitalism primarily through the cultural hegemony of the West, which has purportedly demolished the values of other cultures, subjugating them in the neocolonial manner by proclaiming the new dogma of growth and development (cf. Needervan Pieterse, 2010). This is also true, but is far from sufficient to provide strong counterarguments to capitalism, not to speak of superseding capitalism with a new material economy. Besides, critical analysis of the capitalistic economy cannot directly weaken its imperialistic buildup and its polycentric growth. Thus, the USA today is not the only proponent of war as the means of controlling divided societies and the perpetuation of their spirals of destructions and recoveries. Other proponents, although less aggressive and economically less developed are, for example, capitalistic Russia and China, to some extent India, and furious North Korea, let alone the Arab-Islamic states that more or less openly fund Islamic extremists (basically similar to the US foreign policy in the Middle East, which backed Islamic extremists in their fight against Soviet troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s). Actually, nowadays, a large number of states, including the states of the former wartorn Yugoslavia, produce and export arms as one of the most lucrative branches of their economies. Of course, such circumstances are not favourable to the rational argument a contrario (from the contrary), even less to imagining a democratic socialist alternative. In turn, polarised views between political factions appear more plausible in the new economics with their deterministic flavour, while moderate views are chronically missing. This way, the virtuous circle of anticapitalistic arguments may be designated as utopian or simply impractical, while the vicious circle, based on purified liberalism in terms of neoliberalism, becomes synonymous with what is economically real and, as such, undoubted. Actually, the new economy is also impracticable, alas except for making war a business matter. Death with a funeral is too expensive for the poor, but is lucrative and far less expensive for the military business (anyhow, the dead are left to the care of the local
The Intellectual Self-Closings
communities or even families in war zones). As result, a state of emergency with a higher likelihood of continuing wars becomes regular, and peace, save democracy, seems a mission impossible. The definition of reality as something that is corroborated by empirical evidence or practical solutions to problems corresponds to the senses of the formerly democratic ideologies. In particular, their incapability of removing the barriers to their cooperation results from their rejection of the ontological difference between nature and culture. The levelling of the two realms of reality was typical of the cosmologies of the old empires, in which cultural heritage was seen as a consequence of a preprogrammed natural order: virtually all monuments were consecrated to the gods or their representatives on the thrones. A very similar idea, which is racist and sexist alike, was incorporated into the modern ideologies until the end of the Second World War. Albeit viral, the idea of racial purism was only officially discarded upon the military defeat of Nazism-Fascism. Afterwards, it was reinstated in the name of exclusive versions of liberalism and socialism, and fully when the reduced versions of democracies began faltering and reopening their doors to the assimilation of racism and sexism. The ontological distinction between nature and culture is here understood in the Kantian sense, in which culture is a realm of ethical norms and freedom in which autonomy is validated as a fundamental mode of human development, whereas nature as the source of heteronomous rules, rules that cannot be escaped due to forces ultimately based on gravitation. As an enlightened universalist, Kant understood culture as a dimension of human self-transcendence, i.e., moral-political maturation. This maturation predicates the establishment of a set of rules following the categorical imperative. It takes into account different interests, yet with a common interest in building society as the place of peace and hospitability. Only in this venue can human society fundamentally differ from (other) animal societies. Apart from, but also in relation to, the fundamentally aristocratic position of Kant,26 the new programme that might enable people to live in peace and friendship is—democracy. It is a behavioural pattern that is not innate, but learnt and achieved piecemeal. A democratically constituted society is, to paraphrase Christian fundamentalists, a “born again” society 26
He, indeed, had some racist prejudices. Yet, let us not pull the raft off his eye: who did not have such prejudices in the 18th century? Kant is one of the outstanding aristocratic figures who illuminated the pathways to a synthesis of freedom and solidarity with other people (on the extraordinary significance of conservative enlighteners for the cultural design of democracy, see Chapter 12).
whose “afterlife” follows millennia of authoritarian rule and particularism. This new condition is generated by merging different experiences with securing freedom and the equal treatment of individuals and groups before authorities who deny human rights and freedoms. In addition, there is a strong aversion among contemporary ruling parties, including nominally socialist parties, to social equality as a political goal. This points to the rise of a post-democratic age in which “democracy is joined by the market as a kind of victim” (Crouch, 2011: IX). Instead of the rule of people in terms of the demos, which is an inclusive category, nationalism and religious extremism become partners in creating communities as categories of social exclusion (cf. Calhoun, 1997). Such politics empower the codified emotional binary in which patriotism is conditioned by hatred toward specific others. Admittedly, a balance between liberalism and socialism is difficult to strike. The biggest obstacle is the current downsizing of the public sphere as the space for the birth and growth of democracy. Especially in the peripheries, the public sphere is increasingly penetrated by the private sector, whose interests are proverbially replete with biases, including the disregard of the human rights of workers, women, and sexual minorities. More properly speaking, the point of balance between the two originally democratic ideologies is a moving target. In Einaudi’s words, “[f]or equilibrium to last, it must be under constant threat of not lasting” (Einaudi, 2006: 7). Such a dynamic is caused by an uneven distribution between the preferences for freedom and equality, and between the private and public sectors, respectively, within particular democratic ideologies. Balance can be established contingently and pragmatically rather than by a common prescription of constant shares of private and public/state sectors. Shares of different sectors may vary from country to country, from region to region, from locality to locality. In any case, relationships between the two camps can be reciprocal, but not necessarily symmetric, fifty-fifty. In terms of a political aesthetics of democracy, symmetry is the compulsive principle of despotic regimes, incorporated in their representative architecture, such as the Egyptian pyramids, which Georg Simmel convincingly described as the materialisation of an obsessive desire to monitor everything and everybody from a central place (Simmel, 1896). In contrast to the despotic idea, the liberal idea, Simmel notices, is rhapsodic and acentric.27
For Simmel, socialism is positioned closer to centralist and despotic regimes (Simmel, 1896: 5-6).
The Intellectual Self-Closings
Nevertheless, socialism cannot last as an antipode to liberalism. As understood in this book, socialism represents a sublime mixture of the principles of liberty and equality, and individualism and social solidarity, respectively. Such an idea envisages a highly organized society under the conditions of a mixed economy, guided by corresponding policy methods, such as conformant planning, which is a combination of bottom-up and top-down approaches to (local or regional) development (cf. Bonet, 2010). Generally, the proportions of opposing forces may be more or less different if the unity of opposites is to be maintained. Such a mediating position, not necessarily equidistant, with a shifting balance between opposing forces, is constitutive of the inclusive, dialectical rationality. As an overarching principle, dialectical thought, unlike irrational ideas and impulsive behaviours, aims to transcend the antagonism of different forces and, accordingly, transform them into a combination of competitive and, at the same time, cooperative parties. Typically, in place of the polarized and, as such, exclusive institutional mechanisms, like central planning or the unfettered market, dialectical rationality fosters institutional hybrids, such as a socially embedded market economy, a government under civic control, conformant planning and/or environmentally safe industrial production (cf. Katunariü, 2014). Such a slight prevalence of one or the other party resembles a sailboat tilted to one or the other side, depending on how the wind blows. Unfortunately, contemporary global development does not corroborate such an expectation. To further explain this shortcoming, one must take into account some evolutionary processes in human society. Thus, many historical processes replicate natural evolution to a significant extent. However, natural evolution processes make no “shortcuts”, nor do they commonly run according to a rational plan like Hegel’s idea of Reason, or an early warning system like the Intelligent Design of the Christian fundamentalists. In human history, rational decision-making—whose most outstanding invention is legislation and the implementation of human rights—have happened only very recently and only in some countries. Also, this did not happen without internal contradictions. The most contradictory aspect is that mature democracies possess the most efficient arms of mass destruction (not necessarily atomic, but financial). In a way, democracy can be interpreted as a man-made version of Intelligent Design, yet with numerous imperfections. As such, it has emerged from a long process of learning replete with numerous trials and errors, including all too long a chain of wars (cf. Tilly, 1993). Even though some human societies have acquired the traits of a culture of peace, these societies do not belong to the category of mature democracies. Likewise, the superpowers,
except in one ambiguous case, can hardly initiate the general process of disarmament as the basis of a permanent peace (for more on this, see Chapter 13). Instead, for a significant, yet militaristically driven, part of the power elites in mature democracies and their collaborators in peripheral countries, peace seems to be less profitable than the business of incessant wars with a spiralling supply and demand of weapons. Actually, instigating wars most probably, through a diffusion of mass mobilisations on the basis of nationalism, Orientalism, Occidentalism, and other antagonistic ideologies, pays in a double, and indeed in a very narrow, sense. It pays financially by virtue of producing and selling arms, and it also pays politically by effectuating broad support for the politics of otherwise divided societies. Lastly, even in the case of establishing a slight prevalence of liberalism or socialism in a regional or global context, it is difficult to guarantee that a prevalence of liberalism in one area will not obstruct, sooner or later, a prevalence of socialism in some other area, or vice versa, thus regenerating imperialism instead of democracy. What we can hope for then in such constellations of antagonisms? We can hope, at least, for the design and implementation of a consistent platform in favour of a longterm peace and economic sustainability, even though such a platform belongs to “Third World ideas” rather than empirical hypotheses. Empirical research on actually existing grounds appears debased: how to verify the hypothesis that people prefer peace to war? Can any attitude in favour of peace be reliable, for instance, unless most states decide to reduce or even to cease to produce weapons? Unfortunately, not only most right-wing oriented, but also left-wing oriented, authors are persistent in their search for the mother lode gold mine in the purism of abstract and formally consistent, yet exclusivist, models. The two following examples illustrate this point. One is neoliberal and the other neosocialist. It is typical of both that they deny the contributions of the other side to development in general, and to the development of democracy, in particular. Neoliberal exclusiveness is illustrated by the CATO Institute platform, which fosters the purity of the market principle, allegedly the only one that can be implemented in society (in the US in this case), from healthcare to the environment with, interestingly enough, guaranteed efficiency in all cases: [H]ave confidence that free people, left to their own devices, will address issues of concern to them more effectively outside a political environment ..., meaning the governmental structures … In a world of global markets and rapid technological progress, we struggle along with annual growth
The Intellectual Self-Closings
rates far below what we achieved from World War II until the mid-1970s. With less taxation and less regulation, we could be far wealthier … We still live in one of the freest countries in the world, but each new government program takes away just a little more of that freedom—the freedom to spend our money as we choose, to go into the businesses we choose, to negotiate with our employers over compensation and benefits. (Boaz, 2005: 4)
Neoliberal anti-statism curiously overlaps with the neosocialist concept of the communal economy (which Hugo Chávez compiled from the works of Istvan Meszaros), as presented by John Bellamy Foster: We must implant social property with the spirit of socialism. This means that parallel, interconnected developments should take place, social housing should be coupled with social production, social property in land should support “small producers,” transportation and highways would need to be geared to communities and their cultural and economic needs … [T]he institutionalization of popular power ... [is] the main revolutionary objective in a socialist transition, and to a critique in this respect of the Soviet model ... He argued on this basis for a vast structural change in the political system: a veritable polycentric distribution of power, displacing power from the centre towards the periphery, increasing the effective power of the decision making and the autonomy of the particular communities and municipalities. The Electoral Assemblies of each municipality and state will elect Electoral Councils which will possess a permanent character and will function in absolute independence from the political parties. They will be able to establish and direct the most diverse mechanisms of Direct Democracy: popular assemblies, referenda, plebiscites, popular initiatives, vetoes, revocation, etc. … Thus the concept of participatory democracy will be changed into a form in which democracy based on popular sovereignty constitutes itself as the protagonist of power. (Foster, 2015: 3-4)
Evidently, both concepts disavow any complementarity between liberalism and socialism. In this fashion, the socioeconomic system is left without the balancing device traditionally provided by the (welfare) state. In turn, the system is reduced to antagonizing and particularistic interests. Moreover, while neoliberalism rejects the central role of government on the pretext of its financial wastefulness and usurpation of power in a world that supposedly resembles the World Wide Web, a neosocialist notion of "metabolic regulation", which is basically anarchistic, defies the communist notion of the vanguard and its statist buildup. This deduction is not only formally incorrect, but is inconsequential, as well. How a civil society might be purportedly self-regulated without governmental provisions was
negatively demonstrated in a disastrous way upon the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. Similarly, Chávez and Meszaros assume that a socialist society needs neither governmental control nor market exchange. This presumption is, indeed, consistent with their conceptual model. In practice, however, such a “minimal government”, or even no government at all, encourages irresponsibility in the face of unanticipated repercussions, in particular, conflicts.28 In the neoliberal scheme, poverty and market failures alike are seen as natural phenomena rather than products of purposive actions that may be misleading. Correspondingly, the neosocialist platform says little or nothing about dissents or about conflict around ownership in a society that rules out the private economy. Finally, the Meszaros-Chávez concept does not apply to the experiences of self-managing companies in the former Yugoslavia. Therefore, in place of self-correction, both camps ignore their own faults. This is also an example of what Krugman (referring to Keynes) designates as the “unthinking”: to continue with reforming a given system by drawing on what has evidently been wrong in it and what made it halfhearted. Otherwise, thinking, especially in terms of dialectical rationality, is both a critical and a creative mental process. It reflects on the virtues and vices of any position, including one’s own. Instead of that and due to mutual ignorance, which is an authoritarian habit, performances of the exclusive versions of both ideologies perpetuate their own biases. The liberal bias reiterates the belief that a self-propelling market economy is a universal economic model that not only generates, but also automatically solves developmental problems, even amid increasing evidence that the free market is responsible for the further deepening of socioeconomic inequalities (cf. Pickety, 2014). The major fallacy of socialism belongs to the past, but is not reflected upon enough to avoid repeating those past errors. It is the theory and practice of the “actually existing socialism”, a doctrine that legitimizes 28 Social capital or solidarity in traditional societies and in hypothetical societies with an anarchistic makeup is principally different. Unlike traditional communities, where in-group or binding social ties predominate, in anarchistic societies, which might be organised as nation-states as well, the maintaining of solidarity, especially bridging or intergroup ties, cannot be left to the remit of selfmanaging communities or companies. This is so because anarchists are individualistic and their supply-side cannot be permanently maintained on a voluntary basis, without institutional provisions on the basis of state services as well as tax policies. An alternative to this might be an economy sector based on gift exchange (for more on this, see chapter 12).
The Intellectual Self-Closings
central planning and single-party dictatorship as the only possible solutions to the problems that the liberal market could not solve. Due to such a circular argument—that central planning is most appropriate because it comes from the power centre understood as the cerebral capital of a society!—the socialist-communist error is generically close to the liberal error (the free market may do wrong sometimes, but it is because it is not implemented to the end, to its ultimate consequences!). Both positions also assume that any other type of liberalism and socialism, respectively, primarily any type receptive to some elements of the alternative economic ideology, is utopian and, as such, condemned to fail. In this way, the same deterministic fallacy, i.e., the assumption that the genuine economy can only be designed unilaterally, marks both of these modernistic doctrines in their exclusive and most fully implemented versions, at the expense of those who suffer just because they do not fit the models of strict planning and the unfettered market, respectively. The same failure is replicated by the contemporary European social-democratic governments that have resorted to neoliberal policies. Due to the long reign of the exclusivist designs of liberalism and socialism, contemporary social democracy still does not envisage the possibility of the emergence of an alternative socioeconomic order in terms of a socialism, alternative to neoliberalism and, at the same time, essentially different from the Soviet type. Eventually, after a relatively short and unstable marriage under the welfare state, liberalism and socialism divorced in the 1990s. The strongest urge to divorce followed from the impulses of the contemporary strains of anti-modernism. Anti-modernism has affected many partisans on the right and the left, as they are anxious to bring back the patriarchal order as the most lasting (micro and macro) system of dominance. Like traditional men, these modern partners incline to a sort of polygamy, i.e., political coalitions in which one (usually manly) party predominates. The divorcees in this case also prefer submissive rather than equal partners. Politically, this means preference for non- or semi-democratic regimes as docile aides in the international economy, rather than continuing the partnership with trade unions, left-wing parties, or movements and other animadverting figures in their home countries. In this way, the main parties have dismantled the social consensus behind the welfare state. As a consequence, the contemporary political landscape reminds one of the early modern era, when major Western companies operated under the auspices of the Western empires. Similarly, the “actually existing socialism” ended its flirtation with liberal reforms in 1980, while establishing alliances with local elites prone to corruption and loyal to
bosses within the central political elite. Also, a political gold mine is created for this purpose with the re-emergence of varieties of nationalism and national-socialism alike (cf. Dimitrov, 2009). Finally, to provide a more consistent answer to the question why divergence overwhelms convergence between the democratic ideologies, one must take into account some historical facts, as well. Divergence between liberalism and socialism has decisively been facilitated by the dissolution of Eastern socialism. Moreover, the breakdown of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia as multinational federal states became coterminous with the predicament of socialism.29 Likewise, the easiness with which the construction of the tripartite welfare state has been halted in the West indicates that capitalism, as the economic core of liberalism, was inclined to democracy for a relatively short time. In general, liberalism, like party socialism, represents an elitist ideology. This is not an evil in and of itself, as long as the elites have not given up with building a more equitable society in which they do not look for their chance to perpetuate their dominant positions. Notably, the liberal aversion to democracy matches the dawn of Soviet socialism, when the first instances of direct democracy, i.e., the workers councils (the soviets), were dismantled under the pretext of the immaturity of the Soviet workers. This excuse belongs to the paternalistic reflex of the groups in power, thus perpetuating their higher positions and immorality.30 Thus, without combining a socially responsible market with democratic state governance on various territorial levels, both systems are rendered undemocratic. Nevertheless, such a subversion of democracy cannot last forever, at least because democracy is a lifelong learning process in which people sooner or later realise that they are not or should no longer be the playthings of the higher powers. Due to their original makeup,—liberalism in terms of pluralistic agonism between free individuals and groups, and socialism in terms of 29
“It is impossible to make eggs out of scrambled eggs” reads a popular saying that circulated soon after the beginning of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It became obvious that both the sub-national state and the institutions of the selfmanaging socialism could no longer be restored, although the doctrine of selfstanding nation-states in place of the former Yugoslav republics was added much later to the doctrine of self-management, practically by the end of the 1980s, when self-management was already dead. Hence, the former Yugoslavia had been dissolved as a federation when self-management was officially replaced by selfgovernment, primarily through the republics (this aspect is elaborated on in the next chapter). 30 Undoubtedly, the will to power is persistent and contagious, and was reputedly a strong aphrodisiac for our pre-human ancestors as well, especially those living in hierarchical, i.e., non-egalitarian, societies, like apes or bees (Goldsworthy, 2010).
The Intellectual Self-Closings
egalitarianism through a variety of collective ownerships and social solidarity—these two systems can complement rather than antagonise each other. Also, politically, liberals and socialists are attached primarily to their nation-states, but with a rather strong proclivity for the borderless international agenda of defending human rights. Currently, they do not behave in such a way, though. Thus, only five German leftists have protested against Germany’s policy of austerity toward Greece. In this way, democratic ideologies have become synonymous with plebiscitarian, essentially nationalistic, democracies (cf. https://www.jacobinmag.com/ 2015/08/blockupy-syriza-tsipras-euro/). The nationalisation of democracies reminds one of the 19th century’s association of the French Revolution with France, and conservatism and monarchism with Germany, Russia, and other anti-Napoleonic powers. Similarly, in line with nationalistic resentments and the antipathy toward each other that prevailed in the following centuries, both parties discover strangers in their ranks. Originally, the ranks were pretty much open, defined by the revolutionary duo “Liberty and Equality”. The attractiveness of these values extends much longer, for they reflect the experience of peoples subjugated for a millennium, a clear indication that the spread of freedom is intimately connected with the spread of equal opportunities. For a neoliberal, however, these values are antagonists. In brief, neoliberalism is allergic to socialism (cf. Friedman, 2002). In a similar vein, Communist “apparatchiks” and contemporary Islamic militants reiterate, though in disparate contexts, Lenin’s dictum against freedom of speech as the most subversive element of the “bourgeois ideology” (cf. https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/ 1919/mar/comintern.htm). What is desperately missing from a critical viewpoint are arguments for establishing an enlightened and, at the same time, socially sensitive democracy. Arriving at communal decisions under such a system would probably be uncertain, exhausting, and considerably time-consuming, much like Ilf and Petrov’s “long-lasting meetings”. Nonetheless, the search for a democratic method of decision-making is by all means a worthwhile venture, whereas the lack or even the disappearance of democracy is by all means disastrous. Hence, comparing different perspectives on the most sensitive issues, including the need for overcoming nationalistic obsessions with “promised lands” and equally irrational obsessions with capital to turn profits unconditionally, has no true alternative. In contrast, in an ethically and aesthetically inspiring, rationally oriented, economically sustainable and socially sensitive policy, both of these obsessions would most likely just wither away.
CHAPTER EIGHT THE ALIENATED WORKERS IN THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA AND CONTEMPORARY VENEZUELA
The reason why this entire question of spare time is so unfortunate is that people unconsciously mimic the work process, whereas what they really want is to stop working altogether. (Adorno, 1956: 40)
In previous chapters, the shortcomings of socialism and liberalism were discussed on a more general level with a focus on their ideological exclusiveness. This chapter deals specifically with the shortcomings in implementing some forms of economic democracies in the former Yugoslavia and contemporary Venezuela. The governments probably did their best to introduce democratic socialism into the economy, given the unfavourable conditions. The most unfavourable were the ambiguities of the political protagonists as well as the ambiguities of the workers. The former were in most cases unfit for their self-proclaimed revolutionary role. Some unfavourable circumstances were also historical. In Yugoslavia, self-management in companies was introduced in the midst of the statist socialism with its symbiosis between Party and State, which as a model was established in the Soviet Union. When the self-managing system was introduced, it was labelled by the Soviet block of countries as “revisionist”, a sort of heresy in the doctrine. In Venezuela, socialist institutions in the economy were introduced in the midst of the bewilderment caused by the crony capitalism, a mixture of the neoliberal element and authoritarian rule. The new president was authoritarian, too, but also was populist and insistent in promoting workers’ rights. Another set of improper conditions for installing democratic socialism concerns cadres. The political elites in both countries did not know how to or did not want to—it is impossible here to draw a clear-cut line between the two indispositions—install parallel bodies of decision-making, one
The Alienated Workers in the Former Yugoslavia and Contemporary Venezuela
consisting of experts and intellectuals, and the other animators of the policy of direct democracy. Such efforts may have been focused on the central problem, that is, to ensure compensations for workers’ alienated labour, not necessarily only through financial compensations (this aspect is expounded in Chapter 12). The common denominator of the failures of socialism is seemingly the alienated labour of workers. This was first recognised by the young Marx as the central problem of work in capitalism, which socialism is supposed to solve in the interest of workers (Marx, 1967). His main argument was that workers cannot be satisfied with their work as long as it is exhausting and as long as the means of production are in the hands of another class (the owners). Hence, workers in socialism were supposed to be the owners of the capital. However, everything in these two experiments in economic democracy showed that workers, for reasons that will be explained in the following pages, were not enthusiastic about this idea. Besides these common aspects, the Yugoslavian and Venezuelan cases are considerably different. In the following, their specifics will be briefly described. Subsequently, their experiences with socialism, especially as regards workers’ economic interests, will be compared, and an explanation will be offered as regards the causes of the failure of both socialist projects. Yugoslavia (1945-1991) was a country with a double political bottom. It was socialist and multinational at the same time, comprising vertical or class and national or historic cleavages. The multinational, sometimes coinciding with multi-confessional, make-up of the country is usually taken as the primary and sometimes the only cause of its breakdown. Less or even no importance is attributed to its industrial self-managing system as the basis of interclass consensus and dissent, respectively. In the end, the multinational federation has been dismantled, and socialism has simultaneously been buried with it. Furthermore, according to the account in terms of nationalism, most of the Yugoslav nations were born long before socialism and have survived it. Symptomatically, however, nationalistic conflicts sprung up after the Party’s indirect recognition of the defeat of the project of an economic democracy. The most obvious aspect of the defeat was the fact that numerous workers left the country to seek jobs in the Western capitalistic countries. In the 1980s, Yugoslavia became a multinational polyarchy and largely polycentric, with six republics and two autonomous provinces. Before that, a similar version of the system was rather politically cohesive, mostly thanks to the charismatic leadership of Josip Broz Tito. After his death (1980), the agenda of self-management was gradually abandoned
and replaced by the struggle for horizontal, i.e., multinational, integration, which ended with the breakdown of the federation and the descent into war. Eventually, the Army took part in executing the disintegration process by opting for Serbian nationalism as a putative force of reintegration for the rest of the country (but without Slovenia). Still, the explanation for the decay of socialism due to the forces of centrifugal nationalisms is only partly valid. Also, it looks like a version of the nationalistic self-narratives as self-fulfilling prophecies. To counter this nationalistic self-portrait, it is of primary importance to reexamine the role of industrial workers in dismantling an institutional order that was, paradoxically, proclaimed to be for their own benefit. At the beginning, workers enthusiastically embraced self-management (cf. Supek, 1974). Thereafter, most of them cooled down and become discontented with what the State and Party allegedly arranged for them, i.e., the self-managing companies, hardly fit for any ideology of modernity, whether socialist or liberal. For liberals, workers supposedly did what was in their best interests—looking for better opportunities somewhere else, although it is not true that all workers rejected participation in self-managing bodies, yet some reliable data on this fragmentation of the working class are only indirect, as will be shown shortly. Preliminary indirect evidence for the growing disappointment among workers has already been mentioned, namely, their mass emigration that followed the opportunity given to them in 1965 as a part of the major liberal reform in the country. Workers were free to seek better paying jobs elsewhere, mostly in the West European countries. Nevertheless, this was not a sufficient argument for the State and Party to introduce the liberal market into Yugoslavia. It is because, unlike in the theory of the free market, where crises of employment opportunities are normal and as such are taken as a transitory phenomenon on the way to the economic recovery that will sooner or later compensate for the losses—in the socialist doctrine such a crisis is difficult to swallow, in particular if it takes too long a time. It was in vain that the Party renamed the emigration in a more liberal manner, namely, as “temporary work abroad”. What lesson can be learned from the Yugoslav experiment? The fact that most Yugoslav workers were genuinely not interested in the broader, societal, functions of the socialist ideology and, accordingly, not inclined toward solidarity with each other, whether companies or workers, represents the central and, of course, negative experience that has also transpired in contemporary Venezuela. These realities evoke the major and as-yet unsolved issue of socialism. Why does solidarity with the weak not work alongside the market and other mechanisms for the allocation of
The Alienated Workers in the Former Yugoslavia and Contemporary Venezuela
resources? Does solidarity appear only in situations of deep crises or catastrophes, when distressed people obtain help, yet only at a basic level, such as for supplies of food and water? This is problematic insofar as companies, including banks, would have hardly provided their assistance to companies experiencing hardships unless ordered to do so by the State and Party, as was the case, for example, with credit loans in the former Yugoslavia (cf. Flaherty, 2003). Furthermore, unlike Venezuela, the former Yugoslavia was from the beginning socialist-communist. In addition, Yugoslav self-management was unique in the world at that time, as if it echoed Stalin’s doctrine of “socialism in one country” (proclaimed in 1924, but only as an excuse to introduce state terror), albeit the Yugoslav president Tito never referred to any of Stalin’s words after 1948, when he broke all ties with the Soviet Union, and, two years after, not accidentally, Yugoslavian self-management was officially proclaimed as a distinguished element of the domestic socialism. Furthermore, Yugoslav self-management, unlike the Soviet centralist statism, was not propagated as a model for Third World countries.31 Another important reason why many workers remained uninterested in self-management was structural. A lion’s share of the working class was made up of mixed, peasant-workers, households (Cvjetiüanin, Diliü, Puljiz, 1980). For them, a permanent status quo, instead of entrepreneurial reinvestment and the accompanying risk, was preferable (Županov, 1977). Actually, an interest in the status quo and non-entrepreneurial economic behaviour characterised most Yugoslav managers, as well (cf. Pusiü, 1992).32 Basically, workers followed the style of their superiors, above all the most popular one, namely, Tito. For workers and the people en masse, Tito was a double idol. He was the Marshal of the Yugoslav People’s Army and a celebrated hero of the partisan war against the fascists in the Second World War. A couple of decades later, he became the idol of the higher lifestyle marked by luxurious consumption. Moreover, unlike other communist leaders in the Soviet Union and the rest of Eastern Europe, he did not close the state borders to people who aspired to the Western 31
Tito perhaps had in mind self-managing socialism as a possible model for some Third World countries that joined the assemblage of non-aligned countries that he cofounded with Indian president Nehru and Egyptian president Nasser in Belgrade in 1961. On the other hand, his government sponsored the Yugoslav export of technological know-how and industrial goods to those countries. 32 This reflex is, nevertheless, similar to the Wall Street banks that crashed in 2008 but were financially rescued by the government.
consumerist style and to the wages of Western workers, whose purchasing power was several times greater than that of employees in Yugoslavia. In 1965, when the central power opened the borders of the country for workers who wanted to work abroad, if anything was learned as a lesson, it was not only that socialism cannot be built in one country alone, but also that socialism, in order to perpetuate itself, must introduce some elements of the market economy that is, by definition, international or global. The Yugoslav economy could not provide more for workers who wanted much higher wages than they could earn in their own country without taking jobs in the Western immigration countries. Nevertheless, with that, the very purpose of the liberalised socialist economy was at stake. Let us look at the problem from another angle. It is Marx’s conceptual division of the economic process into four cycles: production, exchange, distribution, and consumption (Marx, 1973). On these grounds, it can be assumed that the Yugoslav Party, similar to other Eastern communist parties, did the best it could in the first three cycles, in particular the third one, i.e., the (re)distribution of income. In addition, the fourth cycle, consumption, was more developed in Yugoslavia than the Eastern Europe of the time, yet less developed than in Western capitalistic countries in which the assortment of produced goods was mesmerising for the working class, as well as for the new middle class in Yugoslavia.33 In the end, the Yugoslav communists found another solution. Since emigration was not the appropriate solution for either all workers34 or for the domestic markets of goods controlled by the government, especially as regards prices, and because of the limited purchasing power for those workers who decided to stay and work in the country, the domestic economy could not meet the consumerist demands of those who stayed other than by facing a painful economic challenge. And so, starting in 1973, the government raised credit loans from the IMF and Western banks. These loans were used for different purposes, from the construction of new infrastructure to conspicuous consumption by people who were linked to political power. Still, a part of that money had trickled down to the broader population, including workers. Credit loans operated through domestic banks had been repaid relatively easily under very favourable conditions. For most of the employed, this was the last opportunity to 33
For Yugoslavs at that time, the most popular destination for purchasing consumer goods was the Italian harbour city of Trieste. 34 Eventually, the emigration of workers to Western Europe was officially halted, in 1973.
The Alienated Workers in the Former Yugoslavia and Contemporary Venezuela
cover the expenditures for housing, cars, funding their children’s higher education, etc. The boom of consumerism, with some brief intermissions, lasted practically until 1991, i.e., the outset of a series of wars in the country. Let us now sum up the explanations for the failure of Yugoslav democratic socialism in its infancy. The chief characteristic of that period was the inherent ambiguity of the two main actors. One ambiguity concerned the Communist Party, which was unwilling to share its power with the workers, experts and intellectuals of liberal-socialist provenience.35 The other and more dramatic ambiguity concerned workers, actually two categories of them. One consisted of workers who had only one source of income, that coming from their work in industry. The other category was the “mongrels” (polutani in Croatian and Serbian). These were workers with two sources of income, one official and the other unofficial. The official income came from their work in industry, which these workers used to avoid seasonally by using sick leaves for the sake of doing parallel work on their private farms. They sold their agricultural products at local markets and also, mostly meat, to their colleagues, who worked regularly in industry, but very often their customers were their colleagues, purely industrial workers. This way, the former secured another source of income. It is virtually impossible to justify or blame any side alone for these ambiguities, because the interests of the Party and those of the workers were rather intertwined. Albeit, obtaining a second income within the same work time was illegal, but it was not politically proscribed. The fact that the Party was looking the other way on this and other illegal forms of economic behaviour made it clear to the “mongrels” that it was known what they were doing and that they in turn had to be loyal to the power. This deal between law-makers and law-breakers certainly was not unique to the “mongrels”, but was part of a broader set of non-transparent and mainly corrupting links within and around the power. This was the backbone of the societal compromise both vertically and horizontally. The vertical compromise was established between the power elite and the 35
Liberal- and socialist-oriented intellectuals were active both inside and outside the Party. The latter were philosophers and sociologists gathered around the journal Praxis. Their ideas of emancipatory practice, based on the works of the young Marx, favoured a coalition between manual workers and an array of professionals, from technical to social engineers, within the framework of social ownership over the means of production. On the other hand, the freedoms of speech and association must be guaranteed (see https://www.marxists.org/subject/praxis/index.htm).
workers, some of whom found their luck abroad, some in a second source of income, while some attempted to deal with their hardships by taking on relatively favourable credit loans (the latter will be clarified shortly). The horizontal compromise came up in the post-Tito era, and consisted of two consensuses. One was between the leaders of the developed subnations, i.e., the Yugoslav North comprised of Slovenia and Croatia, who wanted to break away from the federal state unless their claims for economic autonomy in terms of tax harvesting, practically a confederal status, were accepted by the national leaders in the Yugoslavian South, led by Serbia as a relatively developed unit, but with most of the influence in the military. Eventually, the Yugoslav Army joined Serbia and other southern factions, but with disastrous consequences. The breakdown of the horizontal compromise is the most popular basis for an explanation for the disintegration of Yugoslavia. This is, however, a weak argument. The causal process cannot, of course, run backward, following a teleological course, which is basically a nationalistic invention of the history of the former Yugoslavian society. As a matter of fact, the breakdown of the federation followed the breakdown of the self-managing system. This sequence of events can by no means be considered irrelevant. It is about the transformation of the ideology of the workers’ democracy into the rhetoric of various national interests or multinationalism. By the same token, the vertical, interclass consensus with workers was undone.36 With that, the self-management system was taken off the agenda. Subsequently, with the coming of the post-Yugoslavian states, the “social ownership”, implicitly the workers’ ownership, of companies was converted into state ownership, which was then used as a pretext for the privatisation of many companies, thus ruling workers out of the game. *** Albeit today’s Venezuela has different historical origins, it was faced with a challenge similar to that faced by the former Yugoslavia. It is how to keep up with capitalism, much less compete with it, with an economy 36
Unlike Yugoslavia, in which no foreign troops, including Soviet (after 1945), were present, the breakdown of the Warsaw Pact in communist Eastern Europe was much more motivated by nationalism, more precisely, by the fear of occupation by the Soviet Union and Russia, respectively. Besides, in no country in that hemisphere was a workers’ self-management system introduced, except for the autonomous actions of the self-organised trade union “Solidarity” in Poland in the 1980s, which were controlled by the military government of Jaruzelski. Even still, the former did not succeed in establishing any consensus in economic terms.
The Alienated Workers in the Former Yugoslavia and Contemporary Venezuela
designed by a newly established socialist government, and thereby avoid a replication of the statist economy of the Soviet type. In sum, two similarities predominate in a comparison between Venezuela and the former Yugoslavia. One is the charismatic leadership of Chavez and Tito, respectively. The other and more important similarity is the workers’ refusal to take entrepreneurial risks for the companies in which they were supposed to take on the roles of owners, managers and workers at the same time.37 Chavez assumed power in the presidential election of 1998. He was a brand-new figure in Venezuela, a colonel, an intellectual and a commanding speaker, who propounded a “Bolivarian revolution”. This was sufficiently attractive to the lower social classes. He introduced new legislation with many cooperatives and a number of shops with relatively cheap food products (cf. Nelson, 2009). Still, the crucial question was what socialist authorities were supposed to do, if anything, after securing a nearly equal distribution of basic goods and services, including housing, diet, schooling and health protection. To secure a near equal distribution permanently, if possible, or to take new steps in development and, if so, what steps? (In Chapters 11 and 12, these issues will be discussed in more detail). In Venezuela, many practical problems popped up shortly after the establishment of the socialist government, from shortages of goods to obstructions on the part of political opposition allied with the private sector, including multinational corporations. In the main, Chavez did a lot, but his presidency lasted much shorter than Tito’s. Compared to the latter, Chavez faced a much more complicated situation, including, in the first place, many open enemies within the country whom he fought against through the popular vote and other democratic methods. Unfortunately, he died all too early to move the “Bolivarian revolution” ahead. Thus, the crucial question was rendered historical. Did Chavez have a chance to moving socialism to a higher stage in Marx’s terms, i.e., to the policy of allocation in which everybody obtains what he or she needs? 37
“This reveals a central theoretical and practical paradox in twenty-first century socialism, namely that, while nurturing initiatives that challenge capital, the Venezuelan state also emerges as an important barrier to overcoming the class relation” (Larrabure, 2014: 177). The same may be said about Yugoslav socialism. The government was both the instigator and, in different ways, e.g., through the cliques of companies’ managers and companies’ Party cells, the barrier to the free decision-making of the self-managing bodies. Furthermore, it remained uncertain under what conditions self-managing companies might compete with private capitalistic companies. For instance, would both private companies and companies owned by workers share the same destiny, whether bankruptcy or profit?
Most probably, he did not have such a chance. Chavez was not only the most, but seemingly the only, popular political figure among the poor and unemployed. Meanwhile, workers who were employed aspired primarily to increase their wages. On the other hand, the solidarity which manifested itself in emergency situations could not defeat the spirit of consumerism, which led to the “splendid isolation” of a society of objects, rather than of comrades and companions. The commodification of society and human desires is at least what is known so far as regards both contemporary capitalism and historical socialism. To paraphrase Simmel’s observation about “the tragedy of modern culture” (in his attempt at explaining the cultural basis of the First World War) and Thomas More’s famous assertion on sheep and men— this time, objects eat people. Chavez’s concept of the social economy is described in a previous chapter. Like other similar concepts in radical thought, it represents a rhetorical retort to the private capitalistic economy, whereas the socialist economy proclaims the primacy of social interests against private interests. So far so good, but what does a socialist economy represent in other respects for the people who principally support it? This issue may be illustrated by two empirical reports concerning the social economy, reports whose authors are not biased or a priori against the idea of Bolivarian socialism.38 One report refers to trade unions which accept governmental initiatives on two conditions. One is that the state as the owner takes care of and, when necessary, compensates for the financial losses of companies, including those which operate in foreign markets. The second condition is political. The trade unions trusted only Chavez, while other members of the government were considered corrupted (cf. Martinez, Fox, JoJo Farell, 2010). As a consequence, the post-Chavez government is divided into three factions: military, tycoon and radical left (Kos Stanišiü, 2013), whose unity can only be maintained for some time in emergency
Here, numerous works with a neoliberal bias are omitted (cf. Spanakos, 2012). Such works aprioristically deny the possibility for a socialist experiment to succeed, except in the case of hard empirical evidence against such an assumption (how cynical of the winners in history!). The following sceptical arguments as regards Venezuelan socialism are based on the empirical evidence of public activists and empirical researchers who do not rule out the possibility of socialism surviving, but are critical enough to distinguish between popular slogans and current moods or events in the parts of society which are principally inclined to support Chavez’s policies.
The Alienated Workers in the Former Yugoslavia and Contemporary Venezuela
situations like the present. This unity is obviously fragile and cannot be maintained for very long. These facts underpin the scepticism as regards the future of Bolivarian socialism. Given that Chavez was seen as an extraordinary political figure deserving of trust among the Venezuelan majority, it is likely, then, that after Chavez the societal consensus can easily be dismantled. This likelihood also calls into question the real motives of the workers who obtained governmental support for their self-managing companies. Was it only for mere survival in the midst of the pauperisation of the lower class? This issue is further elucidated by a study in which many cooperatives are found which export their products to capitalistic markets rather than selling them to domestic markets, where prices are controlled by state subsidies (Pieiro Harnecker, 2009). This is parallel to the aspiration of the great number of workers under Yugoslav socialism who migrated to Western capitalist countries in search of better paying jobs.39 Generally, as shown in research in Third World countries, socialism seems appropriate to societies in an early modernisation era, when class differences along with poverty increase (cf. Fagen, Deere, Corraggio, 1986). Thereafter, the mission of socialism seems unclear. In many countries that were previously under Soviet influence, an early form of capitalism has subsequently been replaced by an early form of socialism. The newest transition from capitalism to socialism, in the case of Venezuela so far, makes the whole process even more complicated. Now, the various forms of mature capitalism with its inherent need for exploiting vast areas of underdevelopment claim to provide a steady supply of cheap labor and raw materials. This, however, demonstrates a serious weakness on the part of liberal capitalism, as well. It is not only that it cannot provide an efficient supply of produced goods and secure a fair share of incentives and a redistribution of total income. For most people without purchasing power it becomes evident that capitalism does 39
The fact that alienated and low paying jobs compelled workers to seek their luck elsewhere forced the Yugoslavian Communists to open their state borders to the emigration of workers. In a similar vein, James Coleman, a utilitarian rationalchoice sociologist, claims that revolutionaries must, for their own sake, compensate dispossessed classes, including workers, with the right to emigration. Otherwise, he contends, they will perpetuate relative poverty: “[I]f a subordinate class eliminates property rights following a revolution, they must also effectively eliminate emigration rights. This may, however, eliminate the incentive for individuals in the next generation to acquire the personal resources that make them productive, so such a system may be foredoomed to a lower level of productivity” (Coleman, 1990: 356).
not want to sustain such an inclusive policy in developed countries, either. Even workers and citizens in those countries gradually lose their purchasing power. So, the contemporary capitalism has broken the golden thread that Marx was seeking in the interest of socialism. It is the thread that would reconnect production with exchange, (re)distribution and consumption in a sustainable totality. *** To conclude, let us sum up the above explanations with two propositions. Both point to a human need for work that is, however, faced with the dysfunction of the contemporary economy: 1. Alienated work gives rise to extrinsic motivation and, accordingly, to the tendency of maximising the wage or salary; such motivation ultimately collides with the capitalistic motive of incessantly rising profits. 2. Creative work with the additional duty of participation in communal life gives rise to an intrinsic motivation and decreases the tendency toward the maximising of income (wages, salaries, profits). This proposition needs some additional corroboration, as well as a cultural follow-up that is initially addressed at the end of this chapter and then further elaborated in a subsequent chapter. Central to the above propositions is Marx’s concept of alienated work. The lesson learned reads that workers will hardly be interested in selfmanagement and similar autonomous work arrangements in terms of economic democracy as long as they are left to an exhausting eight or more hours of intensive work on a daily basis, whether manual, e.g., on an assembly line, or proprioceptive, e.g., in automated production. The broader consequences of a possible gradual reduction of work hours will be discussed later in the book. They include the following: restructuring of the remaining of the work hours, and introducing new policies pertinent to liberal socialism with the aim of combining a routine with creative work as the basis of a social order with a balanced scale of private and public benefits. Two important causes of the failure of socialism in the two cases presented above remain to be explained. One concerns the central element in the framework of this book, namely, the antagonisms that have prevented a liberal-socialist synthesis. In the case of both Yugoslavia and
The Alienated Workers in the Former Yugoslavia and Contemporary Venezuela
Venezuela, liberalism, this time in terms of neoliberalism, did not provide any support for these forms of democratic socialism—just the opposite. Even the Western bank loans to Yugoslavia, although officially described as financial assistance to the country, objectively (probably also subjectively) had strong counter-effects in this regard. Another inhibiting factor has been sporadically tackled in this chapter, but will be more elaborated upon in Chapter 13. It is the lack of solidarity and sympathy for the weak, respectively. This aspect was underdeveloped in 20th century democracies and represents the most important challenge for the remaining democracies in the future.
CHAPTER NINE THE ELECTIVE AFFINITIES TO NON-DEMOCRACY
According to an old adage, the new ruling classes in modern societies are anxious to imitate the preceding ruling classes (cf. Tocqueville, 2000; Derber, 2016). This tendency manifested itself in conspicuous consumption by the newly enriched social strata beginning in the West. Their counterparts in the communist countries were political leaders with personal ties to higher-level managers, who could afford cars, villas and other assets that were inaccessible to most people. In parallel to the material enrichment of the Western and the Eastern bourgeoisies, some ideological changes happened, which had not been immediately apparent. The reason for such discrete processes lay in the collective memory, at least of the generations following the liberal or socialist revolutions that were originally anti-monarchic and anti-aristocratic. Nevertheless, as time passed, remembering what freedom and equality meant to the previous generations who had fought for democracy became stereotypical and melted down into a mass of indifference. Eventually, the legendary couple of the modern revolutions became an irritant to the ruling classes. These, meanwhile, had contributed to building an almost impermeable class system. In a hardly changeable social reality, retro became chic, including the image of the old nobility as the main enemy of democracy, which, in turn, became a dark object of desire for the new bourgeoisies. The unexpected political sentiment reminds one of a romantic plot in terms of the “elective affinity”, a proxy for the narrative clichés of the “femme fatale” and “fatal attraction”. It is a story about an unconventional, yet typical, dispersion of the erotic impulse that can also be translated into the discourse of modern science. Such parabolic paths of love were originally depicted in Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s novel Elective Affinity (in German, Verwandschaften: see Goethe, 1978). The plot unfolds within a quadrangle consisting of husband and wife and his friend and her niece. The husband has fallen in love with the niece, and the wife with the friend. The latter was very verbose in his explanation of love as a natural
The Elective Affinities to Non-Democracy
phenomenon that cannot be dictated by conventional marriage. He indicates that attraction is a process already emerging on a molecular level, where, e.g., water could not emerge without the affinity between hydrogen and oxygen. The romantic predilection, especially when combined thus with a scientific rigour, looks progressive and certainly anti-conformist. Yet, these are truths of the heart, not of the other and equally strong interests ruling over politics, economy and society, in general. In the contemporary globalised world, the elective affinity that evades established norms is demonstrated, in the first place, by international trade. The attraction to trade passes through a gourmand stomach. Many capitalistic corporations in liberal countries cooperate with regimes that violate human rights. This penchant is strongest among neoconservatives in all countries, including the United States and Russia. Generally, the idea of the unfettered market economy is by default polygamous, compatible with different ideologies, including anti-democratic ones. In his study The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Weber (2001) borrowed the term “elective affinity” directly from Goethe’s homonymous novel. He showed that some ethical meanings in Calvinism and Puritanism, the Christian factions marked by a conservative morality, were curiously akin to the moral norms of capitalist accumulation in the 16th and the 17th century. At that time, to Weber’s account, luxury and consumerism were deemed reprehensible among entrepreneurs. Thus, he hypothesized that economic activity with such an ethical predilection was taken for granted by Protestant congregations, who believed that the disciplined conduct of businesses was deeply moral and sacred alike. In this sense, the early capitalism was culturally old-fashioned, styled in terms of a virtuous asceticism. Notably, Weber ascribed the adjective “rational” to the methodical way of work and life among Protestants in the pioneer stage of capitalism, marked by the reinvestment of wealth into new businesses instead of the luxurious consumption of accumulated wealth. However, Weber retorts, this attitude has withered away in subsequent centuries and along with that the importance of Protestant ethics for the historical success of capitalistic entrepreneurship.40 This is true in terms of the internal motives of the economic activities. 40
Capitalism’s predilection for conspicuous consumption, born in America by the end of the 19th century—which Veblen described as the opposite of the Weberian ethos of capitalist asceticism in previous centuries (Veblen, 1953—is not necessarily “progressive” in comparison to early modern (“Protestant”) capitalism. Ostentatious luxury remained essentially the habit of the class of various rentiers as well as monarchs.
Nevertheless, capitalism desperately needs, even more than in early modernity, the support of different religions in different areas of the world, as well as of modern science, both natural and social. This is so because capitalism is the first truly world economy. It has expanded in a way that was typical of pre-capitalistic imperialisms, by using colonial armies beforehand or simultaneously. Later on, it combined different means, but primarily those providing direct or indirect legitimation. This primarily concerns organised religion as the main cultural pillar of the societies into which capitalism has penetrated. In this regard, the task of organised religion is to convince people that capitalism, although far from being a perfect economic system, is still the best of all other contemporary or traditional rivals, including socialism, on the one hand, and gift-exchange economies, on the other hand. Weber’s interpretation of early capitalism is basically similar to what Marx argued before him. Marx contended that producing for the sake of producing, i.e., perpetuating accumulation, in a way, the so-called autopoietic wealth, is much older than Protestantism. Also, it has a broader scope.41 Why? It is one of the central ideas behind the religious explanation for chaos and injustice in this world, that whoever produces it, whether liberal capitalism or religious extremism, makes the idea of the other world and God more attractive to a general population stricken by poverty or bombs blasting in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city. In any case, the liberal-democratic idea of freedom was and continues to be relatively (un)important to capitalism. Even though Weber, as a liberal, believed that free trade was a prerequisite for international peace and economic development, the attribute “free” is rather a euphemism for trade without borders, whereas borders were provisory, established in the intermezzos between the imperialistic wars for colonial possessions. The capitalistic assumption of liberty is intimately linked with the free navigation of ships loaded with goods and slaves from the conquered areas of the world. In such a context, freedom facilitates the exploitation of raw materials and the circulation of goods and people (although the latter circulate less extensively). In particular, early capitalism was, until the age of democracy and the rule of law, an instrument of mercantilist policies. However, it is not entirely clear when or why capitalism commenced with supporting the development of democracy, whereas democratic rules, including workers’ rights, complicated the capitalistic 41
“Accumulate, accumulate. This is Moses and the Prophets!” (Marx, 1999: 652). Of course, this tendency was by no means confined to the Jews. Christian, Hindu, Muslim and other “religious” merchants were prominent in the “first globalization”, as well (cf. Gunn, 2003).
The Elective Affinities to Non-Democracy
path to the main goal, i.e., profit, especially when considering the rising costs of production. Today, neoliberalism irons out such bends in the road. This means primarily that the governments of the world must accept the arbitrary and basically unaccountable decisions of the economic oligarchies, supported by the leading Western countries. The new alliance of nobles and elites has ruined the job and life chances of millions. The latter are not formally slaves or servants anymore, but “free citizens” and “free workers” around the globe. Most of them have only one opportunity, though, which is to choose between bad working conditions, on the one hand, and starvation, on the other. Making a third choice, such as being recruited by different criminal groups, including terrorists, in return for the financial security of their families, looks to them like a big win in the lottery. The moral ideas accompanying early socialist industrialisation were similar to Protestantism. For instance, Stakhanovism in the Soviet Union and in Yugoslavia, which celebrated the highest scores for productivity among manual workers, as well as their self-motivation to work, constituted a socialist variety of asceticism. The best workers were celebrated like Olympic champions. However, this exhibition turned out to serve as a pretext to introducing uravnilovka (regimentation, a levelling of wages for different jobs), which elicited general apathy among workers and expanded their consumption of domestic made vodka. Very soon, therefore, as with the demise of the importance of Protestant virtues in relation to newer capitalism, Stakhanovism was deposited in the socialistic museum. The communist caricaturing of egalitarianism was equivalent to the capitalist banalisation of liberalism as the ideology of liberty. Either way, in socialism most workers could not earn wages which would get them closer to the level of the salaries of their superiors, just as workers in capitalistic industry could not earn wages close to the salaries of their managers, either. Nevertheless, there was a substantial difference between the two systems in the eyes of workers in historical socialism. In the second half of the 20th century, manual workers in capitalism obtained several times greater wages than their colleagues in Eastern socialist countries. This was, as explained in the previous chapter, the main cause of the implosion of the Yugoslav self-managing socialism. Equality on a higher level, spanning from decent earnings and housing to higher education and cultural tastes formerly appropriate only for aristocracies or for the upper middle class, remained unattainable. In the socioeconomic regimentation of early socialism, job permanence was only considered a privilege, yet mostly for manual workers, especially those who had a second source of income in their private acres of land. For
others, generally, a hope of living in freedom and abundance in terms of Marx’s higher stage of socialism in terms “to each according to his needs” (Marx, 1875: Part I) looked like a religious rather than a secular hope. By the end of the actually existing socialism, the political leaders decided to restore a sort of capitalism that now, to many workers and peasants, for instance, in Russia, resembles feudalism rather than capitalism.42 The new ruling class recycles its “elective affinity” towards previous, i.e., non-democratic, order. In the big leap backward, the main ally of the new power elite is, again, organised religion. This way, the higher immorality of the power elite is rebuilt on the most solid ground, by garnering support from a variety of religions based on some form of otherworldly asceticism: this world is rendered definitively incorrigible. A double bind is a situation in which a person or group is confronted with two equally irreconcilable demands or a choice between two undesirable courses of action. For example, liberal and/or socialist ideas, i.e., universality of freedom and equality / equity / solidarity, are fair, open-minded and unbiased. But, they are not practically feasible, so far as it goes. Then again, immorality is beneficial and even useful for a privileged, yet tiny, group of people, but is contemptuous to most people, and some day may be proclaimed criminal. The double bind is also the reason why a politics of endless war, where the protagonists are military-political elites in the most developed countries, becomes a serious option for them, as well as for the political elites in underdeveloped countries allied with the former. Immorality is sustainable only in a state of affairs in which everything looks temporary, and, accordingly, no firm principles can be established, and nothing can be durable, respectively. Thus, mixing old and new in the contemporary power game has produced an expanding state of permanent emergency actually ruled by the sheer force of arms. In such a context, liberal capitalism becomes the only survivor in the war between the already fundamental ideologies, i.e., liberalism and socialism, according to which liberal capitalism has never been an entirely modern, much less democratic, ideology. Instead, it has established a combination of the monetary economy, much older than capitalism, and the expansion of production and long-distance trade along routes that are protected by major military forces that guarantee that the whole undertaking is successful by taking shares of its rising profits through the chain of wars. 42
“[We] turn back to feudalism!” reads the statement of a contemporary Russian peasant cited in Verdery, 1996: 204.
The Elective Affinities to Non-Democracy
Another retrograde link of liberal capitalism, besides its initial flirtation with Protestantism, is its speculative collaboration with Roman Catholicism. In the earlier times of colonialism, traders and warriors generally cooperated with the higher clergy, who saw capitalistic expansion as a great opportunity for the expansion of Church missionary work, as well. As far as the affinity to capitalism is concerned, it is difficult to ascribe it to the basic beliefs of any religion, including Protestant Christianity, for the religious worldviews are dualistic. They typically speak about this world as profane and spoiled, and the other world as sacred and sublime. Hence, collaboration with any secular ideology is temporary and instrumental in the short term. Accordingly, any religious affinity to capitalism is rather extrinsic, in particular, when capitalists declare themselves as believers or are willing to donate for local religious communities and their facilities. In the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, the religious dullness to capitalist penetration dazzled in many Catholic countries in postcommunist Eastern Europe. The reason for this lay in the traditional antiCommunism of the Church (cf. Kersbergen, 1995). This reflex is peculiar insofar as, nowadays, the typical Communist threat has practically disappeared. Nevertheless, the higher clergy continually aligns itself with extreme nationalists in their condemnation of communism as an allegedly permanent threat.43 This way, the Church reinforces neoliberal disdain toward socialism. In so doing, the conservative religious mainstream and the neoliberal agenda become complementary forces of hegemony on the national scene.44 The formerly socialist regimes had established, easier than liberalism, their affinities toward conservative traditions, from Stalin’s glorification of Ivan the Terrible and the policy of indigenisation to the recent collusion of post-communist leaders with nationalism and religious patriarchs. The forerunner of the old-new alliance was the bureaucratic nationalism of the communist sort. It was a nationalism approved by the policy of central 43
The Roman Catholic clergy in today’s Croatia leads campaigns against Communism. Simultaneously, it feigns worry about the predicament of workers under local crony capitalism. 44 Of course, it is different with some parts of the Roman Catholic clergy in Latin America, including the current Pope Francis. He is an Argentinian Jesuit who does not represent the ideas of the Latin American “red bishops”, who are also Jesuits, genuinely interested in a socialism based on Jesus’s doctrine of egalitarianism. Nevertheless, the Pope is virtually the only one among the world leaders who insists on what Einaudi and other liberal socialists had pointed out, which is that liberal capitalism desperately needs a counterbalance for the sake of protecting the unprivileged.
and/or regional party committees. This nationalism was regularly expressed in the fora, not on streets and squares like the demonstrations organised by popular nationalism. By the end of the 1980s, the bureaucratic nationalists paved the way for the rise of the popular nationalists by cherishing the traditions of bourgeois nationalism and anticommunism. To be sure, Marx and Engels asserted that the ultimate battle between proletariat and bourgeoisie would be fought out on national scenes (Marx and Engels, 1848). This is similar to what some other Marxist authors have asserted, such as the Austro-Marxists Karl Renner and Otto Bauer and the French-Greek neo-Marxist Nicos Poulantzas.45 Yet, most of the former Communists who joined the variety of post-Communist political parties in transitional Eastern Europe embraced popular nationalism. This combination, of course, was not intended to introduce more justice into these transitional societies. Rather, popular nationalism, like bureaucratic nationalism, became a political goldmine for the perpetuation of the higher immorality of the elites. Thus, nationalism facilitated the restoration of some of the strong pillars of the pre-democratic regimes, in the first place the considerable influence of organised religion on public institutions, especially in education and health. Of course, nationalistic movements had their better days in the past, in particular in anti-colonial struggles and anti-imperialist movements in post-colonial countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Also, some of the nationalistic movements were transmitters of democracy in the former Eastern Europe, primarily in the Baltics, Central Europe and partly in Southeast Europe.46 Yet, one must still wait for the emergence of an appropriate form of anti-systemic movements, with a balanced sense for taking over and combining what is most acceptable in a liberal economy, primarily its sense of entrepreneurship and competition under fair conditions, and what is most acceptable in socialist reformism, primarily its sense of social justice, especially solidarity with most people, including (temporary) losers and, conditionally speaking, foreigners. Meanwhile, the revival of the affinities to pre-democratic regimes is diminishing the achievements of democracy. This process must not be irreversible, of course, but currently it is ruining the lives of countless 45
These authors and their works are generally known to readers of Marxist literature, and so full references will not be listed here for the sake of space. 46 This happened primarily in Slovenia, while the outcomes of the national movements in other parts of the former Yugoslavia were more ambiguous, mostly due to ethnic cleansing, although even in Slovenia a (soft) form of ethnic cleansing of minorities also occurred (so-called “deleted” from the national census in 1991).
The Elective Affinities to Non-Democracy
people. In parallel to that, democracy has gradually vanished from all policies, starting with an economic policy that relegates social concerns to banal technicalities in the handling of budget outlays, which ends up with farcically democratic decision-making in parliaments, and which usually results in decisions in favour of various oligarchies. However, it would not be in line with the dialectical method adopted in this book if conservatism on the whole, as a major part of various cultures and their histories, were to be discarded without some remainder. First of all, this is impossible to do except in a very short period of radical revolution during which their exclusive goal was to programmatically sever all ties with the previous epoch. Sooner or later, such an episode is followed by the inevitable backlash of different traditions, including rigid conservativism and religious extremism. In the end, cultural conservativism is an important and practically ineradicable trait of the cultural elite in democratic societies, as well. That some conservatives may also be initiators of basically progressive cultural and social change is argued at greater length in Chapter 12. These remarks do not mean that a liberal or socialist person or party might entirely change its makeup and become conservative or vice versa. This only means that, to paraphrase Lenin, a step forward is impossible to make without making a step backward. It emerges that true progress is a complex and meandering rather than linear process running along a straight line.
CHAPTER TEN A BRAWL IN THE FAMILY OR THE COMMON RUIN?
This chapter summarises various explanations for the divergence between liberalism and socialism. The divergence, with some sparks from opposing tendencies, spans from the context of the year 1848, when most European nationalisms emerged, to the 1990s, when the solemn divorce between socialism and liberalism took place. The crux of these explanations may be outlined in terms of Hegel’s philosophy of history (Hegel, 2001). He argues that history is a long-term process informed by the emancipation of people. The process of emancipation consists of a gradually growing awareness of freedom. It first emerged in Asia and then later in Europe. Accordingly, in Asia, freedom existed only for one person, the theocratic despot. The process continued with freedom for some, i.e., oligarchy or the limited democracy achieved in some parts of ancient Greece and medieval and early modern cities and in some monarchies in Europe. The emancipation process reached its apogee, freedom for all, in Europe, more properly, under the Prussian monarchy of Hegel’s time (nobody’s perfect!). From a present-day perspective, the larger part of Hegel’s scheme has been turned upside down due to the forces of actual history. In many countries, political processes have run in the opposite direction, from developed democracies to post-democracies, while many democracies in transition continue to languish through the inverted U-curve.47 However, 47
The inverted U-curve describes the relative absence of collective violence in authoritarian and democratic societies vs. the high incidence of such violence in transitional societies (cf. Mousseau, 2001). However, outcomes of transition are more uncertain than the model indicates. Transition to democracy might be an everlasting process. Developments in most Third World countries illustrate this predicament. Even though democracy can hardly be limited to a given epoch— basically, democracy is a project of human rights for all rather than a smaller number of states—the transition to democracy becomes an “empty signifier” (cf. Masielo, 2001), whereby political authoritarianism and clientelism are practically
A Brawl in the Family or the Common Ruin?
regression and progression in history are not plainly linear, nor can history simply repeat itself. The historical “revanchists” concoct a mixture of oligarchic rule and populist democracies with nationalistic overtones. This may be the ultimate, yet not necessarily irreversible, consequence of the “divorce” between liberalism and socialism, although they were “married” only for a relatively short time and somewhat prematurely and, besides that, more in theory than in practice.48 The phrase “a brawl in the family”,49 put in the title of this chapter, has a twofold meaning. One is that partners in a modern political marriage, who divorced, are eager to set up a new political partnership, this time with a patriarchal partner. The other meaning of the phrase implies the possibility of “remarriage” between liberalism and socialism. Although this outcome is less likely to happen soon, it is of vital importance for the very survival of the progressive part of the world. That mostly depends on maintenance of the common goods, from natural surroundings to institutions protecting human rights, rather than large private assets alienated from a common good. In other words, remarriage of the equals provides for much better outlook than marriage between the unequal which is favourable to hatred, conflicts that evolve into never ending wars, and to devouring of the common goods. Generally speaking, the conflicts and other real-life events among the Simpsons, who are an evangelical family—who, thus, normatively speaking, share the same values—may be taken to illustrate undisturbed by political opposition within the country. And also, when adding the new perplexities caused by post-democracy, the curves of democracy become more and more complicated. 48 This reminds one of Jan van Eyck’s painting Arnolfini Portrait (1434). It presents an improvised wedding (a “left-handed marriage”) between the daughter of an Italian banker and a merchant with an enviable political career. The portrait served as a document confirming the intent of the marriage (cf. https://www.oneonta.edu/faculty/farberas/arth/arth214_folder/van_eyck/arnolfini.h tml). The couple was officially married 17 years after this ceremony. They also remained childless, i.e., without heir. It is likewise curious that the husband was sentenced by a court of justice to pay a great fortune to his lover, who accused him of inflicting mental pain on her by leaving her all alone. Of course, this cannot simply be understood as an allusion to the retribution that liberal capitalism must pay to its conservative partners (the love affair that cost him a lot because he paradoxically broke with his “monogamous” lover). Nevertheless, the mere interest of a capitalist in a lifelong partnership with a rich, yet traditionally conservative, bachelorette, such as in Saudi Arabia, should not remain unnoticed. 49 Abspoel, Kari and Sami Houhvanainen: The American Nuclear Family in the TV Series “The Simpsons”. https://jyx.jyu.fi/dspace/bitstream/handle/.../7273/1540.pdf?...1.
the real contradictions between parties that are supposed to cooperate instead of fighting (cf. Feltmate, 2013), as an allusion to the fight between liberalism and socialism. The alternative to remarriage is neither developmental nor democratic. It initiates a process of total destruction with perpetual wars and/or “the rise of global disaster management” (Sörensen and Söderbaum, 2012). Such an outlook chimes with what Marx and Engels envisaged as a possible result of the defeat of the proletariat in its epic battle with the bourgeoisie, namely the “common ruin” (Marx and Engels, 1848; cf. Hassan, 2012). In spite of the possibility of such an outcome, a better alternative remains possible, as well, since it is the duty of the advocates of both liberalism and socialism to provide for a better outlook for the future of society instead of senselessly prolonging current developments. In this situation, it is helpful to recall Einaudi’s words, as referred to by Bobbio, his most creative continuator: Two terms in an antithesis do not always have equal force; nor is it necessarily the case that one is always stronger than the other ... Every day we are now finding evidence that the strong and weak parts have been inverted in the left/right distinction. He [Einaudi] wrote that “both currents are respectable”, and “the liberal and the socialist, although adversaries, are not enemies, because both respect the other’s opinion, and know that there is a limit to the implementation of their own principle”. He concluded that “the optimum is not achieved through the enforced peace of totalitarian tyranny; it is reached through the continual struggle between the two ideals, and the suppression of either would be to the detriment of all”. (Bobbio, 1996: 85)50
This congenial conclusion is correct. The removal of either liberal or socialist ideas would be detrimental to democracy. Instead of further development of their democratic potential, the purified ideologies would become more undemocratic, succumbing to the lethal gravitational force of extremism. The main cause of the whole diversion of the modern ideologies is their self-closing along with the resulting antagonisms. 50
The balance between liberalism and socialism has sparked similar concerns about democracy in France, yet with a trace of political optimism: “Both camps changed in interaction with each other. Socialist politics gave liberalism a sense of social solidarity and pushed liberals to cede real decision-making power to citizens in many domains. Socialists and liberals come from different ideological traditions, and, when they met in twentieth-century France, the consequence was an uncertain but original democratic equilibrium. Its fate is now in the balance” (Sadoun, 2007: 81).
A Brawl in the Family or the Common Ruin?
In terms of ethical universalism, which validates the achievements of human free will, one cannot fathom that both ideologies could not make things better, in favour of a more balanced and more responsible global development. It rather seems that the leaders of both parties simply do not want to do anything about it. The awareness of the evil of non-action was originally outlined by Immanuel Kant in his concept of the “self-incurred immaturity” of humanity (Kant, 1784). Since the modern political elites represent themselves as beacons of progress, at least in their pre-election campaigns, it is also their responsibility to contribute to our collective advance into a higher stage of development as a civilisation. It is likely that the elites obstruct the process of maturation on purpose, especially because of their proclamation, whether naive or vicious, of the free market as the law of development derived from Nature. This fundamentalism is, again, the product of the purification of liberalism of its democratic substance and its unavoidable interlacing with socialism, unless the former has substantially changed its fundamental goal, i.e., the idea of freedom for all. Contrariwise, the (re)establishment of a balance between the two democratic forces may provide a safety-net against the social earthquakes caused by the eruption of the temporarily restrained impulses of prehuman evolution and pre-democratic history alike. These impulses are being ever more exploited in the nascent post-democracies. The liberal bias according to which wars have never been fought between democracies or what is usually understood by democracies dates back to the liberalism of “free navigation”. Nowadays, this bias constitutes the core of the doctrine of a “liberal” or “democratic” peace, which might have been true only in the context of the confrontation with an alliance of authoritarian states, as it was in the Second World War (Ravlo, Gleditsch, Dorussen, 2003). Nevertheless, making friendly relations with openly declared anti-democratic countries cannot be taken as evidence in favour of the liberal-democratic doctrine. Just because these ambiguous arrangements include selling sophisticated arms to rich monarchists, it boosts bellicosity among both post-democracies and anti-democracies. Hence, the thesis that socialism and liberalism are more complementary than antagonistic ideologies, and that they are more inclined to peace than war by virtue of their democratic constitution, would require no alternative, if only the gaps between different types of democracy could ever be bridged. Even though, to paraphrase Ilf and Petrov once again: - the brawl in the family is going on and on and on, and the new player in place of the former Soviet Union facing the West is the
Russian power ostensibly irritated with EU and NATO expansion across the Russian western borders, and, moreover, all parties have increased their budget outlays for their armies so that a new version of the First World War was never so close, no other alternative exists than to carry on with the process of the moral-political maturation of the main players.
Maybe all this sounds naive, but a change in the stance of the main players might be conditioned by their fuller awareness of their common birth from the couple Freedom and Equality. This parental couple is also the generative motto of their future. Such a self-transcendent retreat from pathological to normal narcissism or identity might open the way to a mature political consciousness. It would certainly mark a move away from bellicosity and open the way to building a cosmopolitan democratic state.
CHAPTER ELEVEN A LIBERAL-SOCIALIST AGENDA ST FOR THE 21 CENTURY
This and the following chapters bestow a complex vision of the future. It is an attempt at imagining future policies in terms of liberal socialism. The vision is based mainly on logical and ethical arguments. Here and there, some empirical arguments are added in the hope that they will be multiplied by an increasing number of examples of good practice. By the end of Chapter 12, some aspects of a mythopoetic space for the human community will be added to comprehend the drama of our survival as a whole. Of course, the counter-arguments of so-called realism, actually the prolongation of the status quo, are much greater in number. They aim to obstruct any changes in the interest of, and with the active support of, the currently hegemonic power system. In truth, this realism is narrow and basically monadic. It is, as in other cases of the monad, a self-imploding structure that cannot be changed, for it does not tolerate any opposition. Such a space without windows of opportunity reflects the existence of a deep-seated mistake, a black hole rather than a light at the end of the tunnel. An opposite line of reasoning refers to Blaise Pascal’s Wager. It is a parabolic bet that belief in God is not harmful to our cognition, unless it is imposed forcibly upon non-believers. Actually, most powerful nonbelievers are neither religious nor irreligious, for any consistent beliefsystem is irrelevant to them. They are non-believers in the sense that they do not believe in the human potential for doing good. This paved the road to TINA (There Is No Alternative), a corporate version of cosmic religion, which is actually another representation of the monadic non-perspective. Nevertheless, far from being just a moral or ontological argument, this variety is imposed upon the world by means of both the financialised economy and the military, whose main task is starting the endless chain of wars.
Hence, God in the Wager stays on the weaker side (as in the scriptures of the New Testament). The arguments are mainly ethical in the Kantian sense, which also remind one of the destiny of the couple freedom and equality/solidarity within the framework of TINA. The weak God is impregnated by the same matter, i.e., the formal ethics of universality. Conditionally speaking, the only arms on God’s side are words, not the doomsday button. God’s words, as believers know, created a new world from scratch. Beforehand, however, those words did not destroy anything. They create a dialectical confluence by transcending the old while incorporating it, including what used to be bad and destructive, into a new, more complex and tolerant, whole, in which even bad changes its character. Of course, the so-called stronger side in our universe has more than one option, i.e., destruction. Even evil cannot exist as a pure essence, either, without being close to something good or better than itself. Other options include rescuing people at the vast peripheries, because in its banks there is a lot of money to do this good deed. Nonetheless, if or when the destructive tendency prevails to such an extent that other tendencies or options become useless, it is questionable whether anything else is left to the core of evil except to continue with its own self-destruction. Still, the weaker, yet divine, side of the human self-projection must think and act as if better choices still exist even in such situations, when stones are rolling downhill, in order to further extend its generative ethic of words. This is the only hope left for the peaceful people who still make up a major part of humanity. One choice left is to work on the ideas, policies and practices of liberal or democratic socialism. This is not because of their legendary aura and revolutionary pedigree. This is because they still essentially reflect the state of mind of a large part of humanity, interested in peace and more sustainable development. Why democracy, in particular, dialogue, is indispensable in this project requires an explanation that is completely understandable to many people, including those searching for a long peace and economic welfare. This is a crucial task for experts and intellectuals committed both to democratic peace and a culture of peace alike. The project sketched out in this and the following chapter is not utopian in the usual sense, according to which it might be feasible only in some local communities. To be sure, any vision of democratic policies across many sectors and not just the parliamentary still refers to the experiences of small communities. Their permanence, for example of the Eskimo communities, far surpasses the durability of any extant state in the
A Liberal-Socialist Agenda for the 21st Century
world. Nevertheless, the Eskimo cannot provide a platform for a more complex, higher level of civilisation. On the other hand, new cases of sustainability are mushrooming, and not just on ecological grounds. Some new cases incorporate direct democracy along with the limits of growth as their objectives (Bodley, 2013). However, there is a lot to do in order to introduce sustainability into other spheres of development, like economy and finance, as well as entire countries or regions, save the entire world as a whole. For instance, the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris conference on climate change and some other attempts at the global reduction of carbon dioxide emissions do not yet fall into the category of sustainable development as the main alternative to the current development. Current arrangements still make compromises in terms of the South-Slav saying “The wolf is full and the sheep are unharmed”. This is similar to another habit in the standard assumptions about economic growth. It concerns the production of commodities of poor quality for the sake of their speedy mass consumption and replacement with products of the same expendability, although this practice cannot go hand-in-hand with protection of the environment. But, the stronger side in trade stubbornly continues to operate in the same way, especially in the peripheries, thus making capitalism the brute force number one against people and nature. In some of the suggested contents of the appropriate policies for development which will be presented in the next chapter, an unpleasant experience with a national strategy for culturally sustainable development (Croatian, in this case) will be taken into account. It will serve to illustrate both positive and negative lessons for any similar attempts in the future. On the positive side, we have its conceptual framework, which may contribute to cultural and other policies of sustainability (as will be shown, some NGOs have used this framework as a point of reference for their projects); hopefully, in a more favourable political and economic climate than in Croatia at the beginning of this century, this or a similar policy design may be met with a better response in the policy community. On the negative side, as will be shown shortly, we have cyclical political change, which is democratic in a formal sense. An uglier side of representative democracy is the fact that the groups in power, elected by a majority vote, often blockade the implementation of long-term projects. In this book, sustainability is grounded on the assumption of balancing the principles of liberalism and of socialism within a common policy framework. Such a balance might be in the interest of many more people and societies nowadays. Of course, interest by itself is a tricky notion, since it is only apparently long-term and general, i.e., something which
transcends class, national and other group boundaries. In this regard, some alarm signals might be recognized, as well. For example, when economic statistics reveals a renewed trend of deepening social inequalities, this may indicate that the balance of special and general interests may be lost for a long time due to a policy oversight. Even though, for example, the major part of a constituency may give support to policies of unlimited economic growth that are, ultimately, to the benefit of a bunch of the free marketers irrespective of the environmental and other costs of such an undertaking, the subsequently elected government might be expected to take steps to fix the damage done by the previous regime. One step in this direction consists of convincing the governments of neighbouring and other states in the vicinity that the externalities of such a project will not expand at the expense of the other countries. Another step would be to provide plans for recovering balance until a deadline dated slightly before the end of the mandate of the current government. Otherwise, if such steps are not taken, the government should instantly announce new elections, thus seeking for a more appropriate governmental regime. Admittedly, even an equitable society cannot be spared from considering the repercussions of various actions. There is too much at stake to take a step or make a decision that is not carefully premeditated in order to avoid any dangerous risks. Time and again, the freedom of any one individual must be conditioned by the freedom of everyone, for everybody may be impacted by the consequences of an unaccountable policy step. Such a precaution is fundamentally important in the politics of sustainable development. It consists of assurances for the respective needs and wants of people, yet within certain limits. The latter depend on the nature of people’s demands. Basic needs include lists of demands that are incorporated, for instance, in trade union contracts in contemporary Western countries—from food costs to health insurance, some benefits for housing, visiting cultural events, etc. These items may be supported initially through taxes and specific contributions from the gift economy, which may, in the long run, when the production of goods and services for all becomes abundant enough, replace the circulation of money. In a monetary economy, however, as long as it takes, the supply side might be funded from income obtained from two or three hours of work intended for others. This exigency will mainly be secured by the socialist part of the economic structure of a liberal-socialist state. It may look paradoxical, indeed, that people cover the costs of their basic necessities through work time during which the income obtained is intended nearly equally for the respective producers as well as for other producers. This cooperative production must not be peculiar or
A Liberal-Socialist Agenda for the 21st Century
economically questionable in an economic structure in which everyone works for the benefits of everybody else. In other words, the gratification of basic needs is crucially dependent on a sense of solidarity incorporated into other people’s work. In fact, there is no other mechanism capable of building an equitable society in a predominately monetary economy. Technically speaking, the support for wages or salaries—or for some part of them—may be raised through appropriate taxes on income or through direct exchange between producers from different industrial branches. For instance, some manufacturers may provide part of their income for agricultural producers and vice versa; or, universities may provide for industrial research and development projects or vice versa, etc. Of course, in multiplied exchanges, the fractions of income in the exchange would become smaller. Due to such propositions, it is necessary to calculate which combination of stakeholders is more appropriate, thus evading any tax or exchange jam that may emerge in the case of multiplied taxation (a unique tax payment for joint stakeholders, as well as for a company, may be sufficient). The liberal economic structure, on the other hand, covers expanding wants rather than basic needs, although the line between the two cannot be clear-cut. This depends mostly on the dynamics of the market and the state economy or their mixtures. The sources of this funding originate in the part of the work for oneself. This specific work is organized mainly by private entrepreneurs in different sectors. Yet, a part of the work may be paid for by the state sector or gift sector, as well. In a more liberally oriented economic setting, individual initiatives, competition and creativity are both sources and results of economic freedom. The most important output in such an economic structure is a variety of innovative products and services rather than standard goods and services. The key mechanism in the allocation of opportunities in a liberal economy setting certainly is tender under equal opportunities for different candidates. Likewise, in this case, it is also not necessary to reinvent the wheel. In purely liberal economies, tender is a privileged mechanism intended for supplying organisations with people whose abilities enhance the ability of a company to compete in the market. A more socially oriented liberal economy is both purposively rational and socially sensitive to a certain extent. One should note here that purposive rationality in Weber’s sense (Zweckrationalität) means basically the same thing, i.e., to ultimately consider both one’s own interests and the interests of other actors (Weber, 1949). Equally important is the political space, Marx’s scepticism notwithstanding. It provides opportunities for expressing or arguing about burning issues in a persuasive and essentially tolerant way. This is equally
important because a genuine dialogue does not recognise winners and losers. Every participant, as well as every round of discussion, is equally important for the dialogue to succeed. The success with dialogue opens avenues to the broader participation of workers qua citizens in their communities, as well as in their countries at the national level. An education aimed at acquiring a capability for democracy can also be supported with income earned in the first hours of the workday. Moreover, and no less important, is the fact that in this part of the workday workers usually discuss and make decisions about the current work process, which is a good habit for learning democracy, as well. Nevertheless, democracy is only partly an economic issue, although it costs a lot of time and money, and cannot always serve the interests of its main stakeholders, namely, the state, private capital and unions. Democracy has another inherent problem that becomes more and more a threat to its own survival. The problem is the unpreparedness of most people to take part in conversations or debates. They would rather sit in an auditorium and listen to the participants in debates, whether intellectuals or politicians, who by default become their favourite figures, thus reinforcing the representative level of democracy. This can further block the development of democracy as the interaction among equals. Nevertheless, dialogue need not necessarily be only verbal. Many cultures, mainly non-Western, prefer other forms of communication for important messages, including indirect expressions in speech or symbolic representations through dancing, singing, playing music and other cultural customs, but also artistic creations. Regardless, taking part in different forms of communication is essential and a universal need. Inequality along with silence, combined with unilateral or mass communication running strictly from the top downwards and not both ways, represents the major source of anti-democratic tendencies. Such a meaning for rationality may be taken as a sociological translation of Kant’s categorical imperative (to act in a way that may be acceptable to other people). Eventually, Weber himself was a neo-Kantian, yet more in his research methodology than in terms of his ethical universalism. Actually, he compared his construct of the ideal type with utopia, as well as with exemplary or ethical religious leaders. Both idealisms, i.e., ethical and methodological, also inform Marx’s concept of the “associations of producers”. What kind of “free exchange”, as he designated the relations between industrial associations, might prevail or be considered as only one? Market, contractual or non-competitive? Marx’s idea was not clear enough. This is because he started from scratch and also could not obtain enough experience of what work means under socialism. One can only
A Liberal-Socialist Agenda for the 21st Century
conjecture that this is so due to his lack of political experience or, perhaps, his general distrust in the political sphere as such. The former might have to do with his failure in having a say in the organisational bodies of the short-lived Paris Commune. His possible general distrust in any political action outside the realm of the workers’ associations might have to do with his scepticism towards a bourgeois parliament under capitalism. Why would parliament be any better in socialism? An adequate answer could not be found by studying the Party and State parliaments in historical socialism simply because their debates were more technical than political: some political ideas and figures simply could not be questioned. Nevertheless, idealism in terms of maximal distance from reality is not appropriate, either. In the first place, the two ideologies are principally close to each other, and they (should) accordingly recognise each other’s assets and liabilities. Next, in a society organized around socialist and liberal principles together, examples of good practice will probably abound. Unfortunately, examples of good practice in direct democracy or workers’ self-managerial practice are scarce or ultimately failed. Direct democracy among workers was set up most often during strikes, which the authorities in former socialist countries, however, suppressed relatively easily with the carrot-and-stick approach. It is similar with worker participation in liberal capitalism. Albeit in the United States and some other Western countries cooperatives are still alive and, in many cases, function well in the market, they accounted for a fraction of the national economies (cf. Gillies, 2016). Some future efforts may contribute to the rise of cooperatives along with the rise of direct democracy both in companies and in local communities. Concurrently, the market may or may not be the main mechanism for the allocation of goods in such an economy. Next, the occupational structure may consist of different forms of work in which human creativity, both individual and collective, i.e., through teamwork, comes to the forefront. This, in combination with free associations of workers, might be fundamental for securing spaces of human freedom. The best answer to the threat of replacing democracy by oligarchy is the development of direct democracy, primarily, again, through economic democracy. At this level, people are encouraged to talk, unlike in political democracy at higher or representative levels with their more esoteric discourses. At the basic levels of democracy, people promote their own interests, as well as those of their companies or local communities. Also, locals, whether as workers or citizens, are certainly those most knowledgeable about their conditions, and this knowledge may represent common sense in its best release. This is why economic democracy has
been and continues to be the most efficient response to non-democratic regimes, including liberal capitalism and state and party socialism. In opposing economic democracy, an invective typical of the rhetoric of reaction (Hirschman, 1991) pervades a world overwhelmed by neoliberal reasoning and oligarchic power. The invective claims that people, when supplied with state subsidies for covering their material expenditures, are inclined to avoid seeking a job. This truism cannot be taken for granted and requires an additional remark. It is true that avoidance of work was a manifest issue in the era of welfarism. Yet, it is also true that the passivity of the unemployed was not ubiquitous. Likewise, some people with Green Cards in the US or arbeitslosen Geld (reimbursement for unemployment) in Germany did not want to take just any job offered. Admittedly, they were more selective in this regard than migrant workers, who often have no other choice. And this segmentation of the job market is rather usual. Still, reactionary critics are disturbed by their domestic employees’ delicacy.51 In a balanced socialist-liberal economy, the supply of attractive jobs is likely to be greater. This may be a result of the transformation of human needs, in which creativity in an array of different jobs, from craftsman to artist, comes to the foreground. Similarly, the economic motivation may change in the sense that people who are materially secure thanks to institutionalised solidarity will probably not, or not for very long, be content with living at an existential minimum. One can presume that they will be eager to find employment in which their specific abilities may be recognised. In general, most people are neither chronically inert nor depressive and uninterested in the active and creative life, as imputed to them by neoliberal campaigns—unless systems, such as neoliberalism or real socialism, pressure them to reconcile themselves with hopelessness or opt for religious doctrines promising a pleasant afterlife. The vision for a more equitable society though appropriate policy design is sketched out in the following chapter. It must, however, be immediately confessed that the whole concept still belongs to the realm of “Third World ideas” (Popper). It is largely speculative, with some modicum of empirical or practical reference, and, so far, it is a weak force
The reactionary campaign has been extended in the countries of new capitalism, from China and Russia to the countries of the former Yugoslavia. Everywhere, the same story unfolds in the media and current policies, which is that people are spoiled (read: lazy) mainly because of the retention of their habits from the era of socialism. Quite often, moreover, they are labelled as lazy by nature (racism is again a good companion of capitalistic ruthlessness).
A Liberal-Socialist Agenda for the 21st Century
pushing back against the hegemonic social agencies and political practices contained in TINA. If so, then the question is where we are now. In a way, Ursula Le Guin gave an answer surprisingly appropriate to the current situation, regardless of the fact that she was speaking about the topic of science fiction. Here is what she said on the occasion of promoting a new edition of her novel Left Hand of Darkness: “[We are] somewhere between the gradual extinction of human liberty and the total extinction of terrestrial life” (Le Guin, 1976: 2). In a way, she foresaw what may happen soon if the current development continues without a concerted effort to change course. The arguments in the next chapter are dedicated to this issue. At the same time, there is no conclusive evidence showing that humanity on the whole is perplexed and its mind completely inactivated by the monadic worldview of TINA. And yet, there is also no conclusive evidence in favour of a new step forward toward democracy. Thus, correspondingly, one set of arguments speaking in favour of the liberal socialist agenda is followed by another of arguments speaking against it. Hence, both sets are inconclusive in their own way. The favourable arguments concern situations and opportunities conducive to peace, while the unfavourable are conducive to incessant wars. Both are open to discussion and, of course, to human choice. However, humanity at large cannot be considered responsible for such a quandary. The responsibility rests mostly with the power elites who deal with the enormous resources of their power in a higher immoral and irresponsible way. Nevertheless, they are, technically speaking, capable of handling the different options as regards further development, of course provided that they want to do this. It is virtually unthinkable that the political and military elites are so irresponsible and so uninterested in the fate of humanity that they act purely motived by the archetypal evil. Before presenting arguments favourable toward peace, the following proposition may capture their common logic: the longer a peace is lasting, the less binary or exclusive options, including wars, are imposed upon the people. Unfortunately, war as an all-purpose device is rising in importance in the agenda-setting of self-propelled capitalism. In contrast, long-lasting peace is suitable to the further development of two habitual traits. One is a concern for the weak, and the other is cultural femininity (cf. Katunariü, 2010). The first trait makes for the establishment of a durable safety net for temporary losers in the liberal socioeconomic structure. In addition, even in an improved version of the neoliberal policy, the selection favouring the successful will always be advantageous to some rather than all. This is because the prospect of a society advancing to a higher level of
development crucially depends on creative and successful people, regardless of their social or cultural origins. Nonetheless, and this is the other imperative which complements the first one, it means that the less successful or even unsuccessful should not be let down. They must be encouraged to take another chance, whether in the same or some other job, if or when, of course, they want to make use of another opportunity. Cultural femininity, as the other trait of peace, actually consists of a complex of traits (the avoidance of conflict and the inclination to making compromises, soft power, education for peace, high esteem for women, etc.). It is a socially gendered rather than biogenetic makeup. It exists in all cultures, although in different portions and with different results in terms of human development. It also encompasses a set of activities and habits that inform institutions and practices of a balanced society and economy. In such milieus, female qualities overwhelm masculine qualities traditionally based on the use of brutal violence and, in the modern age, the more sophisticated means of coercion and warfare. These feminine qualities are confronted with the reality of the hegemony of the masculine qualities, yet not in a typical war zone. They are diffused throughout everyday life. This femininity is indirectly inherited by biological sex, but this is not sufficient for cultural femininity to assert itself as the basis of a durable peace. As a gendered social category, it is more informed by women’s work at home and in the workplace than men’s work. It would come as no surprise, then, that women become the chief protagonists as well as the organizers of a society based on sustainability. The same goes for liberal socialism. In the past, this was not the case. In Yugoslavia and Venezuela, as the most successful socialist societies of the time, the overall lack of the cultural femininity is most likely one of the main, yet latent, causes of the collapse of these societies. This remark does not, of course, invalidate the explanation focused on the alienation and consequential withdrawal of workers from political participation. After all, in socialism workers as much as clerks were both men and women. Nevertheless, women still bear the double burden, i.e., at work and at home (another, yet not paying, workplace, but also a place of their love, unlike industrial or administrative work). Therefore, instead of agonising because of the two different explanations for the fall of the historical socialism, a nexus between the two fits the logic of socialism both in its decay and its possible resurrection in a new form. Basically, the working class as much as the middle class were extrinsically motivated by their work. Likewise, the mind-set of the working class was patriarchal: men were supposed to be bosses in
A Liberal-Socialist Agenda for the 21st Century
virtually all areas, including the household. Such a class consciousness cannot be interested in democratic participation. Obviously, the conditions which might link the processes of the emancipation of workers and of women were lacking. This junction was not envisioned by Kant, Hegel or Marx in their respective ideas about the development of modern society.
CHAPTER TWELVE IMAGING STRATEGIES OF LIBERAL-SOCIALIST POLICIES
It is time to ask what capitalism can do for us and not what we can do for capitalism. (Hay, Payne, 2014: 3)
The policies of sustainable development described below are mapped out as a specific and continuous inter-sectoral endeavour. Thereby, culture is interpreted as the first among equals of the sectors. It is intended to get rid of the strict compartmentalisation and become the impetus behind redesigning development as a whole.52 This is so because culture with its core meanings, although sometimes ambivalent, is ingrained in the structures of individual behaviour, societal economy, political decision-making, and relations to nature. 52
The European Commission issued a strategic document for the sustainable development of Europe until 2030 that elaborates seventeen objectives (European Commission, 2016). They encompass all kinds of policies, yet without a common (conceptual or theoretical) framework. In the document, the term “capital” is a synonym for various resources, and the term “capitalism”, unlike market, is left out. This reflects the centre-right position of the Commission, which leans heavily on the automatic self-regulation of the market and state policies that do not impede the marketisation and, at the same time, the privatisation of the economy. Moreover, the Commission believes that ecological sustainability with appropriate legislation, that would not interfere with marketisation and privatisation (of almost everything), is a sufficient condition, which allegedly would automatically produce solutions for other issues and, by the same token, remove impediments to sustainable development, such as the decline of employment, the intrusions of criminal trade along the trade routes of European companies in other countries and continents, or the limited capacities for the absorption of immigrants (which is an unsolvable problem without European investment in the countries of the immigrants’ origin to create opportunities for their repatriation, which is a long- term effect that is not necessarily commercial or, at least, is not in the short run, etc.). May we live long enough to see the materialisation of such an automatic holism, without changing the prevailing economic principles, without transforming the marketisation of everything into an equitable and polyvalent economic system!
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
Before sketching out the cultural and other policies informed by liberal-socialist principles, let us note again that in terms of culture some conservative thinkers and policy makers have done a lot of good for the cause of an enlightened democracy. More precisely, they are conservative in their evolutionary understanding of cultural change and revolutionary in their expectations for the final results of that change. Also, they do not share the class and other prejudices of the old nobilities. What is at stake for conservatives prepared to adopt modern values is how fast people belonging to lower social strata may absorb the standards of high culture. Put differently, how many generations must pass in order to elevate an egalitarian society to a higher level instead of sharing in economic poverty and a cultural anaemia? Of course, progressives, in particular, communists and socialists, are more optimistic and are eager to speed up the whole process. Although it is primarily concerned with protecting cultural values from deterioration caused by rapid social change, the conservative view of this process cannot be discarded simply as reactionary. For conservatives, culture is primarily the source of symbolic identity and prestige for an empire, a nation-state, or an elite. For a cultural elite in particular, high culture has the extraordinary mission of “civilising” the lower classes and foreign peoples alike. This is, of course, an old colonial attitude, notably Eurocentric, that includes the celebration of powerful figures spanning from absolutist rulers to popular heroes, from kingdoms to nations, from warriors to artists. Still, a part of the cultural elite used to be and still is a strong critic of class and (neo)colonial domination. This self-critical awareness gives a creative impulse to the elite. One such conservative author has already been introduced, namely, Christopher Lasch. As a scientist, he is a follower of the Enlightenment and advocates for the authority of truth rather than charismatic persons or sacrosanct institutions. Also, he was particularly critical of the new authoritarianism introduced by corporate capitalism. There are many other intellectual figures with conservative-andmodern propensities at the same time. For instance, they do not subscribe to the idea that new is always better than old. They also recognise that modernisation may do many things better when some conditions are met. To name some of the authors with such predilections: the philosophers Kant, Schiller (who pleaded for the aesthetic education of humanity), Voltaire, Rousseau, Tocqueville, and, in a way, Habermas,53 then the 53
The conservative element in Habermas’s work concerns a fairly esoteric version of his theory of communicative action that affirms the value of democracy, which is somewhat paradoxical in a communicative sense. He maintains that democracy is a learning process, as well, which means, to paraphrase Descartes’ praise of
sociologist Nisbet, and a host of artists such as Morris, Ruskin, and the Pre-Raphaelites, as well as members of the Arts and Crafts Movement. All of them have cherished the hope that one day many more people than in early modern times will be highly educated and accordingly employed as artists and scientists. Besides, those authors’ positions are in many ways closer to socialism than liberalism. This is because liberals usually advocate for the freedom of expression as a political value, instead, and are more interested in the marketisation of culture than spreading the cultivation of taste through public education (cf. McGuigan, 1996). The concept of French cultural policy authored by cultural minister Andre Malraux—a novelist, a theoretician infatuated with Nietzsche, and a leading Gaullist—represents an outstanding example of the fruitful intersection of elitism and democracy. Malraux’s central goal was the democratisation of (high) culture rather than the creation of a (liberal) cultural democracy that does not want to modify, even indirectly (through media, for instance), popular tastes in order to come closer to cultural refinement. Likewise, an elitist cultural taste with some exclusivist overtones, especially the mockery of popular culture, including jazz, characterises some radical social thinkers, as well, e.g., Horkheimer and Adorno (who despised jazz), and some writers with socialist predilections, such as the leading Croatian writer Miroslav Krleža (who despised neovanguard painting). Malraux, however, upon assuming the position of cultural minister (1959-1969) in a republican, centre-rightist government, undertook considerable reforms in terms of the democratisation of culture by claiming that everybody has “the right to culture” (cf. Ahearne, 2010). He opened the doors of museums, galleries, theatres, and libraries to people at large. People reacted positively to that opening up of high culture. Policies with similar objectives were launched in the early Soviet Union and in Yugoslavia. For the first time in their life, many people saw theatre plays, classical music concerts, movies, and art exhibitions (sometimes performed in factory halls, as well). The rest of this chapter is organised as follows. The greater part is dedicated to mapping out the four functions of liberal-socialist policies for sustainable development: designing, performing, protecting and stimulating, common sense, that it is accessible to everyone under conditions of reasonability, accuracy, and acceptability (although these criteria may better fit a body of experts than the general public). Still, this idealism is legitimate, as is Kant’s universalistic ethics (cf. Habermas, 1996). The same difficulty with translating the language of theory into the language of practice concerns our attempt at outlining the contents of liberal-socialist policies for the future.
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
and decision-making. This is followed by an improvised self-evaluation (SWOT analysis) of the possible advantages and disadvantages of such envisioned policies.
A) Designing This set of policies outlines the development of liberal socialism as a variety of sustainable development. Such a variety is seen better suited to this purpose than concepts of sustainability based merely on environmental protection. Some elements of this variety are not new. As will be seen, they are espoused in contemporary cultural, scientific, environmental, and health policies both in the governmental and the non-governmental sphere.
Culture Let us begin with an apparently paradoxical argument. It is that cultural policy must be a moderator of culture wars, not an agent of their termination. The aim is that conflicts in culture do not transgress the symbolic sphere of culture, which would inhibit cultural debates. More often than not, cultural conflicts spill over and accelerate mass aggression on other communities marked as dangerous. This further instigates crimes against others’ cultural monuments. As such, culture wars in their full extent span from debates on the creation of the universe, so to speak, to shocking provocations, such as the demolition of sacred places. The latter may induce the further escalation of conflict to violence (e.g., in India, Southeastern Europe, and the South Caucasus). Cultural policy must primarily tolerate the heterogeneity of people with their different and sometimes contradictory beliefs and customs as the main objective of its mission of moderating culture wars. A privileged means at the disposal of liberal-socialist policy, whose goal is forging a durable peace, is funding artistic and other cultural projects across borders and boundaries. Cultural pluralism is the hallmark of a cultural policy amid symbolic conflicts or even because of them. This is difficult but practically the only possibility for communication in diversity, as a new chapter of democratic development, namely, multicultural democracy (as advocated by the UNDP yearly reports on Human Development). Otherwise, the politics of conflict leading to violence are not democratic, as they prefer labelling dissent and taking sides in a propaganda war. Such politics petrify the boundaries of a divided society in which culture serves mostly as the symbolic marker of antagonised communities. In pluralist politics,
however, conflict is rather a turning point in the discussion, an episode of dialogue taking an unexpected direction, yet still understood by the interlocutors. Such a practice is cultivated in artistic and scientific communities, as well as in democratic parliaments. Pluralism and conflict, therefore, are inherent to culture as a milieu of creativity, freedom, and tolerance. Thanks to this virtue, culture is most capable of solving conflicts in their verbal and other symbolic expressions. Notably, it is not accidental that modern political parties originate from cultural texts and practices such as debate clubs in reading rooms or in cafés. To paraphrase Ilf and Petrov’s well known invective time and again, culture wars never end—to the point that the interlocutors agree only on the fact that they disagree. It may seem paradoxical, but argument, not silence, is the smartest way of encouraging the habits of keeping the peace in situations in which reasons for confrontation between different positions are not at all lacking. In a cultural sense, sustainability is a game among agonists who know how to control their strongest impulses. Accordingly, the main focus of such a cultural policy is dynamicity and not conservation of the past, development and not a long-term status quo. In a cultural sense, development takes the form of a hologram.54 Such a design cuts through tangles of complexities and eventually harmonises the relations between old and new people and products. Otherwise, the hologram, as a harmonised whole in intermittent, but steady, movement is impossible to stabilize in a condition resembling the monad, i.e., the fictive element of an eternal statics. Sustainable development is a dynamic, i.e., spiralling and dialectical process. A new stage of development transcends the old one, yet with incorporating at least some elements of the old,55 thus building diverse social or cultural life-worlds. A tribe, for instance, may participate in development by adopting some new objects or institutions in its milieu, without, however, changing the core of its culture
54 Technically, a hologram is the opposite of a photograph, for “the holographic film records an infinite number of views of the object, whereas a photograph records only one view” (Vacca, 2001). Here, hologram and photograph, respectively, are taken in a metaphorical sense, where hologram means a plural universe of people(s) and culture(s) that can expand infinitely (like the notion of the public sphere, for it encompasses more and more different people in a democratic milieu), whereas a photograph might mean one aspect among many other within a plural universe. 55 The proper German philosophical term for the dialectical process is Aufhebung (literally, “lifting up something or someone”).
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
and everyday life, unless some members or the whole tribe want to change some parts of their habits and their lived environment. Some artworks, due to the aptitude of the artist’s perception of reality, have grasped both the process and the product of creation as a unique whole, as illustrated in landscape paintings. In his essay on landscape, Simmel delineated such a vision (Simmel, 1913). He praises the painter’s eye that captures the proportions of the objects that comprise the unit. Thereby, artefacts, most often houses, are not randomly thrown together with their natural surroundings. Simmel contends that urban panoramas with streets, cars, shops, and city bustle cannot represent landscapes because the former change their compositions in a split second, such that the form of the landscape cannot be consolidated. A series of Paul Cezanne’s paintings of landscapes presenting different aspects of the Mount of Saint Victoire provides a paradigmatic example of the holographic vision. Although all his paintings with this motif do not show human settlements, the poetic unit (not autopoietic, though!) reflects the organic texture of the milieu. Thereby, artefacts, primarily houses, represent a follow-up of the natural world (which also fits Simmel’s evolutionary understanding of the life force and culture as its sequel). On the other hand, the milieu as a holographic unit is not, as a rural community is not, an idyllic and conflict-free singularity (which would be a mimesis of the monad). This quality, i.e., conflict without violence, is the crucial element in the dynamics of sustainable development. A cultural policy with such essentials may be described as a set of choices made on a scale between extremes, for instance, between a centralised and entirely planned setup, on the one hand, and a decentralized and laissez-faire setup, on the other. The following example of the dynamics of a culturally oriented policy of sustainability is taken from the Croatian Strategy of Cultural Development (Cvjetiþanin, Katunariü, 2003: 187-9; the idea for the diagram was taken from Matarasso, Landry, 1999, and has been adapted for this purpose):56
The strategy was published three times in two years and was adopted by a majority vote in the parliament in 2002. However, it has never been implemented. As a document that was supposed to chart out sectoral and some inter-sectoral policies of culture, it turned into another instance of business as usual. Thus, if policy “is a product of, and often re-performs, the social, economic and political context in which it is produced” (Gill, Singleton, Waterton, 2017: 6), it typically does not alter the context. The immutability of the context, the very fact that it cannot be changed and annihilates incentives to change, reflects the persistence of pre-democratic worldviews.
Table 1: A diagram of cultural policy choices Centralized
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
10 - Fully centralized and under state control (“engineer state”). All decisions are made at the state or para-state levels, usually in agreement with party leadership. Censorship over creativity or published works. 9 - Lessening state controls and introducing decentralisation. Some decisionmaking and financing functions transferred to para-state bodies that make decisions in a relatively autonomous manner, except when ideologically sensitive topics that require funding are at stake or else the publication of specific works. For example, the former self-management interest community model in Yugoslavia/Croatia. 8 - Process of transferring financing powers (financial decentralisation) to regions, cities, and municipalities. Considerable lack of coordination among administrative levels. Some regions or municipalities allocate no funds for culture. General situation in Croatia today. 7 - Financial decentralisation is accompanied by administrative decentralisation: the system or number of local units is being reformed and greater autonomy introduced in determining the structure of local (self)government, including departments for culture. The allocation of funds for culture on local levels is even more uncertain and uneven. The minister no longer appoints the heads of cultural institutions, but does intervene in cases of misunderstanding or conflict. 6 - “Mosaic” or “sustainable decentralisation.” The state (central) sanctions decentralisation only in the case of local units with infrastructural, professional, and financial conditions for decision-making about culture while in all other cases it intervenes (financially and in supervising their work) with a view to protecting cultural property on the territories of the units in question. The beginnings of polycentric management and the involvement of non-state foundations, sponsors, and other outside interested parties in the financing of culture. 5 - Polycentric management: transfer of the authority for cultural planning to larger cultural historical regions, namely, their cultural councils. The (central) state retains its precedence in setting the objectives and strategic instruments of cultural development, i.e., key criteria for the allocation of funds. The growth of non-state financing. The point to which Croatia (according to the existing priority list) should go (but no further). 4 - The beginning of deconstructing polycentrism in the direction of decentralisation. The diminished share of public funds as compared to private resources. Interconnection with development in other sectors and increased importance of culture-as-a-means. The definition of public cultural property
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
becomes less significant than purely local and private criteria of defining cultural property. 3 - Municipalities and cities, including private firms and corporations become the chief financiers and decision makers. National cultural policy protects only a small share of public cultural goods in the country. 2 - The coordination of decision-making at all levels is no longer under the competence of central authorities. Instead, independent professional bodies and private organizations coordinate decision-making over the broader territory, depending exclusively on current interest and available funds. The minimal definition of public cultural property is supported. 1 - Full decentralization (financial, administrative, political), complete abolishment of state control and privatisation (“facilitating state”). The state is of the same rank as private cultural organisations and, as a rule, has considerably fewer funds available. There is no definition of public cultural property. Cultural production for the market and commercial purposes has absolute priority.
The above choice recommended to the Croatian cultural policy of the time is hypothetic and disputable, yet it is also based on judicious consideration of the policy conditions outlined beforehand (in the strategy document). Normally, making choices entails the elimination of some other possible choices, at least for some time. Such dissonances notwithstanding, the contending parties must have a shared sense of what would come closest to representing the best possible decision(s). Some fifteen years after the failed attempt at launching the strategy, things have not substantially changed, even though Croatia has joined the EU (2013). So far, the EU has no common and coherent policies about development, including cultural development, except for financial austerity. What currently remains for cultural policy thinkers and doers is to try to make another or alternative policy design, whether on national or regional and local levels. However, what would be the objectives of the new policy? The current situation indicates that supportiveness of cultural and other sectors for profit-making might continue to be a driving motive for most policies, which they are compelled to share with corporations, banks, in particular, while, at the same time, reducing budgets for all public policies. Concurrently, in most countries, both inside and outside the EU, sustainability has risen closer to the top of the agenda. Although most businessmen maintain that profit-making can by no means be sacrificed for the sake of sustainability, most countries are desperately searching for an equilibrium between profit- and non-profit interests.
In this book, sustainability is understood as a balance between the liberal and socialist qualities of development, taking into account that the point of balance is a moving target. Also, every country and region of the world cannot provide for the same solutions due to the different circumstances of their development. In the Croatian strategic document, sustainability was defined as follows: a) [I]ncreasing the interest of the population in quality products of elite, traditional, and alternative cultures; b) developing needs, the meeting of which will alleviate the strain on natural resources and existing capacities of infrastructure and inhabited areas; and c) strengthening social cohesion and communication outside the traditional boundaries of social identity and defusing social-Darwinist aspirations. (Cvjetiþanin, Katunariü, 2003: 165)
This definition was not elaborated in a way that might be useful as a transversal policy, i.e., appropriated to other sectors, as well. Simply put, there was no time or interest on the part of the government to do so (this conundrum is further addressed in the following paragraph). Meanwhile, a new slogan has appeared in the vocabulary of sustainability. It is slowing down of development or degrowth. Herein, this idea will be worked out through a set of outlines for (re)designing culture and other sectors, accordingly. The main idea is that the current rhythms of development and change should be slowed down in contradistinction to capitalism’s rapid rotation of economic operations from production to consumption. Many examples of slowing down have emerged in some Western countries, especially in tourism (slow food, slow regions, slow travel, and slow motion in general: see Lumodson, McGrath, 2011). However, the slowing down of different processes of development, in particular, the growth of industrial manufacturing responsible for pollution, is most important in this respect. In general, slower growth has a double purpose: one is the reduction of the carbon footprint; the other is the preservation of more time for making better decisions. Accordingly, decisions are less frequent, and the intervals between cycles of policy changes are respectively longer, thus giving every opportunity for more sustainability. This style counters the truly bad practices of representative democracy, in which a spoils system recycles itself through regular political changes every four years. These include the turnover of numerous higher officials, sometimes even lower ranking officials, in the governmental administration. For this reason, any long-term development
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
policy is permanently handicapped and compelled to start from scratch all over again (cf. Tueth, 2010). The following outlines of sustainability in other sectors are not meant for promote elaboration in any particular government or movement.57 The world is much larger than the scope of any one policy and is much more important than any particular self, including the author’s. Nevertheless, non-doing or doing business as usual is not a solution, either, and narrow perspectives of the policies favouring the high-speed circulation of goods and sometimes people are best suited for the tiny, exclusive, and highly irresponsible groups currently in power. Eventually, climate change is a natural phenomenon which is suited as a perfect crime against humanity. Such hypocritical discourse is packed into the language of old-fashioned, objectivistic natural science in the sense that changes in nature are objective and can be made neither better nor worse by human intervention. Sustainability runs the risk of being proclaimed unscientific, but it offers a safe play. Moreover, it is not primarily focused on the protection of clean water and clean air, but on a goal that is even more important and, besides that, probably related. It is a development that needs a long-term peace to heal people and eventually their natural habitat. Henceforth, it prompts the mobilisation of every resource, as well as cooperation with other people and sectors, including a broadening circle of experts and other stakeholders.
Science Combining egalitarian prospects with selective policies intended to boost excellence in science and technology is the best way toward designing an appropriate knowledge society in place of knowledge without (any benefit to) society. A couple of decades ago, an ill-fated version of the “knowledge society” was announced. It predicted “the increase of world inequalities in terms of access to and use of the results of scientific and technological activity” (Gibbons et al., 1994: 165). This assertion is proved to be true. Mainly, so-called useful knowledge, mostly concentrated in the new ICTs, is informing and immediately responsive to corporate demand. This primarily exacerbates the pressure on universities to reduce the social sciences and the humanities, especially because—in an example of a self-fulfilling prophecy—such a policy corresponds to the 57
“[P]olicymakers mimic … only those policies that work” (Nicholson-Crotty, Carley, 2016: 81). Naturally, such mimetic policies, in particular, economic ones, are favourable to selective processes in the terms of Social Darwinism: “Many are called, but a few are chosen” (Fracchia, Lewontin, 1999: 61).
neoliberal imperative of minimal government. Its main objective is to provide a host of services to corporations. For corporate policies, the polarization of society into rich and poor is irrelevant, but it is relevant in a political sense because the social gap is favourable to the emergence or prolongation of an undemocratic political rule fundamentally similar to corporate rule. Eventually, such neo-feudal power has no need for the social sciences and the humanities, especially their spirit of critique. What neo-feudalism in the economy and science needs, in addition, is the production of new generations of anti-egalitarian and racialist experts who are supposed to provide a naturalistic justification for the new inequalities and dictatorships. How can scientific prerequisites be established to make for a more egalitarian and open-ended policy? It may seem again that the following lines are set idealistically, i.e., far from reality. Yet, this may only be partly true, for some countertendencies to the hegemony of corporate knowledge come from parts of the scientific community critical of the actually existing power system, including science and Big Science, in particular. In many disciplines, more in the social sciences and the humanities than in the hard sciences, a holistic approach is preferable, with a focus on sustainability (and inclusiveness). One of the main conclusions resulting from their experience is a sense of reservation toward the outlook for sustainability under liberal capitalism (cf. Domazet, Marinoviü-Jerolimov, 2014). Still, more specific arguments in favour of equality and peace are lacking for resisting the pressures exerted by hegemonic policy objectives, whose goal is essentially to obstruct equality and peace as human choices. Instead, the hegemonic order prefers its own empiricism, which results in findings that corroborate Leibniz’s monadological postulate that we live in the best of all possible worlds. Nevertheless, this is also bad news for liberal capitalism. The same hegemonic pressure hinders capitalism from providing for solutions to an increasing number of problems, from environmental protection to expanding job opportunities. This looks like a double-bind that discourages both feasible and unfeasible policy proposals. Another aspect seems riskier than anything else on the agenda. It is the oft repeated call on the part of anti-capitalist thinkers to allow capitalism to unfold its own destructive consequences to the bitter end. This is a mere apparition of a solution, which may result in a catastrophe reminiscence of post-apocalyptic scenarios. In this way, an irrevocably chaotic world would expand and perforate the harmonising structure of the hologram. The former would claim victims in science, as well, because it is not difficult to presuppose that, in such a case, drastic reductions in government
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
funding would ensue. This would further embolden monadologists and pseudoscientists, respectively, from notorious fortune-tellers to a new series of doomsday prophets. The following are tips aimed at providing some food for thought in favour of reforms within or in parallel to the current scientific policies: -
To introduce new or improve the existing pluralist policy of the evaluation of scientific projects with the aim that all projects under evaluation must define sustainability relative to their domains and, in particular, anticipate its impact on social (in)equality in their domains. To recombine different notions of reality: objective and intersubjective or indeterminist. This is indispensable in order to encourage scientists living in or near underdeveloped, overpopulated, or polluted areas to think beyond current limitations, including secular pessimism and the fait accompli, basically TINA, worldview. Such messages are propagated by the media and the political rhetoric of the ruling, but also the oppositional parties whose critique of the government is replete with threats aimed at spreading moral panic, but also, indirectly, hopelessness. To stimulate projects that combine scientific and artistic approaches to different topics, from atomic energy to non-competitive markets and joint planning. This may elicit the growth of positive knowledge and visions for a better and not so distant, and less imaginary, world. To advance cooperation between the expounders of hidden knowledge and explicitly systematic, i.e., scientific, knowledge. The former might include the renewal of some old examples of holistic knowledge, now legendary and obscured, such as the putative “acoustic levitation of stones” by Tibetan monks or the ESP abilities of certain people. In any case, the rigor of scientific proof in different disciplines must be prioritised in search of criteria for evaluating the results of research. In the social sciences and the humanities, such rigor is not understood only in terms of objectivity. Moreover, the latter may be counterproductive and conceal the truth, such as the existence of collective intelligence in collective efforts at achieving something that a single individual or a few individuals alone cannot achieve. Some aspects of truth (the ancient Greek word for truth, aletheia “something uncovered” is emblematic in this sense), from intimate to shamanistic, for instance, should not be discarded on behalf of external evaluation
as long as the exigencies of hidden knowledge do not interfere with individual freedom and public safety. Orthodox and alternative, such as quantitative and qualitative, methods of collecting data, must not exclude each other. Nevertheless, in the age of the Enlightenment, whose end is not yet in sight, the scientific approach and evaluation must continue to be the filter of broadly useful knowledge. Too much of what is offered by pseudoscience is unreliable and sometimes dangerous, unless it demonstrates scientific rigour, even if in terms of different evaluative paradigms. For example, a reported hidden knowledge should be checked as at least partially verifiable through different approaches: from some areas of physics to some areas of anthropology; it is the same with different methods of empirical validation, from experiments to examples of good practice. Likewise, although the plausibility of many experimental studies is being revised through longitudinal retesting and the scrutiny of scientific evaluation, independent of corporate financing or any other pressure or bias, this is still the best solution in the fight against pseudoscientific and/or private interests.
Education Education for sustainability in terms of a liberal-socialist balance may encompass students and citizens in general, mainly through schooling, but also through media specialised in popular science and the arts, as well as mainstream radio or TV news broadcasts in prime time interwoven with brief, yet interesting and important, news from science and the arts about a more sustainable way of life. Two curricular areas are essential in education for sustainability. One is the protection of the natural environment, and the other is education for democracy or civic education. Although there is no international consensus regarding the key competencies required for such an effort, some of the competencies have seemingly survived the policy changes. These include the following: -
networking efforts aimed at identifying complex issues; critical reflection; basic knowledge about the methods of prediction; responsible handling of objects; participation in local efforts focused on environmental protection;
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
integrating aesthetic and holistic approaches, such as deep ecology and social ecology, into existing milieus; understanding linkages between sustainability and democracy, in particular, why experts, managers, and politicians are not sufficient for providing solutions to environmental problems. Useful knowledge, however multidisciplinary and complex, must be socially responsible, as well.
Key competencies in education for democracy include the following: -
knowledge of the basic principles of democracy based on liberty, equality, and solidarity, with an understanding of their historical origins and the fundamental inseparability of these values; knowledge of different forms of democracy and of the complementary rather than the contradictory elements that are conducive to democracy and tolerance as values common to all people, yet not developed enough in some societies; understanding why, when, and which traditional values, conservatisms, and religious teachings are compatible with modern democracy; consistent presentation of one’s own positions combined with a readiness to modify one’s attitudes that are evidently too distant from those of others in the debate; participation in dialogues on sensitive issues currently on the political agenda in national and international settings; extracurricular activities that include an array of formal and informal curricula, in order to improve civic (and intercultural) knowledge. This might be done, for instance, through exchanges between schools from different communities; furthermore, children’s parliaments, school councils, leisure experiences, and joint projects may significantly enhance understanding of the (dis)advantages of democracy in general or particular forms of democracy. The traditional idea of home place or homeland, based on the perception of a unique location, i.e., genius loci, should be transformed into a vision of a network of related places, i.e., genius mundi.
Two major impediments to education for sustainability are likely to (re)occur. One is that the policies of different countries assume different roles for the private and public sectors, respectively, in solving developmental problems. This issue cannot as such be taken up in unison in science, either. It is questionable, then, how many different approaches
might be adopted without confusing students about the recommended positions on central issues. Innovations in this respect, i.e., integrating as many different approaches as possible, are preferable. The other impediment concerns the private views of teachers not inclined to democracy, for example, in some confessional teachings. These impediments cannot be entirely removed or, at least, not in every country. Nevertheless, possible inclinations toward a complete disregard of democratic values or institutions must be curbed or left as an option for additional courses outside the official schools, e.g., in church schools. Last, but not least, education for peace, including sympathy for the weak, should be required in the curriculum. It is needed for all: elementary and secondary schools, and for university studies in science and technology. The study of technology, in particular, follows technological progress both in civil and in military industries, and very often without understanding the consequences of technocratic power for human rights and human suffering, respectively, with special reference to the repercussions of introducing robots as substitutes for human work. Furthermore, the military industry not only steadily reduces the role of human soldiers, but also stultifies the sense of civil losses on the inimical side. Ultimately, such a technocratic scheme reinforces the irresponsibility of power elites primarily to the detriment of the numberless people living in underdeveloped areas, especially those marked by a troubled past in their collective memories, which are often complicated by new violent conflicts along with the old cleavages. This is an enormous source of despair worsened by economic hopelessness, since investors, in particular, private ones, avoid such areas, thus completing the vicious circle. What does it mean to be humane in a human society? Why are wars not in the interest of social majorities and democracy alike? Why do most people on the planet not share in the benefits of progress? Must these circumstances be taken for granted? Why does a world government not exist, whereas a cadre of corporations dominates the world economy and, at the same time, fails to take responsibility for their wrongdoings? This list of questions requires a fundamental understanding of anthropology that may be taken as a point of departure for understanding the origins of the problem. First, people are born neither free nor unfree and are naturally neither malevolent nor benevolent. Second, they may become free and benevolent if they grow up in a system that stimulates creative and peaceful tendencies among people of different ages. Third, a minimum of love is needed to prevent the growth of pathological over normal narcissism that is otherwise a precondition for true love. This issue is addressed primarily to the power elites’ competencies and their
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
exemplary behaviours. To love at least one person more might recreate empathy for other human beings, which is crucial for the decent survival of humanity.
Environment All means should first be tried … Since we have not yet thought them worth a place in heaven let us at least allow them to live in safety in the lands we have given them. (Jupiter addressing the assembly of the gods in Ovid’s Metamorphoses )
In the near future, the problems of increasing pollution and global warming will increase pressure to end the rhetoric conducive to the continuation of the contradictory coexistence of expanding industrialization and sustainability. These two processes can coexist only with the proviso that new manufacturing techniques are tested for their ecological sustainability, which is often not the case. In the present situation, another New Deal is needed. It would combine the relative freedom of the market with governmental competencies in the economy and in addition, hopefully, an expanding gift economy.58 Such an arrangement may spark several innovations in terms of environmental safety: -
New centres of development may be established with complexes of architecture and land that basically follow the biorhythmic cycles. This was, for example, characteristic of Mediterranean places in northern and southern coastal areas in the early modern era. In such milieus, people respected the capacities of both the natural environment and neighbouring communities (Ivanþeviü, 1999).
58 The idea of a post-monetary economy is largely based on experience with the most lasting economy in history, i.e., the gift economy. It characterised primitive, pre-colonial, and most parts of pre-capitalist European societies (cf. Carrier, 1995). Many instances of such an economy exist within contemporary societies; however, they are subaltern, fairly non-transparent, and marred by corruptive links with the largely monetarised parts of the economy. In any case, the contemporary monetary economy is in the service of banks and the endless indebtedness of people and countries. Money is, by definition, debt. As such, it is the ultimate and practically endless source of the rise of financial power (cf. Ingham, 2004). Most probably, total or nearly total debt forgiveness may enable the expansion of a post-monetary economy in terms of gift-exchange—and many more good things, from education for peace to the greening of cities.
Today, such an attention to biorhythm is unthinkable without reducing the growth of major cities and industrial areas. Global agreements on climate change and associated topics must be prepared on the grounds of evidence for numerous local milieus (or at least two typical places per country), spanning from local customs to hidden and expert knowledge about local relations to natural surroundings. Environmentally safe advancements in production must include the production of durable goods, (semi)synthetic materials dissolvable in nature, and a number of newly invented and ecologically sound products. Production of clean energy, including that obtained by means of nuclear fusion. Environmentally friendly patterns of social behaviour must include the networking of civic associations that take care of environmental protection and maintain control over industrial output. Generally speaking, many behavioural traits of the feminine culture fit environmentally friendly behaviour.
Health It would be easiest to assume that the poor should enjoy access to the same health care as rich people. Nevertheless, as explained above, the conditions of health at different social strata are not that simply correlated with the level of material resources. On the one hand, accruing wealth in the private and competitive market sector may bring higher income and a luxurious lifestyle in splendid isolation from the social environment as a result, which basically means total commodification of living conditions. On the other hand, this style may bring higher health risks and costs of treatment alike. Of course, the rich are always able to pay the highest costs for their treatments, from nursing to varieties of alternative treatments (rejuvenation, plastic surgery, etc.) Nevertheless, all these efforts cannot match the health-inducing effects of sincere support provided by family and friends, by the broader network of social solidarity and gift economy as a whole. As in the arts, where an original work can hardly be replaced by forgeries, the different values of a sincere human touch and sympathy for the weak cannot be simulated. Health insurance sponsored by state or voluntary associations could be provided for all, except for the elite in the private sector economy. The frequency of using such a social health system will depend on people’s lifestyles and their estimation of their health benefits and risks,
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
respectively. Possible schemes for work and leisure times, as well as the areas of activities consistent with healthy living conditions, are mapped out below (in the section on economic policies). Eventually, for people in the gift-exchange economy, where money, although rarely, might be seen as a means of payment (sometimes searching for help in professional health assistance services is unavoidable), when many physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers are not included (yet) in this sector, the costs of treatment may be covered by state health insurance plans. Thereby, the insurance payment might be covered by the appropriate amount of time spent on voluntary work in a health or any other institution in the state sector. The conditions of individual health are not plainly linear or contingent upon the sector(s) of employment. Among other things, some people might be fed up with continuing their work and their life in the same sector. To reiterate, the main traits of the cultural design are feminine. Others may be mixed. Creativity is, in any case, an essential element of a healthy life (next to genetic factors), especially when combined with social ties reaching out to those less creative or not creative at all, but still longing to engage with interesting people and their activities. Traditionally, creativity was mostly a male domain. In a predominantly feminine culture, the creativity of most of the men may certainly be even more developed, yet also more cooperative than before. This could, in turn, contribute to the further development of the feminine cultural traits, this time primarily women’s talents that are still concealed, suppressed, or, for any other reason, not sufficiently developed, as is the case in most societies today. To be sure, nowadays women participate in the arts and cultural institutions much more than before and their numbers often exceeds those of men. Still, their creations are less appreciated than men’s. Like many men, women will also need a longer time and, in some areas, even generations, to fully develop their talents. In other policies relevant for designing sustainable development— actually, less in science than in education and health—women have caught up to men, but not in leadership positions. Presumably, as time passes, women will take more and more part in different elites that this time will be in service to most people, unlike in the traditional class system, and may people be all the healthier for doing so. Specifically, such relations of equality, basically reinforced by a making good by the (until recently) upper class to the (until recently) deprivileged class(es), elicits sympathies and other positive feedback on both sides. That may have beneficial, including healing, effects on the people included in such an arrangement,
i.e., the interaction of equals. In perpetuated hierarchical (and gendered) systems, the rich and powerful have privileged access to health services, mainly in the private sector, whereas the lower class, usually the largest and the poorest one, is hung out to dry. Such an order breeds resentment and hatred not only against the upper class, but also in other directions, including immigrants, other nations, etc., as targets. Thus, social injustice is detrimental to human health, both physical and mental.
B) Performing Performing means making the policy designs work in different sectors, primarily in the economic sector that represents the backbone of a society. This specifically means establishing different economic and technological mechanisms that make a particular policy capable of enabling next steps, i.e., providing for protection and stimulation, and eventually placing policy proposals on the agenda of parliaments and other important decision-making bodies.59
Technology From the end of the Second World War, the use of new production technologies was subordinated to the politics of the two polarised powers. In the West, primarily the United States, the automatisation of work was carried out along with the exclusion of workers from control of the production process. Yet, due to the existence of an opposing system, represented by extensive Soviet industrialisation through work-intensive production, America and the West could not simply get rid of the surplus or unemployed workers without monetary compensation and/or providing opportunities to find new jobs. Currently, due to the advanced technological innovations capable of replacing workers with robots, the tendency to exclude workers has been escalated. On the left, the issue of a “class struggle” against robotising turns out like the Luddites’ movement against mechanical machinery in the early industrial era. This time once again, convincing arguments in favour of (re)investing in work-intensive industries are lacking. In other words, why is the work of human hands more valuable than that of machinery alone? Probably, some answers can 59
It is, perhaps, redundant to underline that any policy strategy must pass through a full series of steps, including years of testing and practice. Of course, since we have no such opportunity or specific target, the whole concept of different policies in this chapter is primarily focused on anonymous readers.
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
be found, although still symbolical, in cultures where food is taken up by the fingers because this is considered to be tastier and even healthier. Unfortunately, there is no empirical evidence showing that the products made by artists and artisans are more valuable in terms of quality, but also healthier—due to the fact that they emerge from a work process that is highly satisfactory, authentic, and unalienated—than is the case with the products made by alienated workers simply added to the machinery, save the products made by robots alone. This differential experience with products, including the experience of consumers, remains to be reevaluated in future research. In the SWOT section (at the end of this chapter), the class struggle discourse is not added as a strategic concept, since it became merely an emptied signifier (unlike the common ruin, unfortunately). To recall the fundamental idea of this chapter, it is to enable manual workers, poor people, most of the female population, and other disprivileged people to become what they could not be and are not thus far mostly due to the racism and sexism, respectively, emanating from the higher immorality of the ruling classes. Contrariwise, some new production technologies might contribute to liberating human work from exhausting physical or mental efforts. In truly free time, new inventions may emerge as a result of the unblocking of the potential of workers and other employees that are candidates for being replaced by robots. The new “empire of freedom” (Marx) may be used for the expansion and diversification of human needs as well, in particular because such inventions give rise to demands for newly invented products. However, not all technologies are favourable to this purpose. One example is the expansion of the new ICTs that enlarges rather than reduces the amount of exhausting work time. Besides, new choices are open almost only to inventors in the field. Of course, people have the right to enjoy their free time as they want, including those who want spent their time in self-destructive work in order to earn as much income as possible. Such a lifestyle erodes social communication, however, and considerably reduces interest among people outside the instrumental action. Other technologies, like gadgets that facilitate reading books, especially literary books as the mainstays of slow messages and reader reflection, may function similarly to media in high culture (books, exhibitions, concerts, public lectures, etc.), in which lonely, yet educated people, still might find something or someone in the narratives or characters of their beloved genres. Nevertheless, while this may compensate for their interest in other personal and social worlds, it cannot replace immediate social interactions.
Alternatively, new media conveying fast messages, in particular pop and rap music, are convenient, for example, in areas where post-conflict processing takes place and where such messages represent one of the ways of fostering moral and emotional transformation towards heightening tolerance and enabling imagination of a common and peaceful world. Finally, new technologies may be developed under conditions of sustainability. Such conditions may facilitate the development of specific intelligence and skills, on both a micro- and a macro-level, high and low speeds, traveling far away, e.g., to outer space, to infinitesimally slow and short distance movements, etc. Both directions may contribute to searching for amicable lifeworlds. This way, various rhythms correspond to various places, from traditional rural spaces to postmodern urban places.
Economy For a relatively short period of time, the economy was combined with liberal and socialist elements. Yet, in the West, this was more as a result of practical necessity than ideological convergence. For example, in the conquest of the American West, the pioneers combined strict rules with free movements. The situation was similar during the establishment of peasant market places in the Soviet Union under Lenin’s New Economic Policy: sellers could earn a profit, but not through high prices for their products, which would impoverish the buyers, mostly industrial workers. Meanwhile, the economic policies on both sides had been changed in their ideological terms, i.e., as separate structures. Installing welfare states after the Second World War took somewhat more time, but generally those were intermezzos between the classical and the neoliberal, free market, economy marked by the hegemony of big banks and corporations. In the East, the intermezzos of mixed economic policies were short—in Yugoslavia, from the middle of the 1960s to the 1980s, and, in the Soviet Union, just a couple of years. Eventually, projects involving mixed economic policies have been abandoned virtually everywhere and replaced by neoliberalism, along with various unions between the state and oligarchic capitalism, actually just a few giant companies, as in contemporary Russia and China. Thereby, the socialist-communist welfare state was liquidated under pretext of its inherent economic inefficiency. Before considering the possible integration of the comparative advantages of liberal and socialist economies into a common policy framework, let us sum up their costs and benefits. As a sector, the economy consists of
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
different ways of dealing with resources. By neoliberal default, the economy, in particular, finance, is set above other sectors. The economies of the developed countries have a global reach, the so-called “global governance” that has none of the attributes of a single state government or government in general. In the first place, it is not amended by a socially responsible policy of redistribution of income. On the contrary, most income earned by multinational companies is not taxed, in the smallest portion, at least, by the UN, for instance, but is taxed only by the existing nation-states. Hence, income becomes either a private or a national asset, while the methods of earning that income pass over all borders and many other limitations. Likewise, current policies in nation-states, by virtue of the policy of austerity, reduce redistribution more and more as a regular step in the economic cycle. Production and exchange are technically global, whereas distribution and consumption are restricted and mainly consistent with social and international inequalities. Due to this unevenness, the current global economy cannot be regarded as a step forward toward a globally concerted policy, save a world state. The global landscape rather looks like a loose alliance between semi-feudal empires and their vassal outposts in the periphery. Some antagonists with imperialistic ambitions, such as Isil, are interested mostly in their armament rather than their economy and development. These military buildups might become the second major source, next to big corporations, of the pillaging of local populations in the periphery. The (dis)advantages of the former socialist economies and the economies of today’s Cuba and Venezuela are to some extent equivalent to those of liberal capitalism. Production was and is extensive and modestly diversified. Extensive production (e.g., raw materials and oil in the Soviet Union, sugar in Cuba) was mainly focused on exports. Domestic supply and demand was essentially fabricated through bureaucratic annual reports, which, as a result, had an indisposition to producing goods competitive enough for international markets (e.g., the export of Cuban cigars), or only rarely so. At the same time, exchange and (re)distribution were close to egalitarian norms in terms of balancing out the relative poverty. However, the supply of goods was irregular, with frequent shortages. All internal mechanisms for the allocation of resources were insufficient to remove or even alleviate these shortcomings. As a result, when the Yugoslav economy, for example, long before the Soviet, opened up to Western markets, a move which was accompanied by huge credit loans from Western banks, the Yugoslav economy began to crumble. Drawing only on such comparisons, nevertheless, might lead to a mechanistic conclusion that the advantages of liberal capitalism may as
such be turned into prerequisites of a more balanced mixed economy, and, vice versa, that a socialist egalitarian distribution of goods might be taken as advantageous in building up a mixed economy under democracy. A more appropriate point of departure would be rather more dynamic. It should be different on two grounds. One is the quality of the goods produced. Such goods must be, first and foremost, more durable than in a typical capitalistic economy. Actually, durability combined with good quality has been inconvenient both to the free market, because of its main interest in accelerating buy and sell turnover, and to the statist socialistcommunist economy, because of its neglect of the demand side (in particular, of the individual consumer). Again, this does not necessarily mean that the free market economy is generally, in all areas, better than the statist economy. Instead, the pluses entail their minuses and vice versa. The liberal economy becomes devastating to the natural surroundings in many parts of the world primarily due to corporate spoiling of agricultural products and due to the overproduction of medications. The repercussions are pretty much the same for the natural surroundings, including greater pollution by heavy industry under the former socialism, most of which was abandoned eventually. On the other hand, the historical socialism was advantageous in some parts of public health, education, and culture. In this regard, it was closer to the Western European than the US policy setup and achievements. Potentially, one good quality of the liberal-socialist economy is its societal embeddedness and responsiveness to social issues. This embeddedness is crucial insofar as the effects of transformative policies on the economic behaviour of people help to elicit a different chain of supply and demand. Of course, state policies in this regard are not sufficient. They must find support in civil society and its gift economy, as well: institutions cannot transform human behaviour without popular support reinforcing such policies. This includes the modification of some wants and needs with a balancing ratio between the need for the possession of material goods (in Fromm’s words “to have”) and the need for selfactualisation through social acceptance (“to be”). Nevertheless, albeit social life might be more differentiated and diverse than under separated forms of socialism and capitalism, this does not mean that consumerism should be banned officially. Consumerism may be discouraged in some other ways. One of them is socialising in a climate of conviviality Such experiences deter people from a society of objects and attract them to a society of persons in which relations to objects are maintained, but without an obsessive attachment to them or any nostalgia for hyperconsumerism.
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
The material economy might be regenerated and finely tuned according to human wants and needs through artisanship as well as manufacturing, provided that the latter could be improved through designs reflecting local ambiences, mores, and habits, thus making a symbolic bridge back and forth between tradition and modernity. In addition, many new customs and habits might emerge from the further diversification of supply and demand in response to the transformed relationship between society and objects. In such a context, services may play the most important role. They can integrate the human need for objects with the need for social belonging and support thanks to, among other things, knowhow developed by communications specialists in an open and tolerant way. Generally, a sustainable economy is the achievement of the proper management of natural, artificial, and human resources through the four economic cycles, this time for the sake of balancing their inputs and outputs, especially with respect to natural, crafted, and social environments. The natural balance necessitates an economy of hoarding by means of which what is taken or borrowed from nature must be returned. To this balancesheet one must add the natural reserves designated for future generations. The same pertains to the social environment. The social balance is intended to spark the growth of different social links contributing to sustainability. A balanced production of crafted resources, however, must respect the limits of growth. This growth does not concern only material production. In a good company of people gathered in a café, for example, costs may be shared, as the number of drinks, especially alcoholic, and the amount of food consumed must be monitored, even calibrated in a way. Beyond a certain limit, consumption inhibits rather than stimulates conversation. Provided that material production and the amount and diversity of goods may be kept nearly constant, arithmetically corresponding to the estimated number of consumers (the lean production model invented both in the bazaar economy and the neoliberal economy might be taken over in a sustainable economy as well), then exchange and (re)distribution remain the most important factors. One proxy for complete socioeconomic balance is a flattened social pyramid with nearly egalitarian distribution in the state and the gift-exchange economy. When these sectors are balanced, smaller amplitudes, including shifts in favour of the private and market economy, cannot be harmful to the economy as a whole. Before charting out the imagined contents of a set of liberal-socialist policies in different (sub)sectors of the economy, one should also bear in mind that the strongest impetus for change in human wants and needs may
come from their work experiences, primarily its motivational and organisational aspects (see below under the heading “Securing human needs” in Section C). Thereby, any brainwashing broadcast put out by the media or some other propaganda device could be ruled out. Infrastructure. With economic growth, the expansion of the infrastructure, including new strategic infrastructure (with major international gateways and their key inland connections) follows the route of growth, particularly in the vast areas of Asia and Africa, thus endangering the rest of the natural surroundings and further increasing the carbon footprint. Obviously, an alternative infrastructure for a greening economy, including compatible technologies and financial funds, figures prominently in the agenda of the EU, for instance. Yet, this is not the case in the United States and most other parts of the world. It is difficult to expect that sustainable growth will take place unless there is a change in priorities in the scale of needs, interests, and the use of energy sources. Hence, this and the following paragraphs will address what may be the central task of the most powerful groups and their societies in order to realise that the current strategies for growth are largely destructive and that they increasingly reveal a black hole in place of a consistent, socially responsible, and globally aware conception of development. Agriculture. Apart from alleviating poverty, especially shortages of food and water, as an unfulfilled objective of FAO and kindred organisations (fostering the safe use and fair exchange of agricultural, fishery, and forestry goods), this policy may revitalise many rural areas. This includes the development of newly emerging functions for villages as places for colonies of artists and scientific think-tanks, incorporating folkways into tourist attractions, etc. Agriculture is also an abundant source for old and new sorts of products, from vegetables to wines, supplying urban areas in the vicinity and broader surroundings. Surpluses caused by declines on the market demand side might be redressed by state and/or gift economy demands either in the country concerned or in a neighbouring or other country, whereby transport costs may be subsidised by the respective states. The situation is similar with work and employment. The supply side may vary seasonally and spatially assuming that the travel and accommodations costs for migrant workers will also be subsidised through agreements between the interested parties. Manufacturing. The size of production may be more dependent on the available resources than on the dynamics of market exchange and
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
consumption. When resources abound and their exploitation is not damaging to the environment,60 then free-market allocation may be the best solution. When resources are limited, however, then planning is a more proper solution. However, the major problem is that the former, i.e., abundant and at the same time vital resources, are now in short supply, such as clean water and air in big cities and their surroundings, e.g., China, in which factories are expanding and overproducing with an alltoo-high ecological price, currently searches for clean water in Africa— sometimes under the banner of the free aid to the poor continent—whose reservoirs are abundant. The latter is not coincidental and is owed to industrial and general economic underdevelopment. This case provides an additional argument in favour of the establishment of a world policy and government, respectively. Besides, the most promising clean energy produced by cold fusion is still only in the research stage. Of course, future research may significantly speed up the exploitation of energy due to essentially different configurations of the main interests and policies, including funds, in the field of clean energy. Currently, the supply of fossil fuels, primarily oil, is abundant enough to meet demand and may do so for a relatively long time. Nevertheless, its continued exploitation increases pollution. To prevent the worst outcomes, a combination of market and statist policies under the control of democratic institutions would the most appropriate solution. The issue of the abundance of resources suitable for manufacturing, including the production of clean and cheap energy, might be solvable by means of the voluntary or gift economy. To make this clear, it is necessary to elaborate an important aspect of the social embeddedness of the sustainable economy. Presumably, there are covariations, sometimes even mutual causations, between cognitive and social patterns.61 This basically means that cooperative and socially productive links among researchers as well as between the academic community and the social community may facilitate the design and implementation of solutions to common problems. In contrast, divided societies and communities, including those with a deep gap between different social classes, are incapable of producing 60 There are long and ever-expanding lists of unpolluted industries, although most of them are related only to some units of production. Obviously, future technological inventions, which must not necessarily be commercially profitable, will concentrate on this issue. (Cf. http://www.niir.org/information/content.phtml?content=67) 61 In Johann Gottlieb Fichte’s words, everyone’s philosophy corresponds to his/her personal characteristics (cf. Lohmann, 2004).
the necessary knowledge for solving common problems. Let us again recall Mills’ notion of the higher immorality of the American business and political elite in the 1950s. The same holds for the immorality of researchers in military-industrial complexes, in which the production of nuclear weapons is the most prominent strategic goal and, more than that, becomes virtually synonymous with Big Science.62 There are probably still more reasons, including financial and technical ones, for the continued problem of approaching the exploitation of fusion power as a way of improving the general economic outlook of humanity. In this respect, the moral problem seems crucial. In general, cognitive, emotional, and moral-ethical dimensions compose personal character, including that of scientists and engineers. Likewise, although this might seem irrelevant to the analytical objectives of science, clean energy solutions with fusion technology will hardly emerge in a divided society with antagonised perspectives in general, including the harnessing of Big Science for military projects or profit-making companies. Last but not least, as long as the hard sciences contribute more to the capital fixe, i.e., the hardware, from industrial machinery to arms, neither workers on strike nor social insurrections will have a chance of emerging anymore. Alternatively, even if they do emerge, they will likely be shortlived and ineffective. If a more appropriate resistance tactic is available, it must be different, with more networking than isolated groups going it alone. At one time, science was the driving force behind the Enlightenment and the idea of human progress in general. Now, science may become an enemy of that progress and, instead, an ally of monadological, essentially (self)destructive, projects. Of course, this problem is not merely economic in the technical sense. Services. This policy as well as the following one (entrepreneurship) is charged with the burning issue of identifying the systemic elements linking liberalism and socialism. It is about public/state and private partnership and/or a mix of the two. Experiences with such combinations are varied, but are generally not that promising. The most critical factor is the actual behaviour of the private sector in the new partnerships, for it
62 Today, it is a common imperative of the national security system in the United States to integrate the power resources in a “technology enterprise” consisting of “a particular cluster of federal agencies that collaborate closely with private actors in pursuit of security-related… geared to the permanent mobilization of the nation’s science and technology resources for military primacy” (Weiss, 2014: 4).
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
hardly changes its habit of turning a quick profit.63 A broad picture of this relationship reminds one of the 1970s and the breakdown of theories of convergence between the West and the East, which was followed by the demise of Eastern socialism along with socially sensitive policies everywhere. Otherwise, services under a liberal socialism may play a major role in all three economies—state, private, and voluntary or gift-exchange. Also, their share may consistently reduce the demand for commodities due to the changes that brought people living and working close together in an atmosphere of dialogue, learning, and tolerance, in which achievements are shared in common and individual calculations are of secondary importance. Entrepreneurship. Even the UNDP reports dedicated to public goods consider entrepreneurial activities as a matter of the private sector. This might perhaps be broadly beneficial as long as the boundaries between the public and private spheres are not transgressed by favouring the private sphere in joint undertakings. In a similar vein, future entrepreneurs must be people capable of maintaining a balance between the two spheres and thus of calculating their personal interests as a function of the success of the joint project. Meanwhile, a new mix called social entrepreneurship has arisen. It is based on social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Still, its actual scope is significantly smaller than private entrepreneurship. This disproportion continues due to a financial structure favouring the private sector and the interests of the richest. This is an illusory and all too destructive form of economy that necessitates enormous securitisation of the haves from potentially rebellious have-nots. As a result, a parastatal setup grows in which the difference between honesty and criminality becomes obsolete.
This fact is being camouflaged with sound-bite expressions such as the idea of the “inclusive business” (in which poor, small- to middle-sized companies and big multinationals allegedly cooperate on an equal basis); the same happened to the “inclusive markets” with the poor on the demand side and employers, producers, and business owners on the supply side (cf. UNDP, 2012). Far from that, such projects sometimes do not have any intrinsic benevolent purpose. Nevertheless, only in an economy organised on the basis of a combination of principles of liberty and solidarity, aimed at encouraging sustainable development, might the smiles on the faces of private business people be sincere rather than hypocritical.
Finances. Global finances under the control of banks and other financial institutions that are out of the reach of governments and international organisations, including the UN, along with turning paper money into fiduciary money, have increased the amount of virtual money so enormously and so rapidly that is now many times bigger than the global GDP. This huge anomaly enables the additional enrichment of the richest, this time without the moral or religious constraints that were, as Weber suggested, respected by early Protestant entrepreneurs. In parallel, the legal obstacles to the enormous enrichment of a few have been removed by deregulation policies. The speeding up financial circulation and the mushrooming of financial transactions without state control has made the accumulation of financial power one-sided and unattainable by the vast majority in society. Another consequence is the dismantling of the vertical social integration that characterised democracy within Western and Eastern nation-states during the 20th century. Now, financial flaws inform a worldwide broadening of horizontal integration among the new nobilities. They constitute the first echelon of the growing pact between post- and antidemocratic formations. Thus, finances have become the supreme power and the real “weapon of mass destruction” that systematically supply the enemies of democracy throughout the world, who, moreover, are nearly equally distributed on both sides of the frontlines. Likewise, this power is clearly hegemonic in all instances, including the “inclusive financing” supported by the UNDP and other public institutions. Thus, the financial behemoth undermines any attempt at consolidating the economy in terms of sustainability. It will do this even more inasmuch as the expansion of the gift economy calls into question money as the only means of payment. The future economy can hardly exist in this state of financial surrealism, especially as regards the huge disproportion between global financial power (trade on the financial markets) and the Gross World Product (the sum of the income of the economies of all countries), which is up to 15 to 1 in favour of the former. This time, however, finances would be controlled by a central world bank under the auspices of a world democratic government.
C) Protecting and Stimulating The objective of this set of policies is to furnish development with the proper mechanisms for the protection as well as the stimulation of good policy performance. The task of the former is to preserve the good
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
achievements of development, and also to stimulate innovations that contribute to subsequent cycles of sustainable development. Such development is dynamic, with the accompanying ups and downs. -
Legislation. The dilemma between more or less legislation depends on two conditions. One is sectoral. Some sectors, primarily those dealing with risky situations, like the transport of sensitive materials or the protection of important people or material resources. The other condition concerns behaviour in unpredictable situations. Some interests and capabilities, including the ability to cope with unknown situations, will not be considerably reduced in the coming waves of development, and will accordingly be less regulated, except for the regulations stipulating rewards for inventive solutions to manage uncertain conditions. Regulatory mechanisms. These mechanisms are responsible for the allocation of goods as well as sanctions. There are three different mechanisms for promoting sustainability across a liberal-socialist continuum of institutions. One is governmental or the state sector, another is private or the market, and the third is voluntary, based on the practice of gift exchange, which is run intuitively or according to implicit moral norms in combination with a few explicit or legal rules. The state sector is nourished mainly through tax policies. It drafts laws for all sectors through procedures in a democratic parliament. The private sector falls under different laws dealing with market competition, the protection of employees and consumers, and the freedom of entrepreneurs to control the rest of their income left after taxation. This primarily includes reinvestment as the most important activity for maintaining the sector. Its growth needs to be coordinated with the sensitive interests of the actors in the other two sectors. Therefore, running from one sector to another should not be limited unless it disrupts the constitutive balance among the three economies. For instance, it should be possible for philanthropists from the private sector to offer their gifts, financial or otherwise, to other sectors and vice versa. Last but not least, private and other sectors will have equal rights to compete for state funds. The evaluation of proposals from different sectors falls under the remit of governmental bodies of experts whose reports are open to public scrutiny. Gratifying basic human needs and beyond. This is a priority of state regulation. Nevertheless, it must not necessarily cover all needs. The types and amounts of goods designated for people who
temporarily or permanently have no source of income, vary. Under sustainable development, work places will be shared much more than before. In addition, sharing work with others, which may practically mean working every second or third day, will facilitate the reduction of individual work time. Both state and selfmanaging companies in various industries will cover for wages or salaries for additional work time, e.g., above the first three hours. During additional work time, employees work on themselves in the sense of furthering their education and training in their occupational branches or neighbouring branches, or some other areas that are closer to the sciences or the humanities than engineering, for instance. The choice will, of course, depend on individual preferences. Nevertheless, those preferences may consequently be honed and refined as individuals direct their interests toward the products of culture, science, education, and health. Income earned during the first or second part of the work time may not cover much more than the basic needs, such as very specific or peculiar wants. Wants for quite different goods and services, for example, how to fix something, deal with artwork, learn to do research, or acquire special skills and complete advanced schooling, can be fulfilled in different niches of the private and market (monetarised) economy as well as the gift economy, which specialises in such activities, but they may also be covered by state budget funds if their outlays are limited and convincingly justified for such purposes. In this context, the voluntary/gift economy provides an opportunity to realise desires that cannot be met by market exchange and by commodified relations generally (where something or virtually everything is open to buying and selling). In what follows, some comparative advantages of the gift economy relative to the private and the state economy are listed. First, gift exchange is the oldest and most durable form of economic activity. It is visible nowadays, as well, yet more in micro- than in macrospheres. Besides, it has been reactivated as a form of social economy after the breakdown of the real socialism, including the emergence of varieties of NGOs on the supply side. Furthermore, gift production and/or exchange practically exists as the only form of economy in many geographic areas inhabited by tribal communities, notably in Africa. Without it, international economic assistance alone, which is often quasi-commercial or otherwise extrinsically oriented (e.g., laundering the money of a big tax payer) cannot work. Also, the gift economy has endured as a provider of support
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
to local people unable to purchase goods on the open market or to afford more than the minimum supply guaranteed by state stores (in a future gift economy, the supply of goods to popular storehouses might be greater and more diversified and principally accessible to all except the wealthiest). Last but not least, the gift economy is non-commodified and libidinal. It lives on love-for-love, pleasure-for-pleasure, sympathy-for-sympathy exchanges (all these relations are not necessarily based on the sex-appeal of the partners). It is the main source for finding friends and, in general, people who are willing to fulfil the wishes of someone else without demanding anything in return or reciprocity. At any rate, in the course of each and every individual life, an opportunity for the reciprocation of favours shows up sooner or later. Very often, forms of voluntary assistance are based on weak rather than strong ties. The latter, consisting of familial and old friendly ties, usually take care of the amortisation of the heaviest blows caused by catastrophes. The former, the weak ties, however, can be of critical importance for further regeneration and a healthier life, thus coproducing happy ends for people struck by disaster. Due to such comparative advantages, the gift economy will outgrow the other economies as an economy of peace and balance supported both by kinship and by new acquaintances. -
Deregulation and privatization. Currently, the major targets of these policies are insatiable human wants, perfectly suited as the hunting grounds for entrepreneurs and profit-seekers. Traditionally, many people enjoy dealing with objects or people paid to simulate roles attractive to customers. This type of market, whose archetypal model is prostitution, reduces social ties to acquisitive ties. Such a pattern of entrepreneurship belongs to the vested rights of people in the era of consumerism and must not be banned either under liberal socialism; no person should be forced to live in a non-preferable way, including frequent social interaction. Inclinations to loneliness and dealing with objects rather than people would probably be less attractive, basically subhuman, in a society replete with various ties among people. In such an ambience, individuals are productive in many ways, including maintaining healthy conditions for themselves as well as others. In such a context, the market place forms a niche within a larger set of human interactions. Stimulating human productivity and creativity. This policy deals with people’s talents. Talents are likely to grow in proportion to demands for new solutions to problems arising from the lack of experience with sustainable development. Such knowledge and
skills, due to extensive demand in the era of sustainability, should devolve upon people at large through numerous forms of learning and/or teaching. This situation necessitates the democratisation of high culture, including broader participation in some areas of scientific knowledge. Most likely, new experts as well as artists will, at least partly, work outside their facilities—ateliers, laboratories, clinics, offices—thus entering into environments in which problems may emerge.
D) Decision-Making This set of policies finalises the results of all of the other policy sets. -
Levels and institutions of democracy. In a liberal-socialist society, direct democracy, including some forms of economic democracy, would be more developed than in a liberal democracy relying on a representative democracy in politics and, as a major contradiction in the system, an economic oligarchy. In a liberal-socialist context, the levels of democracy in combination with meritocracy may be more varied. Final decisions would be made through the coordination and cooperation of the representative and direct democracy and expert or meritocratic bodies, whereby the latter can no longer make decisions in a technocratic manner, i.e., by having the last say in the most important areas ruled by corporations. Usually parliaments adopt corporate intentions by redressing the latter linguistically with phrases such as “removing the obstacles to free enterprise”, which is intended to reduce the cost of investment, including wages and labour legislation on the whole. Liberal-socialist democracy is different. It is a rule by the people for the people, which means that the ultimate stages of decisionmaking are political, not professional, cast in a language legible to most people, not in professional jargon. However, expert knowledge as well as the openness to intellectual debates is unavoidable in a political process of such complexity. The main task of knowledge specialists is the preparation of analytical reports and policy documents for ministerial cabinets and, if necessary, directly for parliaments, by providing different scenarios for the possible consequences of different decisions.
The main seats of the experts may be the councils or associated bodies (depending on national and/or local policy traditions) of various ministries
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
or presidents’ councils. Of course, no groupings, including those of the experts, are value-neutral, and so some partisanship is unavoidable. Nevertheless, when summing up the competencies of the three powers— the common sense incorporated into immediate democracy, the expert bodies in combination with broader intellectual fora, and the mixed knowledge incorporated into classical representative democracy—final decisions might be close to a point of balance among the three types of power rather than openly one-sided. In particular, support by a majority of experts, equipped with an analytical elaboration serving as the basis of their proposals, is not simply mechanical, i.e., a matter of the number of supporters or detractors. Any final decision following such a procedure would be substantially congruent with the decisions of a majority or a consensus reached in parliament at some levels, from the local to the global. In the case of uneven results, e.g., when expert positions are closer to a minority vote in parliament, or vice versa, when a majority vote is thin, say, slightly above 50%, then a better solution would be to restart the decision-making process until that majority can be strengthened, say, above 60%. In order to reduce favouritism, on the one hand, and enhance deliberation, on the other hand, the public sphere must be open to the intellectual scene. Unlike experts, intellectuals may—in order to approach the broader public—articulate their positions by using interpretatively more varied arguments, yet stripped of esoteric jargon as much as possible. Occam’s razor is recommended not for the sake of trimming the conversation to the point where the risk of trivialisation is too high. In such a moment, the flanks may be open to the intrusion of a demagogical message sent allegedly on behalf of the general interest. The languages of democracy may be varied and transdisciplinary, and sometimes indeed difficult to follow. Nevertheless, only the truly knowledgeable are invited to simplify their discourse without the risk of banalisation. And vice versa, specialists in theory or general topics must be aware that democracy is the home to different discourses and to a pluralism of values. Some discourses, although unconventional, e.g., singing a song with a political message, may be as useful for calming down a fierce debate on a hot issue. However, some specific cultural codes implicated in debates marked by a diversity of positions may not be easily translated into explicit codes. Take, for example, allusions to the denigration of women in some societies in which such conduct is interpreted as traditional and locally accepted or even endorsed by most local women. In such cases, some specific artistic performance may be helpful to better interpret the messages or positions whose meanings are otherwise incomprehensible to
most other people as far as women’s roles are concerned. Of course, how or which way is best to represent one’s position, directly or indirectly, by its own representatives in parliament or some other, is a matter of autonomous choice for such a community, and is carried out either by majority vote or consensus. Nevertheless, it must be clarified, maybe even stipulated, how the interests or positions of specific minorities, especially those who deviate from the mainstream route, should (re)gain their legitimacy. If freedom of expression were understood exclusively as a Western value, and not as a universal human right, as used to be the case for a long time in the historical socialism or as is nowadays the case in many Islamic countries (some of them, paradoxically enough, Western military allies), then the age of democracy would probably come to an end once again, for a long time (after the singular occurrence of democracy in ancient Athens, for example). -
Foreign affairs. This policy will retain its essential meaning as long as the future alliance of democratic countries were fairly limited and surrounded by countries that are either on their way to joining the alliance or are not on any democratic route whatsoever. The central objective of the policy in such a case might be to invest in democratic and balanced economic development in the surrounding countries.
If, however, most countries join the international democratic alliance and create a world democratic state, foreign policy will be proportionally smaller and accordingly less complex than interior policy. -
Internal affairs. This sector, unlike the reducible military-industrial sector, will be contingent both on the stability of the different world units (nation-states, continental associations, or the entire world itself under the auspices of the UN or some other organisational form of world democratic government). Deploying police and/or military troops would serve only to keep peace and security in troubled locations. Their troubles may have different causes, including characteristic market failures or failures usually produced by governmental (over)regulation policies.
E) SWOTing The following fragment from a report of the World Health Organization illustrates the existence of a big gap between the declared objectives and
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
actual conditions of health policies and why the expansion of health services has been limited: Universal health coverage means that everyone has access to quality health services that they need without risking financial hardship from paying for them. This requires a strong, efficient, well-run health system; access to essential medicines and technologies; and sufficient, motivated health workers. The challenge for most countries is how to expand health services to meet growing needs with limited resources. (http://www.who.int/whr/2013/main_messages/en/)
The limitation in the range of a policy is common to all policies aiming at closing the gaps in human development. So, too, is this mapping of the policies. In the section concerning health, as in some other sections, this challenge was not the subject of analysis. Instead, in what follows, a SWOT (self-evaluation) analysis, however improvised, of the policies presented above is offered to readers. This addition may improve understanding of the state of the question, i.e., where we stand now and where we may be standing in the future as far as a particular set of policies is concerned. Before presenting the pluses and minuses of the imagined strategies sketched out beforehand, a remark may additionally clarify the outlook of this policy design vis-à-vis the contingencies of the particular strategies, provided, of course, that the latter may be undertaken in some policy communities. The whole attempt at designing policies of liberal socialism is an intellectual effort so far rather than a practical concept fitting any current policy concept, except in one case.64 Given that an appropriate context as such is essentially lacking, what is left, then, of the sense of this undertaking? Pascal Wager, discussed earlier in the book, may fit the bill in this case, as well. Of course, the dramatis personae in this case cannot include God, as in the Wager, but instead human free will as something that deserves to be bet on. Another and admittedly more demanding condition as regards the shipwreck of freedom in liberal societies caused by the political ignorance of socioeconomic disparity 64
One concept belonging to this design, which is taken as a policy concept, is the so-called “new public culture”. It constitutes a set of policies devised by Kultura Nova, a foundation under the auspices of the Croatian Ministry of Culture, whose program is independent of the Ministry and is aimed only at civil society organisations. Within the scheme, a number of cultural projects sponsored by NGOs in Croatia and other Southeast European countries are funded on an annual basis (cf. http://www.kulturpunkt.hr/content/model-nove-javne-kulture; http://kulturanova.hr/eng/about/strategy).
is that free will must also be good will in the Kantian sense. This means no more and no less than that everyone must act in a way that contributes to the freedom of all. Admittedly, this is not a comfortable position. First, because all of us who try to do something for the collective good must be aware of our fundamental loneliness in trying out something that most other people are not rather inclined to do, or, at least, not yet. This fact is succinctly expressed by Kant, who said that he respects the condition in which only two important things exist: the moral law inside us and the starry sky above us. Also, that statement recognises our inherent weakness. We must be aware of the fact that our habits of the heart and mind are by far insufficient—mostly because we are not that numerous or democratically majoritarian—to make promises to the weak in our societies, at least to provide the conditions for them to live decently soon. However, we cannot be carefree because of this limitation nor abandon our fundamental belief in the existence of a good and free human will diffused across myriads of egos who did not, and did not want to, pass over the Lethean stream, the river of forgetfulness. It is a metaphor for the streams in the personality within us which separates our healthy self-love (as a precondition for loving others) from a pathological narcissism in which there is no love anymore. An alarming signal in this respect comes from the poem (Moses) cited above. The poet, Silvije Strahimir Kranjþeviü, posits that doubting our own ideals symbolically represents our death. This may sound pathetic, but contemporary Eastern Europe, for example, has become a region without humanistic ideals, as if it could hardly wait to abandon the Soviet socialism in order to getting rid of any secular hope. The region is currently replete with cynic anti-idealism and intellectual automatism. In particular, many intellectuals who formerly pretended to be Marxist nowadays deny their past only because the renunciation provides a ticket for entering into new political coteries. One cannot blame, of course, the newly established scenery of liberal democracy for such a dubious performance. Most of these intellectuals, in fact, have continued their old habits of zigzagging in order to conform to the changing political fortunes of the former communist parties. The following outline, therefore, presents the putative strengths and weaknesses, as well as opportunities and threats, of the main policy sections outlined thus far in this chapter.
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
Design Strengths. The cultural and scientific, educational and health policy concepts outlined above are probably feasible in some developed countries that count as peace-culture nation-states, as well as in some semi-peripheral countries in the former Eastern Europe and in Latin America that take the former as their models. The reason is simple. The latter cannot move up significantly to the scale of rich and developed countries without risking social change with new polarisations in their societies. For the same reason, of course, if they abandon the peaceculture model, they might sink down into the spacious, yet poor and often war-torn, periphery. It is in their own best interests, then, to redesign their policies in terms of sustainability. On top of that, they may pull others, primarily underdeveloped countries, out of their predicaments. Actually, the strength of this design, thus far, is conceptual. Likewise, the key argument can hardly be refuted: a flattened social pyramid reduces both social antagonisms and the pressures on the natural environment. At the same time, it enhances social sensitivity and interest in balancing the economic interest in income, employment, the welfare state, etc. The living proof of the adequacy of such a policy redesign are the Scandinavian countries (cf. Rothstein, 2017). Weaknesses. This outline of the design of sustainability has not devised an argument convincing enough for the renunciation of the higher immorality by the ruling strata, including their irresponsibility for major developmental problems. Instead, the same class persistently proclaims its style of ruling as an extension of the immutable and basically obscure cosmic reason according to which not a single action of the hegemonic power can be rejected or refuted. This weakness has a double meaning in this case. One fault of this policy concept is that it does not offer an intermediate solution in the way of bridging the gap between the North and the South. This will be attempted (in terms of a discussion) in chapter 13 by dealing with the issue of the construction of a world democratic state. The other meaning of the weakness belongs at least partly to the category of threats usually understood as unfavourable circumstances beyond the reach of the policy design and its instruments. This relegation notwithstanding, one must insist on the continuing consistency of the ethical-political discourse. It is at least our moral right to appeal to the humanity of the members of the powerful elite. A positive response may become a sign of their maturation in the sense of coming to a phase in which making responsible decisions and taking care of the broader
consequences of one’s actions is a must. Such a way of doing politics is an equivalent to purposive action in the Kantian sense. Opportunities. Actually, this is not a merit of this concept of policies, but a conjecture that a congruence exists between the reflections in this chapter and the reflections of many other people engaged in the theory and practice of sustainability, i.e., those who think in very similar way. Citizens, policy makers, politicians, artists, experts, and others interested in sustainable development are seemingly growing in number, although their organised influence on key decision-makers is still relatively low. The opportunities include lobbying political parties with a green agenda directly through parliaments or else indirectly through pressure groups and/or social movements, through education for citizenship, democracy, and interculturalism, and through the rising number of conferences and research projects focused on breaking the pattern of economic underdevelopment and postcolonial apathy (additionally reinforced by the TINA doctrine) in the periphery. Threats. Currently the hegemonic design is neoliberal. Moreover, it is threatening to become totalitarian with a new policy of perpetuating wars. The latter may become the main device for the reproduction of capitalism as the major opportunist in the catastrophes of war. Hence, the biggest link in the chain of threats is the military-industrial complex, with its explosive mix of private production and state orders. For example, the current pressure exerted by the American president on the European allies to increase their military budgets probably relates to the benefits of the sale of American arms in Europe and elsewhere, as they are more sophisticated and more efficient than any other arms in deterring the Russian threat. At the same time, a number of countries, including Russia, produce and sell their own arms, as well. It is needless to argue that the new spiral of militarism reduces the outlook for sustainability and peace alike, save democracy. The major and also fundamentally unaccountable counter-threat is apocalyptic in scale. In the first place, it is, of course, more destructive than the threat alone. Is the likelihood of total destruction a strong enough deterrent for all these bullies? It seems that a decreasing interest in social resistance and in strengthening the civic associations advocating peace and antimilitarism is implanted in a mainstream social consciousness taken over by pathological narcissism and its paranoid views about the environment as a whole, including natural habitats such as forests that might serve as a cover or refuge for anti-systemic insurgents. This attempt
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
at silencing resistance arouses illusory expectations of a new beginning that might be generated from the ashes left after a totally devastating war. This is typical of the phantasies of creationism in the “Abrahamic faiths”. Their imagery also rhymes with the Orwellian doublethink “War is peace, peace is war” in the sense that only through war is it possible to achieve a stable peace. Similar reasoning has been ushered in by the higher immorality of the American power elite for a long time and has been transferred into the narrow minds of allied elites around the world. This is a brave new world for all those Christians, Shinto, Muslims, Hindu, Jewish and other believers or non-believers among the protagonists of Big Science and High Tech, who are all equally infatuated with a variety of the impending Apocalypse.
Performance Strengths. This is also not literally a merit of this concept, for there are many more that are more or less known, as are cultural policies of the urban regeneration in many cities, for example. Hence, the surplus of outdated infrastructures plus the surplus of agricultural products, manufacturing, services, even just the unreasonably huge and speculatively manipulated finances brandishing evidence the new economic “unthinking”—all of these are potential strengths. They may technically, and relatively easy, be turned into resources for an alternative economy, more equitable and more durable. For instance, outdated infrastructures, especially industrial, may be transformed into condominiums of facilities for the arts and scientific laboratories and services and/or renovated manufacturing and artisanship or both (to be sure, this is already a practice in some countries, yet still relatively rare). These may also be combined for the sake of creating product designs that are ecologically sound and fit for different urban and rural environments and in high traffic zones. In parallel, financial projects may be supported by the vast reserves of fiduciary money for funding projects aimed at the greening of cities and removing polluted materials from living areas in order to recycle them into useful products for all three subsystems of the economy, i.e., state, private, and gift exchange. In principle, the state economy is partly commodified, since some state services, such as health and social insurance, operate with funds allotted to the neediest people, where no buying and selling relationship exists. Nevertheless, different combinations are possible to achieve better results. The number of ideas and projects for an alternative economy is, in principle, infinite.
Weaknesses. The main impediment to alternative economic development is commercialism, which is a tendency toward commodifying virtually everything. It mainly originates in the strategies of big corporations. Their central purpose is to sell or else exchange what they produce—under monopolistic conditions, if at all possible. In this section, no intermediary solution is proposed either, i.e., how to make the economic strategies socially and environmentally sensitive without considerable changes in the behavioural patterns of the political and economic leaders. This weakness can be reduced and eventually removed by establishing industrial settings based on work-intensive production, in particular, products with added value that contribute to improving human health, the physical environment, and the aesthetics of various places. Such values are carried out through the labor of the “happy hands” of a people who are intrinsically motivated by and satisfied with their work. Opportunities. The startup firms in social banking and in agricultural know-how for the poor in the underdeveloped world have developed practices that might be expanded. Still, cooperation with private investors might strengthen the commercial and weaken the social dimension of such undertakings. The social dimension concerns full employment, teamwork, and satisfaction with working conditions. Currently, the conditions for new initiatives are chronically lacking, particularly the outlook for moving local populations away from shanty-towns and other inappropriate zones. Not investing in the seeds of the new alternative economy, while, at the same time, channelling rivers of migrants to inappropriate places to live may overflow neighbouring countries with new people and diminish the chances for development in such regions. In that case, opportunities will likely turn into threats. Last but not least, more and more projects, at the micro-level for now, are substituting free market projects aimed at a continuing avoidance of contributing to sustainability. Threats. A new wave of political disrespect toward ecological issues inaugurated by the current US administration, which has announced the unfettered expansion of industrial manufacturing, represents the biggest threat so far. A hope that cannot be underestimated is a resolutely negative response to such a policy by most of the other countries that signed the Paris Agreement on climate change (notably supported by some US governors and mayors, as well).
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
Some counter-pressures to the threat may also come from some big businesses, including American companies, which oppose protectionism and other impediments to global circulation, including those arising from the dangers of major pollutants that leave large areas of the world economically unattractive. A business irresponsible for the consequences of its actions may be at least partly converted into an environmentally safe business so that it can join the alternative development in other parts of the economy.
Protecting Strengths. The strongest asset in this set of policies is the appropriate legislation. The EU, for instance, has detailed legislation that provides a number of guarantees for environmental protection, and also insists on maintaining appropriate health, cultural, scientific, and educational standards. Also, the UN has considerable experience in dealing with development problems, especially in manoeuvring between the statist and the market economy biases. These qualities may be developed further through new projects aimed at curbing the inordinate appetites of business as well as the temptations of statist prerogatives. Moreover, a welfare economy may only be reinforced by legislation protecting human rights, from job security to the right to a healthy environment. Weaknesses. The major weakness concerns the impossibility of maintaining the right to work in cases of a shortage of job opportunities, which might occur, although only in the short term, even under sustainable development. This set of rights might be protected by institutional mechanisms and by spontaneous solidarity with people who have lost their jobs, and perhaps most efficiently through sharing jobs with others. Of course, such solidarity cannot be compared with the spontaneity of mass solidarity which emerges after natural or economic catastrophes. The new solidarity originates from the social contract reinforced by sympathy for the weak and can be articulated by means of different policies, from education to the media, aimed at stimulating personal and social empathy.65 After all, in a more equitable society, empathy becomes a good
“I touch on the concepts of equality and freedom. I have been to prison and there I learned that solidarity is not just a fancy word. That is where the role of culture starts: it gives some meaning to these words. People think they know the concepts, when in reality, they have no idea. Maybe the role of the writer can start there to make you think of these words: liberation, freedom, equality ...”
that is exchanged with similar motives, resulting in the increase of shared life experiences and expectancies. Another weakness is the practical futility of confronting the ascendancy of financial capital as the new absolute in the economy. Of course, this is also not properly a weakness of this outline of sustainable policies and may as such be passed over as an objective and hardly governable threat. Such “ontological” capitulation before the realm of finance is, however, alarming, since it derogates the capabilities of people’s common sense as an important common good. This requires questioning and accordingly revision of the role of money as well as the capacity of its proper owners. Are banks and stock exchange companies self-producing systems? Are democratic institutions and policies which protect the rights to a decent living for all people a dependent variable, and the former an independent one? In order to remove the colonial mindset, we must first get rid of the truism TINA. Opportunities. The first opportunity for protecting workers’ rights as well as the environment may seem rather paradoxical. It came, somewhat unexpectedly, albeit perhaps temporarily, from the decision of the new American administration to cancel the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement between the United States and the European Union. The Agreement, if ever passed, might produce detrimental effects on work and the environment on both sides of the Atlantic. This unforeseen cancellation of the agreement has created an opportunity to prevent a new wave of corporate invasion into contemporary economies and societies. Yet, in this case, the EU should play a pivotal role in favour of the enlargement of the mixed economy under democracy. Presently, however, the EU has no coherent vision for a common future, including its mission in neighbourhoods and local areas. Actually, the EU acts as a capitalist superstate that will increasingly invest in national military industries and its common armed forces as a semi-autonomous part of NATO. The investment in a new wave of militarisation would be a misfortune not only for Europe, but also more generally, since, in such a case, we would lose the major beacon of progress toward peace and democracy for the rest of the world. Threats. Two threats to democratic legislation are the most dangerous. One is the pressure to replace legislation protecting democracy with a variety of policies for securitisation. The latter may lead to a permanent (Interview with Turkish writer AslÕ Erdo÷an, http://www.culturalfoundation.eu/ library/featured-people-asli-erdogan).
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
state of emergency and, accordingly, the suspension of the democratic legacy. The other threat comes from the many people belonging to lower social strata who have lost their will to resist the pressures from above and, as a result, have rejected secular visions of a better world. This underpins the rise of neo-feudal tendencies both in the economy and in worldviews. Some resistance to these tendencies still persists in some developed countries, but its durability is uncertain due to the possibility of endlessly prolonging the state of emergency. Such a debilitated democracy cannot match the strength of the practical political will of Lenin and his fellow Bolsheviks, for example. Thanks to their impetus, for most of the 20th century, the Soviet counterbalance was precious enough to keep international balance and peace, although under costly conditions. Now, Russia does not seem able to play a role similar to the Soviet Union. For one, it does not transmit the Soviet or its own vision of a better society. Instead, it replicates liberal rhetoric with a spice of the conservatism and paternalism of the Moscow Patriarchy. Putin’s seizure of the parts of Ukraine in which Russians live reminds one of Hitler’s occupation of neighbouring countries populated with Germans. Unlike that, the Western expansion into Eastern Europe has been carried out primarily through economic means and in response to Eastern Europe’s voluntary joining of the EU. Russian international policy represents a failed and basically anti-democratic attempt at countering Western expansion. What is different or better than before, under the Soviet Union, for Russians living in the seceded areas of Ukraine or Georgia? It is no more than a psychic reward in terms of a homogenised ethnicity based on the notorious identity politics which view society as a random cluster of different nationalities, which should be arranged in (nineteenth century) terms according to the idea of “one nation – one state”. By arbitrarily conquering a foreign territory and by implying that the territory is selfevidently Russian, the current government of the Russian Federation reinstates the weary commonplace of nationalism backed by an outdated multinational empire.
Decision-making Strengths. By adding some relatively new, but crucially important, democratic institutions, primarily by strengthening the institutionalisation of direct democracy, including economic democracy, and by adjoining teams of experts to central bodies, as well as by reaffirming the role of intellectuals and other citizens in the public sphere, the democratic decision-making process would be advanced. In particular, the engagement of intellectuals
is important, since the critical discourse of many radical intellectuals, mostly the Marxists, becomes dreary and gloomy with its nostalgic laments for a socialism in which capitalism or the market economy has completely vanished. As far as one can see, in this vision there is no place for another role for capitalism, in which it is not hegemonic anymore, except during short periods of time in which breakthrough innovations and private ventures are needed. At least for the policies sketched out in this chapter, which are not devoid of important socialist ideals, a place for capitalism is needed as a cohabitant with socialism. Of course, this does not mean that private entrepreneurs and individual innovators are to be expropriated after their undertakings in order to spark the new stage of development, for nobody, least of all capitalists, should be deprived of their own merits and the results of their work. The quest for a more balanced form of capitalism is eminently reasonable, too. Thus, it is hard to imagine that liberal capitalism—its hegemonic role, as it is nowadays— could replicate its notorious track record of incessant gains at the expense of the rest of society, when it would reside within a balanced liberalsocialist economy. In addition, respecting the balance is mandatory for both parties. Ultimately, the Earth is pleading for such a balance. Weaknesses. The liberal-socialist discourse, like other critical discourses, lacks a powerful counter-strategy to neoliberalism. This means that, ideally speaking, any destructive move in terms of heedless market expansion or in terms of militarisation should be met with a liberalsocialist response, but, again, not one repulsive to the liberal elements of the economy and democracy. The situation is similar with policies responsive to human needs. For example, when young people belonging to a neo-Nazi party group organised assistance for elderly people, young socialists were dazzled by what their political adversaries could do.66 Otherwise, such assistance to the elderly is supposed to be the task of the welfare services in the country (which obviously reduced its expenditures at that time). To paraphrase Herbert Marcuse’s comments on the “shipwrecked” New Left in the 1970s, the left has been defeated more by itself than by its adversaries. A good part of this fault can be attributed to left-wing narcissism, according to which the rebellious ego is unable to transcend its self-obsession. This is further evidence of the “self-incurred immaturity” (Kant) that, as a concept, will be reflected upon anew in the concluding chapter of the book. 66
This was communicated to the author by a student who was with a group of young socialists in Germany.
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
Opportunities. Currently, the greatest challenge to liberal socialism is the switch from so-called “progressive neoliberalism” (Blair, Clinton, and Obama) to nationalistic and protectionist neoliberalism. The latter brought with it a confusing interference with the neoliberal globalisation that was self-declared as a borderless circulation of market goods. Providing that the neoliberal regression into the core of capitalism will not survive the subsequent political change in America, an opportunity may arise for a judiciously interventionist state to repair the damages wrought by the latest flawed version of neoliberalism. At the same time, the state may reinvigorate the non-reactive and non-authoritarian societal response to the growing threat of the populist-cum-right-wing-extremist reaction to the crisis. The most appropriate response would be for a newly elected government to launch a set of sustainability policies. This may include, in coordination with the Russian government, the transfer of a good part of the budgetary outlays for the military to education for peace and peace research, including the long-expected advancements in fusion energy research and technology that might decisively contribute to the blossoming of a global economy of peace and cooperation. Threats. The biggest threat comes, times and again, from the war-mongering politics of the big powers and the purchase of their arms by numerous countries. This time, warfare, although limited to local or regional areas, has proven more instrumental to capitalism than ever before. While the latest generations of sophisticated arms are held by the big powers as their doomsday trump card, earlier generations of arms are intended for sale mostly to Third World countries and for small- and middle-scale wars. The crucial task of the strategy of perpetuating this chain of wars is to create a convincing image of the “enemy” and, accordingly, to broadcast propaganda directing the hatred mostly against the nearest neighbours. After one of the many, yet only provisional, conclusions of these wars, international assistance comes in a variety of forms, including profitable investments that must soon be repaid, for instance, by means of the purchase of new arms, if nothing else. Thereafter, another round in the spiral of armament and profit-making is launched. Eventually, the time comes when the economic effect on the demand side cannot be recycled anymore. Such parts of the world then become inhospitable for living decently, except for the perverse exploitation of the local scenery for the sake of catastrophe tourism or shooting apocalyptic movies in an authentic setting. Albeit such threats can be materialised, they are neither highly probable nor realistic enough. The most important reason is the resistance
by peoples in (semi)peripheral countries against such predicaments, in support of intellectuals, politicians, and the variety of emancipation and peace movements in developed countries opposed to the strategies of destruction. Likewise, the support of the local people may come from states that have established a balance between different sectors and are vitally interested in expanding an environment favourable to their makeup based on peace-and- development. In a truly interdependent world, peace and democracy are needed much more than war and dictatorships. In the former case, the world is by itself borderless and round, like the planet itself, whereas, in the latter, the world looks like a broken barrel.
Conclusions with an Epilogue Just a few aspects of the contemporary policies of development look very encouraging. One of them is objective rather than subjective. It is the existence of a common technological and economic ability for transcending poverty and war. Nevertheless, the lack of the (subjective, political) will to take the necessary steps brings us ever closer to the tragic moment of facing with a tremendous and irrevocable catastrophe. Given such a tiny upshot, one cannot map the pathways to sustainable development with appropriate certainty. Worse than that, one cannot tell whether most people in the contemporary world still understand what democracy is and what its goals are, or whether they associate their visions of the best possible world with a democratic world order. What they might have realised about democracy thus far is that it has two faces to it. One is official and pompously spectacular. The other is insensible and cold, yet concealed behind scenery. In a way, the hidden face conspires against the visible face. This hypocrisy is what people perceive not directly, but through the contradictory outcome of its official politics, namely, the higher immorality. On the one hand, they have the promises of tomorrow’s welfare, and, on the other hand, they see an endless process of decay for themselves and their families. Particularly in newer or failed democracies, people overwhelmingly seek opportunities through migration to better places in the world, whose number is chronically falling. To oppose the political hypocrisy and considerable apathy of what used to be a democratically responsive public, a phenomenon that is not confined to peripheral countries, we—teachers, researchers, democratic activists, and others who support democracy one way or the other— understand that democracy is a long-term process. Admittedly, it has taken a much longer time than we expected or wanted. Now is the moment in time when a declamatory discourse about democracy, a concern of this
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
book, as well, might overwhelm what may be called, rightly or wrongly, a democratic continuation of Leninism, something that began as the Bolshevik dictatorship, but has continued as a democratic (and liberal) socialism. Democracy originates in the human ability to overcome predicaments tailored to a template created by illusory gods or some other monarchy or oligarchy. Principally speaking, people can do what they truly want to do—or they can pass their desires on to the next generation of descendants. This is basically a secular process that should not take more than a saeculum, literally, one hundred years or so. If this proves to be unreliable, people will turn their hope only to religious or demagogic leaders, with a higher probability that fascism will come knocking on the door again. Hence, our books, our conferences, and our project in general may attract people with an ethical-political edge, but not, or, at least, not yet, the mainstream caught up in the web of the monad called TINA. Alternatively, if some parts of humanity from different social classes were prepared for an encounter with their own as well as others’ virtues and vices, the current processes might take some other directions so that we may accordingly be more optimistic. In support of such expectations comes the rising awareness in numberless pockets of society that this world is not made exclusively for the rich and irresponsible minorities in each society. The millions of migrants flowing into the northern parts of the world provide bitter evidence for that. Such an occurrence will continue to grow following more and more alarming data on a yearly basis, showing that less and less time is left to adopt another course of development that may enable us to sail further through space on the ark called the Earth. Essentially, what we need the most is a lasting peace. Thanks to such a peace, it would be possible to redirect our collective karma. In doing so, we could change our inclinations convenient to the behemoth into inclinations conducive to a joyful life in peace. Only then will we discover that there are many, probably countless, varieties of living in peace that are much more productive and satisfying than what rich people can afford for themselves today. Ultimately, the enemies of humanity, who ignore the facts that indicate an accelerated spending of resources necessary for human biological survival, use false arguments inspired by a misdirected, malevolent, and insidious intent, disguised in the language of scientism and naturalism, i.e., false inevitability. Similarly, these enemies’ anthropological pessimism, with its disregard for the human ability to reverse the fatal attraction of gravitational forces and the death-wish along with their fantasies of the
“afterlife”, indicates why they, the amici of doomsday, proclaim God as their patron. At the bottom of their religion radiates a tremendous misanthropy. They are grinning at everyone because they like no one, including themselves, which is typical of pathological narcissism, i.e., the incapability of loving and empathising. Their bosses gather evidence for their version of the truth most efficiently by seizing power, both over the military and Big Science, in order to eventually impose TINA as another delusion of the monad. As shown earlier, this radiant destructiveness emerged in America after the Second World War, most probably as a shockwave following such a catastrophic event. Nevertheless, pathological narcissism is not endemically American. It is widespread through the West and continues to spread in the new East, as well, although its predecessor appeared earlier as collective narcissism. Originally, self-idolising, as Hegel argues in his historical metrics of freedom, comes from the theocratic and imperial cosmologies of ancient and medieval times. Since then, under the banner of freedom, it has been reinstated into the modern ideologies aimed, perhaps subconsciously, at establishing a monadic and ultimately lifeless world. In truth, cleansing their own conscience has no serious alternative for the rich and powerful. This also concerns the revolutionary scenarios that, like the apocalyptic genre, divide society into two antagonised camps. This is dreadful, inasmuch as it is hard to expect, although a retreat of the West cannot be ruled out, which would follow the path of the Soviet Union and Eastern socialism in the 1990s. The latter openly recognised their inability to manage the part of the world that they had controlled until recently. The contemporary Western self-image is different, i.e., incapable of any self-criticism and, as such, is still monadic. This self-image is periodically shaken by terrorist attacks as a truly terrible reminder to the existence of a different world, much worse than the Western, indeed, but still capable of sending such desperate signals of its existence. On the other hand, both objectively and subjectively, terrorism nourishes TINA with rather strong, although equally senseless, arguments. For the rest of us, who live on the margins between the West and the former East, and between North and South alike, there is hardly anything left to expect than the principled transformation of the monadic into a plural world. To carry out such a transformation, it is necessary to debunk the stereotype of unfettered market capitalism in favour of an economy for all.
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
The next two chapters will round up the dialectical reflections on what is left of the optimism that featured during the era of the Enlightenment. Perhaps we should direct our hopes elsewhere, to the deep space that makes up another, indeed the major, part of our universe, where traditional religions locate the heavens, and enlightened minds, the lifelong allies who are probably much older than our species. Nevertheless, that space is not literally external and located so far away from us. It is seemingly always with us, even in times when such a close relation over a long distance (according to the conventional understanding of space) seemed impossible. Most likely, we are not alone in our adventure of moving through space. The Croatian poet Tin Ujeviü says as much in his poem “Brotherhood of persons in the universe”: Do not be afraid! You are not alone! There are others besides you who unknown to you live your life. (Ujeviü, 1932)67
Epilogue The aim of this epilogue is to explain why the resistance to capitalism is substantially weaker than that to the former communist socialism and, correspondingly, why the attempts through social democracy at striking a balance with a third way between capitalism and socialism have failed. Of course, the same analysis applies to democratic or liberal socialism. Basically, people have been moving away from the two most physically and mentally oppressive conditions of collectivism. One is primitive (Marx would call it “primitive communism”). Yet, it is not the oldest form of community. Actually, it was created in tribal communities several thousand years after the first egalitarian societies that did not have 67
Our readers, too, must not be worried about some elements of obscurantism in this passage. Notwithstanding an awareness of the fundamentally plural orientations of human beings and of the subjective capabilities of a large part of humanity for living in more decent environments, and against the amassing of evidence for the incapability of the current world governance, from the UN to the major developed states and gigantic corporations, in dealing with the major problems of global development, an ecstatic dimension of the universe in terms of traditional religions will be taken into account sporadically and in a way that is appropriate to the age of Enlightenment (which has not yet come to an end). Ovid provides another example, typically mythic-poetic, in the words of Jupiter (cited above under the heading “Environment”), remarking that our best solutions can only be suboptimal. This is, indeed, a good grade for the “higher spirit” for what people have done so far and also for what they can do to further their efforts at keeping our earthly home safe.
permanent leaders, including spiritual ones. Tribal leadership is a relatively complex structure that has been dissolved and has opened the way to the coming of complex societies with urban settlements and eventually to empires. This happened first in several places throughout the world (Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, China, and South and Central America), but it did not arrive without violence, including acts of terror. These acts of terror came from both the inside (tribe members) and the outside (imperial colonisers). Some tribal societies with shamanistic leaders might have been a nightmare for their members supposedly because of the shamanistic terror, although its traces are not sufficiently documented,68 unlike the case of Shaka Zulu in Africa, who was rather a mix of physical and spiritual terror, and in the case of voodoo, the black magic terror in tribal Haiti. In addition to threatening their fellow tribesmen during their waking life, these spiritual terrorists, at least according to some documented cases, were also transposed into dream-life and consistently injected into the collective belief-system. Certainly, this threat of an everlasting terror produced a horrendous scare among members of the community.69 Probably, there was no stronger driving force in history than this one, which gave the impetus to the adventurous quest for individual freedom
68 Most shamans are primitive doctors very popular among their tribesmen as well as among tourist visitors. Some of them, however, have misused their power. However, what may be considered as true incidences of shamanistic terror are largely a matter of the social construction of a (fabricated) story. Such allegations might be inspired by the colonialist defamation of primitive cultures, but also by anticolonial movements as their potential arms against foreigners. The terror might have been directed against some tribesmen and tribeswomen who reported their terrifying experiences to the succeeding generations or to researchers. Anyhow, this kind of terror is ingrained in the social memory of some local people and their currently dislocated relatives. Here is the account of a leading researcher of shamanism: “Killing and torture and sorcery are real as death is real. But, why people do these things, and how the answers to that question affect the question – that is not answerable outside of the effects of the real carried through time by people in action. That is why my subject is not the truth of being, but the social truth of being, not whether facts are real but what the politics of their interpretation and representation are” (Taussig, 1997: xiii). 69 This was reported to the author by physicians from Third World countries during a seminar on the prevention of diseases in underdeveloped countries: they have fled from the spiritual world of the tribe in which death is nonexistent, albeit they did not use words “terror” and “shaman” in this exchange, although they experienced something similar which implicates shamanism as a driving factor behind their emigration to urban centres and their joining Western medicine alike.
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understood as the (liberal) right to be protected from external control or oppression. Terror during the Stalinist era in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, as well as in Mao’s China and Pol Pot’s Cambodia,70 did not have a religious dimension, except perhaps for the fact that some actions were performed in cooperation with shamans across vast areas of Siberia,71 and was usually followed by the mass execution of people on the grounds of false incriminations. Yet, with or without the shamanistic contribution to the collective memory of the rule of terror,72 the latter triggered a massive migration that brought people into the hands of local oligarchic bosses who were (ideologically) supposed to bring them freedom in accordance with the neoliberal doctrine of the marketplace as a panacea. Albeit the frequencies of cases of such liberations from captivity are approximately the same as winning the lottery, to most people this is the only option left for escaping the worst conditions. One must doubt whether such a primal fear of communist dictatorship will soon evaporate from the collective memory and bring people back to a transformed community, notwithstanding the likelihood that a future socialism will not repeat its past errors. At the same time, such a way of thinking in terms of a communist hell vs. a liberal paradise, as shown in the previous chapters, becomes a source for the possible emergence of a “third hell”, this time under a capitalist regime of the neoliberal variety. This hell might be worse than previous ones, primarily because of the scope of its catastrophic consequences, replete with scenes of the real apocalypse. 70 The eventual march of the Vietnam army into that country was cheered by the native Khmers as an act of liberation from the terror of the Khmer Rouge (Red Khmers). 71 It is perhaps just gossip that shamans still rule in vast provinces in Russia inhabited by tribal peoples and their descendants in some urban areas, but even such a rumor indicates how strong the retention of the consequences of what they do or did is in social memory. 72 Another powerful source of terror, close to the shamanistic, in some cases even worse than the latter, was the misuse of political psychiatry, mostly in the Soviet Union according to reports of Amnesty International (see AI yearly report from 1985 on this matter). This experience is similar to the massive witch hunts and executions of late medieval and early modern periods, which is another form of the collective madness running in parallel with anti-Semitic fever in Europe. What else might have been more terrific that motivated people to embrace the liberal promise of freedom? Nevertheless, the boat of liberalism has dangerously leaned toward the opposite side, where another avatar of the Behemoth waits for new shipwrecks.
Perhaps a different follow-up to our history comes with a spark of hope, as a donation by our brothers and sisters from outer space, as Ujeviü surmises? Of course, his vision is poetic.73 Besides, a futurological research account cannot bring good news, since its analytical grounds lay in the existing statistical trends of human development, which, when projected into the future, are far from promising. The poetic vision, however, is possibly inspired by a deeper layer of collective memory, which some artists are able to decode. That layer might contain preserved memories of the original cosmic community that was, unlike terror under some earthly forms of collectivism or communism, a happy era for people. Why, then, we may ask, was this original communism abandoned? Or did something happen only to its earthly branch that for some reason was cut off from the primordial community? Perhaps, possible reasons may be better understood in terms of Rousseau’s notion of greediness, a crime that was committed before all other crimes, the crime of expropriation of people’s minds by their self-proclaimed spiritual leaders, when some shamans with their magical rituals played a role equivalent to Prometheus? We cannot positively know or prove that, of course, but we can surmise something through analogy with the main plot in the narrative of modernity in this book. We may surmise that reasons for the primal “divorce” from our space fellows might have been similar to the reasons that undermined the revolutionary marriage of liberty and equality, followed by the rule of specialists in manipulating human minds before blowing up human bodies. Of course, to highlight again, such a narrative of our primitive belongingness is not properly empirical and as such cannot be scientifically falsified. Likewise, it reminds one of the religious narratives about the primordial paradise. Yet, if there is a grain of truth in this story, then the monadic assumption in terms of monotheism, i.e., the notorious story of a supreme power responsible only to itself, does not fit the vision of a space 73
It seems that it is empirically founded, as well. Hundreds of American military veterans have witnessed instances of the so-called “UFOs-Nukes connection”. The reports are also based on recently declassified documents, showing that launched nuclear missiles were disabled many times during the Cold War and less frequently thereafter (cf. Hastings. 2017). Of course, if one day a nuclear war does break out, this story will go to the ash heap of history, unfortunately along with the large part of humanity struck down by the nuclear impact. In that case, this book, which regrets that during the more than 200 years since the French Revolution, the project of social atomisation and self-destruction has been developed and eventually prepared for launching nuclear warheads, will also join the endless piles of useless objects.
Imaging Strategies of Liberal-Socialist Policies
communion. At the same time, it is hardly possible to find any better and fundamentally philanthropic idea among the existing “Third World ideas,” including the idea of “intelligent design”. Certainly, we will not learn what, if anything, was (possibly) going wrong in the primordial community or, more probably, federation of peoples, as long as contemporary scientists persistently focus their research on the structure of minerals and other lifeless rudiments in the mines of the new master of the Earth, capital fixe.
CHAPTER THIRTEEN TOWARDS A DEMOCRATIC WORLD GOVERNMENT
The History of the World is not intelligible apart from a Government of the World. (W. V. Humboldt, used as the motto of Hegel’s The Philosophy of History)
Wilhelm von Humboldt was an erudite aristocrat. His vision of the world, similar to Kant’s vision, was neither typical of his class nor close to the shape of the Holy Alliance of colourful conservatives in 19th century Europe. Humboldt’s idea of a world government was intended for all people(s) and as such was open to democratic consideration and citizenship alike. He was an interesting scholar for different figures. His knowledge of the New World was interesting to Simon Bolivar, the most important figure in the revolutionary mind of South America, as well as Charles Darwin, the father of modern evolutionary biology, who did not consider homo an extraordinary species. This view is akin to the revolutionary doctrine of the sovereignty of the people in place of that of the king. In other words, the king is a citizen, the member of a nation of equals and is not an extraordinary, inaccessible being; likewise, the people are not an extension of his body, least of all of his lower parts. Naturally, animals do not have the same mental capacities as humans, but thanks to the former and our common ancestors, respectively, we have advanced as a species. Nevertheless, we have no moral right to destroy other species, including those who make up our food chain… Anyway, speciesism is a relative of racism. For example, the slogan “separate but equal”, created by white racists in the American South at the beginning of the process of desegregation, represented their last attempt at preserving segregation as the official policy (cf. McLemore, 1980). Yet, a tendency towards equality, which implicates overcoming the (perceived) barriers between different groups, whether communities or classes, is specifically human. As such, it pertains to human history in terms of the process of emancipation. Therefore, the barriers of racism belong to the long-lasting repertoire of strategies for preventing democratic processes and also for disabling
Towards a Democratic World Government
another development in humanisation, the effort to familiarise with nonhuman species (after all, pets were first domesticated, like the idea of revolution, by European nobles). The contemporary world consists of nearly two hundred states that maintain borders, and some of them increase the number of conflicts and wars alike. That reinforces the assumption of an eternal speciesism in all directions: people and other beings are not only fundamentally different, but they should also remain separate. Even though others presumably living in outer space have been domesticated by the popular media, they look like trivially good guys or bad guys according to the imagery of the old religions, as angels and demons, not as members of a probably far more developed civilisation than our own. Rather, it is not unthinkable that the latter may not want to openly communicate with the people of Earth. This is because earthlings are inclined to divinise or demonise others, which not only indicates a serious incapability at social communication complicated by pathological forms of collective and individual narcissism. It also indicates an inability to create a common government accountable to its citizens. Only such a common government could probably obtain the popular mandate to represent Earth in talks with other communities or their (con)federations. Before constructing a profile of a world democratic state built on generating and subsequently expanding on a core of countries with characteristics close to liberal socialism, the arguments of some works on the idea of a world state and cosmopolitanism will be briefly presented and accordingly commented upon. In his article on the inevitability of a world state Alexander Wendt (Wendt, 2003) rejects the assumption that the idea of a world state is teleological and, therefore, “unscientific”. His counterargument is normative and draws on the dangers of the “logic of anarchy”. Such a state has “a global monopoly on the legitimate use of organised violence”, which renders it inevitable. However, this assumption is based on an analogy with the state in history and the nation-state, in particular. Although factually weak, this argument is deeply justified, for a presumable monopoly over the use of violence, yet under democratic control, is far less dangerous than violence in a multipolar world that, moreover, consists of powers whose democratic constitution is questionable. Nevertheless, what would be a compelling reason for the United States or Russia, for instance, to cede control over their armies to a world organisation? There are usually two arguments against such an idea. One is a belief that pervades modernity, both liberal and socialist-communist. It is that the nation-state, which follows from the breakdown of empires, represents the
final form of the state. The current crisis of the EU along with Brexit and the US resort to protectionism contribute to the strength of this nationalistic argument. Thus, it seems once again that a global democracy is desirable for the poor and the disenfranchised rather than the powerful elites. One alternative for the former, then, would be to attempt to migrate to some better place in the world, at a very highest cost, of course, including the risk of death. Therefore, another argument against a world state is the anxiety of the upper strata, motivated by their selfishness, an expression of the higher immorality. In a world democratic legislature, they may, indeed, become less significant than ever before. America or Russia, for example, would then be in a minority position. They would represent units essentially equal to other units, notwithstanding the number of seats they would assume due to their sizes or proportional contributions to the world state budget. Wendt’s position can be summarised in one argument: the world state arises from the necessity of establishing control over the growing and increasingly destructive force of organised violence. To preserve this position, which evidently reminds one of the classical (physicalist) notion of the state, some additional arguments are needed. Some are given by him, and some will be proposed in the last part of this chapter. Wendt’s recent view on the role of the United States and why it should join a world state, instead of playing the leading role or pretending to be a substitute for a world state, elucidates the dramatic dilemma of the transition from a world of the greatest powers to one of (putative) equals: [I]f Americans really want to be recognized by others, that recognition has to be freely given, not compelled, and that only is going to happen if we choose to make ourselves vulnerable by joining a world state. Ultimately, in other words, the question is if we could live with ourselves by not joining with the rest of “America,” namely the globalized one in a world state. So as I see it, in the end, Americans will have a choice, between their nationalist communitarian identity as an independent sovereign state, and their liberal democratic identity as a potential member of a world state. Trying to have it both ways works for now, but in the long run I think it is an unstable equilibrium, and I think Americans will eventually choose their better half. (Wendt, 2015)
Instead of prolonging the analysis with a comment on Wendt’s thesis, it would be most suitable if, for example, a Russian political scientist were to address by analogy the reasons why the Russian Federation would do better to join a democratic world state instead of reverting to the role of a global superpower, due to which it enjoys popularity and acceptance
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mostly among undemocratic states and the populist constituency in the country. The next example of a valuable work on the issue of the world state is Ian Goldin’s on the challenges to new global governance (Goldin, 2013). He identifies several challenges because of which the existing institutions of global governance are seemingly unfit. He maintains that the UN, World Bank, and IMF are out of date with their mandates mostly because they are governed by divided nations. Due to their factional and particularistic interests, they are, Goldin goes on to claim, incapable of addressing global problems globally. Examples illustrating their incapability include terrorist attacks, the global financial crisis, and escalating cyberattacks, let alone climate change as the most dangerous threat that still remains without a global response. In addition, the most powerful countries are unable to safeguard their own territories. To make a long story short, Goldin proposes the following: transgovernmental networks, the reactivation of civil society, cosmopolitan multilateralism, the enforcement of global actions—plus a basic optimism grounded in the creative power of humanity. This represents an honest liberal attempt at transcending the existing condition of the international community. It is persuasive in some aspects, but less persuasive in others. One is his call for avoiding the level of the nation-state in facing global challenges. At the same time, however, he remarks that UN is inefficient in comparison with the G8 roundtables. This remark may provide grist for the mill of elitism in the developed countries, which assert that one of the main inefficiencies of the UN is that its Security Council rarely comes to a consensus on important issues. Another less convincing aspect is Goldin’s ignorance of the asocial character of capitalism. His position represents liberalism’s fundamental assumption of human nature as individualistic and competitive. Hence, it is no wonder that at least some socialist-oriented authors are more interested in the predicament of the underdeveloped countries. Jacques Bidet’s book Théorie générale [General Theory] (1999) represents a theoretically extensive elaboration of this point. The theory is unique inasmuch as it offers a vision of world governance from a perspective close to liberal-socialism. Thus, apart from his concept of the world state, he expounds on the concept of non-competitive markets. Bidet is a political philosopher, and his way of arguing is mainly axiomatic and deductive. His central concept, from which he deduces other concepts, is the “macrostructure” (which he ascribes to Marx). Accordingly, his concept of modernity is structured around three axial principles: freedom, equality, and rationality. Moreover, Bidet envisions a complementarity between state and market, and blames both liberalism
and socialism for their “unreflective linkages” between the two. On the one hand, liberalism is said to lie about the unity of democracy and the pure market; on the other, socialism proclaims, also erroneously, the unity of democracy and concerted planning. Yet, Bidet argues (obviously following Habermas’s interpretation of deliberate democracy) that sustainable relations among democracy, market, and organisation cannot simply be negotiated. A consensus, he highlights, can ideally be achieved through dialectical (critical) discourse. So far so good, but how can such a result that is approximate to the ideal speech situation (in Habermas’s terms) be achieved? He does not solve this conundrum, but one cannot blame him for what virtually none, including Habermas, has been able to do. Bidet underscores his uncertainty in this regard by recognising that an “enormous emptiness” exists between the constitutive ideas of modernity and their fulfilments in social practice. At first glance, this is a hopelessly pessimistic statement. On the other hand, the author has seemingly found an indirect solution to the gap between theory and practice, something that cannot be found in other neo-Marxist works. Bidet, unlike Marx, for instance, posits that a democratic world state is a condition sine qua non. In other words, the world state is the cause, not the consequence, of a true democratic revolution! This is a brilliant idea. His complementary argument is that a world state will not be based on a classless society, but a global alliance of nation-states existing in a condition similar to the enterprises protected by law in a non-competitive market. This is a step closer to the ultimate goal, i.e., a comprehensive explanation for the existence of such a wide gap between big ideas and miserable practices. What is left now is to attempt to map out pathways leading from the current conditions in national and international affairs to a world state of democratic nation states. Since such an answer cannot be found in the argument presented above or in any of the other works under consideration, what follows is an attempt at finding such (a) pathway(s) on the basis of the expansion of a peace culture and demilitarisation process (this time induced by forces that do not principally belong to the genre of social science, but, conditionally speaking, to a social scientific extension of the need and desire for a broader, cosmic community whose contours are tackled in the preceding chapter). Some premises underlying the following outline, which have been discussed in previous chapters, will be rearranged here for the sake of a selection of countries based on the two sets of criteria. One is the culture of peace and a sympathy for weak or cultural femininity, respectively, and the other is the process of demilitarisation. For the sake of efficiency, but also due to the lack of proper standards for a comparative analysis, only
Towards a Democratic World Government
the first circle of countries is listed below, a list of the potential core for a world state and a permanent state of peace, respectively. Other circles of countries, with less salient criteria, could be compiled, of course, but the result would be much more difficult to validate than for the first circle. The first circle consists of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland (all with a high pc),74 Sweden, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Costa Rica, Chile, Estonia, Portugal, Thailand, Russia75 (all with a high cf), Hungary, the Czech Republic, Iceland, Bhutan, Slovenia, Malaysia, Moldova, and Latvia (all with a high dm). This circle may represent a core of the world peace, under different conditions, of course. These countries are not politically organised and are not recognised as an international junction of the world democratic elite. So far, one should interpret them only as a statistical category. Still, most states in this category have retained or further developed a balance in terms of social liberalism (market economies under the rather strong jurisdiction of governments). In many other aspects, the potential core of the world peace is not homogenous and geographically contiguous. Furthermore, some of the countries are members of the EU or nearly so (Switzerland, Iceland), while most of the others are geographically detached (Chile, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Bhutan), and still others, although geographically distant, have policies similar to those of the EU (Canada, New Zealand, Australia). Some of the countries make up a part of some international bloc of countries, such as the EU or NATO. A sphinx in this company is certainly Russia. According to the compiled criteria, it is the most ambiguous country. On the one hand, its score of cultural femininity is high, but it is also, in contradiction to this, a militarised state. Nonetheless, unlike the United States, Great Britain, or France, for example, who are also militarised, Russia, in terms the research findings, has a rather strong tendency toward peace in terms of cultural femininity. This is a very 74 The list of countries is compiled from three sources: De Rivera (2004), Hofstede and Hofstede (2005), and Global Peace Index (2016). They are not comparatively standardised, however, since their methodologies are different, with the result that the above list of countries which would make up the first circle (of peace and democracy) is only approximate. The most important combined criteria, along with (De Rivera’s) peace countries criteria (with highest pc [peace culture index]), are demilitarisation (a quality of the corresponding states, marked with dm) and cultural femininity (a quality of a society rather than a state, marked with a high cf score). 75 At the same time, Russia ranks highest in the militarisation score, along with Israel, the United States, North Korea, Syria, Oman, and Iraq.
intriguing detail that reminds one of Herder’s prophetic vision according to which Slavs will, in the future, lead the procession of nations in the establishment of the world peace. Evidently, Herder’s prophecy has not come true to date, especially when we take into account current fears about the Balto-Slavic peoples in terms of the threats of the “Russian bear”. On the other hand, it is not entirely immaterial that the current Russian geostrategy represents a not so hidden attempt at parrying NATO and the United States in their efforts at establishing a ring around Russia, like the international anti-Bolshevik alliances in the early 20th century. At the very least, the global balance, due to the double face of both the Western alliance and Russian military policy toward some of their neighbouring countries, has been considerably disrupted, regardless of the fact that the flight of Eastern Europeans from the Russian/Soviet grip was self-initiated. However, there is no evidence that Russia is willing to initiate a war against the West. Also, one must count on the Russian intent to infiltrate into a part of the EU and some surrounding European countries, like Serbia or Macedonia. Looking societally and with some, rather benevolent, decoding of the politically subconscious layer of Russian foreign policy, one may presume that Russia’s desire is to get closer to the EU. The reasons for this are many and varied, from Russian prominence in Eurasia (as a bridge over an ultimately unique continent in geographical terms) to Russian gas exports to Europe to some possible protection interests as regards the EU, which will be discussed shortly. Such conjectures cannot, of course, be used as a reliable basis for a possible liberal-socialist geopolitical path to peace. Nevertheless, let us consider some other presumptions, however speculative. In fact, however, at this point, we cannot deal with the empirical and other more telling arguments about the current constellations of geostrategic interests with a particular reference to Europe. -
A larger circle of the liberal-socialist states may consist of the existing member states of the European Union in its present shape as a flexible alliance of states, or as a confederation consisting of multiregional associations of the European west, north, east, and south with Brussels as the capital; thereby, the multiregional associations may reach the magnitude of the Council of Europe (of which Russia is a member76).
76 Russia has been a member of the Council of Europe since 1996. The Council has 47 member countries. Next to its soft power basis and its concentration on issues of human rights, education, and cultural development, the Council
Towards a Democratic World Government
A UN agenda in favour of demilitarisation and peace, hopefully with the support of the Security Council, may facilitate the expansion of the (hypothetical) core; things are similar with the sustainability agenda. Progress might be made regarding the conditions for fostering an alliance of peaceful and democratic states—with the EU and Russia taking centre stage. Thereby, Russia might temporarily assume the role of military protector for the core as well as for the expanding circle of states with higher scores for peace culture, cultural femininity, and demilitarisation. Albeit this presumption currently looks implausible or even fantastic, it must not be entirely unrealistic. For instance, in the case of a new warming of international relations, Russia may take care mostly of the defence of the new alliance of democracies, yet without any pretension, even any gesture, that would entitle Russia to rule as hegemon in the alliance. After all, the core may considerably participate in the Russian budget for this purpose and thus compensate Russia for the additional military expenses. At the same time, the core and Russia must continue to expound an agenda of peace, democracy, and sustainability. This issue may be formally resolved with an agreement ratified between Russia and the core and NATO with or without the United States. As long as the United States is highly militarised, aggressive, and continues to show imperialistic tendencies through the dismantling of its own democracy, the envisaged role of Russia might take some time to get accustomed to. Of course, under conditions more conducive to peace processes and sustainability as regards the positon of the United States vis-à-
represents Greater Europe (the official slogan reads – “47 states, one Europe”). Russian representatives on the Council are very active and constructive. The author had an opportunity to take part in a conference in Moscow in which the Russian Minister of Culture and his team successfully played the role of mediator in a conflict over cultural heritage in Nagorno Karabakh, as a follow-up to the armed conflict (1988-1994) between Armenia and Azerbaijan. On the other hand, there exists the stiff stereotype of Russia as the “Bear” who cannot change its temper all that easily. Its vices might somehow be converted into virtues by a hypothetical agreement between the prospective core of the democratic alliance and Russia as an associated member. The rest is a matter of trust—and luck. Of course, trust cannot be replaced by militarisation and mutual deterrence as an alleged solution for maintaining peace. In fact, this would be the second worst solution after open warfare. Ultimately, luck is hardly predictable, of course, but it can be wished for, and wishing is halfway there. The rest may be found by virtue of the goodwill of the parties involved.
vis new developments in the European continent and its Asian neighbourhood alike, and provided that America returns to the track of a developed democracy in a peaceful international environment (when, for example, terrorism represents a minor threat to democracies), the American government of the time may eventually respond (hopefully) in a positive way, by proposing to the new European-Russian partnership a broader, triple partnership that will emerge at the beginning of a new era of world peace. Such an American approach could contribute to the general advancement of the principle of cooperation vis-à-vis the principle of competition and conflict. In such an international context, perhaps still delicate, the role of the United Kingdom may be more decisive than ever. By analogy with some of the major events of the 20th century, especially in organising an anti-fascist coalition with the United States at the beginning of the 1940s, the British initiative, in contrast to Brexit, for instance, may lead to involving the United States more deeply in the expanding theatre of peace. In that case and from then on, the road to world disarmament and the furthering of the democratic process would be wide open. A world state encompassing democratic member states must not embrace, or, at least, not right away, all states in the world. Its further growth may be gradual, as is usual with the politics of balance, but must be steady, as well. Eventually, it is not likely, nor is it necessary, that all states in the world apply for membership to the world democratic state. If the number of non-member countries is small and their people are mostly content with monarchy or some other form of undemocratic rule, and provided that they do not want to be militarised, the world process of disarmament may unfold smoothly. But if among non-members there exist some countries which are anxious to become military superpowers (like today’s North Korea), the overall process of disarmament would probably be stalled for a longer time. Even then, however, nothing would be same anymore. In the case of a military-political deadlock, still the newly established world state must be a more benevolent party in relation to the remaining rogue state(s)—with particular reference to economic investment on a non-commercial basis in the neighbouring countries. One day, such an approach to global politics will likely open the hearts and minds of its neighbours. However things turn out at the end of the peace and disarmament processes, the new condition will certainly not be ideal or utopian.
Towards a Democratic World Government
Likewise, as is known from early modernity in the West—as well as from the convincing arguments of Alexis de Tocqueville in his comparison of the Old (European) and the New (American) World—the establishment of the New World did not automatically mean the breaking of all links with the Old World. The conclusions in the following chapter, apart from a brief summing up of the main ideas of the book, offer some additional thoughts on the fundamental issue running throughout the book. This concerns rethinking Kant’s view of the causes of the evil of non-doing when favourable conditions for doing good things are at our disposal. For example, halting the arms race is technically an easily accomplished task, provided that the contending parties want to initiate disarmament and make a lasting peace their chief policy objective. A complementary objective in the same vein would be the establishment of a world democratic government. The most regrettable explanation, which cannot be excluded, would be that contending parties do not want peace because they feel more secure with arms. This Orwellian corollary is currently credible since its source is well known. It is the malevolence of non-doing that is rooted in the monadological principle, the one which denies the possibility of any significant change as an alternative to the perpetuation of the hegemonic order. Most likely, a number of people(s) do not share this attitude towards reality, just as they do not accept the alleged inevitability of their own annihilation, both as a part of the religious belief in souls without bodies and as a part of the destructive worldviews of the Great Powers. They count on the apathy of large portions of a denigrated humanity. Such a sorrowful reaction seems to guarantee that victims will accept any terms imposed by a stronger force. There is just one question left: whose force is the strongest?
CHAPTER FOURTEEN CONCLUSIONS
[T]he ideal democratic society would perhaps enjoy an as yet untried economic regime: one in which a lot of small-scale private entrepreneurs would coexist with large-scale public corporations, themselves under some system of workers’ self-management; the whole co-ordinated by a market which would be managed according to planning guidelines by a state which would itself be federal in structure. Will this ever exist? Perhaps not. I offer it only as concentrating in a single portrait … the directions in which we may have to move in order to preserve a viable form of democracy in the twenty-first century. (Taylor, 1986)
Albeit Charles Taylor did not see a place for a gift economy in his vision of a more developed democracy, and also did not discern the faults of liberalism (which he equated with “the economic theory”) and socialism (equated with Leninism, such as it was), his vision pretty much fits the idea of a mixed economy under democracy as elaborated in this book. Similarly, his tempered scepticism toward the viability of his vision of democracy is homologous to the hypothetical tenets about policies under the “ideal” version of liberal socialism mapped out in chapter 12. Given that these recognised uncertainties cannot be removed by the means currently at our disposal, the following conclusions summarise the main ideas in the book with some additional and relatively new remarks. Among the latter, an explanation is offered that ostensibly deviates from the topic of the book. It is about the Soviet withdrawal from its epic struggle with the West and capitalism as a whole. Has this epochal defeat happened accidentally or otherwise? Herein, the latter is argued to be more plausible and is recognised as a manner typical of the culture of femininity. Since time immemorial, this culture has sought the permanent peace that is crucial for the survival of humanity. In a similar vein, the final thoughts in this chapter are concerned with the immaturity of present-day democracy and with overcoming this condition by applying the tenets of liberal socialism.
The Old and the New Behemoth Liberal socialism appeared in the early 20th century as a reformist ideology endorsing a mixed economy under democracy. At first glance, it looked like a refinement of social-democratic policy rather than an original political concept. However, re-establishing the links between liberal and socialist ideas has proven a challenging task replete with difficulties. Moreover, today the reintegration of liberty and equality has become an imperative for a contemporary civilisation faced once again with the dilemma of choosing between Socialism and Barbarism expressed by Rosa Luxemburg under the shocking conditions of the First World War slaughterhouse (Luxemburg, 1916). Between the two World Wars and especially during the Second World War, Fascism, Nazism, and Soviet Bolshevism—as well as the militarisation of the West in response to those perceived threats—were all strong adversaries to liberal socialism which prevented its development as a major player on the scene. At that time, liberal corporatism in the form of the New Deal was being launched in the United States. Its purpose was not, of course, to introduce an American variety of (liberal) socialism, but to rescue capitalism along with its asocial core. Nevertheless, the New Deal’s peaceful solution of the deep crisis of capitalism resuscitated the Red Scare through the suspicion that the reform moved the ship of capitalism too close to Soviet ports. This same resentment doomed the neoliberal aversion to reformism as a Trojan Horse for communists. This was the prime cause for the raising of the new Iron Curtain several decades before, this time on the initiative of neoliberalism. It is the doctrine of an essentialised, i.e., eternal, capitalism. Nazism and Fascism represent similar doctrines in millenarian terms. Furthermore, Nazism and capitalism are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, they both call for war as the final solution for all secular problems. The model of the “final solution” was originally devised by the Nazi behemoth. This order was only military defeated in 1945. The model called for the extermination of Jews and other “lower races”. In a way, it also anticipated the ideological purification of the antagonised camps of liberalism and socialism after the Second World War. Both camps developed their own schemes of hatred and propaganda against any hybridisation of liberalism and socialism as two racialised ideologies. A communist in the USA was as much demonised as a liberal in the USSR. Meanwhile, the Soviets turned off from the trail leading to the secular Apocalypse. As result, the USA with its extended Western alliance remained alone on the trail looking desperately for an archenemy. This
time, they set their sights on the very same radical Islam that America had supplied with weapons during the failed Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Some fifteen years later, the US entered the war against these same groups, at the time ruling in Afghanistan mostly thanks to American assistance. The Islamic extremists eagerly accepted the setup, i.e., their role as the great antagonists in an epic battle against the West. Symmetrically, in the background of Western militarism, a desperate urge pulsated for making war after war. War provides the last chance for the militaryindustrial complex to perpetuate capitalism as its driving force. Moreover, capitalism, with the US Army as its strongest protector, appears both to destroy and to reconstruct a world expected to swing between growth and implosion, which seems like a most terrifying version of the perpetuum mobile.77 Against this background, liberal socialism has been and continues to be an ideology of peace and moderation divested of the hypocrisy that has characterised liberalism and socialism as separate ideologies. Next to the irrevocability of peace, liberal socialism promotes complete disarmament with sympathy for the weak and a sustainable economic development based on a mixture of state, private, and gift economy. Meanwhile, almost everything was headed in the opposite direction, except for the Soviet withdrawal from the race with the West. The reasons for the defensive strategy, followed by the reduction of the Soviet sphere of influence, now practically equivalent to the size of the Russian Federation, were not only economic or tactical in a military sense, e.g., to wait for a major crisis in the West in order to re-enter Eastern Europe like the Red Army did during the Second World War. A more serious reason was certainly their political maturation with a growing awareness that the enemy cannot be beaten military, as was not the case with the ideology of Nazism (which has become increasingly popular both in the West and the East). In any case, self-determined withdrawal is not typical of an “empire of evil”. Today, some other major players, more exactly two, dangle with an angelic face on the edge of the abyss. One is North Korea, a tragicomic replica of the Soviet Union in a parallel universe from the 1990s, and the other is the United States, the biggest player who at this time considers war as perhaps a better solution than peace for maintaining its leading position. 77
This is one of the forms of the monadic idea formulated in many scientific institutes predating the physical laws of thermodynamics. Such a self-movable machine was supposed not only to work without energy input, but also to produce energy as its output.
The Soviet Rejection of the New Behemoth The Soviet resignation was also consistent with the tenets of socialism, according to which cooperativeness takes priority over competitiveness. Likewise, competition is not an end in itself. In a liberal or democratic socialism, the principle is same: cooperation or association must be the end goal in and of itself. Certainly, cooperation enables the creative power of peace, while competition is supportive of such systemic performance, in the sense that it selects an elite, i.e., people most capable of taking leadership roles in the context of a sustainable development. Such development reintegrates processes that are assumed to be contradictory, such as market vs. planning or economic growth vs. ecological safety (in this case, for instance, services and/or non-polluting industries may grow without endangering the ecological safety). To be capable of managing such a complex process, leaders or taskforces must be carefully selected. In contrast, eternalising war means the extension of free-market competition by other means. Only pathological narcissist and destructive authoritarian figures, big and small, truly enjoy living under such conditions. An important reason for rejecting the death game on the edge of nuclear holocaust is rational in a deeper, bioanthropological sense. Let us imagine what would be the outlook for the survival of humanity in a postapocalyptic world. Most likely, regardless whether a natural or man-made catastrophe caused the big destruction, one of the corollaries of living in such a disoriented world would be the outburst of total war in numerous localities. Such a scene might fit what Thomas Hobbes called “the state of nature”. Of course, waging wars is by no means the natural condition, at least permanently. Hobbes was probably cognisant of the state of nature and of the fact that the frequency of wars has been significantly increased with the coming of the first empires with their organised armies. Furthermore, the reason that he offered for designating the long evolution of human society predating the coming of the rule of law as the era of wilderness does not make sense, either. Another assumption that is seemingly more plausible is that the “state of nature”, as a proxy for the endless chain of wars, is something that threatens every basically anomic society. Such an outcome would be even worse in a future in which states could terminate their contracts both social and international. The same lawlessness and erratic movements apply to a contemporary global society that is provisionally governed by the global market. Essentially, today’s global society is disunited due to the irresponsible geostrategies of states. They do not count on permanent peace and, accordingly, oppose the idea of a world state and legislature. Of course, in this case, what is most
endangered is world peace, followed by the poverty that increases with every subsequent war. Currently, Russia has re-emerged as the second biggest power, this time under crony capitalism instead of socialism. The Russian economy has no strength to bear a military giant on its frail shoulders without a new impoverishment of its people. Will Putin, as a very popular hard-liner who looks on neighbouring states as easily as a gunman the trigger, perhaps play the renewed role of superpower better than Brezhnev or Gorbachev, i.e., less aggressively than the former, but also less inclined to give in than the latter? As a typical macho man, he is closer to Brezhnev’s style. However, when the dilemma is whether to keep up military tensions with the West, he may be faced with a stark choice, whether to escalate the conflict or to throw in the towel altogether. Gorbachev decided to do the latter. Nevertheless, it is not groundless to assume that Putin counts on the geostrategic divergence between the US and the EU. For one, the domineering American attitude exacerbates antipathies in a good part of Europe. For another, Putin may offer significant policy measures, for example, by relaxing the regime’s grip on human rights in the country and thus getting closer to the EU. Anyway, Russia can hardly compete with the West in economic expansion through capitalist globalisation. Nonetheless, Putin’s mistrust of NATO does not mean that he will resort to a first-strike policy, like the US attack on Iraq carried out under false pretences. As far as Putin’s seizure of parts of Ukraine is concerned, it characterises his nationalistic imperialism, similar to that of the former Serbian leader Miloševiü, rather than capitalistic imperialism. Capitalism expands across all ethnic or national boundaries, operating mainly through multinational corporations. Thereby, the installation of US military bases comes as a follow-up to corporate expansion. Russian corporations with their oligarchs are relatively inexperienced in such a policy of expansion. This whole digression on the Soviet Union and Russia, respectively, may elucidate what could be the ultimate threat of a “common ruin” as a result of the decoupling of the motto of the French Revolution. The current American-Russian confrontation represents a travesty of the postrevolutionary bifurcation, when Freedom went to the West, and Equality to the East, both heading toward the establishment of non-democratic regimes. Such perverted consequences of denying the commonality of freedom and equality were first perceivable after the Second World War due to the “higher immorality” of the ruling elites. One of the main traits of this immorality is misanthropy. It targets lower social classes at home and abroad, including the billions of poor people in Third World countries.
The Soviet counterpart to capitalist misanthropy was marked by a deep aversion toward free-thinking people, viewed, even in today’s Russia, as Western spies. Furthermore, the neo-Stalinist “organised consensus” (between the Party and the manual workers) prevented democratic changes on the grounds that they were another Western conspiracy. Eventually, freedoms, both in the media and in the economy, were excluded, and everyone who aspired to something new had to be approved by the higherups. Actually, such attempts at seizing freedom were obstructed. The whole system looked like a machine in a state of disrepair. Still, one should not forget that even such a disabled creature was able to push the doomsday button. Yet, it did not push that button, as the Russian power probably would not, either. Such an expectation is based on two assumptions. First, the torrents of suicidal terrorists who with unprecedented speed have spewed out from the masses of despairing people in Islamic and other countries could not have been raised in the Communist bloc, nor in the Russian Army, either.78 Second, cultures on both sides of the former Iron Curtain praise life rather than death. Basically, most parts of Islam also praise life, certainly more than they celebrate deaths like those of the sehid(s) (a Bosnian Islamic expression for those who have fallen for the sake of Jihad). On the other hand, the behemoth follows every war, targeting specific people and feeding the anxious parties with the delusion that killings and deaths open the door to a wonderful afterlife or inscription in memorials. Altruistic suicide, typical of war, signifies the nourishing of a collectivistic narcissism as the counterpart to Western individualistic narcissism and its monadology. For the collectivistic behemoth, the individual person is 78
Another possible strategic reason for Russian unwillingness to expand its territories behind those where Russians live, yet not under the protection of NATO, as in the Baltics, lays in the multi-ethnic structure of the Russian Federation, as well. It is not unlikely, for example, that a Russian invasion into an Islamic country or Turkey, for example, would incite unrests among Islamic peoples within the Russian Federation. Also, any comparison intended to find similarities between Russian expansionism and Hitler’s expansionism is irrelevant due to the fact that Nazi Germany used to be and ended as the racially monoethnic country that Russia never has been. On the other hand, the Stalinist Soviet Union only played the role of imperialistic power by invading Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968 on the pretext of defending socialism from Western capitalistic imperialism. Nowadays, that same capitalism has entered effortlessly into the former socialist countries by virtue of its economic expansion, while Russia under Putin has entered into territories inhabited by ethnic Russian minorities, but without declaring any sound economic reasons for these annexations.
insignificant, and he/she treats himself/herself as a simple object of the group’s cause. In this case, the group is a corporate unit in which one life less converts into one life more (revived either in the heavenly realm or in the collective memory). The sum of all such calculations gives zero, i.e., nothing has changed. This is because war as such does not create peace, but rather the symmetry between life and death. In such an equation, after a certain period of time spent living in peace and increasing the number of lives, the principle of symmetry, central to all despotisms, tends to annihilate the surpluses of life and peace, respectively. And finally, the extreme conditions, whether individualistic or collectivistic, are terrifying and eventually lethal, climate extremes alike. Moderations and continuities, like climatic zones in the Anthropocene, enable life. Similarly, the existence of life outside our planet is most likely also impossible in extreme conditions and/or without the element most essential for the emergence of life, namely, water. In human societies, the homologous element to water is peace. To wrap up this topic, the Soviet-Russian shift to the pattern of individualism and to the condition of peace may bring about a moderate and more balanced climate in social and international relations. Nevertheless, the behemoth’s drive back into the arms race may again impose polarities instead of peaceful living conditions in their interstices.
The Behemoth’s Experts and Intellectuals The worst intellectual consequence of the decoupling of freedom and equality manifested itself in the idea of (the) self-producing system(s), as a new monadological concept generated within general systems theory. The idea of self-production is anti-holistic and closed in itself. A similar blind alley was created by the separation and self-closure of the ideologies of liberalism and socialism.79 Now, their doctrines propagate individual 79
Notably, general systems theory as a metatheory for cybernetics has been a topic of common interest to scientists in the United States and the Soviet Union: “Since 1981 scientists … have been meeting to discuss the foundations of cybernetics and general systems theory in their two countries … Two ideas may help to shed light on theoretical approaches in the two countries and on differences between the two societies. The two ideas are ‘cognitive efficiency’ and ‘collective intelligence’” (Umpleby, 1987: 177). In other words, both sides wanted to build self-producing systems, a kind of American and Soviet perpetuum mobile. Like Orwell’s narrative, ideas of freedom and equality with a sense of solidarity and empathy have no significance in or for these embodiments of liberalism and socialism, respectively. In the cold ambience of a thoroughly robotised military-police state,
and/or collective self-reliance, whereby the environment—which, in sociological terms, is made up of peripheral societies—are rendered unimportant in the evolution of developed societies, in particular, in taking their next steps closer to total automation or robotisation. This tendency toward self-[re]production proliferates in various forms. These include some of the ideological manifestos of neoliberalism and neosocialism alike. One example can be taken from the CATO Institute platform propounding the market society. The other is Meszaros and Chavez’s concept of socioeconomic metabolism. Both concepts neglect the role of the state in producing and/or (re)distributing goods. Hence, the main function of society is facilitating the circulation of goods and, at the same time, cutting off the social functions of the state, while preserving the police and military apparatus. One psychologically corresponding tendency to the liberal atomisation of society is the transformation of egotistic individuality into a culture of pathological narcissism. This tendency engulfed young people in the West in the 1960s, especially Western intellectuals close to the idea of socialism (cf. Sheehan, 2017). Nowadays, leftist intellectuals lament the lack of optimism in terms of Marx’s Eleventh Thesis, i.e., changing instead of simply interpreting the world. A number of neo-Marxists also acknowledge that they cannot envisage a proper alternative to contemporary capitalism. Rather, they see the “Global Left” as a group that increases its demands for democracy, equality, health insurance, better education, and other benefits in the remits of the existing states. That said, the left does not want to manage the state, whether national or global, since this course of action would replicate the Leninist fallacy (Wallerstein, 2015). How far this imaginative desert might expand can be illustrated by the words of Alain Badiou, today’s leading philosopher of communism: We know today that all emancipatory politics must put an end to the model of the party, or of multiple parties, in order to affirm a politics “without party”, and yet at the same time without lapsing into the figure of anarchism, which has never been anything else than the vain critique, or the double, or the shadow, of the communist parties, just as the black flag is only the double or the shadow of the red flag. (Badiou, 2010: 155)
The intellectual depression on the non-anarchist and non-Maoist left, the one that still maintains that individual freedom(s) represent(s) more “cognitive efficiency” and “collective intelligence”, respectively, function perfectly. In the technocratic paradises on both sides, empathy is eradicated from humanity.
than a clever bourgeois phrase, is in great part caused by the failures of the two most remarkable attempts at establishing democratic socialism, i.e., that in the former Yugoslavia from the 1950s to 1990 and that in Venezuela today. Both failures resulted mostly because of a general misunderstanding on the left as regards the needs of industrial workers. Workers cannot be free or capable of taking part in decision-making bodies that allegedly, following the State and Party ideology, work(ed) in the interest of the workers themselves. What is at stake here is a different understanding of workers’ interests. These were primarily conditioned by the alienated work (long, monotonous, and often tedious) and, accordingly, were extrinsic (searching primarily for higher wages and a much more comfortable way of life). The other important cause of the failures concerns the lack of a culturally feminine and political sustainable union of freedom with equality. Nevertheless, in the current stage of development of patriarchal society, the emptiness of those values is the inevitable consequence of the self-reproduction of society, which it is impossible to carry out without more and more use of organised violence for the sake of different wars. These wars are “just” by their own self-definition, but are self-sustaining through their patriarchal determinism. Nevertheless, this disclosure does not predicate a self-capitulating recognition of the objective determinism of development. The latter represents an excuse for obstructing political action, i.e., the communist renunciation of self-transcendence for the sake of ethical integrity and the corresponding selection of cadres. Very often professionally incompetent, insensitive, superficial, and lazy conformists assumed higher positions in the communist-socialist politics and economy. Still, among communists there existed a class of different and brave persons, although not numerous, popularly called “genuine communists”, unconstrained by individual selfishness or group pressures. In most cases, however, they voluntarily withdrew from active politics or were purged out of the Party during one of its periodical campaigns aimed at changing course politically. Nevertheless, the cadre selection—and this is not endemic to communist parties, either—favoured ruthless climbers. However, as things turned out by the end of the 1980s, one part of the communist mainstream was against free elections, while the other part waited for the opportunity for their first free elections in order to join other political parties along the spectrum between centre and right. This way, most countries in Eastern Europe became a new periphery of the West. The Russian political reaction to this expansion of the West has been very conservative. It has been mainly military, with some advisors calling for a new alliance with countries from Bulgaria to Greece on the
basis of their shared Orthodox Christianity. Thus, the former red bourgeoisie, and the “white bourgeoisie” alike, have expressed their affinity for old imperial ties and feudal times, accordingly.
The Irresistible Charm of the Nobility To paraphrase Louis Buñuel’s movie The Discreet Charm of Bourgeoisie, the image of the old nobility leaves an irresistibly charming impression on formerly liberal and communist politicians and businesspeople alike. As a matter of fact, a penchant for conservatism accompanied both bourgeoisies from the beginning of their ascendancy to power. That said, a desire for authoritarian rule has not always been accompanied by a desire for the acquisition of material wealth. Unlike Tito, for instance, neither Stalin nor Mao enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle like the old monarchs did. The great communist leaders, though, had a historical patina. They looked like arduous religious ascetics who allegedly hardly slept overnight, like fictional heroes or supermen. However, their economic asceticism resided paradoxically in stark contrast to their political ravenousness. Their urge to establish a totalitarian power led them first to seize the military and police apparatus. In this regard, they outstripped the old emperors, who had not disposed with the deep, infrastructural power of the modern state, including, of course, the devices for snooping. Such power-seeking has been typical of some leaders under liberal democracy, as well. Nevertheless, they have not publicly advocated the rise of a totalitarian power. Some of them were simply power-hungry, like Richard Nixon. However, to paraphrase Lord Acton’s celebrated aphorism, every power corrupts, and so democratic power likewise corrupts. Yet, because liberal democracy is constitutional, and power is, therefore, recoverable, in principle, it is theoretically impossible to perpetuate a personal autocracy. Nevertheless, in liberal democracy the thirst for absolute power is translated into economic terms. The concentration of this power obviously cannot be reduced, least of all eradicated, by any legal mechanism under liberal democratic rule. For instance, there are hundreds of billionaires in the United States, whose wealth is commensurate with that of the old monarchs. Still, it never happened, until recently, that a CEO billionaire became the President of the US. In this case, the power, at least temporarily, assumed an archetypal character like that of (the) god(s)— great material wealth plus command over the greatest armed forces in the world, along with superior scientific-technological knowledge. All this is still not sufficient to fully explain the conviviality of postdemocracies and non-democratic regimes. Something else buried in the
depths of society and the psyche alike, has led to the political regression. To exemplify such a populist response from below, some memories from different periods of the former socialism may serve a purpose. People at large had not reacted negatively to the coming of the new, officially socialist and democratic, regime. Many shared the proverbial optimism of the regime’s propaganda speaking about a “bright future”. Such an expectation was rational in a speculative sense, for in the beginning there was no alternative to the new power. When, however, the promises for the future went overlooked, many people changed their habits, too. They went on to imitate the main actors in politics. Beyond the feigned adoration, the former took their power and social hierarchies for granted—and waited for their chance. Most often, political favouritism was decisive in the employment and social ascendancy of an individual. It was only a short way to go from such recourse to joining new, post-communist, processions of national prophets and avengers. The new power alliance restored the adoration of authoritarian figures. Although this regression can be traced primarily in some former socialist countries, the old-new stars twinkle in the Western sky, too. In this performance, social-democracy plays a prominent role. It has abandoned its historical course of welfare reformism and embraced neoliberal rhetoric and policies, thus turning their backs on workers and other employees. Actually, the lower class and a good part of the middle class are left on their own.
The Self-Incurred Immaturity The restoration of the elements of pre-democratic societies indicates that this regression may be called, following Kant, the self-incurred immaturity of democracy. It ultimately leads a renewed belief in the inevitability of the subjugation of ordinary people to higher and immoral forces, like the gods of the old religions. This fatalism is embraced by people who never had autonomy or free speech on the list of their preferences, but instead the equal distribution of wealth, yet again they are heedless to the regime’s ignorance of differing or even opposing political voices, save strategies for development. Instead, the policy of austerity is supposed to be permanent.80 80
The European Commission warned the Greek government while it was in the midst of its very deep financial crisis that any national government within the EU may change its political parties or its figures in power, but it should not change its economic policy based on austerity measures.
Thus, the new behemoth’s evil of non-doing is concentrated against progressive changes and in favour of regression. Such politics invoke the fait accompli as the imperative. This means that nothing else can be done, except worsening the present condition. This blackmail is probably the ultimate line of defence for the evil as a big bad bully. It cannot change nor does it want to, but rather it only changes masks. It even calls for incessant change, like neoliberal managers do, while, in fact, no essential property of the system has changed. To change everything was a stated goal of the social revolutions, but it has turned out that nothing essential has changed, in particular, the socioeconomic gap and the tremendous concentration of power. This fact is the ultimate evidence of the triumph of evil. Essentially, this evil is half-human and has nothing religious or mystical in itself. It exists as one of the two potentials in humans (not in animals, though). One potential is peaceful and constructive, the other is warlike and destructive. The latter assumes many masks and names alike, including those of national, socialist, liberal, religious, etc. But there is no proper name for it, except evil. In the imageries of antiquity and the Middle Ages, it took the appearance of snakes and monsters, offensively suggesting its animal ancestry, which it does not have. The animalism of evil only serves its mimicry and its attempt at proclaiming itself something natural and, as such, unavoidable. In the sense of the topics of this book, this evil is the will to proclaim freedom and/or equality as favourable values for contemporary society, provided that they be taken as antagonistic and exclusive of each other. In a similar vein, this evil is agile in propounding nationalist ideals as the common good that deserves individual sacrifice in its own interests. The situation is similar with the proclamation of the global market as the widest space of free movement for capital and labour. Capital, save for labour, does not move freely, and never has in global proportions. Yet, “national” and “global” are only temporary goods, until a minority benefits at the expense of the majority. Ultimately, the evil likes thrones, not people. Open-minded citizens should not buy into the evil’s tricks or be duped by its histrionic abilities. The evil is relatively easy to recognise by its promptness at devastating what others—slaves, peasants, workers, citizens—have spent centuries building, from private homes to human rights. At the same time, the evil attacks and destroys nature as a whole.
A View to the Future Drawing mostly on the tenets espoused in chapter 12, the following conditions would be necessary to establish policies for a viable future: 1. A design created in the cultural sphere with a focus on sustainable development in cultural and other policies. 2. Economic performance based on sustainable development. It must not limit growth in the production of goods and services that enhance personal growth and the needs of other people, whether friends, associates, co-workers, migrants, or other humans in other places. 3. Myriads of small social life-worlds have existed since long ago, which have emanated peace and new prospects for human life and its surroundings. These micro-experiences must be incorporated into new policies for education, culture, health, the environment, and the economy. 4. Protective legislation and other measures aimed at stimulating human creativity will secure good prospects for the economy and society as a whole to overcome the hardships brought on by crises. 5. Finally, political decision-making affecting the global economy and society should be concentrated in a democratic world state. Its political and expert bodies and the associated intellectual forums are aimed at gathering together more and more people wishing to participate in political life. The democratic world state may be built up from continental states or associations, from a European alliance of democratic countries to other continents. The world state can substantially contribute to the construction of cosmopolitanoriented societies. This worldwide process of freedom and equality would probably take less time than waiting for the emergence of a general consensus in a UN plenary session (indeed, the odds of establishing such a broad and simultaneous democratic consensus remind one of the odds of life here on Earth, which took around 2 billion years to happen). On the other hand, the world state must not necessarily be allencompassing like the planetary atmosphere. Other states and societies must not unconditionally join the state, but will probably be fewer in number than the member countries. These may be the necessary conditions for a peaceful and democratic world to emerge. What are the sufficient conditions? It would be sufficient
if events and short-to-middle-run processes converge on the necessary conditions. Whether or when these would get close to the former depends on whether the will of most people increases in a peaceful and democratic environment. Ultimately, this is a matter of human choice. The choice must be autonomous as a result of free will and deliberation, as well as of careful consideration of the suggestions of others. The two sides of the dialogue do not necessarily have to stand in contradiction. Even under conditions of complete freedom, individuals are not absolutely free. Freedom is not a monad, but the result of cooperation between individuals and groups who need each other in order to be freer than beforehand. Liberty does not result from the separation of the individual and collective levels of deliberation and action. Although this has been tried many times, such a perspective is delusional. Sooner or later, it results in conflicts and wars among groups and societies. This tendency ceases to exist in a free society based on cooperation between individuals qua dividuals (cf. Raunig, 2015), but not as cogs in the huge machinery described in Yevgeny Zamyatin’s novel We. In a true democracy, collectives are spontaneous as well as contractual associations entered into by fundamentally free people.
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The Quest for a Liberal-Socialist Democracy and Development
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a contrario; 56 Abrahamic faiths; 139 Aletheia; 112 America / United States Anti-war movement; 30 CEO billionaire; 173 Green Cards; 98 Red Scare; 10; 13; 165; 181 US administration; 13; 141; 142 US Army; 166 Anarchism bridging or intergroup ties; 62 logic of anarchy; 155 minimal government; 61; 110 Anthropocene; 170 Anthropology anthropological pessimism; 148 misanthropy; 148; 168; 169 Anti-modernism; 63 Anti-Semitism; 3; 4; 151 Apocalyptic; 13; 25; 111; 139; 146; 148; 165; 167 Arbeitslosen Geld; 98 Arts and Crafts Movement; 103 Aufhebung; 105 Authoritarianism; 2; 5; 8; 9; 11; 12; 13; 24; 31; 36; 42; 46; 47; 57; 62; 66; 86; 89; 145; 167; 173; 174 New authoritarianism; 7; 28; 30; 31; 32; 102 Autopoiesis; 6; 16; 17; 18; 80; 106 Behemoth Archenemy; 54; 165 evil of non-doing; 110; 163; 174 fait accompli; 54; 112; 174 triumph of evil; 175 Big Science; 111; 126; 127; 139; 148
black hole; 8; 17; 34; 91; 125 Bolshevism; 3; 4; 10; 12; 28; 143; 147; 160; 165; 177; 178 Brawl in the family; 87; 89 Capitalism corporate; 54; 102 crony; 7; 13; 24; 66; 83; 168 liberal; 7; 20; 51; 75; 80; 82; 83; 87; 97; 111; 122; 144 monopolistic; 5; 140 multipolar; 7; 155 CATO Institute; 60; 171 Christian fundamentalism; 57; 59 Intelligent Design; 20; 59; 153 Christianism; 3 Class analysis; 48; 56 Cleavages; 40; 47; 55; 67; 115 Clientelism; 86 Cognitive efficiency; 170 Cold War; 7; 9; 48; 54; 55; 152; 182 Collective intelligence; 112; 170 Collectivism; 18; 19; 28; 31; 32; 39; 49; 52; 150; 152; 169; 170 Colonialism; 3; 24; 56; 80; 83; 84; 102; 116; 138; 142; 150 Common goods; 87; 142; 175 Common ruin; 88; 120; 168 Communism; 1; 3; 5; 6; 7; 10; 11; 12; 13; 19; 20; 21; 22; 28; 30; 34; 36; 37; 39; 42; 48; 49; 50; 61; 62; 65; 69; 70; 71; 72; 75; 78; 81; 83; 84; 102; 121; 123; 137; 150; 152; 155; 165; 169; 171; 172; 173; 174; 177; 180; 183 Concern for the weak; 99 Consensus; 10; 11; 12; 47; 56; 63; 67; 71; 72; 74; 113; 133; 134; 157; 158; 169; 176
The Quest for a Liberal-Socialist Democracy and Development
Conservatism; 65; 85; 114; 143; 173 Consumerism; 10; 69; 70; 73; 79; 123; 132 Convergence; 6; 40; 47; 48; 50; 52; 63; 121; 128 Corporatism; 2; 12; 33; 165 Cosmopolitanism; 14; 90; 155; 157; 176 Crisis management; 9; 22; 23; 34; 44; 68; 145; 156; 157; 165; 166; 174; 183 Cuban Missile Crisis; 23; 25; 27; 54 Culture cultural codes; 134 cultural councils; 107 cultural elite; 85; 102 cultural femininity; 99; 100; 158; 159; 161 cultural pluralism; 104 cultural policy; 51; 103; 104; 105; 106; 107; 108; 139 cultural refinement; 103 culture wars; 104; 105 culture-as-a-means; 107 democratisation of; 103; 132 funding; 104; 107; 108; 136 hidden knowledge; 112; 113 high culture; 102; 103; 120; 132 holographic; 105; 106 landscapes; 106 marketisation; 101; 103 milieu; 105; 106; 116 new public culture; 136 parochial cultures; 14; 47 propaganda; 4; 5; 32; 33; 45; 104; 124; 146; 165; 174; 187 symbolic sphere; 104 the right to culture; 103 Cybernetics; 6; 45; 170 Deep space; 149 Democracy anti-democracies; 32; 47; 79; 89; 96; 129; 143 constitutional; 51; 173 deliberate; 158
democratic world order; 146 direct; 61; 64; 67; 92; 97; 133; 144 economic; 37; 40; 66; 67; 76; 97; 133; 144 enlightened; 102 failed; 147 ideal speech situation; 158 ideologies; 1; 2; 9; 15; 16; 24; 30; 33; 45; 47; 57; 58; 63; 64 liberal; 10; 20; 24; 30; 40; 50; 133; 137; 156; 173 multicultural; 104 plebiscitarian; 64 populism; 10; 11; 19; 28; 33; 37; 42; 66; 87; 145; 156; 173; 179 post-democracies; 7; 10; 14; 24; 58; 86; 87; 89; 129; 173 pre-democratic regimes; 84; 89; 106; 174 representative; 31; 32; 93; 109; 133 social; 12; 44; 54; 63; 150 spoils system; 109 undemocratic countries; 10; 22; 33; 64; 88; 111; 156; 162 world democratic state; 129; 135; 138; 155; 156; 159; 162; 163 Destruction; 6; 8; 22; 25; 34; 44; 51; 52; 59; 88; 92; 111; 120; 125; 127; 128; 129; 139; 144; 146; 152; 156; 163; 167; 175 Détente; 50 Development; 19; 24; 25; 26; 28; 34; 38; 46; 49; 50; 51; 52; 53; 54; 55; 56; 57; 59; 60; 61; 62; 73; 75; 80; 88; 89; 92; 93; 94; 95; 96; 97; 98; 99; 100; 101; 103; 104; 105; 106; 107; 108; 109; 110; 114; 116; 118; 121; 122; 125; 126; 127; 129; 130; 132; 135; 138; 140; 141; 142; 144; 146; 147; 149; 152; 155; 160; 161; 165; 166; 167; 172;
Index 174; 175; 177; 178; 179; 180; 182; 184; 185 Dialectical; 25; 59; 62; 85; 92; 105; 149; 158 Divergence; 44; 47; 52; 63; 86; 168 Double bind; 82 Earth; 6; 34; 144; 147; 153; 155; 176 Eastern Europe; 6; 7; 21; 22; 39; 48; 50; 69; 70; 72; 83; 84; 104; 137; 143; 151; 160; 166; 172; 182 Economy (sub)sectors; 12; 35; 37; 46; 58; 62; 73; 92; 95; 101; 106; 107; 108; 109; 110; 114; 117; 118; 119; 121; 124; 127; 128; 129; 130; 135; 146 agriculture; 2; 10; 25; 37; 71; 95; 123; 125; 139; 140 balanced; 37; 46; 76; 84; 89; 98; 100; 122; 124; 135; 144; 170 basic human needs; 130 capital fixe; 127; 153 commercialism; 24; 55; 101; 108; 125; 131; 140; 162 demand side; 123; 125; 127; 146 economic inefficiency; 47; 121 entrepreneurship; 49; 54; 69; 73; 79; 84; 95; 127; 128; 130; 132; 144; 164 fiduciary money; 128; 140 finances; 21; 37; 128; 129; 140 financial behemoth; 129 financial surrealism; 129 free market; 7; 27; 28; 34; 37; 40; 41; 42; 50; 62; 68; 89; 94; 121; 123; 141 greening; 116; 125; 140 infrastructure; 14; 20; 25; 70; 107; 109; 124; 125; 139; 140; 173 liberal; 1; 12; 27; 28; 84; 95; 121; 123 liberal-socialist; 1; 39; 98; 123; 124; 144 libidinal; 131
193 manufacturing; 95; 109; 116; 123; 125; 126; 139; 140; 141 material; 56; 123 mixed; 1; 25; 28; 37; 39; 58; 121; 122; 143; 164; 165 neoliberal; 7; 10; 11; 14; 21; 27; 36; 39; 40; 41; 42; 43; 44; 45; 47; 49; 50; 52; 54; 55; 56; 60; 61; 62; 63; 65; 66; 74; 76; 81; 83; 97; 98; 99; 110; 121; 124; 139; 144; 145; 151; 152; 165; 171; 174; 175; 181; 183 New Economic Policy; 121 post-monetary; 116 private; 46; 62 redistribution; 21; 28; 46; 75; 121; 122 services; 21; 62; 73; 94; 95; 110; 118; 123; 127; 128; 131; 135; 139; 140; 145; 167; 175 shortages; 73; 122; 125; 142 social; 74; 131 social embeddedness; 126 socialist; 1; 12; 49; 70; 74; 121; 122 socioeconomic metabolism; 171 state; 95; 131; 140 statist; 72; 123 voluntary; 52; 62; 117; 118; 126; 128; 130; 131; 143 Education children’s parliaments; 114 civic; 113 confessional teachings; 114 curricular areas; 113 extracurricular activities; 114 genius loci; 114 genius mundi; 114 joint projects; 114 participation; 113; 114; 132 school councils; 114 Elective affinity; 30; 78; 79; 82 Elites; 9; 11; 21; 59; 63; 64; 66; 81; 82; 84; 89; 99; 103; 115; 118; 139; 156; 157; 168
The Quest for a Liberal-Socialist Democracy and Development
Emancipation; 71; 86; 100; 146; 154; 171 Empathy; 115; 142; 148; 170 Empires empire of freedom; 120 foundation myths; 51 multinational; 144 old; 6; 51; 57; 150; 167 Enlightenment; 44; 102; 113; 127; 149; 182 Equality egalitarianism; 19; 24; 42; 64; 81; 83; 102; 110; 111; 122; 124; 150 uravnilovka; 81 Ethical universalism; 89; 96 ethical-political discourse; 138; 147 moral right; 138; 154 Ethnic cleansing; 84 Eurocentrism; 102 Europe Council of Europe; 160; 183 multiregional associations; 160 Union (EU); 89; 108; 125; 141; 143; 156; 159; 160; 161; 168; 174 European Commission; 101; 174; 179 Exceptionalism; 6; 15 Exchange relations; 53 Fascism; 2; 6; 24; 28; 33; 41; 42; 43; 57; 69; 147; 162; 165 Feminine culture; 117; 118 Feudalism; 2; 18; 82; 111; 122; 143; 172 First globalisation; 80 First World War; 3; 4; 6; 24; 30; 74; 90; 165 Free associations of producers; 12 Freedom for all; 86; 89 free will; 89; 136; 176 good will; 136 French Revolution; 8; 23; 65; 152; 168; 184; 186
Fundamentalism; 55; 89 Fusion energy; 117; 126; 127; 145 Germany; 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 11; 12; 14; 17; 23; 34; 35; 40; 41; 64; 65; 78; 98; 105; 143; 145; 159; 169; 185 Gift economy; 62; 94; 116; 117; 123; 125; 126; 129; 130; 131; 132; 140; 164; 166; 178 Global disaster management; 88; 185 Global Left; 171 Governance G8; 157 Transgovernmental networks; 157 Higher immorality; 9; 11; 13; 14; 15; 27; 31; 54; 82; 84; 120; 126; 138; 139; 147; 156; 168 Holism; 46; 49; 101; 111; 112; 113; 170 Homo; 154 Human rights; 22; 23; 36; 44; 58; 59; 64; 79; 86; 87; 115; 142; 160; 168; 175 Ideology empty rhetoric; 9; 10 exclusionary; 10 official; 10; 11; 15; 42; 115; 147; 154; 173 pars pro toto; 49 self-assertive; 10 IMF (International Monetary Fund); 50; 70; 157 Imperialism Great Powers; 51; 163 imperial cosmologies; 18; 55; 148 imperialistic powers; 51 imperialistic self-consciousness; 51 modern imperialism; 51 Indigenisation; 83 Individualism; 17; 18; 19; 28; 52; 58; 62; 157; 169; 170
Index Inequalities; 11; 24; 28; 62; 93; 96; 110; 111; 122; 180 Interethnic conflict; 11 Iron Curtain; 14; 27; 36; 54; 165; 169 Irrationalism; 5 economic irrationality; 24; 42; 44; 45; 47; 50; 51; 52; 55; 59; 65 unthinking; 21; 51; 52; 62; 140; 182 Islam Holy War against Christians; 48 Islamic militants; 31; 48; 65 Jacobins; 10 Jews; 2; 3; 5; 80; 139; 165 Jihad; 55; 169; 177 Left Hand of Darkness; 98 Lethean stream; 137 Liberalism classical; 12; 22; 39; 42 free navigation; 80; 89 sectarian; 2; 40; 49 social; 39; 40; 42; 159 Social; 1 Liberty; 23; 25; 48; 58; 65; 80; 81; 98; 114; 127; 153; 165; 176 Long-lasting meetings; 65 Market commodification; 20; 36; 74; 117; 131; 140 competitive; 1; 12; 27; 29; 34; 44; 46; 50; 59; 72; 73; 84; 95; 96; 112; 117; 122; 130; 157; 158; 162; 167; 168 failures; 49; 62; 135 inclusive markets; 127 regulated; 7; 36; 60; 61; 101; 128; 129; 130; 135 regulation; 132 self-propelling; 28; 52; 54; 62 socially embedded; 59 unfettered; 36; 59; 63; 79; 141; 149 Marxism
195 Marxism-Leninism; 2; 9; 10; 28; 42; 48; 49; 55; 56; 84; 137; 144 Neo-Marxism; 56; 84; 158; 171 Metatheory; 45; 170; 184 Militarism; 2; 8; 46; 59; 139; 143; 145; 158; 159; 161; 162; 165; 166 military-industrial complex; 27; 29; 126; 135; 139; 166 Modernity; 18; 30; 33; 68; 79; 123; 152; 155; 157; 158; 162 macrostructure; 157 Monadism; 8; 16; 17; 18; 34; 41; 45; 91; 99; 105; 106; 111; 127; 147; 148; 149; 153; 163; 166; 169; 170; 176 perpetuum mobile; 34; 166; 170 self-imploding structure; 91 Monarchy; 2; 65; 78; 79; 86; 89; 147; 162; 173 Moscow Patriarchy; 143 Narcissism; 5; 6; 29; 30; 31; 32; 33; 35; 37; 38; 90; 115; 137; 139; 145; 148; 155; 167; 169; 171 Nationalism bourgeois; 18; 20; 21; 22; 29; 33; 65; 78; 84; 88; 96; 171; 172; 173; 187 bureaucratic; 5; 12; 37; 41; 54; 83; 84; 122 centrifugal; 68 identity politics; 144 nationalist communitarian identity; 156 one nation – one state; 144 popular; 84 promised lands; 65 self-narrative; 68 NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization); 36; 89; 143; 159; 160; 161; 168; 169 Nazism; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 11; 20; 28; 33; 35; 57; 145; 165; 166; 169 final solution; 2; 34; 165
The Quest for a Liberal-Socialist Democracy and Development
Neoliberalism; 7; 10; 11; 14; 21; 27; 36; 39; 40; 41; 42; 43; 44; 45; 47; 49; 52; 54; 55; 56; 60; 61; 62; 63; 65; 66; 74; 76; 81; 83; 97; 98; 99; 110; 121; 124; 139; 144; 145; 151; 152; 165; 171; 174; 175; 181; 183 New Deal American; 2; 6; 42; 116; 165 Soviet; 2; 3; 6; 116 New Left; 145 Obliti privatorum publica curate; 182 Occam’s razor; 134 Occidentalism; 60 October Revolution; 10; 177 Oligarchy; 13; 81; 85; 86; 87; 97; 121; 133; 147; 151; 168 Orientalism; 60 Ottoman Empire millets; 36 Paradigm; 22; 45; 48; 55; 106; 113; 182 Peace demilitarisation; 158; 159; 161 eternal; 14 Global Peace Index; 159; 180 liberal or democratic; 12; 92; 184 peace culture; 158; 159; 161 peaceful coexistence; 4; 54 permanent; 59; 164; 167 primordial community; 152; 153 Philanthropic idea; 130; 153 Planning central; 49; 59; 62 conformant; 59; 178 Plutocracy; 5 Policies austerity; 44; 50; 64; 108; 122; 174 centralised; 3; 41; 106 corporate; 111 decentralised; 107 decision-making; 46; 59; 65; 66; 73; 85; 88; 101; 104; 107;
108; 119; 132; 133; 134; 144; 172; 176 deregulation; 7; 128; 132 designing; 93; 98; 108; 119; 136; 138 economic; 12; 14; 21; 33; 40; 51; 52; 84; 117; 121; 174 engineer state; 107 environmental; 59; 94; 104; 111; 113; 116; 117; 128; 140; 141 facilitating state; 108 foreign affairs; 135 health; 104; 135; 137 hologram; 51; 105; 111 internal affairs; 135 knowledge society; 110 laissez-faire; 42; 106 legislation; 59; 73; 101; 129; 133; 141; 142; 143; 176 performing; 103; 119 perpetuating wars; 139; 146 polycentric management; 56; 61; 67; 107 privatisation; 22; 47; 50; 72; 101; 108 protecting; 1; 14; 18; 35; 36; 43; 54; 73; 82; 83; 87; 93; 102; 103; 104; 107; 108; 110; 111; 113; 117; 119; 129; 130; 141; 142; 143; 145; 151; 156; 158; 160; 161; 166; 169; 176 public; 108; 177 regulatory mechanisms; 130 scientific; 112 stimulating; 103; 112; 115; 119; 124; 129; 132; 142; 176 SWOT analysis; 104; 120; 135 welfare; 2; 5; 10; 51 world state; 122; 155; 156; 157; 158; 162; 167; 176; 186 Politburo; 5 Polyarchy; 67 Poverty; 10; 62; 75; 80; 102; 122; 125; 146; 168 Power branches of; 6
Index economic; 5 military; 47 political; 17; 50; 70 technocratic; 6; 115; 133 Pre-Raphaelites; 103 Prometheus; 152 Protestantism (Protestant Christianity); 79; 80; 81; 82; 83; 128 Public Sphere; 58; 105; 134; 144; 183 Racism scientific; 15 separate but equal; 154 speciesism; 154; 155 Rationalism; 51 Realism; 38; 91 Red Army; 5; 6; 166 Religion cosmic; 91 organised; 80; 82; 84 religious extremism; 56; 58; 80; 85; 166 Republicanism; 103; 183 Resentment; 2; 4; 5; 65; 118; 165 Roman Catholicism; 82; 83 Russia; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 11; 13; 24; 33; 34; 56; 65; 72; 79; 82; 89; 98; 121; 139; 143; 144; 145; 151; 155; 156; 159; 160; 161; 162; 166; 168; 169; 170; 172; 177; 181 Second World War; 1; 3; 6; 8; 12; 21; 29; 45; 57; 69; 89; 119; 121; 148; 165; 166; 168 sehid; 169 Self-closing; 1; 54; 88 Self-idealising; 53 Self-incurred immaturity; 89; 145; 174 Self-sufficiency; 16; 22 Shamanism; 112; 150; 151 Social change liquid; 48 solid; 48 Social Darwinism; 14; 15; 45; 110
197 Social life-world; 51; 53; 176 Social sciences pluralism; 11; 32; 39; 42; 47; 48; 49; 64; 104; 105; 112; 134 soft power; 47; 99; 160 Social theory; 178; 184; 185 Socialism actually existing; 13; 43; 54; 60; 62; 63; 82; 111 Bolivarian; 73; 74 Eleventh Thesis; 171 liberal or democratic; 1; 2; 6; 12; 13; 28; 37; 39; 42; 46; 54; 56; 66; 71; 76; 83; 91; 92; 99; 100; 104; 128; 132; 136; 145; 150; 155; 164; 165; 166; 167; 171 neosocialism; 60; 61; 62; 171 reformist; 1; 37; 39; 40; 46; 84; 165; 174 revisionist; 66 sectarian; 2; 19 self-managing; 12; 62; 64; 66; 67; 68; 69; 72; 73; 75; 81; 130 socialism-communism; 6; 7; 48; 62; 69; 121; 123; 155 State and Party; 68; 69; 97; 172 Society equitable; 64; 94; 98; 142 of objects; 74; 123 of persons; 123 Sociology mono-paradigmatic; 48 multi-paradigmatic; 48; 55 Solidarity; 8; 19; 23; 41; 45; 48; 57; 58; 62; 64; 68; 72; 73; 76; 82; 84; 88; 92; 94; 98; 114; 117; 127; 142; 170; 185 Soviet Union; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 10; 11; 13; 18; 21; 22; 27; 28; 29; 31; 33; 34; 36; 46; 49; 54; 55; 56; 61; 63; 64; 66; 69; 72; 75; 81; 89; 103; 119; 121; 122; 137; 143; 144; 148; 151; 160; 164;
The Quest for a Liberal-Socialist Democracy and Development
165; 166; 167; 168; 169; 170; 184; 186 Soviet withdrawal; 36; 164; 166 soviets; 64 Stakhanovism; 81 Stalinism; 2; 3; 28; 37; 54; 151; 169; 186 organic consensus; 11 State interventionist; 1; 145 police; 170 State of emergency; 32; 56; 143 State of nature; 167 Statism; 41; 42; 53; 61; 66; 69; 72; 123; 126; 141 Sustainability slowing down / degrowth; 109 sustainable development; 25; 49; 54; 92; 93; 94; 101; 103; 104; 105; 106; 118; 127; 129; 130; 132; 138; 142; 146; 167; 175; 179; 182 Sustainbility sustainable development; 175 Systems anti-systemic movements; 84; 139 coproduction; 17; 132 theory; 6; 16; 17; 18; 45; 46; 170; 186 Technology ICT; 110; 120 Luddites’ movement; 119 new media; 120 work-intensive industries; 119; 140 Terror political psychiatry; 151 third hell; 152 witch hunts; 151 Terrorism; 31; 32; 48; 55; 81; 149; 150; 157; 162; 169 Theocracy; 16; 86; 148 Third World countries; 19; 69; 75; 86; 146; 151; 168
ideas; 16; 60; 98; 153 TINA (There Is No Alternative); 91; 92; 98; 99; 112; 138; 142; 147; 148; 149 Totalitarianism Khmer Rouge; 151 new totalitarianism; 31; 32 totalitarian temptation; 27; 32; 184 totalitarian tyranny; 88 Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement; 143 Transition; 7; 20; 33; 35; 40; 47; 50; 61; 75; 84; 86; 156; 179; 182; 183 empty signifier; 86 Truism; 47; 97; 142 U-curve; 86 Ukraine; 7; 143; 144; 168 UN (United Nations); 25; 122; 128; 135; 141; 149; 157; 161; 176 Unconscious; 44; 52; 66 Unity of opposites; 59 Venezuela Bolivarian revolution; 73 cooperatives; 73; 75; 97; 180; 184 direct democracy; 61; 67 Electoral Assemblies; 61 Electoral Councils; 61 social economy; 74; 131 Welfare state; 1; 2; 5; 6; 8; 10; 11; 12; 20; 40; 41; 45; 46; 51; 61; 63; 64; 92; 121; 138; 141; 145; 147; 174; 177; 182 Western Europe; 4; 12; 21; 70; 123; 182 Westphalian era; 14 White Army; 3; 4 WHO (World Health Organization); 135 World Bank; 37; 157 Yugoslavia anti-bureaucratic revolution; 37 Army; 72 Bosnia and Herzegovina; 64
Index Croatia; 37; 71; 72; 83; 93; 103; 106; 107; 108; 109; 136; 149; 178; 182 multinationalism; 72 non-aligned countries; 69 polutani or mongrels; 71 self-managing companies; 62; 68; 73; 75; 130 self-managing socialism; 12; 64; 69; 81
199 Serbia; 7; 68; 71; 72; 160; 168; 178 Slovenia; 36; 37; 68; 72; 84; 159 social ownership; 71; 72 temporary work abroad; 68 workers’ democracy; 72 working class; 69; 70 Zifferndemokratie; 10