It Is Time to Restructure Capitalism
Is there anything more depressing than the spectacle of the short-term remedies that are being applied at present with a view to saving the capitalist system, in the absence of determination to do what would actually be necessary to achieve that objective?
Look at what is happening in Greece, where the Troika (the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund) is endeavouring to impose on the Greek Government measures which everyone knows to be unworkable. And what will be achieved if agreement is reached? A reduction of that country’s sovereign debt to 120% of its GDP by… 2020!
Even if in the coming days a formula were to be arrived at for a partial default of Greek sovereign debt which might be tolerable for the Greek people, Portugal and Ireland would step into the breach and immediately lay claim to the same benefits for themselves, which it would be beyond the capacity of the Eurozone to provide, repeating ad nauseam as it does that the solution which it is aiming for in Greece will have to be an exception, come what may. And, as everyone knows, the Greek problem all by itself is already ‘systemic’, i.e. capable of bringing about the collapse of the Eurozone. (This was not the case when warning signs first appeared at the beginning of 2010… but it is now in consequence of the failure to take action in time!)
On August 2nd the United States raised its debt ceiling to $14.3 thousand billion. One need hardly make the point that dollar bills for this sum of money, if stacked up, would cover the distance from the Earth to the Moon by a factor of X, as it should be apparent that this hole will not be filled up all by itself no matter what improvement may occur in that country’s economy.
The squaring of the circle that economic recovery represents, combined as it is with austerity, is but one insoluble problem among a host of others at the heart of the capitalist system.
When, on September 25th 2008, in his Toulon address, Mr Sarkozy drew attention to the need to restructure the capitalist system, it is a pity that the means to undertake this indispensable task were not immediately made available. Precisely because it is a very ambitious project, it was perverse to leave it to individual initiative to carry it through. A council of distinguished individuals – preferably international – should have been convened without delay, and adequate means should have been put at their disposal to draw up the measures which are required.
More than three years have passed since the Toulon address and, apart from rather disorganized anti-capitalist protests in various parts of the world, individual initiatives aimed at restructuring capitalism have proved inadequate. Valuable time has thus been lost, but it is not too late, the problems with which we are faced, and which have become more serious everywhere, having become clearer in consequence of this.
Let us demand that the powers that be immediately engage in a debate on the restructuring of capitalism and that unchallengeable authorities on financial, economic and moral questions be brought together (rather than economic and financial ‘experts’ who are associated with an accumulation of embarrassing failures) and that they be given the task of drawing up a schedule for this (addressing structural and institutional questions, of course, as distinct from short-term tactics aimed at nothing more than gaining time in the face of a collapse which has become unavoidable). Let us entrust to these people the task of restructuring capitalism and, if they conclude that this is not feasible, let them provide us with a plan for creating a system to replace it.