- js reader version
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
by Conrad Schuler
Saturday, Mar. 06, 2010 at 6:02 AM
Neoliberalism, financial market-driven capitalism, intensifies the crises. However the root of evil lies in the developmental laws of capitalism. Neoliberalism is based on double standards and double speak where CEOs are job creators and workers are cost factors.
ALTERNATIVES TO CAPITALISM
Lessons from the Past Experiments of Economic Democracy
By Conrad Schuler
[This essay published in: Chapter V of the isw report 79 (January 2010) is translated from the German on the Internet. Conrad Schuler is an economist with the Institute for Social-Ecological Economic Research in Munich.]
In the isw report 79 (January 2010) we analyzed what course capitalism takes and must take on account of its inner law, what alternative exists today, how past attempts to overcome capitalism should be judged and what lessons are suggested by these attempts.
The conclusions are:
1) Neoliberalism, “financial market-driven capitalism,” intensifies the crises. However the root of evil lies in the developmental laws of capitalism. The crises arise out of the general functional logic of capitalism – the crisis of the real economy, the financial sector, social insecurity, poverty, hunger, the environment, democracy, increasing wars and threat of war. To overcome them, a moderating mode of regulation of the capitalist economy is not enough. Intervention in the functioning mechanism of the capitalist economy is necessary. The logic and power of capital must be halted by democratizing decisions in the economy.
2) Capitalism has no strategy for solving its contradictions and cannot have one. The “Public New Deal” and the “Green New Deal” do not change the growth pressure, the pressure of growing exploitation of resources and people. Today capitalism has lost the active approval of large parts of the population. Passive acceptance of its regime is not guaranteed for the growing number of “losers.” The way out that capitalism holds ready is authoritarian inwards and militarily aggressive outwards.
3) On the other hand, the human alternative is: cooperation in society instead of competition, solidarity among the nations instead of murderous “global competition.” Three possible strands of criticism of capitalism and partisanship for a new society can be identified: people driven by capitalism into existential distress both in its interior and its “periphery,” people who for ethical reasons reject a society where success consists in triumphing over others or war against everyone standing in the way of maximum profit and people who affirm or accept capitalism but regard the ruthless exploitation of humans and nature as economically absurd.
4) The theoretical discussions and historical experiences with socialization of the means of production and introduction of elements of economic democracy lead to important discoveries for the further strategy of the struggle for democracy in the economy and society.
4.1) The early “model experiments” of cooperatives of anarchists and utopian communists confirmed the criticism of Marx that “socialism of the petty-bourgeoisie” involved only niche-projects condemned to fail that diverted from what was essential, namely the “negation of capitalism,” overcoming capitalist power relations in the general economy. Cooperatives in competition on the capitalist market are subject to the same laws as their capitalist rivals. The “social standards,” the parameters guiding the aggregate economy, must be changed.
4.2) This struggle, the “negation of capitalism,” must be waged under the condition of the hegemony of capitalism. Drawing an abstract ideal for a model makes no sense. In the words of Marx, “communism for us is not a state that can be produced or an ideal according to which reality has to be directed. Communism is the real movement that abolishes the present state. The conditions result from the presuppositions that now exist.
4.3) How the struggle ends is completely open. The “natural law” of the proletariat abolishing capitalism established by Marx is not in effect. The proletariat or working class is not the only reliable power in the conflict with capitalism. Capitalism can be stopped in its march into catastrophe. Still a key role comes to the working class. The anti-capitalist forces become stronger for “objective” reasons.
4.4) One of the early Marxist ideas was that state authority had to be first conquered and the economy and society democratized with its directives. In his studies on the Paris Commune, Marx relativized this idea. The state itself must be completely changed. The governmental power of command must pass into a solidarity social constitution on all planes and in all sectors. The “real movement that abolishes the present state” consists in advancing democracy on the most different social planes. “Revolution” means the public and social groups taking over decisions in the economy and society.
4.5) As the experiences and problems of the council-republic showed after the First World War in Germany, an economistic narrowing of the factories as the “political nerve center” of society must be democratized and all parts of the population – whether employed in big businesses or not – must cooperate equally.
4.6) As a rule, reforms in capitalism including the increase of democracy in the economy have a double character. On one side, they stabilize the dominance of capital that is given a “rest” with the reform. But secondly and crucially, the position of those emphasizing structural change is strengthened. According to Kautsky’s saying, every reform is right that builds the position of anti-capitalist forces.
4.7) The Scandinavian model offers two lessons. First, it demonstrates that the capitalist accumulation model can actually be joined with a mode of regulation that is far more social than the neoliberal model. In Sweden, social benefits are higher, education is independent of social origin and the capitalist economy develops at least as well as in strict neoliberal countries. Sweden provides the empirical proof that it is not enough to practice “functioning socialism,” the social regulation of damages caused by the capitalist economy. In the last years and above all in the crisis, the protective social fences of the social state were largely dismantled. To prevent this, workers and the society must intervene in the use of the means of production. Thus property must be socialized.
4.8) Concrete socialism did not run aground in the principles of socialization of the means of production and overall social planning but in a crucial deficiency, the lack of democracy. This failure has much to do with a “birth defect,” that the new social order was introduced by avant-garde parties, guerillas or foreign troops, not by democratic mass movements. In additional considerable “endogenous” errors (and crimes) of parties exercising power occurred. As a result, implementing democracy is crucial, not installing elements of the market and competition in socialism. People themselves have to decide what they need and how they will produce and distribute this. There must be social-political guiding principles, not principles of supply and purchasing power demand and profit-planning in the enterprises.
5) The central idea is an ideal to be attained in the economy and society. How we get there must depend on the possibilities in today’s reality for reaching this ideal. If the ideal is composed of the categories “solidarity/cooperation/democracy,” two conclusions are inescapable:
1) All structures that repress the principle of “negation of capitalism” must be combated.
2) All elements and structures pointing in the “ideal” direction should be supported and developed.
VIDEO: Dean Baker's "False Profits" on GritTV:
"The Quiet Coup" by Simon Johnson:
VIDEO: Joseph Stiglitz' "Freefall" on BookTV:
link to www.booktv.org
"Ways Out of the Crisis" by Jean-Paul Fitoussi and Joseph Stiglitz:
Report this post as:
GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE
lausd whistle blower
Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images
UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light
Change Links April 2018
Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018
Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018!
Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018!
Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A.
Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released
Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups
After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video
Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights
What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It
Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down
Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29
Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf
Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development
Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine
Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents
Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters
City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre
Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling
Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present
Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police
LA Times Homicide Report
More Local News...
What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress??
Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée
The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion
Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service
The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally!
The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder
Paraphysique de la dictature étatique
Book Review: "The New Bonapartists"
The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia
Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine
The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally!
“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize!
The World Dependent on Central Banks
Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine
March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update
Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel
ICE contract with license plate reader company
Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes
Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges
Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes
Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety
Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man
Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes
Paraphysique de l'autorité
Two Podcasts on fbi corruption
Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS
More Breaking News...