BANKERS, HEAR THE SIGNALS!
By Heerke Hummel
[This article published in: Das Blattchen 11/16/2011 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.linksnet.de/en/node/27067.]
The results of the G20 summit in Cannes in southern France can certainly be judged skeptically. One thing was accomplished: the world was given a lesson in democracy. The Greek Prime Minister Papandreou was forced to retract his announcement of a popular referendum on the extortionate austerity measures by the international financial nobility or its power players. The people may freely elect their governors – in whatever mode. But the game ends whenever they want to force a redistribution of social wealth – even if the economic systems for consuming the produced wealth can only functions through redistribution. Instead there should be savings with less accomplished and produced thanks to mass unemployment. Against this misanthropic strategy, the Greek people resisted for months with protests and strikes since “free elections” did not help. These actions like the G20 summit show that democracy is social action, not a gift or a state (of rest). To speak with Goethe, freedom like life must be earned or conquered daily!
The stirring spark of resistance has leaped from Athens to Wall Street in New York and from there to the Frankfurt banking center. The demand for regulation and reform of the financial architecture is clear because the masses are beginning to be seized. However no one should be lulled into a false security by the resolutions at the Cannes meeting. The announced controls of 29 big banks worldwide – affecting the bonus payments to managers and the conditions of highly speculative funds – are sedatives or tranquilizers for the consciences of the actors and for the public mind. Still they are steps in the right direction – even if much too small. Ending speculation on the financial- and commodity markets must follow and finally the introduction of worldwide minimum wages on one side and maximum incomes on the other side.
The enormous tensions and conflicts in the social and political areas result from the disastrous imbalances in the world. The effortless multiplication of financial wealth through taking interests and profits puts the system in question. How infinitely far is the Cannes process from a genuine removal of the causes of the crisis! The strict refusal of America’s bearer of hope Obama to introduce a financial transactions tax in Cannes demonstrated this. The president showed himself again as a marionette of US high finance which earned vast amounts with financial speculations and refuses to give up the principle “money rules the world!” – despite all the drivel about democracy.
The responsibility of the person gathered in Cannes should be questioned. Couldn’t better and more far-reaching resolutions have been resolved and realized in the given situation in the world today? Hardly! Couldn’t more have been accomplished in the conflict with America, China and Russia (if they had been smarter)? The world is objectively overripe for establishing an institution for the solidarity “cultivation” of the world in the general interest (as opposed to the egoistic struggle of everyone against everyone). But subjectively the necessary steps cannot be courageously taken. These steps must lead the way according to the Kantian principle: “Act so the maxims of your action can always be a principle of a general legislation.”
Politics however it is driven can only be somewhat just to such a principle when the pressure to follow is great enough. That is the pressure of lived democracy, the street. That “experts” of the banking system are beginning to join the movement for a reform of the financial system points the way to the future. But where are the voices from academia? Where are the theoretical foundations for new thinking in praxis? The theory developed by Karl Marx in “Kapital” – as correct and important as it was in his time – is not enough for today’s situation and its mastery. Today’s conditions in the world of the economy must be recognized to create the intellectual foundation for economic experts, particularly of the financial sector and of a broad popular movement for an up-to-date economics on our planet.
The pressure on politics will not slacken as long as the crisis is not really overcome and its causes removed. The little that was recently resolved Europe-wide and internationally suggests that the fire-fighting operations on the highest plane will not quickly let us. Obviously saving is pressing. But saving must be in the sense of a rational economics with rational relations with the resources of our planet, with the resources of society, particularly its capacities for work and ideas. This frugality has nothing to do with everything that is now resolved for Europe. This frugality is not spontaneously carried out through the works and powers of laws of the market ruled by egoism. It requires a goal-directed economic and financial policy that is increasingly internationally oriented – with a regulated market as the field of personal initiative, responsibility and economic effectiveness.
Such frugality necessitates an economic rethinking and reform of the monetary- and financial system. The goal is to bring about a distribution of the produced wealth of society that leads to rational economics and ensures social peace in Europe in Europe and the world. Measures that limit and ultimately abolish effortless enrichment through interests and profits in all their manifestations are imperative. The value expressed in money as a symbol of wealth is the product of labor and does not arise either by itself (through “natural” multiplication) or through loans or speculation. The claim we live in a performance-oriented society is a great instrumental lie. In this present society, private assets are inversely proportional to the performed work of their owners. In Greece, for example, two thousand families own 80 percent of Greek assets. Are they fruits of their labor? The EU elite do not accept any of their austerity- or payment conditions although it was their state that became indebted in their interest and for the effortless advantages of foreign sponsors. Therefore the people of Greece resist the austerity conditions of the EU. Their signals meet open ears and awaken to life the action of democracy in many places. The protests all over the world against the banking world show this impressively. Politicians and bankers worldwide should not ignore them. The social peace is at stake.
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