WTO-Chef outet sich als Marxist

Sachen gibts. Der Generaldirektor der WTO, Lieblingsfeindbild der Globalisierungskritiker outet sich als Marxist:

   Challenges: Does Marx, as a certain number of recent authors have written, remain the best thinker about contemporary capitalism?     Pascal Lamy: Not the best, because history has shown us that he was not the prophet some vaunted. But from the perspective of nonpredictive explanatory power nothing comparable exists. If one wants to analyze the globalized market capitalism of today, the essential tools reside in the intellectual toolkit Marx and some of those who inspired him created. Of course, everything is not perfect. There are stacks of criticisms to level against Marx, and he was probably a better philosopher and economic theoretician than he was a political thinker….

    What do you retain from Marx?

    Before everything else, the idea that market capitalism is a system based on a certain theory of value and the dynamic and the dysfunctions it may generate. A system where there are owners of capital who buy labor and holders of their own labor power who sell that. That relationship implies a theory of profit which ensues from alienation: the system has the tendency for the rich to become richer as they accumulate capital and for the poor to become poorer when they own nothing but their labor. All that remains largely true. No one since Marx has invented an analysis of the same significance. Even globalization is only a historical stage of market capitalism as Marx imagined it.

    But what good does it do to criticize capitalism? Isn’t it accepted by everyone?

    Market capitalism is a system that possesses virtues and quirks: efficiencies, inequality, innovation, short-termism…. Its recent financialization has brutally changed the equilibrium laboriously hammered out between capital and labor. The institutions developed to protect workers have proven ever more inadequate and ineffective. Hence the priority I gave to the goal of mastering globalization during my term as European Trade Commissioner. At the time, in 1999, that surprised people. We must listen to those who talk about alternative modes of growth, those who sign up against this enormous consumerist weight that materializes, commodifies everything, who are against this system that puts people into relation with symbols they are sold thanks to the media and the Internet, so that in essence they buy nothing but their own image all day long. There’s a kind of psychic cannibalism in all that that provokes dissolute behavior. Many people are unhappy because they are constantly being compared to their neighbors, with a fabricated image of themselves they cannot achieve. I belong to those who think we must continue to seek alternatives and that politics must be involved in these questions.

    Alternatives to capitalism or alternatives to the way capitalism operates?

    Alternatives to capitalism. Capitalism cannot satisfy us. It is a means that must remain in the service of human development. Not an end in itself. A single example: if we do not vigorously question the dynamic of capitalism, do you believe we will succeed in mastering climate change?

    Isn’t that Utopian?

    So? From a theoretical point of view, I don’t believe we can satisfy ourselves with limiting the historic horizon by saying that market capitalism is a stable model, give or take a few amendments. It feeds on too many injustices. But we can also be realistic and observe that up until now, whatever has been either theorized, or written, or applied as an alternative to capitalism has not worked. The reality test must remain essential.


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