Commentary on Political Economy

Thursday 30 June 2011

On The Greek Question

If we wished to give one outstanding example of the "contra-dictions" that lie at the heart of capitalist industry and then society and then, between societies, the society of nations, it would be the contradiction that no bourgeois commentator (and there are many well-meaning ones here from Jeffrey Sachs down to Martin Wolf) would ever wish to confront with the courage - intellectual and moral - that this "crisis" demands.
The contradiction is easy to articulate: how can a political "union" (even if not Obama's "more perfect union", but just a "European" union) be even contemplated, if the members of that "union" are all focussed on one thing and one thing only - namely, "competitive self-interest"? (I note that Martin Wolf has a story in the FT today on how to make UK universities more... "competitive"!)

I wish to pose one question and one question only to everyone: name me "one" country, "one" federation, "one" economic area that does NOT have disparities, inequalities, divisions - no! Name me "one" city or even a suburb - or a household (!!!) that does NOT have "disparities", "imbalances", in short, "problems"!

But that is the entire point to a "Union"!! The whole point is that the bourgeoisies of Europe (German, French and British leading the pack) know all too well that "without" a European "union" capable of preserving the "military" (above all) and then juridical and then political and, last, "economic" integrity of their.... (wait for it) "territory" (!!) - without such a "union" they will be consigned to the dustbin of history and pretty soon they will be washing dishes in New York or in Beijing!

So the point is not "whether" Greece is going to be "rescued" - that was "never" the point at all! The point is "how". Because even if these big bourgeois decide to cut the string and let Greece sink, they know that next in line will be the other "peripheral" countries - in an endless spiral that will end up with the Russian re-occupation of Berlin! (I hope I am making the point clear.)

But our lousy "bourgeois", including the less lousy and "well-meaning" ones - from the height of their "analytical" noses - know equally well that it is impossible "to justify" the rescue of any "uncompetitive" economy or country or suburb or family - for the simple reason that..... (wait for it, again)... they are not "competitive"!! This is the law of the jungle, remember? Your death is my life! (Mors tua vita mea.) The motto that the banner of the bourgeoisie will always have inscribed upon it and that now comes back to haunt them: - because if they wish "to rescue" Greece it will have to be against every comma of "economic rationality" that they preach every day (not least on the pages of the FT)!

A fine time these people will have to invoke some kind of economic "convergence" or "optimal currency areas" - because these are figments of the bourgeois imagination intent on justifying and promoting the capitalist law of the jungle! The problem now, dear friends, is that we are reaching the end of this "ideo-logical" process.... and the Greek barricades are well in view. And then the Spanish, and the Portuguese and the Italian. See you there!

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