Dr. Janos DRABIK
Golden Mean in the Eco-Society
In the recent two decades the ecological and social crisis has continually worsened. In this century global warming is expected to grow, changing the Earth’s climate, causing rising sea levels, catastrophic weather extremes, some kind of epidemics of infectious diseases, decreasing the arable land and the cultural capacity. The extreme neo-liberal financial and economic system, which structured around the brutally competitive view of “grow or die”, is dominating now the world. In this extreme neo-liberal system the enterprises are driven by the endless seeking of profit for capital expansion at the expense of all other considerations. In this they have no real alternative of chasing the profit, otherwise their equally driven competitors will vanquish them. These state of affairs are standing radically at odds with the capacity of our planet to sustain the complexity of life. The ‘usury-civilization of this interest-capitalism’, which gives preference to commercial turnover, consumerism, speculation, and “shareholder value” to real-value-generating production, will plunder the planet, and it is to be imagined that the evolutionary clock will be turned back to a time when only simpler organism could exist.
For this reason we must strive to eliminate domination, be it in matters of race, gender, sexual identity and class exploitation. In our present world the immediate cause of the ecological disorder is the set of social relations, what we are defining as interest-driven chrematistic-capitalism. This system functioning on the collectivist principle, and an anonym group divides the property from the personal owner. In this sense, the state-property is an anonym one, without a responsible human being as an owner. And the interest-capitalist private-property is also an anonym one, where the natural human person is separated from the property. The power-elite rules in both kinds of collectivist system. In a socialist one, he is ruling by the help of the state ownership. In an interest-capitalist system – in the chrematistic – he rules by the help of the anonym corporation and bank ownership without social responsibility. In both collectivist systems – socialism and chrematistic – the power-elite maintain social control through monopoly of the use of state force or financial measures and instruments.
We are witnessing how a blind social mechanism, the so-called ‘market’, that is, the selfish interest of the international financial community is turning soil into sand, covering fertile land with concrete, poisoning air and water, and producing climatic and atmospheric changes. If we want really understand what is happening with our Earth, we cannot ignore the impact that hierarchical and class-society, more exactly: the speculative interest-capitalism has on the natural world. Economic growth, making endlessly more money from money, gender and ethnic domination combined with corporate, state and bureaucratic interests are shaping much more the future of the natural world, then any kind of privatistic forms of spiritual or religious self-regeneration. Forms of the selfish and narrow-minded financial domination must be confronted by collective action of major social movements.
It is doubtful, whether an absolutely free economy existed at any time and can exist in the future in a long run. It has proved to be false belief that incessant growth of the economic wealth expressed in “shareholder value” must be an absolutely good thing, irrespective of what has grown and who, if anyone, has benefited. In the real world there are countries with a mixed economy to a certain degree, because private and public ownership, free market and planned economy, freedom and state constrains of freedom, are complementaries rather than opposites. The good and just governmental, or social constrain in a true democracy with productive economy is the freedom of the majority to assert social responsibility contrary to the particular interest of any social minority – first of all the international financial community. This financial community has monopolized for himself the control over the central banks and the global monetary system as a whole.
The neo-conservative kind of economy, which is rather can be called ‘chrematistic’, dominated by a private global monetary monopoly and extreme free enterprise system with anonym private ownership, cannot exist without radical change any longer. With the global monopoly of the private monetary power, the really free market with its relatively large range of competition disappeared in the most important sectors of the economy. There is no international world-wide anti-trust law restricting the global monetary monopoly of transnational financial community. As to the real economy, namely the productive sector, only the anti-trust law, a governmental constrain, was able in the last century to preserve the free market for a transitory period. Big business demands for his speculation an absolutely free range of movement globally, an almost absolute economic freedom to gain larger profit. Despite of its rhetoric about the free market, the big business threatens constantly the free market with total destruction through monopolistic market practices, if larger profits and interests can be made in such a way.
The private monetary monopoly of the international financial community and the unrestricted anonym private ownership, that is, the very basis of the neo-conservative enterprise system is unjustifiable both in theory and practice. Private ownership in a large-scale enterprise is a fiction for the purpose of enabling functionless owners to live parasitically on the labors of others. Therefore it is just to socialize with the help of a mixed economy and ownership, the wealth, which is the result of collective effort of the whole society and the generations one after the other.
Profitability alone, and the unrestricted speculation with money, securities and derivatives are not conducive to the wealth and well-being of the whole society, and the humankind. Profitability and speculation do not lead to moral and cultural enrichment of the majority. The neo-conservative free market, with its anonym private ownership is compelled to be only profit seeking and necessarily aims at a narrow and selfish end. Anonym private enterprise is not concerned with what it produces but only what it gains from production and speculation. In a neo-conservative, totally free market system nobody is responsible for anybody but himself. In this neo-conservative system everything is equated with everything else by quantification. Qualitative distinctions of vital importance for man and society are suppressed. For this reason the neo-conservative free enterprise and so-called market system with its global speculation are the institutionalization of extreme individualism and non-responsibility.
Since the healthy economic and social life is a living reconciliation, necessarily a mixture of opposites, we must develop an optimized, mixed economy with just social control and the best possible socialization process, both in regional and global levels. We need a mixed-economy, the combination of real democracy and efficient management on reformed basis of ownership, avoiding unnecessary centralization and the intervention of the organized state and private power. Private ownership in our present advanced society derives very large benefits from the infrastructure, which has built up through public expenditure. Hence society ought to receive a certain part of the profits, of large scales of private enterprise, not by means of profit taxes but by means of certain percent obligatory ownership of the equity. Private ownership in the large-scale enterprise or corporation must be restricted furthermore because it is divorced from work and becomes more and more passive property for acquisition and pure power. In small scale, and partly middle-scale enterprises private ownership attached to a concrete managing person is natural, fruitful and just, therefore it must be protected.
This healthy mixture ought to be a well-balanced system of social and economic freedom and responsibility, which could express and enforce the general interest of the whole society against the selfish particular interest of the wealthy minority, that controls the monetary power and the multinational corporations globally. With a social engine and brake system, we can perform the simultaneous requirements of order and freedom. Without order, planning, predictability, social control, accountancy, obedience, discipline, that is, without general social responsibility everything disintegrates. Without freedom the happy abandon and disorder and entrepreneurial venturing, the risk and gamble, the creative imagination, the progressive innovation, without these everything static and lifeless and does not develop and grow.
A mixed economy with impersonated ownership can give more freedom of choice of objectives and can therefore be used for any purposes not only for material and financial well-being, but also for moral and cultural enrichment of the society. It is not restricted to forced and limitless economic growth and profit necessarily combined with greed and envy. To get rid of these restricted objectives is of vital importance for the future of humankind because unlimited growth in our limited world is not only impossible but dangerous, as well. Through greed and envy, it creates conflicts not only between individuals and social strata but among nations, too. We are witnessing that it leads permanent war and not to permanent peace.
Sustainable growth or sustainable resources?
Money or life? The humankind has to decide in the 21st century, which will be the object of its devotion. Inequality and injustice are not accidental results of global interest-capitalism, but they are its essential characteristics. In an interest-capitalist regime, based on private monetary monopoly, money is regarded as the measure of all value. The maximization of returns to financial capital has become the interest-capitalist society’s main goal. There is no real competition because this is mainly a monopolistic system. There is no real individualism either, because the decision-making power is in the hands of a small group, the so-called international financial community. This is the system of chrematistic and in it materialism is nurtured as favored cultural norm. Shareholder-value, stock prices and gross domestic products are the accepted measures of the so-called progress and general well-being. Inflation of land and stock-values are furthered while wages are held increasingly depressed.
Interest-capitalism favored institution is the publicly traded limited liability corporation, which concentrates power in the hands of chief-corporate executive, who is accountable only to absentee owners. These owners themselves are guarded from public accountability for the decisions made on their behalf. The legal structure of the corporation is compelled for pursuing the unlimited growth. The living capital – human-, social-, institutional- or national resources – is the ultimate source of all real wealth, despite of this fact, interest-capitalism assigns no value to living capital and makes no accounting for its depletion. Corporate ownership of the mass-media and financial control of the politicians render democracy meaningless. The financial institutions controlled by the transnational financial community rewrite laws to free themselves from public regulations, economic borders. This internationally organized private power is capable to eliminate competition through mergers, acquisitions and other monopolistic and oligopolistic alliances.
We are told by the organized money power that the fairest and most effective way to end poverty is to expand the economic pie through economic growth, this way improving the living standard of everyone. In fact the economic growth we currently experience is destroying the real living wealth of society and reducing the wealth of the world.
We are told that the global victory of interest-capitalism is a victory for democracy and the market-economy, which is the fairest and most efficient structure for distributing and allocating economic resources. In fact, interest-capitalism is the mortal enemy of real democracy and real market economy based on equal opportunity and free competition. Interest-capitalism is a system that concentrates economic power in the hands of a small group to the exclusion of the many, who are creating value with productive efforts. The ownership in interest-capitalism is anonym, and this type of ownership is an engine of destruction and upward redistribution. The organized private power ought to be the servant of the natural persons and not the natural persons are the servants of the organized private power, which is the power of a small and closed group hiding in anonym legal entities. This organized private power structure in our time has more power than the organized public power. This background „quasy state” and its global shadow government control the formal states and international organizations informally.
In a society with mixed economy and direct democracy human rights and political sovereignty reside in real concrete persons on the basis of one-person one-vote. Civic associations facilitate the practice of direct democracy, but we have to take into consideration that all civic associations in our time are dependent on who is financing them. The state has financial measures through the taxing monopoly. The organized private power has financial measures through monetary monopoly, that is, creating money and credits and collecting interest. Therefore, a civic association is either under the control of a state organization or of a private organization belonging directly or indirectly to the organized money power. In the reality there is only very few independent civic organization.
Productive economy instead of chrematistic
Money is only a mediating medium of the economy. Money is society’s servant, not its master, and is used only to facilitate productive investment and beneficial exchange. In the eco-society financial speculation is strongly discouraged by regulation and tax policy. From this follows, that finance is predominantly local as are the majority of the enterprises and production. The different countries trade their surplus production based on their comparative natural endowments. Cultural and economic diversity are highly valued. Individual, local and national economies are a mix of public and private ownership. Experience, culture, information and technology are shared without obstacles among people, communities and nations through scientific and electronic communication.
Each community or nation has the right to determine what and how much it will trade, with whom, and under what circumstances. A fair and balanced trade that serves the mutual interests of the trading partners has to be welcomed. However, the eco-society has a natural preference for local production to strengthen local control and economic security.
Only an eco-society with mixed economy and participatory democracy can create a healthy and benign relationship to the natural world. The creation of such a type of eco-society requires the elimination of all hierarchy and delegitimation of all forms of discrimination. The humankind – and Hungary – needs a mixed economy with real democracy and efficient management to evolve a more democratic and dignified system of industrial administration, a more human employment of machinery and technology, and a more intelligent utilization of the fruits of human innovations, ingenuity and efforts.
dr. Janos DRABIK