marți, 13 iulie 2010

Captive minds



Vă invit călduros să citiţi cele scrise de Tony Judt despre minţile ajunse prizoniere. Nu este vorba strict despre comunism, deşi se vorbeşte, printre altele, despre Czeslaw Milosz şi despre cartea sa, "The captive mind".

"But the true mental captivity of our time lies elsewhere. Our contemporary faith in “the market” rigorously tracks its radical nineteenth-century doppelgaenger—the unquestioning belief in necessity, progress, and History. Just as the hapless British Labour chancellor in 1929–1931, Philip Snowden, threw up his hands in the face of the Depression and declared that there was no point opposing the ineluctable laws of capitalism, so Europe’s leaders today scuttle into budgetary austerity to appease “the markets.”

But “the market”—like “dialectical materialism”—is just an abstraction: at once ultra-rational (its argument trumps all) and the acme of unreason (it is not open to question). It has its true believers—mediocre thinkers by contrast with the founding fathers, but influential withal; its fellow travelers—who may privately doubt the claims of the dogma but see no alternative to preaching it; and its victims, many of whom in the US especially have dutifully swallowed their pill and proudly proclaim the virtues of a doctrine whose benefits they will never see.

Above all, the thrall in which an ideology holds a people is best measured by their collective inability to imagine alternatives. We know perfectly well that untrammeled faith in unregulated markets kills: the rigid application of what was until recently the “Washington consensus” in vulnerable developing countries—with its emphasis on tight fiscal policy, privatization, low tariffs, and deregulation—has destroyed millions of livelihoods. Meanwhile, the stringent “commercial terms” on which vital pharmaceuticals are made available has drastically reduced life expectancy in many places. But in Margaret Thatcher’s deathless phrase, “there is no alternative.”

8 comentarii:

Ken spunea...

PARTEA I

Dle Gheorghe, cu ingaduinta dvs, as posta niste extracte mai largi dintr-un relativ recent, excelent interviu cu Tony Judt la lansarea ultimei sale carti, pt beneficiul prietenilor dar si al celor care bantuie pe aici ca sa-si scuipe ignoranta si reaua credinta, pt toti aceia care nu stiu ca un 'liberal de stanga' inseamna 'liberal social' ori, mai pe 'europeneste', 'social-democrat' si-l confunda (adeseori cu rea intentie si din nevoi propagandistice) cu bolsevismul, pt toti cei care se cred ori se pretind liberali cand ei sunt de fapt neo-liberali, buni frati doctrinari cu neo-conservatorii.
Va multumesc.

Ill FARES THE LAND
APRIL 29, 2010
by Tony Judt

( intregul articole este aici: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/apr/08/ill-fares-the-land/?page=2 )

Something is profoundly wrong with the way we live today. For thirty years we have made a virtue out of the pursuit of material self-interest: indeed, this very pursuit now constitutes whatever remains of our sense of collective purpose.
[...]
The materialistic and selfish quality of contemporary life is not inherent in the human condition. Much of what appears “natural” today dates from the 1980s: the obsession with wealth creation, the cult of privatization and the private sector, the growing disparities of rich and poor. And above all, the rhetoric that accompanies these: uncritical admiration for unfettered markets, disdain for the public sector, the delusion of endless growth.
[...]
A liberal is someone who opposes interference in the affairs of others: who is tolerant of dissenting attitudes and unconventional behavior. Liberals have historically favored keeping other people out of our lives, leaving individuals the maximum space in which to live and flourish as they choose. In their extreme form, such attitudes are associated today with self-styled “libertarians,” but the term is largely redundant. Most genuine liberals remain disposed to leave other people alone.
Social democrats, on the other hand, are something of a hybrid. They share with liberals a commitment to cultural and religious tolerance. But in public policy social democrats believe in the possibility and virtue of collective action for the collective good. Like most liberals, social democrats favor progressive taxation in order to pay for public services and other social goods that individuals cannot provide themselves; but whereas many liberals might see such taxation or public provision as a necessary evil, a social democratic vision of the good society entails from the outset a greater role for the state and the public sector.

Ken spunea...

PARTEA a II-A

Today there has been a partial awakening. ... A striking number of free-market economists, worshipers at the feet of Milton Friedman and his Chicago colleagues, have lined up to don sackcloth and ashes and swear allegiance to the memory of John Maynard Keynes.
[...]
But it hardly constitutes an intellectual revolution. Quite the contrary: as the response of the Obama administration suggests, the reversion to Keynesian economics is but a tactical retreat. Much the same may be said of New Labour, as committed as ever to the private sector in general and the London financial markets in particular. To be sure, one effect of the crisis has been to dampen the ardor of continental Europeans for the “Anglo-American model”; but the chief beneficiaries have been those same center-right parties once so keen to emulate Washington.
[...] no one is “re-thinking” the state.

There remains a marked reluctance to defend the public sector on grounds of collective interest or principle. It is striking that in a series of European elections following the financial meltdown, social democratic parties consistently did badly...

"No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable."
—Adam Smith

To understand the depths to which we have fallen, we must first appreciate the scale of the changes that have overtaken us. From the late nineteenth century until the 1970s, the advanced societies of the West were all becoming less unequal. Thanks to progressive taxation, government subsidies for the poor, the provision of social services, and guarantees against acute misfortune, modern democracies were shedding extremes of wealth and poverty.

Ken spunea...

PARTEA a II-A

Today there has been a partial awakening. ... A striking number of free-market economists, worshipers at the feet of Milton Friedman and his Chicago colleagues, have lined up to don sackcloth and ashes and swear allegiance to the memory of John Maynard Keynes.
[...]
But it hardly constitutes an intellectual revolution. Quite the contrary: as the response of the Obama administration suggests, the reversion to Keynesian economics is but a tactical retreat. Much the same may be said of New Labour, as committed as ever to the private sector in general and the London financial markets in particular. To be sure, one effect of the crisis has been to dampen the ardor of continental Europeans for the “Anglo-American model”; but the chief beneficiaries have been those same center-right parties once so keen to emulate Washington.
[...] no one is “re-thinking” the state.

There remains a marked reluctance to defend the public sector on grounds of collective interest or principle. It is striking that in a series of European elections following the financial meltdown, social democratic parties consistently did badly...

"No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable."
—Adam Smith

To understand the depths to which we have fallen, we must first appreciate the scale of the changes that have overtaken us. From the late nineteenth century until the 1970s, the advanced societies of the West were all becoming less unequal. Thanks to progressive taxation, government subsidies for the poor, the provision of social services, and guarantees against acute misfortune, modern democracies were shedding extremes of wealth and poverty.

Ken spunea...

PARTEA A III-A

Over the past thirty years we have thrown all this away. To be sure, “we” varies with country. The greatest extremes of private privilege and public indifference have resurfaced in the US and the UK: epicenters of enthusiasm for deregulated market capitalism. Although countries as far apart as New Zealand and Denmark, France and Brazil have expressed periodic interest in deregulation, none has matched Britain or the United States in their unwavering thirty-year commitment to the unraveling of decades of social legislation and economic oversight.
[...]
As recently as the 1970s, the idea that the point of life was to get rich and that governments existed to facilitate this would have been ridiculed: not only by capitalism’s traditional critics but also by many of its staunchest defenders. Relative indifference to wealth for its own sake was widespread in the postwar decades. In a survey of English schoolboys taken in 1949, it was discovered that the more intelligent the boy the more likely he was to choose an interesting career at a reasonable wage over a job that would merely pay well. Today’s schoolchildren and college students can imagine little else but the search for a lucrative job.
How should we begin to make amends for raising a generation obsessed with the pursuit of material wealth and indifferent to so much else? Perhaps we might start by reminding ourselves and our children that it wasn’t always thus. Thinking “economistically,” as we have done now for thirty years, is not intrinsic to humans. There was a time when we ordered our lives differently.

Tony Judt directs the Remarque Institute at NYU and is the author of Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945. His new book, Ill Fares the Land, from which the piece in this issue is drawn, has just been published by Penguin Press. (April 2010)

Ken spunea...

Dle Gheorghe, in cazul in care veti posta textele mele, va rog sa aveti bunavointa, daca nu cer prea mult, si corectati-mi cuvantul "extracte" din primul rand cu "extraSE".
Va multumesc si o zi buna.

Constantin Gheorghe spunea...

Ken, din păcate nu pot interveni pe textul tău, dar am publicat şi rugămintea, aşa că eroarea este corectată. O zi bună!

Karakas spunea...

Excelent articol, multumesc (si lui Ken pentru materiale). Asa este, si eu o spun demult, suntem captivii dogmelor, religioase sau nu. Se jeluiesc o gramada de anti-comunisti despre victimele comunismului (de multe ori pe buna dreptate), dar nimeni nu se intreaba cite victime a produs si nca produce pe banda sistemul capitalist aplicat mecanic si simplist in tarile in curs de dezvoltare, inclusiv in Romania. Avem dreptul sa nu credem in dogma pietelor libere care ar aduce prosperitate pentru toti!

Karakas spunea...

Strategii anti-criza discutate la Guvern:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUt9FtiWiVs&feature=player_embedded