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Our Beautiful New Clothes
Neoliberalism seems to create "clothes no one can see" when it mystifies the market and competition and uses the austerity model, the location model and the adjustment-imperative or extortion to turn economics into nature. Ideology makes facts appears as natural laws so we resign. Ingo Schulze wrote an 80-page cautionary tale against a market-conforming democracy. Democracy means a community that is able to do justice to its responsibility.
OUR BEAUTIFUL NEW CLOTHES
Against a Market-Conforming Democracy and For a Democracy-Conforming Market
By Ingo Schulze
[This 80-page novel is modeled after Hans-Christian Andersen’s fairytale “The Emperor’s New Clothes. Whoever could not see the “new clothes” was unfit for the office. The novel was published in 1962 as “Simple Stories” and reached its peak when the little boy cried “But he has no clothes on!” Neoliberalism seems to create “clothes no one can see” when it mystifies the market and competition and uses the austerity model, the location-model, and the adjustment imperative to turn economics into nature. Limits, interdependence and the rights of nature are all made taboo. Thomas Gerlach’s “Critical Psychology: Mental Poisons” explains how egoism, avarice and ruthlessness are made into virtues and sociality, sharing, and the social state become pre-modern tribalism.]
The emperor had two tailors, two fraudsters who pretended to be tailors. The clothes should have the marvelous quality that they are invisible for the one who is unfit for the office or unpardonably dumb. He gave both fraudsters some money so they began but they didn’t do the slightest thing…
My modest experience as a business man never seduced me to believe I understood anything about the economy or financial management. When the bank won something, the winnings belonged to it. When it speculated, the losses were taken from the community…
Can’t it be, I wanted to ask the experts, that there are different interests, those who earn and whose who pay? Couldn’t it be that we all don’t sit in one boat? Couldn’t we all be living over our means? We have accustomed ourselves to have budgets cut from year to year in nearly all public areas. What are the new obvious realities? What are the new clothes and how are they made? How are they shown and admired? The manner and way the DDR (East Germany) ended is rare in history…
The goal according to which all political decisions had to be oriented was called economic growth. As soon as a proposal or idea was suspected of inhibiting growth, it was dismissed from the political arena. Politics existed to promote growth. Practically every problem had to first pass through the eye of growth if it wanted to hope for a solution. The best method for creating growth should be comprehensive privatization, less state and more market. This means the more freedom, the more prosperity. Hardly
Anyone asked: freedom for whom? Freedom from what? Prosperity for whom? Using words like capitalism, class, struggle, and profit maximization was avoided… Who earns what and who benefits?... Words and questions disappeared from the daily routine in the moment when they were more necessary than ever to describe new reality.
Ideology consists in making facts appear as though they existed like natural laws so we resign and arrange ourselves… This usage leads to where there is no questioning of the status quo, where all pressures are practical constraints and opposite interests only exist on the surface, a language that makes nature out of history, a nature that is not in our power to change… The new rules of the game were presupposed and absolutized as the only desirable rules. Whoever doesn’t accept those stands outside the discourse. Those participate in the discourse who call profit “shareholder value,” who call those who sell their labor power employees and those who buy labor employers. Tax cuts for businesses and entrepreneurs become “relief for investors.” “Burdens for the poor are called personal responsibility.” “Cuts of social security” become “benefit cuts for persons unwilling to work.” “Cuts of unemployment assistance” become “incentives for growth.” “Lowering the lowest income” is described as “global competitiveness” or “market just employment policy”…
Decisions in my feeling, thinking, and acting are made with the words I use, my spoken and written language… All the people gaze at the marvelous clothes…
Bureaucracy can make democracy impossible. But weakening the state leads to a loss of competence (cf. Sascha Adamek & Kim Otto, Der gekaufte Staat, How corporate lobbyists write the laws).
On examples for the new clothes of our community, there is hardly an area of our life that protects from privatization, commercialization and the pursuit of profit. This is particularly bitter in the health system and education… Angela Merkel’s term “market-conforming democracy” has an analogy in Putin’s “controlled democracy.”…
Demanding democracy-conforming democracy is also a question of life and death. Our everyday life is marked by murderous ambiguities. What are impoverishment, servitude, disadvantage and exclusion? They all cost human life somewhere… School lunches were cancelled for a million children in Bangladesh…
Despite protests, schizophrenia has tradition in the US. The Declaration of Independence of the United States of July 4, 1776 had two authors, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. When Jefferson died in 1821, he left behind more than 200 slaves alongside his heirs and great landed estates. The December of Independence has the famous sentence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all man are created free and equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”…
Capital has a horror of the absence of profit or very little profit as nature has a horror of emptiness…
To the cry of the father, the sentence follows “Hear the voice of innocence”!
As a citizen of this land, I depend on democracy to live a self-determined life. Democracy means a community that is able to do justice to its responsibility. It puts itself in question if it lacks the financial means or the suitable personnel. Democracy needs representatives who have the will and are able to prevent democracy-conforming-to markets and to create markets conforming to democracy. Freedom and social justice must be inseparable for each other – not only on the national plane. There must be a majority who want and demand this.
Pressure is needed beyond the symbolic. We need the call “We are the people” – to be liberated from the museum… We are the sovereign in the fairytale, the sovereign who was so naïve, light-minded and vain that he gave money, gold, and silk to the deceivers but was never happy in his new clothes.