The Old Is Dying And The New Maybe Born
The zeitgeist of neoliberalism is over. It is the law of nature that all bubbles pop. So did the unnatural neo-liberal bubble. There were protests all across the world, economic conditions were showing signs of massive cracks; politics was becoming more polarized, middle-east was boiling as usual; oil routes and infrastructure were at risk like never before. Debt, credit, and stocks were going North like there is no tomorrow. Then came Covid-19 out of the blue and pricked the balloon. Indeed, we are living in interesting times.
Cocktail of Thatcherism blended with post-cold war arrogance lead to the separation of politics from economics-the real secular faith. The flight of fancy was conjured as the new and only reality.
The rise of ranting demagogues was a clear manifestation of the fact that we are living in an “age of anger”. But everything seemed normal because morality was moved to the back seat and replaced with a faulty paradigm of prosperity. Fictitious capital held sway for as long as it did. But at the end of the day, it started dawning upon many that we were living in an unsustainable era of unlimited credit and unlimited debt. Helicopter money is no money, and populist politics is no politics.
In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the powers that be showed unmistakable willful negligence by relying only on anesthesia and forgetting to do the much-needed surgery afterward. The bailout money was reinvested in speculative bubbles and increased consumption at the cost of higher productivity. Now, when the chickens are coming home to roost, corona is the preferred scapegoat of the real inhumane viruses plaguing our beloved world. A squandered decade is coming to haunt us now. To rephrase Marx, a specter is haunting the world-the specter of global systemic collapse.
The dominant economic model is not working anymore. I couldn’t have said it better than the astute geopolitical analyst Pepe Escobar: “Neoliberalism, with no circulation and dwindling production, is now only a carcass.” Neoliberalism is, for all practical purposes, deadwood, and the sooner we get rid of it the better it will be.
Debt was substituted for earnings. It was good for elites, but masses conveniently forgot the fact that benefit before work was a sure recipe for slavery and disaster, thus becoming complicit, knowingly or unknowingly, in the consumerist extravaganza. The aftermath of all this was predicted long ago by the prophetic Marx when he said that, “over-consumption and insane consumption, signifying, by its turn to the monstrous and the bizarre, the downfall.” The great toilet paper panic was the symptom rather than the cause.
The globalized world started crumbling because those with the means were searching for profits and states were unable to play their role because they were defanged long ago due to the privatization of state assets and public services. Big pharma due to its inherent capitalist nature tends to be allergic to prevention and prefers cure. Their surplus increases in direct proportion with the increase in the number of sick- a sick joke on us “les miserables.” What’s happening in Europe and the USA is the direct result of Public health being transformed into a good business opportunity.
EU and NATO cohort only put up with collective efforts when they have to invade a country that is presented as a virus to the civilized world and become paralyzed when they are being invaded by an “alien” virus. The dream of the European Union has turned into a nightmare. In this regard, corona seems to be Godsend even if man-made.
Truly, it was a quick change from “there is no alternative” to “switch off democracy and consumerism.” According to David Harvey, “COVID-19 is underpinning not a wild fluctuation but an almighty crash in the heart of the form of consumerism that dominates in the most affluent countries. The spiral form of endless capital accumulation is collapsing inward from one part of the world to every other. The only thing that can save it is a government-funded and inspired mass consumerism conjured out of nothing. This will require socializing the whole of the economy in the USA, for example, without calling it socialism.”
The tide has started to turn now. But we need to understand the implications of what Antonio Gramsci said, “‘The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”
The difference between 2020 and 1929 is 91. It took us 91 years to reach the stage where it looks like 1929 again. Perhaps now is the time for the Nazis of the world to unite. As they have nothing to lose but their quarantined shells. Times like these provide quite favorable conditions for Nazis to hatch. Conditions for a linear-minded wide-eyed Hitler to arise are ripe due to the cyclical patterns of plunder.