Economy and social affairs

The end of the articles of association

(Published in GralsWelt 34/2004)

“If you disregard everything in the social contract that does not belong to its essence, you will find that it is limited to the following: Together we all, each of us, place his person and all his strength under the highest guideline of the common will; and we take in, as a body, every limb as an inseparable part of the whole. "  Jean-Jacques Rousseau: "On the social contract." (4, p. 312).

The historical development often runs in waves, and what is considered good today will be discarded tomorrow, only to be taken up again after a long time. For example, opinions about the best form of government changed.

For centuries since antiquity, there has been little doubt about the correct form of government: a community had to be ruled by an emperor, king, duke, count, i.e. by a monarchical (instead of autocratic) prince. Other types of government had failed in ancient times.

The 510 BC. The Athenian democracy founded by Kleisthenes survived less than two centuries, interrupted by the introduction of the oligarchy (411 BC) and the rule of the 30 tyrants (404-403 BC). It had a famous bloom, the era of Pericles (500-429 BC), a great demagogue who knew how to manipulate the fickle electorate - mostly illiterate - in the best possible way.

With funds misappropriated by the Delian (or Attic) League, magnificent buildings were built under the aegis of Pericles, and the Athenians lived in state-subsidized luxury, on the backs of slaves, strangers and their allies, who had to “foot the bill”. Anyone who competed with Athens (like Aegina) or wanted to leave the defensive community of the Delian League, which had been abused by the Athenians in their favor (like Samos) was conquered, the city razed and the fleet confiscated.

In the midst of the war against Sparta, these equally belligerent and fickle Athenians also risked frivolous raids; such a catastrophically failed Sicilian expedition (414-413 BC). They tore themselves apart in the party quarrel and ruined their city-state in the fratricidal war with Sparta (Peleponesian War, 431-404 BC).

The proud Greeks, the philosophical and artistic elite of Europe, slipped into the ugliest sides of democracy in Athens, and in autocratic Sparta the once invincible military power failed because of its own injustice and cruel harshness.

So it happened that the high civilization of Greece was replaced by the more primitive Macedonians in 337 BC. was subjected.

The Roman Republic, 510 BC. A hated monarchy replaced a hated monarchy in Italy, existed longer and was more successful than Greek democracy. However, ongoing clashes between patricians and plebeians, as well as slave wars (e.g. 136-132 BC) shook the republic. The great revolt of gladiators and slaves under the leadership of Spartacus (73-71 BC) even brought the empire to the brink of defeat. After the destruction of Carthage (146 BC cf. “Carthage - the first capitalist state? ) Finally, urgent social reforms came, but these were watered down again by the resistance of the patricians who dominated the Senate. Plebeian discontent helped populist military leaders control the once highly respected Senate.

After Caesar's murder (44 BC) and the civil war that followed, Octavian (63 BC-14 AD, with the honorary title Augustus = the Exalted) became the sole ruler and Rome became the empire. Under the "Caesars" it reached its greatest splendor and its greatest dimensions. The republic had failed after four centuries of successful expansion with many wars, just and unjust.

Philosophers have searched for the ideal state at almost all times: Plato (427-347 BC), Augustine (354-430), Campanella (1568-1639), William Morris (1834-1896) and many others.

The early settlers in North America - driven from Europe by religious intolerance - wanted to put into practice the Utopia of Thomas More (1478-1535) or the New Atlantis of Francis Bacon (1561-1626). In their newly founded communities, however, religious fanaticism set the tone.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the monarchs were unable to recognize the signs of the times. In France, for example, with its absolutist monarchy, the richest country in Europe was impoverished by brilliant festivals in Versailles and senseless wars on the Rhine. Valuable colonies were lost to corruption and stupidity, the navy was neglected, and no one saw the impending decision as to whether the world of the future would speak French or English. Failures that even a Napoleon could no longer correct.

England also lost its most valuable overseas property (North America) due to the narrow-minded stubbornness of its king. (Cf. “In a nutshell, curiously” on page 358 “How a price cut triggered a revolution”).

Monarchist forms of government - often purely arbitrary rule - had shown too many weaknesses, Christian ethics had failed, and the new state ideas of the philosophers of the Enlightenment received increasing attention.

The American Declaration of Independence is based on the philosophy of the Enlightenment, as are the constitutions of most modern states, or the Charter of the United Nations.
In addition to the constitutional principles that are fundamental to today's constitutions, such as the separation of powers (Montesquieu, 1689-1755), civil liberties, equality before the law, etc., the "social contract" propagated by Rousseau (1712-1778) was taken into account, with the sobering statement:
"Between the weak and the strong, it is freedom that oppresses and the law that liberates." (6, p. 36).

With this new understanding of the state, social demands also gained attention. The political disputes of the 19th and 20th centuries were often characterized by confrontations between capital and labor. In the industrialized countries the initial superiority of the capital owners was limited and minimum social standards were achieved, the global implementation of which would be one of the most urgent tasks of the UN at the present time.

During the Cold War, not only two highly armed military blocs faced each other, but above all two ideologies: called capitalism and socialism.

Socialism was the hope of the poor and the oppressed, who expected a more just, social world order. Marx, Engels, and Lenin were read all over the world, and parties and groups committed to social thinking enforced - at least in western industrialized countries - moderate capitalism without the brutal abuse of workers as saw it in the 18th and 19th centuries.

But now, after the collapse of the socialist bloc, “turbo-capitalism” is getting free rein in the 21st century, the struggle for resources and sales markets is taking on new forms, the “social contract” is as good as canceled suppressed ”is on the rise.

In the CIS countries (successors to the collapsed USSR) state violence has largely been suppressed by organized crime, and in developing countries almost nothing works without corruption.

In the industrialized countries, which are still to some extent functioning constitutional states, the decay of good morals is becoming more and more evident: global corporations falsify balance sheets; Respected companies participate in the illegal arms trade, they circumvent export bans, promote cigarette smuggling, and evade taxes. Politicians and officials can be bought and blackmailed. The line between white-collar crime and organized crime becomes blurred in this way; because:
“Organized crime is the highest stage of capitalism itself. Where totalitarian commodity rationality and neoliberal delusion rage, the common good, the state, the law are in great danger. The democratic society is robbed of its immune powers. " (9, p. 267).

Government agencies complain about empty coffers, moonlighting, lack of tax compliance; but they do not want to see that the money they lack for public tasks flows into too many dark channels that do not serve the common good.

Anyone who, in my opinion, wants to confront the vision of a future, which we are deplorably approaching in Germany too, can do so using the example of the cityscape of Palermo: When walking through the once magnificent city center, one can almost feel like the "octopus" ( Mafia) sucks the city away and lets it go to waste. This "octopus" allows people to survive, but it takes so much from them that it is not enough for prosperity, for example for the maintenance or renovation of their houses (which are under monument protection with us).

Our empty state coffers would be easier to fill if our responsible politicians and officials, instead of complaining, would ensure that people involved in organized crime cannot enrich themselves unhindered and with impunity. But our decision-makers seem to be ignorant, clueless, blind, helpless, incompetent, bought, blackmailed or afraid, maybe even fear for their lives, and all see the renaissance of brutal early capitalism, the erosion of the rule of law and the spread of organized crime how paralyzed too?

The internationally organized gangsterism, often referred to as "Mafia", with huge profits from drug, arms and women trafficking, has long exerted influence on governments and is far more financially strong and logistically better organized than, for example, the dreaded El Qaida. These facts only come into the public eye in exceptional cases. Anyone who wants to report on it will find it difficult to obtain useful information and put their lives in danger. If the citizens were aware of the full extent of the criminal catastrophe that is falling upon us, there would be the largest demonstrations of all time and none of the sleeping, fearful or corrupt politicians would be re-elected.

This unfortunate development seems appropriate for supranational institutions and internationally active corporations, because they propagate a future in which basic democratic rights, legal security, state influence on the economy, employee rights, social and ecological standards can be undermined:

As we did in "Globalization of immorality", Here under" Economic and Social "said, with the unlimited freedom of the economy, moral maxims and social responsibility will also fall by the wayside, because:
“The immanent logic of capitalism has always included the oppression and exploitation of the majority of people by small, powerful groups. In Western Europe (not to mention the east of our continent) capitalist violence is becoming more and more mixed up with criminal violence. " (9, p. 266).

The state capitalist Eastern Bloc with its false ideology increased the exploitation of the people until it collapsed. In its place there was an allegedly neo-liberal economy based on the western model, which the former socialist nations surrendered to crime-ready groups who ruthlessly enrich themselves. (8, pp. 105 f.).

In the West, after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, there is allegedly no alternative to unlimited globalization, and rigorous private capitalism is well on the way to testing people's ability to suffer until opposing forces force a turnaround: religious, political, economic, ecological, national , humane, social forces; hopefully not revolts, terrorist acts or even wars. Because a robber capitalism, to which every means is right to achieve its goals, will not last forever!

In the daily reporting, the nonsensical neo-liberal ideology of limitless economic growth with the help of the - allegedly unstoppable - globalization is often glorified, and its disadvantages are seldom spoken of. But globalization means more than the free movement of money and goods: it leads to the disempowerment of states, the overturning of legal systems, the dismantling of social obligations and, as an (unwanted?) Side effect, the promotion of organized crime, which has increasing influence on politics and the judiciary. (9, pp. 209 f.).

Another consequence of globalization is a race for investors, especially among developing countries. The countries with the lowest social and ecological requirements have the greatest “opportunities”.

If states - poor or rich - want to attract the rich and deter the poor through lower taxes and the abolition of social and charitable obligations, the "social contract" and the responsibility of states and companies for the common good (also anchored in the German Basic Law) become obsolete canceled. That would then be the "total freedom" worshiped by free economy fetishists, in which the economy can develop unhindered, regardless of the people it should serve. Global private capitalism thus becomes an end in itself and then turns into chaos.

You can also read "The globalization hoax" and "Where is the hope for the poor of the world", both under "Economic and social affairs".

(1) Fernau, Joachim: "Caesar lets greet", Herbig, Munich 1971.
(2) Fernau, Joachim: "Roses for Apoll", Herbig, Berlin-Grunewald, 1965.
(3) Boxberger, Gerald / Klimenta, Harald: “The ten globalization lies”, DTV, Munich 1998.
(4) Oberndörfer, Dieter / Rosenzweig, Beate: "Classic State Philosophy", CH Beck, Munich, 2000.
(5) Roth, Jürgen: "Dirty hands - how the western states cooperate with the drug mafia", Bertelsmann, Munich 2000.
(6) Rousseau, Jean Jacques: “The social contract”, Reclam, Stuttgart, 1958.
(7) Thurow, Lester C .: “The future of capitalism”, Metropolitan, Düsseldorf / Berlin 2000.
(8) Walter, Joachim: "The dream of all dreams", VMA, Wiesbaden 1990.
(9) Ziegler, Jean: “The barbarians are coming”, Bertelsmann, Munich 1998.