Approaching the crisis: questions challenging the technophile optimism

Approaching the crisis: questions challenging the technophile optimism

 Ana Bazac1.


The paper begins with a short exposition of the standpoints about the present economic crisis, these ones generally accusing the behaviour of the banks and thus suggesting that the overtaking of crisis would consist of just the measures concerning the starting off the credit. These opinions not only tend to minimise the integral character of the crisis – by reducing it to a financial one – but also prove a narow, inherently ilogical, perspective: for how could work a world economy where every actor intends the same tactics, that to increase investments (through the re-crediting)? At any rate, the tactics linked to the State and to the private firm do collide with the status of the power of the country, and of the company: some ones can win in the competition to sell what they offer, but only on the expense of some others which cannot do this. For this reason, as the competition is harsher today than ever before, new ways to think the economic evolution have to find place.

In this framework, the purpose of the paper is to discuss about a more sophisticated viewpoint, that concerning the development of the new technologies as source to overcome the crisis (Carlota Perez). There are 4 subpoints traiting about this optimistic theory that does not consider the conditions of the evolution of technologies. But in my opinion, these conditions are essential. The conditions consist in the above-mentioned difference between countries, as well as in the fact that as the new technologies become general, the rate of profit of those producing and using these technologies tends to fall, so the competition raises and the prosperous economic period proves to be temporary, a new crisis kicking it. Thus the innovation and the generalisation of new technologies, although they gain time for the present pattern of economy and society, do not lead mechanically to the improvement of the social organisation.

Along the same line, and mentioning the historical example of a Peripheral country like Romania, there are specified the social structure of the leading strata of the economic and political reforms in different types of countries. This aspect is important concerning the present tendency of all types of leading strata to continue the traditional direction of things, so to slower the economic reforms and to oppose to the social ones, i.e. either oppose to the welfare State interventionism or to push for national economic protection of companies (but at the same time to lower the social conditions of the national labour force).

If it is obvious that without thinking the re-structuring of the international relations, i.e. of the global order, it is difficult to put into a coherent theory the present modernisation of technologies as a way to coming out of the crisis, it is similarly problematic to exclude from this theory the questions concerning the labour, i.e. the situation of the global labour force and its relationships with the new technologies. Just these relationships – i.e. the present and tendencial competence of the labour force – show that the present labour and the present society do no more need political subordination and economic exploitation.



1. The majority of standpoints about the crisis

The present crisis has generated many anxieties issued from the understanding of its causes, and the possibilities of escaping it. In this context, the analysis of the deep economic layers within the technological changes related to the financial mechanism has revived the discussion which at a certain point seems to get drowned – when it is referring to the causes –within the attack of the outrageous greed of the bankers, of their too lax crediting system, of the incorrectness of managers, and then – when it desires to find solutions for coming out of the crisis –, whithin the cordial invitation made to the banks for re-initiate the crediting activity (offering more advantageous conditions for investors) and the incantations for re-launching consumption.

Things put in this way, it is obvious that these opinions belong to those for which the crisis, unexpected, is not a constitutive element of the capitalist economy, but a mere accident occurred due to the above mentioned causes2, only these causes generating this generally unexpected side-slip that we all have to suffer, have we?, including those who never were guilty of causing the damages of crises, but who always have paid for the private losses.

2. Theory of the technological changes as vector of overcoming the crisis

On the other hand, the analysis of the technological changes – see only Marx, Kondratieff, Schumpeter, Polanyi, Mandel, Perez, Korotayev – is not necessarily anti-capitalist, even if the references above begin with Marx3. This analysis can too support a certain optimism of continuing the present social-economic system. At its turn, optimism can refer to the paths to change the system through the technological innovations: gradually and naturally, by establishing new organic forms of society by integrating (spreading) the new technologies, or rapidly, by way of the institutional innovations as a result of the urgency of the status of the society.

In the following, it seems that, due to the strength of the existing power relations, the above-mentioned types of change can intertwine. In any case, the confidence that new technologies will automatically lead to overcoming the great problems of the present world, therefore, to a more human society for all of us and for each of us, is under query.

2.1. The place of the present crisis in the evolution of the modern economy

If indeed4 the new technologies will, after the crisis, become general with the help of State intervention (which would impulse the financial system to become subordinate to the production based on the generalisation of new technologies, and not to remain rather autonomous to this kind of production, by exclusively pursuing its own profit, as it does nowadays), the present crisis and coming out of this crisis cannot be explained only at this level. Carlota Perez’s explanation allows to conceive the crisis as being a crisis only of the present stage, so a temporary discomfort, (and not a structural one, a crisis of the system): the generalisation of the new technologies with the help of State intervention, as after the great crash of 1929-1933, will allow opportunities for development all over the world.

But the periodisation of capitalism only from the viewpoint of technologies (more precisely, of the productive forces; more specifically, of the industrial revolutions) is not sufficient. The capitalist productive forces are developing within the structural relations – deriving from the capitalist productive relations (property, distribution and exchange). These structural relations are the following: of exploitation, of competition and of Centre-Periphery relations5.

The periodisation of capitalism according to the structural relations is, actually, that which reflects – or which is derived from – the competition relations. Just their logic has determined the passage of capitalism from the stage of free competition (the beginning of the capitalist relations, or the victory of bourgeois revolutions – until/after the French-Prussian war in (1871)6) to a stage of monopolism (until the end of the First World War/until the great crash), and then to a stage of State monopolism (until the 1970’s) and later to the stage of transnational capital7 (where we are today).

This current crisis is not simply a crisis which represents the passage from the moment where the new technologies not yet being too developed and dispersed, the financial capital has represented the engine for development (leading to the collapse known also in 1929, but concretelly the epoch between 1990-2000 and 2000-2008, with the crisis in 2000, preceded by the crises in Mexico, Asia, Russia), to the moment when this capital will be used for the development of the new technologies by way of State intervention. This crisis is also a crisis of structural relations: competition will not be cancelled by any burst of the new technologies but, on the contrary and regardless of the appearance of Golden Age brought in by the "general prosperity", the struggle between the transnational, and also between national companies for markets and sources of profit will increase. This struggle will be for as much tougher as the spreading of technologies today is a lot faster than it was 80 years ago. And if bigger profits belong to those holding the new technologies of the moment, the generalisation of these technologies (generalisation that always offers new business opportunities, i.e. of selling these technologies) will do but more acerb the antagonism related to the obtaining of new sources of profit than the mere selling of technologies: from the downstream (raw materials, energy, cheap labour force) and from the up-stream (markets) of the production of new technologies.

But the current crisis is not taking place under the circumstance where nature still seems to be – as for example did in 1929-1933 – an inexhaustible source of means and human abundance. The climate change today is not treated with the responsibility imposed by the gravity of its consequences, precisely because of the capitalist relations, of the private property, of competition and of the Centre-Periphery relations. The solving of the problem of climate change, as also the other global problems (wars, violence, infringement of the human rights and the deepening of the formal character of democracy, migration, poverty, cultural polarisation, the moral crisis), is always postponed at a global level, with all the counter-pressures and also the small local successes, so that the ecological problem could become irreversible, and all the others – more and more distinctly severe.

Of course the present period of generalisation of the newest scientific and technological innovations will also last for decades. But its opportunities – the ecological technologies, including alternative sources of energy – do not cancel the acumulation of irresolvable contradictions within the capitalist system, well above the efficiency threshold for the lasting of the human society.

Nevertheless, just for the decades of generalisation of new technologies this current crisis may obviously remain a simple stage crisis – as all capitalist beneficiaries desire, including the social-democracy. But the introduction of the structural aspects, mentioned above, in the description of the crisis allows us the assumption that we are dealing with a system crisis8: which can, of course, be prolonged by an economic development based on the capitalist relations but which will aggravate the global problems at a level of extreme danger.

2.2. State interventionism for supporting the new technologies: in the Centre and in the peripheral countries

If State interventionism is necessary – the State having, theoretically, an inexhaustible source of income derived from taxes and duties, and in this way supporting the demand of private companies and the demand of the population – the conditions in which interventionism occurs are neither similar, nor indifferent for the process as such. These conditions depend on the type of country – a Centre or, at least up to now, a Peripheral country9 – and more correctly, they depend on the social structure and especially on the social structure of the political power in each particular case.

There are two types of conditions. One is that of the Centre countries, where the main social class of political power is the bourgeoisie, namely the autonomous owners of private property, so of the economic power. Here, bureaucracy – which is financed from the income derived from State management positions (broadly speaking, from the political management, therefore, also from the parties) – was, as it is described by the classical pattern of Max Weber, subordinated to the main social class holding the economic power, and that is why it was strictly regulated by the law it applied without abatement: precisely this observance of the law conferred legitimacy to bureaucracy (legal counselors, administrators, civil servants), and consequently an economic position.

In these countries, State interventionism did not generally lead to breaches of the law: the management of the state-owned companies followed the normal requirements for obtaining profit and most of these companies have represented the corner stones of economic evolution and of safety for the citizen during the entire post-war period of the welfare state.

Of course, for the neo-liberal economists no State property is profitable and beneficial to economy, but on the contrary, it is inefficient, wasteful and a doubtful source of the raising of bureaucracy. But not only that the State property has generated high economic development for decades – until the neoconservative revolution at the end of the 1970's – but, as it is evidenced by the current crisis, this crisis was generated precisely within and by the property of private companies, through the bankruptcies in the financial and banking system and the motor industry. So that the re-strengthening of the State property within the frame of capitalist relations can be only a solution for the capitalist economy and for the private property10: "the nationalisation of losses" and, once such companies are reinvigorated, the re-privatisation of these companies were not all of these a standard solution for "defeating" the economic cycles?

Therefore and in the opinions focusing only on the Centre type countries – and only at a theoretical level which would simply be based on the historical model, therefore without discussing the general distortion of the social processes, including that of the functioning of bureaucracy during the period of neo-liberal politics which, theoretically, ended with the beginning of the present crisis and which period corresponds to the emphasis of the system crisis – State interventionism (full or partial nationalisations, massive State investments (State orders), subsidies especially for the fundamental research, as well as for he emblematic, strategic and social industries and fields, the pro-rata tax system) seems to be the solution to save the economy.

But there are several types of interventionism. It can be perceived as solution of stage, i.e. intermediary between the neo-liberal economic policies, so between the aggressive moments of the financial system, therefore a bridge of continuity of the capitalist system, or it can be perceived as a disruptive solution in relation to the system. Still nowadays, the global power factors choose, obviously and irrespective of their disagreements, an interventionism subordinated to the goal of system continuity. But this choice is dangerous: at least because it is connected to the nation-State (to the political and economic power related to the control of a certain population and space, thus to the fragmentation of the power, forces, resources, population), therefore connected to protectionism: and we cannot forget that protectionism was also a consequence (or side) of the post 1933 Keynesianism which subsequently lead to the Second World War.

On the other hand, in the Peripheral countries, the social conditions were different. Here, the bourgeoisie was weak and that is why the most powerful category – leaving aside the misalliance with land owners, and not only – was bureaucracy. Dominating the State through its political power (as in Stalinism, and not only, anyhow similar to the situation in Romania during the entire period between 1860’ and 1944), bureaucracy used the State as its own source of economic power. As a result, not the law, but the arbitrariness of bureaucracy represented the framework of the respective societies. In this respect, the corruption of bureaucracy resulted in a predatory attitude towards the State –
"since it belonged to all and to nobody" –, in the inefficient and wasteful management of productive means.

In Romania, lagging-behind in front of the Western world precisely because of its Peripheral nature11, before the Second World War there was no Keynesian policy as such. But there was, of course and abundantly, the exploitation of the state by those holding the political (and economic) power at a certain time.

Proper Keynesianism began, supported by the communist ideology – which, in that historical period, considered that State property would have been not only the sign of passing toward communism (and this thing could be correct in the historical moments of transnational capitalism which already lies under a system crisis, but was not real at the time) but the sign of socialism as such, conceived not as much as a preparatory state of communism but as a system already absolutely opposed to capitalism12 – after 1947. The system was corrupted by the behaviour of bureaucracy which tried to derive economic advantages from its position of political leadership. However, this behaviour was hindered by the socialist values that legitimised the system: the corruption of bureaucracy was less severe than that after 1989. And the interventionist economic politics resulted in huge social acquisitions, including cultural acquisitions, which gave way to an ascending social mobility for most of the population.

State interventionism was systematically and consciously destroyed beginning with 1990. But this does not mean that bureaucracy lost any of its significance. On the contrary. Although, of course, the private individual property appeared in industry, agriculture and the banking system, this fact was not only a result of the robbed State property and of State orders toward ticking private firms (so allowing the escalade of corruption), but it was and is closely related to the political power, to bureaucracy. Because the competition with the Western industry and agriculture is high, therefore because the productive system in Romania cannot absorb the whole labour force, one of the fundamental solutions of this labour force (situated in and belonging to the leading bureaucratic strata) is its active integration within bureaucracy, the observance of bureaucracy rules for obtaining a comfortable social place. And the political fight is as much fiercer as its purpose is to obtain more positions within the central and local administration, within the general budgetary system (especially high office workers, police, army and gendarmerie). This caused and is causing that the waste of State funds, the inefficient organisation, and the losses be so great that the opinions about the fact that only the increase of the role of the State would be the solution to this current crisis are rejected as completely negative.

That is why – and the example of a Peripheral country like Romania would have to be used also in well-developed countries – State interventionism will not be efficient unless it involves at the same time a real democracy (not only a formal one, mimicked and rejected by most of the population), therefore a democratic control of the political and administrative leaders in general, of bureaucracy. If for 20 years after 1990 the bureaucratic character of the State increased with the help and under the protection of the new bourgeoisie, the interventionism necessary for coming out of the crisis may become a stimulus only by simultaneously overcoming the crisis of democracy. This is the only way in which interventionism will not mean the expansion of the bureaucratic power, so of the domination of the bureaucratic mercy.

2.3. Who is leading the “creative destruction”?

Irrespective if we judge a certain factor in an absolutist manner – how fundamental be this factor, such as technologies – or, on the contrary, we refer to several, we know that the changes of this fundamental factor entail, or should entail, a change of all the institutions. This change of institutions, which occurs at the same pace with the disruption of the new technologies within the industrial system in force, covers a period of "creative destruction", as Carlota Perez reminded us Joseph Schumpeter's thesis and formula, namely a period where practical experiences13 determine the abandonment of the old laws, relations and the former social order and, at the same time, they determine the creation of new ones. Carlota Perez considered that this creation starts from the needs of the economic system (as Schumpeter believed – from the innovations introduced by companies), while Karl Polanyi believed that it starts from the needs of the society which integrates an economic system (actually, from the "double movement": that of the movement of society which intends to protect itself and that of the movement of the economic system).

This period is not very short14. But what is truly important is that it is not simply subsequent to the economic decrease and social de-structuring (so subsequent to the present crisis), being determined by these phenomena, but it can be contemporaneous, as the current crisis is suggesting, at least for a while with the crisis itself. Moreover: the more the crisis is controlled by factors which are related to the former institutions, relations and the former economic system, the more the creative destruction occurs later and with more difficulty, and therefore the crisis as such is extended. In this respect, today's holders of political and economic power – irrespective if they are represented by the political bureaucracies of Centre or Peripheral countries, and also irrespective if they are represented by bourgeoisies related, or not, to the power source which is the State –simply seem to be conservative, regardless their formal differences. Because, on the one hand, at least for the present crisis has emphasised that bourgeoisies use the State – their own State or/and other countries’ States (peripheral countries’ especially) – as a power source, and on the other hand, that the political bureaucracies, from any type of country, delay any type of change which might diminish their own power or which would de-structure the private property system15, this one being more and more contradictory to the current level of scientific and technical revolution and to the needs of the global society. Bourgeoisies are related to bureaucracies, to their own or to those from other countries, as well as from the transnational organisations. Bourgeoisies do not anymore represent a progressive and positive factor – such as in Max Weber's pattern, where they seemed to be opposite to the dormant factor represented by bureaucracy – for today's technological development allows, basically and as a tendency, that the division of labour force (in physical and intellectual) be exceeded: and if the labour force does not need to be dominated within the labour process16, it needs even lesser to be dominated within the political domain. Or, especially nowadays, there is a convergence between bourgeoisie and bureaucracy.

Therefore, if those who control economy and politics would impose a change – a non-bureaucratic interventionism, but a democratic one, therefore investments mainly in the social fields which do not bring profit, investments in research and production according to the needs of society at a global level, and not simply investments for changing the relation between production and finance17, as well as a democratic control over decisions and administration – the current crisis would last lesser. But for now, on the contrary, we can notice simply the rescue strategies of the former economic logic. Their argument – as Carlota Perez also thinks – is that you first save the patient and then you change the conditions which caused his illness; but this argument is weak. Because the present decision-makers are oriented only towards maintaining the former status-quo and they does not even mention any real alternative for change: except, of course, variations within the former pattern.

At the same time, it can be noticed that the situation in a country such as Romania can be taken into account as an undesirable model for the behaviour of leaders during a difficult moment. Here, bureaucracy is even more conservative than in the Centre countries, because only the keeping of the lagged-behind level and the postponing of the technical, organisational, social changes maintain its leadership position, and therefore its power. That is why, the rhythm of change is slower than in other places that are setting the pace of the evolution, including due to the fact that the leadership position of bureaucracy in its entirety, as well as in its various factions, depends upon the decisions taken with the forces from outside for maintaining the status of an importing country and of an ally in relation to the global imperial politics. In this respect, the Romanian pattern seems, however, to become general in other types of countries: see the high level corruption examples in well-developed countries and transnational organisations, but also the generalisation of the profit from the casino practice phenomenon, on the detriment of the social and technical creativity.

Finally here, the Romanian example draws our attention that in such countries the inertia of "free market" ideologies and the media offensive in this respect are larger and last more than in the developed countries. That is why, here the "civil society" is not only dominated by the retro voices opposing change (as it also happens in the developed countries), but is exclusively represented by thess voices18.

2.4. Shortcomings of the State interventionism and the problem of labour

The Romanian model is also warning us on the fact that the theory of the new State interventionism must not reiterate the former one. It is not about the support, from public money, of the financial and industrial system where there are many jobs, otherwise lost, but about looking at the economic and social system in its entirety, therefore not simply investing in Internet access and environmental protection19, but investing from the beginning in another type of financial system and in another type of production which "provides jobs". What is the point for the State massively invest in the motor industry, and then, irrespective of how modern and ecological will the cars be, they just won't serve their purpose to transport passengers quickly because the streets will be overcrowded with cars, while the State can invest from the beginning more (but not exclusively, of course) in the common transportation? What is the point for the State to invest in the armament field, for the sake of people who are working in this filed as well as for the “Defence”, while it could invest from the beginning and really for create harmless jobs in ecology, scientific research, education, culture, various social activities (from social assistance activities to leisure time activities)?

How can we talk about redesigning a new financial architecture, when we are discussing only about the transparency of the behaviour of the financial institutions and about the global regulation20, but not about the means to be imposed to these institutions which constitute private property and which pursue theirs profits? Does the pursuit of profits not precisely lead to breaching these social and global requirements? Are only the fiscal policies – which stimulate financial investments in the real economy – enough? Is it not true that the lobby system is extremely powerful, and that the law-maker political bureaucracy and (the financial) bourgeoisie are deeply intertwined?

And is the fiscal stimulation of banks investing in the new ecological production (production which goes hand in hand not only with an increased consumption of ecological products, but also with a new individual, more rational approach of consumption) sufficient in front of the needs of financial and production private units that want to have an increasing hic et nunc consumption?

The new interventionism has not to belong to the State, unavoidably generating competition, protectionism and the continuation of the traditional international relations, but it is/has to be globally coherent, irrespective if at a local level the State and the local governments are managing the concrete policies. But this presupposes from the beginning the restructuring of the international politics. At its turn, this also presupposes the restructuring of the productive relations of the system. For otherwise how can a strict regulation of the environment21 occur if the profit of companies, and of countries, depends on the breach of this regulation, including the perverted form of trade with pollution permits? How can a global22 Keynesianism occur when the competing interests of the countries remain unchanged, related to the competing interests of companies?

The new interventionism does not repeat/has to not repeat the fragmented perspective of the former trade unions and labour parties which fought for their jobs and for the well-being of theirs workers, indifferent at the manner these purposes could achieve (through an imperialist and conflicting politics). The goal to preserve/obtain jobs is related to the objective of considering theirs social consequences – once again, not within the armament and military industry –and their quality: creativity and the personal development provided by labour and, as a mean of these values, of course the size of the remuneration. However, nowadays – the crisis solution lies within the logic of the capitalist economy during the last 35-40 years – jobs are "offered" in exchange with the accepting by the workers of smaller wages, "compensated" by their crediting by banks.

The quantitative and qualitative aim of jobs is indeed of a major significance in the restructuring of economy and society. This aim imposes this restructuring. How else could we request education to answer our needs? (Actually, politicians demand that education should answer the needs of the market, and not the needs of society. But to what market are we referring? Indeed, there are too many lawyers –as in Romania in the interwar period –, and this means that some of them are not able to obtain income from their qualification/job. But there is the market of university – and most of the private universities are especially specialised in law and economy –, and this market, on the contrary, demands an absolute laissez faire regarding the educational treatment of the young people. The pressure of university bureaucracy is stronger – university education being a more and more profitable business – than the pressure of the separated and searching for a job young people.) And is the stimulation, through "fiscal heaven" types of discounts applied to the taxes of banks financing education23, enough, since the profits of these banks are higher when they are crediting a private university, or even a State university, rather when they finance a school for disabled children or a school in the country-side for example?

The technological change – in the context of the new scientific and technological revolution which began in the 1970's – obviously involves the change of labour, therefore the change of the status of the labour force. In order to achieve the aim related to jobs one speaks, in all reason, about professional re-qualification and permanent education (which allows for social mobility). But where are the people who are professionally re-qualified and who are permanent learners supposed to work, and at what qualitative level, if all the jobs can be found in the logic of private property and private profit? What fiscal advantages can the banks supporting research receive – and in this case indeed we can discuss about experiments which only prove how something should not be done, therefore which is not at all profitable24 – if the private financial institutions can obtain more by pursuing their own logic? The end of jobs is certainly not the aim of having "a job for life". But precisely the evolution – as a rule and not as an eccentric example – to, for example25, research in philosophy and then to painting, or to work in ecological teams is difficult to conceive when these activities must be financed from private sources.

How can we emphasise the common goods in the next 20-30 years26 if private property – which pursues profitable goods – remains untouched? And, unfortunately, the social-democrat perspective does not consider the dislocation of private property (and in Romania, neither the attaining of bureaucracy nor the emphasis on the common goods).

The comparison of the current historical moment with the period when the welfare state decisions and the international regulation of the economic development were taken, underlines the possible turning point and disruption as demanded today: at the time, all the organisational innovations occurred within the structural relations, for maintaining and strengthening capitalism (and, au fond, leaving free room for its logic and evolution, up to the virulence of financial capital and the current crisis); nowadays, what is required by the mechanism of technologies, of the labour force and of the interests of society is, on the contrary, a real social innovation, the change of the social organisation, and of the productive relations. This change is the challenge put by the objective phenomena mentioned above to the entire global population and especially to the political leaders.

This challenge must be accepted and properly answered from the beginning: otherwise, a precious time, confiscated from the life of people and society, is wasted, time which can be saved. That is why, not the economic reforms – which are conceived by the leading circles of the world so that to maintain the former power relations – should be a priority today: but the global social reforms for saving millions of people dying and suffering, by paying for the capitalist development27. These social reforms imposed by the urgency of the present situation are those which also determine the re-thinking and restructuring of economic reforms in the sense of changing the system. But for this characteristic of the present social reforms realise, they have not to be conceived as “gifts” on behalf of the same “interior circle” of the power28.

The criterion for evaluate the "overcoming the crisis" is the status of labour and of the whole labour force around the world, and not simply the generalisation of the technical innovations related to ecology and the abolishment of wastefulness. The "recession" may be end: namely, through the inherent concentration and centralisation of capital, more rapid today with the help of the State and through the general decrease of the price of labour force, the profit rate (based, of course, on the usage and promotion of new technologies) begins to increase. But if the status of labour and of the labour force does not change drastically, the global problems will become more severe and a new crisis will light over the horizon.

The core of the representations about the "overcoming the crisis" is thus the democratic/popular control over the world bourgeoisie, and not only over bureaucracy. But if this democratic/popular control is so ardently on the map, and on a global level, its opponents elude it. Let’s therefore participate to the “creative destruction”.




1 Professor, Polytechnic University of Bucharest

2 Or a "normal correction of the excesses" of the liberal economy, with the normal "collateral damages" represented by the majority of the global labour force.

3 Actually, they begin with Aristotle. See also Ana Bazac, "Aristotle and the labour force. Aristotle’s tradition in the present-day industrial revolution ideology", in Revue roumaine de philosophie, 1-2, 2004, pp. 87-106.

4 Carlota Perez, After crisis: creative construction, 5 - 03 – 2009, and

The global crisis is an unavoidable moment in a technology long wave: an optimistic view from Carlota Perez,

5 These last relations mean that the capitalist system is a global one, therefore, that exploitation occurs not only within a country, but also between countries, or, more correctly, between different types of structures of political organisation.

6 Because the Centre countries were those leading the process of global generalisation of capitalism, the periodisation reflects the movement of these countries.

7 The criterion we use for analysing "globalisation" – which means the constitution of the transnational capital – is not the generalisation and increase of global commerce and capital exports, but the relation between capital and labour force. Most of the industrial merchandise sold by Great Britain in 1900 was produced by British workers, the relation between the (industrial) capital and the labour force was a national/State, internal one. Nowadays, the labour force is transnational, as the capital is.


8 That evidences the irresolvable contradictions of the old social order, but that also establish the elements of the new system.

In this sense, the current crisis is also an illustration of the system crisis which began to emerge together with the swiftness of globalisation: in other words, even if globalisation represented a means of strengthening capitalism, it itself revealed the fact that not even the advantages of trans-nationalisation and not even the international regulations can resolve the global problems if the capitalist pattern of the social relations is maintained.

9 With all the differencies between types of Centre countries and between types of Peripheral countries.

10 State property is a private property. Even the existence as such of various States – which all pursue their economic profit (irespective if they call it profit or not), consequently, they compete among themselves – allows us to understand this aspect.

11 This nature being generated, at its turn, by the mixture of the Centre-Periphery relations on global scale and the internal social structure and rapport de forces.

12 Which is contrary to reality: socialism from that time – having a social structure where the party and State bureaucracy have taken over the functions of the traditional dominant classes: that of constraining, through their power, the labour force, and that of realising the exploitation relations (irrespective if consequently to this exploitation much of the wealth was distributed for social expenses) – was an isotope of State capitalism. (See also Ana Bazac, "Capitalismul de stat socialist" (Socialist State capitalism), in Lumea nouă, 2, May, 1999, 30-47; "Capitalismul birocratic retardat şi capitalismul retardat al burgheziei dominante" (The bureaucratic lagged-behind capitalism and the lagged-behind capitalism of bourgeoisie in a dominant status), in Lumea Nouă, 3-4, 1999, p. 106-114; "Octombrie, capitalismul birocratic, stalinismul şi stânga (I)" (October, the bureaucratic capitalism, Stalinism and the left (I)), in Lumea nouă, 6, 2000, p. 41-45.)


13 It is the market that chooses between supplies of different products, in fact being achieved only the innovations which were based on the involvement of the financial system by crediting the production of such innovations.

14 It is for about 30 years, this interval being evidenced by Carlota Perez on the basis of historical data.

But see also Ervin Lászlo, WorldShift 2012: Co-creating the foundations of a peaceful, just and sustainable world by the end of 2012,, where there are the following ideas: the world is in a state of global urgency, that meaning that there is an opportunity window for changing the present trend of the acceleration and intertwining of crises, and that this window became more and more narrower as the common issue of crises aggravate toward ireversibility.

We have to note, as a main feature of the present stage of crisis, the high world instability determined by the contradictions generated by the increase of the global labour force, the pressure of the world leading strata to keep it in a state propitious to exploit it as cheap, unqualified labour force and, on the other hand, the tendency of the scientific and technical revolutions to involve a more qualified and, thus, conscious labour force.

15 The abolishment of the system of private property is not equivalent with the abolishment of the economic principle of demand and supply, but merely with the abolishment of the capitalist principle – where the relation is not between demand and supply, but between solvable demand and profitable supply.

16 Do not confuse cooperation and division of labour within the cooperation process with the division between physical and intellectual labour, where there are domination relations between the two types of labour.

17 Carlota Perez, After crisis, creative construction: once more, to subordinate finance to the production linked to the development of new technologies.

18In Romania, the only left-wing allowed – immediately from 1990, including during the social-democratic governance – was precisely and only social-democracy. No matter here how marginal would be the left-wing currents at the left of social-democracy in other countries, at least they exist and appear in the media.

19 Carlota Perez, After crisis, creative construction.

20 Ibidem.

21 Ibidem.

22 See Willy Brandt Commission Report, North-South: A Programme for Survival (1977), Cambridge, MIT Press, 1980

23 Carlota Perez, After crisis, creative construction.

24 See also the research in history: however necessary and as many as young people are interested in this field, it does not generate profits (as the other humanistic fields, moreover), and that is why it receives so very little funding.

25 But let’s remember Marx (The German Ideology (1845), Part I…, History, “while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic”.

26 Carlota Perez, After crisis, creative construction.

27 See this idea in François Houtard, Après le capitalisme, quelles alternatives, Conférence publique, Fribourg, May 2009,

28 For – let’s remember once again Marx (Critique of the Gotha Programme (1875), I, - „Any distribution whatever of the means of consumption is only a consequence of the distribution of the conditions of production themselves”.