Mar 04, 2024
Mar 04, 2024
There is growing soul searching in democracies across the world. There has arisen a crisis of democracy that cannot be ignored. After the global economic crisis this soul searching began. America and Britain no less than nations in the developing world are beginning to look askance at the system of governance under which they live. The very foundations of democracy are being questioned. The Left is crowing. Socialists see Karl Marx’s prophesy at last being vindicated. Capitalism they claim is collapsing. Their elation may be premature. The current crisis may not end in the collapse of capitalism but in the resurgence of democracy.
|If greed corrupts big business, dictatorial power equally corrupts politicians.
There is a popular song by the British Austerity All-star band that is being widely circulated on the Net. The catch phrase of the song says it all: “B*gger the bankers and the politicians.” The greed of finance capitalists that led to the economic meltdown is plain for all to see. Karl Marx had predicted that human greed, private capital and an economy fueled by the profit motive would lead to disaster. But in offering his solution poor Marx went horribly wrong. He went wrong precisely for the opposite reason for which he was proved right. His prediction about the crisis of capitalism proved right because he read a trait of human nature correctly. His solution went wrong because he read other traits of human nature incorrectly.
If greed corrupts big business, dictatorial power equally corrupts politicians. The concept of creating a dictatorship of the proletariat was dangerously naive. If only Marx had considered democracy of the proletariat the history of the socialist movement might have been different. The human instinct for survival and the human impulse for freedom might prove too strong for democracy and capitalism to collapse. The weakness of the present system will undoubtedly lead to reform that brings market economy back on the rails. As yet no game changing systemic reform has surfaced. It undoubtedly will. The new information era suggests not the demise of democracy but its resurgence in new and unimagined ways.
This writer of course has offered his simple solution. Create the Workers’ Sector of the economy that might compete through open and fair competition with private and state capitalist economy. The new sector could co-exist with private and government owned units without disturbing them. But both would have to face competition from the Workers’ Sector. Because profit motive leads to greed Marx suggested abolishing all capitalists. Because profit offers incentive this writer proposes making every worker a capitalist. Providing ownership rights and profit sharing would dramatically enhance productivity. Need one remind readers once more how much better Mother Dairy and Amul are performing against foreign multinationals compared to privately owned firms? A market economy at the macro-level and a Workers’ Sector at the micro-level might well be the magic formula to revive democracy and capitalism.
To test this prescription there is opportunity currently available. The privately owned Kingfisher Airline as well as the government owned Air India is in crisis. If the employees of Air India were to take over control of the airline in the form of a Workers’ Sector unit one predicts that they would succeed spectacularly. Will the government and the pilots show enough daring and initiative to experiment? If they do they might transform market economy!
More by : Dr. Rajinder Puri
|You do not factor in global climate change that is wreaking havoc over the surface of the planet, causing drought and excessive rainfall, forest fires and flooding; and no measures by the worst polluters to scale down. It seems to me any realistic talk of the future must focus primarily on common interests of all nations in this context, and to talk less of take, the profit motive, than of give, the sacrifice motive. .
To talk of democracy and capitalism as though these were concepts locked in a time capsule is unrealistic. The profit motive has been worked to its logical conclusion in bankers' greed; any fresh shoots such as you propose in workers' capitalism will inevitably grow into the same animal. We have the idea preambled in workers' unions in a capitalist context that were originally intended for the upholding of workers' rights, yet which time and again has proven to be a tool of workers' greed, withdrawal of services to cause the utmost disruption for excessive pay rise demands.
Realistically, big business today is an engine designed for the specific function of making profits that are not selfish, but through taxation supporting of the economy of the nation. The efficient mangement of funds gleaned by taxation from the profits of businesses, including banks, by government for the welfare of the people of the nation is what it boils down to. The profit motive is linked to taxation. This is the dimension of give in that of take.