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Where is the Outcry?

When the social contract, the social compromise between labor and capital, is scorned, people become wolves to one another. When human dignity, interdependence and criticism are trivialized, the economy as a steamroller commodifies and distorts all life.

Sheer anarchy prevails in the global economy. Greed corrodes the brains of the rulers. A fit of rage

By Heiner Geissler

[This article originally published in: DIE ZEIT, 47/2004 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,  http://zeus.zeit.de/text/2004/47/Ohnmacht_2fArbeiter.]

"Capital has expropriated the population, centralized the means of production and concentrated property in a few hands. Workers who have to sell themselves little by little are a commodity like every other article and therefore exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition and all the fluctuations of the market."
Karl Marx/ Friedrich Engels, 1848, "Manifesto of the Communist Party"

146 years later tens of thousands of workers - as though there had never been a civilizing of the class struggle - wait for the next blow from the executive floors of General Motors, Aventis, Volkswagen and Continental that will carry them into unemployment and then with the help of politics to the lowest rung of the social ladder.

Fear goes about in Europe, not the specter of communism - coupled with rage, disgust and deep mistrust toward the political, economic and scientific elites who like those responsible in the time of the transition from feudalism to the industrial society are obviously incapable of organizing the inevitable globalization of the economy in a human way.

Rather appealing to alleged laws of the market, they promote an anarchic economic order that stops at nothing. 100 million people in Europe and the US threatened by unemployment and 3 billion poor who together have less income than the 400 richest families of the earth accuse the disciples of a shareholder-value economy who know no values beyond supply and demand, further speculation and hinder long-term investors. They accuse the statesmen of the western world who let themselves be extorted by the multinational corporations and are played off against one another. They accuse an opinion cartel of economics professors and journalists who think a human society must function like DaimlerChrysler and stubbornly refuse to recognize that the market must be ordered and observe global rules and that wage-dumping destroys the quality of labor and products.

Workers in industrial states and their unions who stand with their backs to the wall in the face of mass unemployment feel delivered up to anonymous forces governed by people whose brains are corroded by greed for money. People live and work in a globalized economy that is a world of anarchy - without rules, without laws and without social agreements, a world where businesses, large banks and the whole "private sector" can act in an unregulated way. The globalized economy is a world where criminals and drug dealers work free and unbound and terrorists are partners in a gigantic financial industry and thus finance their murderous attacks.

Where is the outcry of the SPD, the CDU and the churches against an economic system in which mammoth corporations buy up healthy smaller firms like Kadus in the south Black Forest with its inventory and personnel as though they were slave ships from the 18th century and then close them for market purification or to increase capital profits and market value and thus destroy the economic existence of thousands together with their families? The ugly grimace of an immoral and economically false capitalism appears when the market value and the managers' salaries - coupled to the stock price - rise higher the more people are rationalized away. The just but helpless anger of wage-earners is directed against the shameless enrichment of managers whose "earnings", as even FAZ (Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung) writes, consist in destroying billions of assets and jobs through grave mistakes.

The triumphant howl of the Federal association of German industries about the low-wage competition from the East must sound like an insult to marginalized persons and persons threatened by marginalization by the political and economic establishment as neo-Nazi and communists when they vote for radical parties because there is no opposition any more and they see themselves confronted with a great coalition that manifestly confuses the republic with a butcher's shop in which the social flesh is cut so deeply that blood only spurts. The alternative would have been freeing wages from non-wage labor costs through citizen insurance and tax financing. Only idiots and know-it-alls could persuade people that solidarity and partnership could be put at risk in the long run in a society without having to pay a political price for that sometime. Why is it put under a taboo and hushed up that there is an alternative to the present economic system: an international social-ecological market economy with orderly competition?


Production and service are impossible without people even in a global economy. Now production factors like creativity and knowledge are added. However the tension between humans and capital remains. Communists want to dissolve the conflict by eliminating capital and liquidating the owners of capital. As everybody knows, they failed in that effort. Today capital dominates labor. Capitalism is presently just as false as communism once was.

The dance around the golden calf is already a disaster.

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Who writes this way? 17.Nov.2004 10:07

only comment

Are all Germans so brainy? Such looong sentences and big words. And constantly involking a faceless "capital" as the enemy. Just call Cheney a stinking greedy bastard and get on with it.

Boycott the Bush economy!!

... 17.Nov.2004 14:38


No, it's just Americans are ignorant, inarticulate, and illiterate.

You may have noticed all the "smart guy" jobs are moving to India.