Towards a new economic system for the 21st century | Business and Economy


In his Prison Notebooks, the Italian revolutionary Antonio Gramsci writes: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.

Today, it is precisely the world economy which finds itself in full interregnum. The postwar model of economic growth that produced the golden age of capitalism is long gone, but a new economic system is not yet born.

Morbid symptoms abound: intense and growing inequality, massive unemployment and extreme idleness of young people in many parts of the world, rapidly declining living standards, dangerously high levels of public and corporate debt, a financial system which remains unbalanced, and ecological collapse.

In addition, the global economy not only continues to depend on fossil fuels to fuel growth, but is in fact increasing the consumption of primary energy sources – such as coal, oil and natural gas – despite the warming phenomenon. climate that threatens to destroy man. civilization as we know it.

Indeed, the existing economic model is obsolete: consider also the fact that productivity growth in the advanced economies of the world since the eruption of the financial crisis of 2008 has been extremely slow in absolute terms and compared to previous decades. But the model remains deadly dangerous.

Why a new deal is not enough

In light of the aforementioned reasons, many economists around the world, including Thomas Piketty, have proposed the implementation of a new global agreement on growth in the mold of Franklin D Roosevelt’s “New Deal” programs over the years. 1930.

The call for a New Deal has also been adopted by several political movements in Europe and the United States, including Bernie Sanders and many of his supporters.

Capitalism is a rather new historical economic system that belongs to a certain era of humanity, which means that there is no indication that it will be there forever.

The problem with this approach is that a new global deal is inevitably structured towards the goal of saving the existing economic system, not overcoming its ultimate contradictions and replacing it with a new socio-economic order, which is today. huithe world really needs it.

Roosevelts The New Deal, arguably the largest experiment in active state intervention under capitalism, saved many peoples lives, but the Great Depression didn’t even end.

What really ended the Great Depression in the United States was the mobilization of all economic resources to support the war effort.

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Roosevelt’s New Deal neither advocated nor promoted economic democracy, nor sought to lay the foundations for the emergence of a more rational socio-economic order.

Indeed, when concerns about inflation and the federal deficit became widespread only a few years after the launch of the New Deal programs, the Roosevelt administration decided in 1937 to reduce its economic stimulus, which caused the economy to fall back. US economy in recession.

We need a new economic system

Unless we are prepared to accept social disintegration, increased conflict and even wars as irreversible processes, and we sit idly by while global warming caused by the logic of a fossil fuels destroying the planet, the current system of neoliberal transnational corporate capitalism must be replaced by an economic order aligned with human interests and sustainable and balanced growth.

Concretely, this means moving away from the processes of constant accumulation of capital, of possessive individualism and of economic globalization.

It also means ending the destructive practices of Western industrial extractive technologies and respecting the natural resources that support life.

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Economic globalization, which is at the heart of the current economic system, favors a monoculture economy and has devastating effects on the well-being of most communities in the South and on the environment.

Ending the current dynamics and contradictions of economic globalization does not mean eliminating international trade. But what is needed is to do away with the neoliberal trade treaties, which have given global corporations and banks such immense wealth and power that they can promote their own interests without worrying about democracy, human rights. workers and sustainability.

As such, we need to rethink terms such as development, growth and progress.

In this case, a revolution of consciousness is mandatory for a big change to occur in the way the world economy works and the future we want.

Capitalism is a rather new historical economic system that belongs to a certain era of humanity, which means that there is no indication that it will be there forever.

The new economic system should be based on localized forms of industry, finance, participatory democracy and the use of technologies that are in accordance with the needs of the community for the production and distribution of food in order to eradicate poverty and hunger and provide sustainable livelihoods.

This revolution of consciousness is already underway and has been embraced by millions of people in the developed and developing world, especially among urban youth, and may soon become the most recent political and social movement to emerge as the he old system is dying and a new one struggles to be born.

CJ Polychroniou is a political economist / political scientist who has taught and worked for many years at universities and research centers in Europe and the United States.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Al Jazeera.