By Bhabani Shankar Nayak *
Rising unemployment, hunger and homelessness are the direct products of neoliberal economic policies followed by states and governments around the world. Neoliberal capitalist reincarnations have failed to give dignity even to the growing number of corpses in disposable bags as a result of Covid-19.
The master of neoliberal prophecies and their prophets like Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, advocate a reassessment of the world economic system based on the neoliberal ideology of free market fundamentalism, which has led to the emergence of monopolies global companies at the cost of eroded workers’ rights and people’s economic security.
Such criminal confessions of the schibboleths of the neoliberal architecture of the capitalist classes are part of the strategy to revive the legitimacy of a criminal economic and political system which has taken away the dignity of human life and destroyed the planet in search of profit. .
It has destabilized countries and pushed regions into war and conflict in the name of the spread of free market democracy; the other name of neo-colonialism, which creates inequalities on a global scale.
Schwab advocates for sustainable development and green businesses for economic recovery to launch the “fourth industrial revolution” using technology and digitization and secure our collective commitment to capitalism.
He further argues that social progress is the result of capitalist entrepreneurship, the efficient allocation of resources by market forces and the risk-taking capacities of capitalists. These arguments are not only factually incorrect, but also based on myopia driven by a fraudulent economic system ideology called capitalism. There is not an iota of truth in this.
Schwab’s contradictory ideas are not based on his ignorance or lack of knowledge. It is based on a long tradition of capitalist propaganda and its diversionary strategies. Deception is a crime but innate to capitalism as an economic, political, social and cultural system.
Capitalism produces social miseries, economic alienation and political marginalization, which destroys all forms of social progress based on science and technology by allying with reactionary religious and authoritarian forces.
The democratic deficit is part of the neoliberal free market economy that destroys the capacities of states and governments to seek the social and economic well-being of their citizens. Its concerns for climate change and the green economy are questionable as capitalism grows by destroying the environment and exploiting people.
Therefore, human dignity, freedom, democracy and sustainable development are not concomitant with capitalism as an ideology of exploitation. The new type of capitalism with a human and green face is another propaganda to mask the inhumanity of capitalism in all its forms. The pragmatic stages of capitalism are deadlocked. Capitalism can never be resilient, consistent and sustainable.
The World Economic Forum devised a set of “Stakeholder Capitalism Measures” at its 2020 annual meeting in Davos. The heart of these values is based on environmental and social governance. Governance indicates transparency, accountability and the rule of law. The rule of law is designed by the ruling classes and makes it compatible with the demands of the capitalist classes.
Neoliberal economic policies and its austerity plans are dead, but its political infrastructure is alive and well and thriving
Accountability and transparency are two dangers for capitalism. Therefore, capitalism does not engage in any responsible and transparent system. But unfortunately, the whole model of neoliberal governance is designed to protect the shareholders of capitalism.
It is also not responsible to the work and the environment which produce profit for capitalism. Enduring values are anathema to capitalism. It destroys everything that is durable.
Profit under capitalism is not based on creative destruction. It is based on the absolute annihilation of all the creative capacities of work and of nature. It requires repetitive work, which operates under a regulatory regime based on compliance. Dead capital is free but works with life in bondage. He treats labor and nature as commodities.
Neoliberal economic policies and its austerity plans are dead, but the neoliberal political infrastructure is alive and well and thriving. Authoritarian and right-wing political regimes are developing and giving a respite to capitalism at the cost of lives and the environment.
Therefore, any form of economic re-imagining of an economic alternative must reinvent the political system. Alternative political economy in the post-pandemic world must focus on the conditions of production, distribution and exchange relations. The market can be based on the direct relationship between producers and consumers using information technology.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution and its economic system must follow models of worker cooperatives based on human needs and desires concomitant with environmental sustainability. These principles are fundamental for the “Grand Repos” of the post-pandemic economy, politics and society.
Shared progress, peace, prosperity, human health and dignity, and environmental sustainability depend on human capacities to overthrow capitalism and its rotten system. The survival of the planet, of the peoples and of prosperity depends on the forward march of humanity towards the ideals of equality, freedom, justice, fraternity in a world free from all forms of exploitation.
* Coventry University, UK