1968 and 1989: The Two Fundamental Dates of Turbo-Capitalism

Capitalism dialectically overcomes the antagonistic demands of the proletariat (class struggle, spirit of splitting, partisan organizations, revolutionary passion); and it does so by anesthetizing its consciousness in a consumerist sense, but also by “economizing” the conflict (since the 1970s, the proletariat fights for higher wages and not for overcoming the mode of production, thus metabolizing the ideology of capital as an ineluctable horizon). Simultaneously, capitalism overcomes the bourgeois “unhappy consciousness.” In fact, this also represents, no less than the vindicatory and potentially revolutionary antagonism of the proletariat, a contradiction within capitalism; and this above all, if we consider that the bourgeoisie: a) presents its own universalist vocation which can lead it—as in the case of Marx—to contest the historical capitalist world in which it is still the dominant class; and b) has a non-marketable valuational and ethical sphere and, therefore, ultimately incompatible with the processes of omni-mercantilization proper to absolute capitalism.

The bourgeoisie is, consequently, incompatible with absolute capitalism, just as the latter is, by its essence, irreconcilable with the bourgeois class, both on the immaterial plane (unhappy consciousness) and on the material plane (properties of the middle classes). In reality, turbo-capital presupposes the happy unconsciousness of the resilient, post-bourgeois and post-proletarian consumers, and the destruction of the material bases of the very existence of the bourgeois middle class by the work of the auri sacra fames of cosmopolitan finance and its cynical managers. The bourgeoisie and the proletariat, in their dialectical conflictuality, had developed within the framework of eticity in the Hegelian sense; that is, in the real and symbolic space of the solid and solidary “roots” of community life, linked to the family and the school, to the trade union and the sovereign national State.

By making the world of life precarious, mobilizing, uprooting and completely commercializing it, absolute-totalitarian capitalism provokes the “dejectification,” the annihilation of the sittlich element. It deconstructs any residual community other than the intrinsically anti-communitarian one of the ephemeral do ut des of the market. It neutralizes the family and the unions, the school and the sovereign national state. And it produces the open space of the world reduced to a market and inhabited only by uprooted and homologated consumers, without proletarian antagonistic consciousness and without bourgeois unhappy consciousness.

The post-traditional society, according to Giddens’ expression, becomes a deregulated market, in whose borderless spaces social classes dissolve in the false interclassism of “homologated consumers,” who have as many rights as they can buy. The 1968 ideology—confusing the struggle against the bourgeoisie with the struggle against capitalism—acts as a symbolic order of reference for the new absolute-totalitarian capitalism, itself 1968-ist in its struggle against any legacy of bourgeois ethical life and in its anarcho-deregulating essence. For this reason, as Michéa suggests, since 1968, the Left has been transformed into “a simple political machine destined to culturally legitimize, in the name of progress and modernization, all the forward escapades of liberal civilization.”

With 1968 came the divorce between the Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism. The latter, from ascetic and disciplinary (i.e., bourgeois), became permissive and transgressive (i.e., post-bourgeois), along the inclined plane that leads from the rebel to the narcissist and from the revolution to the new age. The formal subsumption of the adversarial couple under capital is verified: Right and Left advance more and more towards the horizon of capital, mutually accepted as natural-eternal destiny. De-anticized and precarious, society becomes a simple consumer society, a planetary “system of needs” (Hegel) and an unlimited “commercial society” (Adam Smith); a cosmopolitan market populated no longer by citizens of nation states and by fathers and mothers, but only by competitors; competitors who, in the absence of any community spirit, relate only on the basis of the principles theorized by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations—the omni-lateral dependence of necessity and acquisitive egoism—in relation to the brewer, the butcher and the baker. Following the Hegel of Elements of the Philosophy of Right, a society stripped of the elements of “eticity” (Sittlichkeit) decays into a mere and competitive “system of needs” (System der Bedürfnisse); that is, a simple place of mercantile exchange, governed by the “unsociable sociability” of conflictual atoms that relate only to compete and exchange goods, according to what Alain Caillé has called the axiomatique de l’intérêt.

On the side of intellectual production, the “unhappy consciousness” has dissolved. And, in place of the dialectical class of the bourgeoisie, a global class has taken over that is no longer bourgeois but ultra-capitalist, inclined to frivolously accept the “polytheism of values” and consumerist lifestyles within the “iron cage” of the idolatrous monotheism of the market. It is what, in Historia y conciencia del precariado, we have called the new post-bourgeois, post-proletarian and ultra-capitalist “financial aristocracy;” it is, in short, a class that, bearer of postmodern happy unconsciousness, lives in a parasitic and usurocratic manner, exploiting the slave labor of the dominated class.

For its part, the dominated class (so far not “per se”) coincides with the aforementioned precariat, dynamic fusion of the old bourgeois middle class and the old proletarian working class. The dissolution of the alliance between the unhappy bourgeois consciousness and the struggles for the recognition of menial labor is dialectically reversed in the passive acceptance of the capitalist world frame as irreversible horizon, making its own the “sad passion” of resilience. The planetarized market society of capitalism absolutus no longer knows any social resistance (it lacks a class that contradicts its project), nor political opposition (Right, Left and Center share the same ultra-capitalist vision of the world), nor philosophical delegitimization (with rare exceptions, intellectuals, devoid of “unhappy consciousness,” are today “organic”—in the Gramscian sense—to the system in force, to its relativistic nihilism and its competitive individualism).

The proletariat was dominated but not subdued. In fact, it had its own conceptual maps, largely coinciding with those of the Left in its various historical figures, capable of unmasking class domination and proposing paths of emancipation that would lead to making the cosmos transcend capitalist morphology. On the contrary, the precariat (national-popular servant) is both dominated and subjugated. And it is so to the extent that, in addition to suffering material domination (id est, exploitation and its economic-political organization), it also endures the immaterial and ideological, guided by the same maps provided by the dominant plutocratic groups. In them, the figure of the conflict—now only apparent—between Right and Left plays a role of primary importance. In short, if in dialectical capitalism the Right was theoretically the part of the master and the Left was primarily that of the servant; in turbo-capitalism Right and Left are equally the parts through which the dominion of the master is legitimized. The servant is now represented neither politically nor culturally; i.e., he is dominated in politics and culture as well as in economics.

According to the maps of domination outlined above, “progress” is the name that the pedagogues of the new mental order of culmination of power relations assign to everything that favors the dominant pole. On the contrary, “return” (or “regression”) is the infamous qualification with which the order of the dominant discourse delegitimizes any figure of the limit or, even simply, of non-alignment with respect to the omni- enveloping advance of the commodity form and the reification of the world of life.
According to what we have explained in Minima mercatalia and in Glebalizzazione, 1968 and 1989 mark, successively, two nodal stages of the evolutionary dialectic of capitalism in its transit from the dialectical phase to the absolute. It is from 1960 onwards that we witness the mise en forme of the diverse but equally expressive processes of the Zeitgeist of the new spirit of capitalism: (a) of the eclipse of the unhappy bourgeois consciousness; (b) of the neutralization of the anti-capitalist utopia of the proletariat, now “economicized;” and (c ) of the new anti-bourgeois and ultra-capitalist physiognomy of a new Left which, abandoning Marx and Lenin, has gradually become a “radical mass party” and accepting the reasons of the new order of power relations, which has finally ended up reabsorbing it. The hodierna speculative phase is ultra-capitalist precisely because it is anti-bourgeois first (1968) and post-bourgeois later (1989).

Beyond the irreducible prismatic heterogeneity of the events that have characterized 1968 on a planetary scale, we believe—following in the wake of Preve and of what we have examined in more detail in Minima mercatalia and in Il futuro è nostro—that it is possible to identify a common expressive function. Illusorily hailed as a revolutionary process of opposition to the capitalist structure, 1968 asks to be interpreted, in a diametrically opposed way, as the foundational myth of post-bourgeois and post-proletarian absolute-totalitarian capitalism; and more precisely as the decisive transit point from the dialectical to the speculative phase. The latter is characterized by the eclipse of the two instances (as well as of their alliance) of the anti-capitalist struggle of the servant and of the unhappy conscience of the bourgeoisie and, as a whole, by the substitution of the patriarchal and authoritarian dialectical capitalism for citizen-subjects, by the current turbo-capitalism of the new liberal-libertarian power for consumers with total deregulation (the gauchiste capitalism of the “forbidden to forbid” and of the plus ultra). Exemplum sui generis of the “color revolution,” 1968 was a decisive moment of emancipation not from capitalism, but for capitalism. This was aimed at overcoming the oppositional dichotomy between bourgeoisie and proletariat, and certainly not in the direction of the “sun of the future” of a post-capitalist society governed by relations between equally free individuals, but in the direction of an individualistic liberalization of consumption and customs; and this in the framework of a new capitalism no longer inhabited by bourgeois and proletarians, with their “eticity,” with their non-marketable values and their possible emancipatory anti-capitalism, but only by post-identitarian and Robinsonian consumers, colonized by a commodity form that has now become the new raison du monde.

Since the 1960s, the Left fought against the foundations of modern bourgeois civilization, without realizing that this battle was the same one waged by the new capitalism and its aspiration for the creation of a post-bourgeois space for the unlimited free circulation of commodities, of marketized persons and of the deregulated flows of liquid-financial capital: the struggle against the bourgeois world not only did not coincide with the struggle against capitalism, but finally ended up being identified with the struggle for capitalism itself or, rectius, for its definitive empowerment through the overcoming of the contradictions inherent to the dialectical phase and, therefore, for the transition to the new post-bourgeois and post-proletarian turbo-capitalism, beyond Right and Left.

With 1989, the movement of “naturalization” of capital could be considered complete (capitalismus sive natura): capitalism becomes “speculative,” as humanity sees itself reflected in the speculum of the totalitarian world of commodities. And so it is, more and more, induced to conceive it as the only possible world, in a total desertification of the imaginary. Capitalism then comes to correspond to its own “concept” (Begriff) after having gone through and overcome its own being-other-of-itself with the antithetical-dialectical phase.

As we tried to show in detail in Glebalizzazione, the annus horribilis of 1989 coincided with the epochal date of the imposition of capitalismus sive natura, that is, of economic fanaticism and planetary classism ideologically hypostasized in inescapable destiny or in nature already forever given, neither criticizable nor transformable: there is no alternative. It is the moment of the definitive dissolution of the bourgeoisie-proletariat and Right-Left dichotomies, according to the dynamics initiated in 1968 and culminated in 1989. The subsumption of the Left under capital, which with 1968 was formal and coexisted with fragments of a Left not yet integrated, was transformed into a real subsumption as of 1989, when the Left was completely reabsorbed within the horizon of meaning of capitalism and its progressive neoliberalism. It lives it as a natural and eternal horizon, producing an endless series of anthropological profiles worthy of the “last man” described by Nietzsche and classifiable under the headings of “disenchantment,” “repentance” and “conversion.”

Along with bourgeois culture, the very contradictory presence of the Soviet Union marked a limit for capital. And, as such, it had to be overcome. The Soviet Union and the Weltdualismus it made possible (cuius regio, eius oeconomia) constituted, in fact, a real and symbolic frontier for the market economy: they signaled that this was not the only possible world, nor the only one that really existed. On the other hand, the famous “thirty glorious years” of the West, from 1945 to 1975, with almost full employment and relative prosperity, from which even the less well-off classes benefited in part, were not the gift of a still munificent capitalism with a human face. Rather, they were the necessary effect of the pressure exerted by the reality beyond the Berlin Wall, an alternative model of social justice and existence. The communism implanted behind the “Curtain” was the very image of a possible alternative, or also of the real existence of the Left—albeit in a place other than the West—and the possibility of thinking and being otherwise. With 1989, the total subsumption of the Right and the Left under capital was consummated: both, from that moment on, integrally metabolized capitalism as an ineluctable destiny and the “struggle” between the two parties was fought, from then on, in the form of competition to become worthy of implementing the mere management—sometimes to the Right, sometimes to the Left—of the reforms decided by the global class and by the mercantilist order.


Diego Fusaro is professor of the History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre ReturnsThis article appears courtesy of Posmodernia.


European Suicide: The Economic War against Russia

The Goals of the German Federal Government and the Current Situation

The Federal Government dreams of a comprehensive integration of Ukraine into the EU and a prosperous post-war Ukraine. A “confidential memorandum” of the London School of Economics, commissioned jointly by the Foreign and Economic Ministries, envisages a driving private sector run reconstruction backed by active German industrial policy [Luke Cooper, After the Ukraine Recovery Conference 2023: Lessons and themes for 2024. Confidential Memo. London School of Economics, 2023]. Technology transfer should play a central role. The state protects the private sector’s risk—investments. The memo provides close cooperation with USAID and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, which is close to the leading Social Democratic Party. According to the memo, reconstruction is in the interests of large German companies. So the plan is to set up an extended workbench in Ukraine as a low-wage country. But the dreams of a “new Singapore in Kiev” only show the government coalition in Berlin’s loss of reality [“A Singapore in Kiev”—that was the tenor of a confidential technical discussion at government level in autumn 2023]. Apparently, the external costs for the German taxpayer are not even evaluated.

That is why I want to present the economic consequences of the Ukraine war based on the studies and forecasts known so far. This includes the dimensions of war, the economic situation of Ukraine, the consequences of a possible EU-membership of Ukraine, the sanction’s impact on Russia, its impact on the German economy, the economic and geostrategic reasons for the Ukraine-war, winners and losers of a “European suicide” and the goverment’s options.

1. Dimensions of War

“War is never an isolated act,” wrote Carl von Clausewitz [On War, Book I, Chapter1, 7]. It must be seen in a political context. In addition to the military dimension, there is also the economic war and the propaganda battle.

1.1. Military Dimension

The military and geostrategic dimension refers to operations on the battlefield, i.e., what the British call “theater of war.” This also concerns the situation in Poland, the Baltics, Romania and around the Black Sea. The war in Gaza also interferes with the Ukraine-Russia conflict. This particularly addresses the Washington’s pressure to drag Germany ever deeper into this war. Soon it will probably be said: “Germans to the front!”—as was the case with the Boxer Rebellion in Quingdao (Tsingtau) in 1900. The discussion about the delivery of German “Taurus” cruise missiles is also ongoing. If the Ukrainians, as expected, attack the Kerch Bridge, this could trigger a massive escalation. What Clausewitz could not yet overlook at the beginning of the 19th century was the risk of nuclear confrontation. This is pointed out by US political scientist John J. Mearsheimer [“A Russian victory significantly reduces the threat of nuclear war, as nuclear escalation is most likely when Ukrainian forces achieve battlefield victories and threaten to recapture all or most of the territory Kiev lost to Moscow. The Russian leadership would certainly seriously consider using nuclear weapons to salvage the situation”], as well as experienced military officials, such as the former Inspector General of the Bundeswehr general Harald Kujat [“However, if one of the two sides assesses the situation differently, which is unlikely, such a wrong decision could have catastrophic consequences for the European continent. Because according to the current doctrines, each side would try to avert an impending conventional defeat through the first use of nuclear weapons”].

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told the EU Parliament on September 7, 2023 that Putin had proposed foregoing NATO expansion in exchange for not invading Ukraine. According to Stoltenberg, the Russian President sent NATO a draft treaty in autumn 2021 that NATO should sign:

“The background was that President Putin declared in the autumn of 2021, and actually sent a draft treaty that they wanted NATO to sign, to promise no more NATO enlargement. That was what he sent us. And was a pre-condition for not invade Ukraine. Of course, we didn’t sign that. The opposite happened. He wanted us to sign that promise, never to enlarge NATO. He wanted us to remove our military infrastructure in all Allies that have joined NATO since 1997, meaning half of NATO, all the Central and Eastern Europe, we should remove NATO from that part of our Alliance, introducing some kind of B, or second-class membership. We rejected that. So, he went to war to prevent NATO, more NATO, close to his borders” [Jean Stoltenberg: “Opening remarks” at the joint meeting of the European Parliament’s committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) and the Subcommittee on Security and Defence (SEDE), followed by an exchange of views with Members of the European Parliament. September 7, 2023].

This means: Firstly, this is not an “unprovoked” war of aggression; NATO provoked him. Secondly, it is a proxy war that is essentially about NATO’s eastward expansion. Jens Stoltenberg said clearly:

“But then there is no other option for us than to ensure peace for NATO Allies, for EU members by investing in defence supporting Ukraine. Because if President Putin wins in Ukraine, it’s a tragedy for the Ukrainians, but it’s also dangerous for us. It sends a message that when they use military force, they get what they want, authoritarian leaders. So it’s in our security interest to support Ukraine, and therefore I’m extremely grateful for all the support that EU members the European Union and NATO Allies are providing to Ukraine.”

Especially after the peace talks in March and April 2022 in Istanbul, there is no longer any trust in Western politics in the Kremlin. To this day, the mainstream press in Germany denies that these negotiations took place. But you only had to read the US magazine “Foreign Affairs”. In September 2022, the magazine published an article co-authored by Fiona Hill. As a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, a former member of the National Security Council and as an advisor to three US presidents, Fiona Hill wrote:

“According to several former senior U.S. officials we spoke with, in April 2022, Russian and Ukrainian negotiators appeared to have tentatively agreed on the broad outlines of a negotiated interim solution: Russia would retreat to its February 23 position, when it controlled part of the Donbass region and all of Crimea, and in return Ukraine would promise not to seek NATO membership and instead receive security guarantees from a number of countries.”

Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who was also involved in the peace talks, commented: “But in the end nothing happened. My impression was: Nothing could happen because everything else had been decided in Washington.”

The West has prevented an agreement already initialed. This is simply what research shows. There are at least six different sources independent from each other for such an agreement ready to be signed, five of which were directly involved in the negotiation process. Member of the Kiev delegation, Aleksander Tschaly, also confirmed that an Istanbul communiqué on a peaceful settlement of the conflict had been initialed. International experts agree that, contrary to what US President Joe Biden promised, Ukraine is now in a significantly worse negotiating position. Kiev lost more territory than it regained during the so-called summer offensive.

In December 2023, Russian troops were advancing along the entire front: They captured the Mariinka fortress in front of Donetsk. Avdiivka northwest of Donetsk was surrounded. Bakhmut was conquered. In the north they were advancing on Slavyansk. However, a strategic initiative does not succeed. At the turn of 2023/24, Russia controlled around 18% of Ukrainian territory. Moscow is preparing for a long war. President Putin is firmly in the saddle and even stronger than ever, politically and militarily. A coup in Russia is not expected. The Kremlin’s goal remains “demilitarization,” “denazification” and “neutralization,” i.e., regime change in Kiev. Security Council Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said, Odessa, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Mykolaev and Kiev were “Russian cities” Dmitry Medvedem on 28.12.2023: “1. Спецоперация продолжится, её целью останется разоружение украинских войск и отказ нынешнего украинского государства от идеологии неонацизма… Одесса, Днепропетровск, Харьков, Николаев, Киев – русские города, как и многие другие временно оккупированные. Все они пока ещё маркированы жёлто-голубым на бумажных картах и в электронных планшетах (“1. The special operation will continue, its goal will remain the disarmament of Ukrainian troops and the rejection of the current Ukrainian state from the ideology of neo-Nazism… 3. Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Nikolaev, Kyiv are Russian cities, like many other temporarily occupied ones. All of them are still marked in yellow-blue on paper maps and on electronic tablets”). Further war aims and territorial claims can be derived from this. Russia’s plan is to reach a comprehensive agreement with the West or to advance further towards the stated goals.

Ukraine controls the western part of the Black Sea and has secured a trade route through the Bosphorus. But the summer offensive collapsed. In Washington, wrote the Swiss military analyst Jacques Baud, this was clear from the very first moment. According to Baud, the entire war was never about success for Ukraine, but about weakening Russia in a battle of attrition.

In fact, Russia is waging a proxy war against NATO, which NATO is in danger of losing. Seymour Hersh quotes a senior US intelligence official:

The war is over. Russia has won. There is no Ukrainian offensive anymore, but the White House and the American media have to keep the lie going. The truth is if the Ukrainian army is ordered to continue the offensive, the army would mutiny. The soldiers aren’t willing to die any more, but this doesn’t fit the B.S. that is being authored by the Biden White House.

Nevertheless, no relent is expected in Washington. The military confrontation continues. The war has become a battle of attrition. The West is at war with Russia. The West pushed Ukraine to keep fighting. The conflict serves primarily the interests of the United States. Neither side will give in: Moscow sees NATO membership for Ukraine as an existential threat. Washington is committed to NATO membership for Ukraine, the reconquest of Russian-occupied territories and the goal of regime change in Moscow. Russian literature argues that the West is providing Ukraine with “strategic depth” through arms supplies, satellite data, training and financial aid. Dmitri Trenin, Member of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy:

In fact, Ukraine plays the role of a spearhead with which the West wants to hit, weaken and, if successful, destroy Russia and destroy it in its current form. The current conflict has the potential for a direct armed conflict up to and including nuclear escalation. (Фактически Украина выполняет роль острия копья, которым Запад стремится поразить, ослабить, а если удастся – уничтожить Россию в её нынешнем виде. В отличие от прошлых времён – включая периоды Наполеоновских и двух мировых войн – Запад сейчас политически и идеологически выступает как единое целое. Россия и современный Запад – антагонисты. Нынешний конфликт чреват непосредственным вооружённым столкновением, вплоть до ядерной эскалации).

This de facto means that a compromise is impossible. But this war of attrition is not a stalemate. Russia clearly has the advantage on the war theatre and in the economic war. NATO lead Ukraine to defeat, and the West is trapped by its own involvement: underestimating the opponent is the best recipe for losing.

1.2. Propaganda War

The propaganda war is part of psychological warfare: NATO calls it “cognitive warfare”: “While actions are carried out in the five military domains (land, sea, air, space and cyber) in order to affect people, Cognitive warfare aims to use every human being as a weapon.” The goal is to exploit the weak points of the human brain and, through deep indoctrination, manipulate the human psyche in a way to make it “war-ready” and immunize it against rational considerations. The mainstream media plays a central role in this.

They demonize Putin, talk about “unprovoked” war of aggression and accuse Russia of being solely responsible for the war, discredit dissenting opinions and follow state propaganda. “The causes of the distorted representation of reality,” said the former Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, General Harald Kujat, “are the unreflective adoption of disinformation and, above all, incompetence and ideological delusion.” There is indeed a journalistic underground in a landscape of mendacious conformity [“An underground of journalism exists… in a landscape of mendacious conformity. Dissenting journalists have been defenestrated from the ‘mainstream’… the media’s task is to invert the truth and support the illusions of democracy, including ‘free press” (the late John Pilger)]. But the representatives of grass-roots media are mostly excluded. The job of the mainstream media is to distort the truth and maintain the illusion of democracy, a free press—and the Illusion of Ukraine’s potential victory.

The syncrisis of German journalism with NATO’s war propaganda is disconcerting, not only in view of the primitiveness of deep indoctrination and its postfactual structure, but even more due to the blind submission to its intolerant claim to exclusivity [“At its summit in Madrid in June, Nato, which is controlled by the United States, adopted a strategy document that militarises the European continent, and escalates the prospect of war with Russia and China. It proposes multi domain warfighting against nuclear-armed peer-competitor. In other words, nuclear war. It says: ‘Nato enlargement has been a historic success.’ I read that in disbelief. A measure of this ‘historic success’ is the war in Ukraine, news of which is mostly not news, but a one-sided litany of jingoism, distortion, omission. I have reported a number of wars and have never known such blanket propaganda.” John Pilger].

But this only shows the degree of self-alignment that extends from talk show hosts to media managers, from radio station directors to desk editors, from foreign correspondents to daily news reporters. By foregoing sober research and rational reasoning, they only differ from other academic henchmen of the elites by their aggressiveness. They only develop a falsifying killer instinct when they outlaw dissent. This exposes the media maker’s indignity. Both the public media and the corporate media are becoming, as the novelist Günter Grass once put it, “court jesters taking into account non-existent courts” (“Princeton-Rede,” p. 112)—the court jesters of NATO. The mainstream media lies by omission, shifts the population’s aggression about social grievances onto external enemies and thus sends people into war hysteria. They have become the central warmonger. [Mark Galliker, Patrik Baab and here, Roberto J. De Lapuente].

However, the propaganda media can only develop their effectiveness in cooperation with other ideological apparatuses. Because state apparatuses are not neutral, but rather ensure the conditions of capital’s reproduction. So they don’t protect people from the market, but the market from people. Like the repressive state apparatuses—judiciary, military and police—ideological state apparatuses such as schools, universities, NGOs, churches and media (even if they are organized privately or under public law) ensure that citizens are loyal to the state and to the market capitalist social order [Louis Althusser, “Idéologie et appareils idéologiques d’État.” La Pensée, No. 151, June 1970; also, Louis Althusser, Positions (Paris. Les Éditions sociales, 1976), pp. 67-125]. They function like communicating tubes.

In addition, the EU Commission is tightening censorship with the so-called “Media Freedom Act”. It actually takes over media supervision, although this is the responsibility of the member states. The EU Commission is already exercising censorship with the “Digital Services Act” and the “Code of Conduct to Combat Disinformation” from June 2022. Online platforms such as Meta, Google, Twitter, TikTok and Microsoft as well as many other players have joined in. They committed to mark providers who, in the Commission’s opinion, spread disinformation as unreliable, to block advertising revenue and to report this to the Commission. Such information must be deleted upon instruction from the Commission. This is the privatization of censorship.

1.3. Economic War

The third area is the economic war the USA, NATO and the EU have been waging against Russia since 2014. This includes the situation in Ukraine, the effects on Russia, the backfire effects in the EU and the particular impact on Germany.

2. The Economic Situation of Ukraine

The biggest loser of the war is Ukraine. The population has fallen from 52 million to 31 million since 1991. The war damage is immense. The population impoverished. The average wage has fallen from around 400 euros to 200 euros in 30 years as a result of Western integration. The West fights Russia at the expense of Ukraine.

Ukrainian losses are high. The sources now speak of a total of up to 500,000 men, which Stoltenberg did not deny in the European Parliament. A Ukrainian mobile phone provider has extrapolated from various estimates and information about deleted SIM cards that up to 400,000 Ukrainian soldiers may have already died. Deputy Chairwoman of the Rada’s Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence, Maryana Bezuhla, said that a Ukrainian soldier was wounded or killed every five minutes. That would correspond to a quota of 288 per day or 8640 per month. By December 2023, this would bring the total to 210,000 men in just over 22 months of war. These are clues; both sides keep the actual number of losses secret.

In July 2022, at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano, Switzerland, Ukraine estimated the cost of reconstruction at 750 billion euros. How high the actual amount will be is unclear because the war is going on.
Ukraine has three economic regions that converged in poverty before the start of the war, but also showed extreme divergence: the Rust Belt region in the center and the east, where industrial production fell sharply after the collapse of the Soviet Union and average wages fell by 80% compared to 1990. The service region in Kiev and Kharkiv, where a modern financial and digital sector developed, and in the south a strong sector with transport and logistic services from the Dnipro and to the Black Sea and to Sevastopol in Crimea. Then the agricultural regions in the industrially underdeveloped center with the fertile black earth soil.

Even during Soviet times, Ukraine played an important role in titanium and uranium. The manganese and iron ore reserves are among the largest in the world, as are the mercury ore deposits. This is also important for the EU:

In order to become independent of imports from Russia, shale gas is also important, especially as a transition technology and for future special applications such as fertilizer production. The importance of titanium is particularly noteworthy: currently Ukraine is one of five countries in the world producing titanium ore mineral concentrates (ilmenite5 and rutile6). More than 30 titanium deposits, some in production and some explored in detail, are located on the territory of Ukraine.

In terms of agricultural potential, Ukraine is one of the richest countries in the world and one of the leading producers and exporters. Ukraine’s arable land is three times larger than that of Poland and Romania. In 2021, it covered a total of 32.9 million hectares and in 2023, an estimated 27.9 million hectares due to the consequences of the war.

The industrial potential is also great, there are a number of specialized industries, e.g. for rocket engines and high-performance turbines. As a steel producer, Ukraine had plants such as Azov and Ilyich in Mariupol, Zaporizhstal in Zaporizhia, Kryvorizhstal in Dnipropetrovsk, Dneprospetstal in the Dnipro region, Khartsyzsk Pipe Plant in Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk Metal Plant in Dnipro, Yenakiieve Metallurgical Plant in the Donetsk Region, Nikopol Pipe Plant LLC in the Dnipropetrovsk region, Avdiiv Coke chemical plant near Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk Metallurgical Combine in the Dnipro region and is an important world player.

Ukraine’s well-developed pipeline infrastructure is also suitable for transporting hydrogen and could be used in the future to supply customers within the country and the EU. The power grid is highly integrated and has provided many workarounds for destroyed connections during Russian attacks. From the Soviet era, Ukraine has inherited an efficient energy system with nuclear power plants, thermal power plants and hydroelectric power plants, which, however, needs to be modernized. The nuclear power plants are Soviet-design pressurized water reactors in Rivne (four units commissioned in 1980, 1981, 1896 and 2004), Khmelnitsk (2 units in 1987 and 2004), southern Ukraine (3 units, 1982, 1985 and 1989) and Zaporizhia ( 6 blocks, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989 and 1995). Nuclear power supplies about half of the electricity. Thermal and hydroelectric power plants also play an important role. In order to achieve its sustainability goals, Ukraine needs foreign investments, especially in solar panels and wind turbines.

Ukraine has the world’s largest reserves of commercially viable iron ore—30 billion tons, which is a fifth of the world total. There are also large natural gas and oil deposits that are still largely undeveloped, and 4 percent of the world’s coal reserves.

The World Bank has examined the events of the first year of the war and said that the Russian invasion “has taken an unimaginable toll on the people of Ukraine and the country’s economy, whose activity fell by a staggering 29.2% in 2022.” They estimates that damages exceed $135 billion and that about $411 billion will be needed to rebuild Ukraine. The poverty rate “rose from 5.5% in 2021 to 24.1% in 2022, pushing 7.1 million more people into poverty and undoing 15 years of progress.” 62 cities were destroyed, approximately 8 million Ukrainians have fled the country, and there are around 7 million internally displaced people. The United Nations confirmed 8,490 civilian deaths but believes the actual number is “significantly higher.”

In the end, Ukraine will be divided. The Russian-occupied territories are not returning. Where exactly the demarcation line will run is unclear. The Russians try to advance further either to Odessa or northeast of the Dnieper. Russian troops are unlikely to reach the Curzon Line according to the Treaty of Versailles, which was confirmed with some corrections as the Polish-Soviet demarcation line of the Peace of Riga in 1921. It lies well west of Kiev and, after the Yalta Conference, represents today’s eastern border of Poland. The Curzon Line ran well west of Kiev.

Clearing the minefields and cluster munitions alone is likely to cost billions. The LSE also estimates the cost of reconstruction at $411 billion, which is 2.5 times higher than the country’s gross national product. Instead, Ukraine’s resources are likely to be withdrawn from the public sector and privatized. With the entry of Blackrock as a debt and reconstruction manager, the country is de facto falling into the hands of a locust.

Exiled Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk describes Ukraine as “a European Somalia.” The country is on a list of the most dangerous places in the world. He pointed to forced conscriptions, the destruction of monuments linked to Russia, the media’s aggressive anti-Russian rhetoric, the torture: “All of this happened at the behest of the West, and billions were spent on it, which Western politicians openly admitted.”

3. Consequences of Admitting Ukraine into the EU

In 2023, Ukraine received more than 38 billion euros in international financial aid. This was the only way the country could survive financially and bear the costs of the war—around 120 million euros per day. Nevertheless, the West is divided on the question of further aid. Larger aid packages have been temporarily blocked by Hungary in the EU and by Republicans in the US Congress. That is why Washington is putting increasing pressure on Western countries to seize Russia’s foreign assets of around $300 billion to Ukraine. Moscow has already announced that it will also confiscate foreign, including German, assets in Russia in this case. This would alleviate the West’s financing problems in supporting Ukraine, but would likely come primarily at the expense of EU countries. In Russia, such a seizure is described as “theft,” which will further erode trust in the West and thus “further stimulate the process of de-dollarization and de-Westernization of the planet.” The USA, “which has not succeeded in bringing most of the world under its control,” is prepared to “sacrifice Europe to save itself.” [При этом данные 300 миллиардов во многом виртуальны, а в реальности заполучить удастся куда меньшие суммы. Зато можно быть уверенным в том, что конфискация только подстегнет процесс дедолларизации и девестернизации планеты, поскольку от Запада начнут отгребать еще энергичнее все страны, которые имеют хоть минимальный выбор… Правда, возникает вопрос: а неужто официальные лица в Вашингтоне, Берлине, Париже, Брюсселе и далее по списку не понимают всех этих очевидных обстоятельств? Есть подозрение, что понимают, но в складывающихся обстоятельствах считают это наилучшим из наихудших решений. Во-первых, ухудшающееся экономическое положение вынуждает Запад искать любые возможные источники финансирования, например, Киева. Конфискованные российские активы, до которых удастся реально дотянуться, дадут возможность закрыть данную статью расходов на год-другой. (At the same time, the 300 billion is largely virtual, and in reality it will be possible to get much smaller sums. But we can be sure that confiscation will only spur the process of de-dollarization and de-westernization of the planet, as all countries that have at least a minimal choice will begin to shovel even more vigorously from the West… However, the question arises: do officials in Washington, Berlin, Paris, Brussels and further down the list not understand all these obvious circumstances? It is suspected that they do, but in the current circumstances they consider this to be the best of the worst solutions. First, the deteriorating economic situation is forcing the West to look for any possible sources of funding for Kiev. Confiscated Russian assets, which can be realistically grabbed, will make it possible to cover this item of expenditure for a year or two), Irina Alksnis].

In Brussels’ EU administration, financial aid for Ukraine totaling 77.1 billion euros had been accumulated since January 24, 2022. There is also humanitarian aid worth 2.1 billion euros and military support worth 5.6 billion euros. Over the course of 2023, the willingness to continue for helping Ukraine to the same extent as before began to crumble. Slovakia announced that it would stop arms deliveries, and there were protests in Poland because Ukrainian grain and Ukrainian drivers were entering the market at low wages. Hungary temporarily refused to release the next 50 billion euros for Ukraine.

After the failed summer offensive, Kiev should now be kept happy with the official prospect of joining the EU. But this is likely to cost the EU dearly. The German Economic Institute (IW) assumes that Ukraine would receive extensive financial resources from the EU budget. The institute estimates the financial impact of Ukraine’s full membership in the EU on the EU’s current multi-year budget at around 130 to 190 billion euros. Of this, between 70 and 90 billion euros would go to agricultural subsidies and between 50 to 90 billion euros to cohesion policy. For comparison: The EU’s multi-year community budget for the years 2021-2027 amounts to 1,216 billion euros. The scientists comment:

Given this volume, the EU should be ready to reform. Only in this way can the political decision be credible to bind Ukraine more closely to itself with the prospect of accession. This applies on the one hand at the institutional level, but it also applies at the fiscal level. A shift in the EU budget could help provide the necessary financial resources.

Cohesion policy assumes that redistribution should take place between richer and poorer EU countries. The Cologne economists propose to concentrate resources on poorer countries. Then around 140 billion euros would be available for Ukraine over a seven-year period. If you add cohesion and agricultural subsidies, then Ukraine would be entitled to an amount of 127-187 billion euros based on the multi-year budget 2021-2027. This cannot be done without reallocating or increasing the budget. The richer states would either have to pay more or forego benefits.

If the EU is expanded to include Ukraine, there is a risk of massive social cuts, large-scale farmers dying and massive downward pressure on wages in all EU countries. As a result, it is possible that the EU will collapse. French MPs have already warned that it would be best to leave the EU as quickly as possible. The British say: “The EU will last as long as the Germans pay.” The majority of the war burden and the costs of reconstruction will end up with the German taxpayer. The federal government has not evaluated this either.

In East Saxony’s Pirna there are 12 huge, new granaries. Grain from Poland and Ukraine is delivered there by truck. From Pirna, deliveries are sent by train to the processing industry in Hamburg and other places. This shows the problem. If Ukraine joins the EU and the customs barriers fall, the European market will be flooded with cheap Ukrainian agricultural products. Comparatively low labor costs, the fertile black earth soil and the opening of the Ukrainian market for genetically modified seeds as well as large-scale industrial production by companies such as Monsanto, Elli Lilly, Cargill and John Deere enable an unrivaled range of agricultural products. The land grab by foreign corporations in Ukraine means that farmers across the EU are coming under pressure because they can no longer produce at market prices. This will lead to further concentration in agriculture and farms dying out.

The Polish Minister of Agriculture Robert Telus imposed an import ban on Ukrainian grain from September 15, 2023, thereby entering into a dispute with the EU: “Ukrainian agriculture represents a threat to the agriculture of neighboring countries, but also to the whole of Europe.” He points out that Ukraine increased its overland grain exports from 7.3 million tons to 9.6 million tons during the embargo. Kiev defends the interests of large domestic companies. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán indicated what these are. He explained that the blocked Ukrainian grain was actually more likely to be a US commercial product, because the land on which it is grown “has probably been in the hands of the USA for a long time. Ukrainian agricultural products destined for Africa are flooding Central European markets. The bureaucrats in Brussels are once again turning a blind eye to the problems of local farmers.” US agricultural companies such as Monsanto have invested heavily in Ukrainian black earth soil. On the most fertile soil in the world, they can produce at unrivaled prices using genetically modified seeds and cheap labor. Economist Ernst Wolff: “We are currently experiencing a frontal attack on German medium-sized businesses.” Behind these agricultural giants such as Monsanto, John Deere and Elli Lilly are large financial investors such as Blackrock, that are also invested in the arms industry. They make money both from the war and the deaths of farmers.

Ukraine is not expected to join the EU in the short term. But Washington is increasing pressure for passing the costs of the war can on to the Union. Then Europe will collapse into a collection of failed states—a kind of co-transformation as a consequence of the Ukraine war. An impoverishment of the entire EU and harsh social cuts will follow. A break-up of the EU cannot be ruled out. Europe is becoming not only Washington’s backyard, but also Moscow’s backyard. This shows that US imperialism is a dead end for Europe.

4. The Effect of Sanctions on Russia

In response to the war of aggression against Ukraine, which violates international law, the EU has imposed unprecedented sanctions. They complement the existing measures that have been initiated since 2014 due to the accession of Crimea to the Russian Federation. So far twelve packages include sanctions against individuals, economic sanctions and visa measures. They apply to 1,950 institutions and people, including President Putin, Foreign Minister Lavrov, commanders of the Wagner Group, oligarchs, officials, military personnel and “anti-Ukrainian propagandists,” as well as banks, companies and parties. The economic sanctions affect, among other things, exports of advanced technology, vehicles, the energy sector and goods that can also be used for military purposes, as well as imports into the EU of petroleum products, coal, steel, gold and diamonds. Services such as auditing, IT consulting, legal advice, software and engineering services may no longer be provided. The oil import stop applies to sea routes with exceptions and affects 90% of Russian deliveries. A cap on oil prices was set at $60 per barrel. Transport by EU ships is prohibited. By the end of 2023, 12 sanctions packages were in force.

Even before the invasion, there were 2,695 sanctions against Russian private individuals, companies or state bodies. Since February 22, 2022, 12,077 new punitive measures have been added. The most serious factors were certainly the exclusion of Russian banks from the global financial communications system SWIFT and the confiscation of Russian assets worth around $300 billion. But the sanctions create the breeding ground on which alternative structures for circumvention emerge. By the end of 2022, the German government had no information about the effect of the sanctions. The effect of the first eleven sanctions packages has apparently evaporated: The Financial Times reports that almost no Russian oil is sold below the price cap of 60 USD, but world market prices of more than 80 USD are paid for it. Oil and gas revenues account for more than 28% of Russian state revenue.

Russia has now expanded its transport capacities. A large proportion of oil and gas is now transported via the northern route, even in winter. Russia is the only country to have two nuclear-powered icebreakers. The loading capacities in the ports of Primorsk, Vysotsk and Petersburg are utilized. A new gas liquefaction plant is currently being built in the westernmost Russian Baltic Sea port of Ust-Luga.

Industrial warfare, according to former director of the Royal United Services Institute Michael Clarke, is a war between societies. The Russian military budget, he estimates, has tripled since 2021 and will amount to around 30% of government spending in 2024. Russia has proven to be surprisingly weak militarily, but significantly stronger economically than the West expected. [“Because it’s true, the Third World War has begun. True, it started ‘small’ and with two surprises. We went into this war with the idea that Russia’s army was very powerful and its economy very weak. We thought that Ukraine would be crushed militarily and that Russia would be crushed economically by the West. But the opposite happened. Ukraine was not crushed militarily, even though it had lost 16% of its territory by then; Russia was not crushed economically. As I speak, the rouble has gained 8% against the dollar and 18% since the start of the war.” Emmanuel Todd].

The sanctions against Russia have so far largely failed to have any effect. Russia has prepared itself for a war of attrition that will last for years. Moscow wants to advance slowly and exhaust Ukraine in order to dash the West’s hopes of a Ukrainian victory. Putin is still seeking a fundamental security agreement with the West.

At first, the West’s calculations seemed to work: the ruble was in free fall and the stock market practically came to a standstill. However, after initial losses of more than 40% of its value, the Russian currency recovered and reached higher values than before the beginning of the war. In 2022, Russian economy contracted by 2.2%; in January 2024, the IMF forecast growth for 2024 of 2.4%. According to an economic survey by the Russian Central Bank, the average growth forecast for 2023 was 3.1%. Analysts only expected 1.3% for 2024.

Nevertheless, according to a study of the Canadian Central Bank, the standard of living in Russia is falling. However, the analysis shows that these welfare losses are significantly mitigated and the boomerang effects on the sanctioning countries are intensified when third countries such as China, India and Turkey do not play along. These countries benefit: “Our welfare analysis demonstrates that the sanctioned country’s welfare losses are significantly mitigated, and the sanctioning country’s losses are amplified, if the third country does not join the sanctions, but the third country benefits from not joining” (Ghironi, et al.). Therefore, the West can only hope that the measures will have a long-term effect: that there is a lack of investment from abroad and the capital flight from Russia continues. But at best this will slow the growth of the Russian economy.

The sanctions were aimed at cutting off Russia from the international financial system and depriving the country of hundreds of billions in foreign exchange assets in order to make foreign trade impossible for Moscow. But there was an almost complete de-dollarization of Russian trade. Moscow switched to paying in the local currencies of its international partners, primarily China and India. In this way, Russian industry was able to maintain its production level in the first ten months of 2022 and recorded growth in November and December. Even stronger growth is expected for 2023. Nobody would have expected Russia to surpass Germany and Great Britain in economic growth. The sanctions have made Russia the strongest European economy.

Russia is an energy self-sufficient country and has many of the world’s most important raw materials such as oil and natural gas. Moscow also has a dominant position on world markets and is the leading exporter of fertilizers and food. Despite Western sanctions, 80% of the planet is expanding its cooperation with Russia. Giants like China and India are increasing Russian energy imports. The European Council on Foreign Relations found in a study: The West is united but separated from the rest of the world.

There is always talk in the West that Russia has not set up its own microchip production and is dependent on Western and Asian imports for microelectronics. But the West’s sanctions are not effective here either: The import volume of CNC (computer numerical control) machines from China, which are also used in the military sector, has increased tenfold—Customs declarations increased by 6.5 million US dollars in February 2022 to $68 million in July 2023. Chinese machines replaced European imports.

In fact, eyewitnesses report that truckloads of digital technology from China and Taiwan are being imported to the Russian-Kazakh border—from Polish and Lithuanian trucking companies. But with microchips the dependency is mutual. The West has the know-how, but not the necessary raw materials. For example, according to a survey by market research group Techcet, the US must import 90% of semiconductor-grade neon from Ukraine, while 35% of the palladium it needs comes from Russia. This means that the US chip industry is dependent on materials from Russia and Ukraine. So Russia can put as much pressure on the American semiconductor industry as the other way around. That is why Washington is investing in diversifying supply chains and Russia is investing in expanding manufacturing:

The US government has warned domestic chipmakers that they could face a materials supply crunch, reports Reuters, citing “people familiar with the matter.” The warning is based on worries about the potential for conflict between Russia and Ukraine. If Russia does make military advances, there will almost certainly be impacts on industries in Ukraine. Moreover, US sanctions will be implemented on Russia, likely exacerbating supply issues. Some concerning numbers, highlighting the reliance of the US chipmaking industry on Russia/Ukraine-based materials, are shared by the source. For example, market research group Techcet says that 90% of US semiconductor-grade neon supplies come from Ukraine, while 35% of US palladium is sourced from Russia. In addition, other vital materials like C4F6, Helium, and Scandium also come from the flashpoint region… For the potential scale of resource material price increases facing chipmakers, we only need to turn our clocks back to 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine. At that time, neon prices rose nearly 600%. Neon is used in semiconductor fabricating machine lasers (Mark Tyson, and also Semiconductors and Changing face of war).

Russia knows, according to French historian Emmanuel Todd, that World War III has already begun. As the military analyst Jacques Baud rightly points out, there has been a sophisticated philosophy of war in Russia since Soviet times, which also includes economic and political considerations. That is why the sanctions against Russia since 2014 have had a double effect. First, the Kremlin realized that this would not be a short-term problem, but a long-term opportunity. They encouraged Russia to increasingly produce previously imported goods itself. Second, it became clear to Moscow that the West would increasingly use economic weapons to set the country under pressure. So Russia had to strengthen its economic self-sufficiency:

This is why the sanctions applied to Russia in 2014 had a double positive effect. The first was the realization that they were not only a short-term problem, but above all a medium- and long-term opportunity. They encouraged Russia to produce goods it had previously preferred to buy ubroad. The second was the signal that the West would increasingly use economic weapons as a means of pressure in the future. It therefore became imperative, for reasons of national independence and sovereignty, to prepare for more far-reaching sanctions affecting the county’s economy (Jacques Baud).

Russia is far from emerging from this war weakened. On the contrary, it appears to be strengthened militarily and economically. General Christopher Cavoli, the US Supreme Commander in Europe (SACEUR), told a US Congressional committee: “Russia’s air, naval, space, digital and strategic capabilities have not suffered significant degradation during this war” (General Christopher Cavoli).

Russia is strategically turning away from Europe. This means that a city like St. Petersburg loses its historical function. An intellectual opposition to this is forming in the metropolitan areas. The country lacks foreign investment and a broader digital economy, meaning future economic development is severely slowed. Ukraine expert Nikolai N. Petro from Staten Island University summarizes:

So, for the West, we can see clearly, that they under-estimated, they really didn’t understand what Russia had achieved at all… The Russian leadership, they were surprised when their efforts to support the Ruble and to engage in import substitution succeeded so quickly. They thought it would work, they had done some preliminary testings, but they didn’t expect that there may be so much speed and flexibility in the Russian economy to switch from old producers to new producers, first of all. And secondly, particularly the willingness of so many non-state actors, in some cases state actors like Iran and China, and North Korea, and Venezuela, but also non-state actors to skirt the impact of sanctions. And so as a result, the West got into, what is essentially a “losing game” (Nikolai N. Petro).

Russia was not “destroyed by sanctions,” as US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen promised. Instead, the country’s economy has grown. The Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, General Valery Zalushny, even stated that the capabilities of the Russian military industry are increasing, despite the introduction of unprecedented sanctions. There is no uprising against the war in Russia, Putin’s popularity is not declining, and Russia is far from diplomatically isolated, as shown by the weak response to boycott calls and the growing interest in Russian-favored organizations such as BRICS.

5. The Impact on the German Economy

In the end, the West will have to pay the price of the war it provoked. But there is an important limitation. In April and May 2022, the US Senate and House of Representatives passed the so-called “Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022”. This new version of the 1941 Lend-Lease Agreement authorizes the President to expeditiously comply with all requests for all existing U.S. equipment from Ukraine and Ukraine’s NATO states. Returns or payments due will not be an issue for another five years. But then most of the weapons will be destroyed. In doing so, Washington has driven Ukraine into a long-term debt trap worth double-digit billions, from which it can hardly escape on its own. The European Union will foot the bill. Ukraine, which is already effectively bankrupt, has been kept afloat financially by the EU and the International Monetary Fund since the 2014 Maidan coup.

For the United States, this arms aid is a bomb deal in the long term. Already after the Maidan, the United States did not transfer its own money, but instead issued bank guarantees. These secured loans amounted to 113 billion euros in 2022 and 2023. This means that the USA does not have to pay a cent as long as Ukraine can service the loans it received from banks, especially from the IMF, on the basis of US guarantees. This money, in turn, came from the EU, either in the form of loans or in the form of economic aid, which Ukraine does not have to pay back. The IMF loans were subject to strict conditions. It was also about the privatization of state property—i.e., the selling off of silverware, e.g. mining rights or black earth soil. US companies have benefited from this. The principle, according to Thomas Röper: “The USA gives guarantees, the US companies earn money and the EU pays the bill.”

The EU and its member states have pledged a total of around 135 billion euros in short and medium-term aid for Ukraine from the start of the war to the end of July 2023, and the USA has pledged almost 70 billion euros. This shows that Washington has increasingly succeeded in holding the EU accountable. When it comes to bilateral aid, Germany is now the second largest supporter of Ukraine after the United States: from the start of the war until the end of October 2023, the United States provided 71.4 billion euros, followed by Germany with a total of 38.3 billion euros including investments on EU aid.

In addition, the EU states also deliver weapons to Ukraine, which they have to replace. A large portion of these orders go to the US defense industry. Orders from US defense companies doubled in 2022 compared to the previous year. In 2021, the US government approved a total of 14 major arms sales to NATO countries worth a total of $15.5 billion. By the end of 2022, there were 24 approved exports worth $28 billion. In short, one could say: the losses are socialized and Germanized, the profits are privatized and Americanized.

With the adoption of the 2 percent target, all NATO states must increase their defense spending to two percent of GDP by 2024. For Germany, this means defense spending of around 80 billion euros, almost 30 billion euros more than in 2023. In addition, the federal government has taken out a “special fund” of loans worth 100 billion euros, which is to be spent on armaments purposes. A large part of this money goes to the US defense industry, e.g., for the overpriced F-35 breakdown jet.

In the medium term, the USA will shift the burden of the war and reconstruction onto the EU. The costs of the Ukraine war are gigantic. Jens Berger from the online-magazine Nachdenkseiten puts the total costs of German war policy in May 2023 at 577.4 billion euros. By the middle of the year, every German household was burdened with the war to the tune of 14,000 euros. Further social cuts are pending. At the cabinet meeting in December 2023, savings of 200 million euros in the education sector and 800 million euros in civil international engagement as well as tax increases were decided to cover the “unexpectedly” budget gap of 30 billion euros. At the same time, the military aid for Ukraine amounting to 8 billion euros should remain untouched and be increased, if necessary.

In 2023, the Federal Republic of Germany was the worst-performing industrialized country in the world. Both the IMF and the EU expect its economy to continue to shrink. Economists see Germany in a downward spiral: “Germany will not go down with a big bang. Rather, we will experience a state of infirmity, as has been the case in Italy for around 20 years.” A decisive factor in this is that the energy trap has been closed for Germany with the blowing up of the Nord Stream pipelines.

According to researcher Seymour Hersh, the destruction of Nord Stream is attributable to the USA. This is supported by the regular announcements of such a measure from American politicians. Here are some examples:

Then-US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in 2020: “To stop the energy cooperation between Europe and Russia) A first step would involve stopping Nord Stream-2.”

US Senator Tom Cotton in 2021: “There is still time to stop it… Kill Nord Stream 2 now, and let it rust beneath the waves of the Baltic.”

Jake Sullivan, US National Security Advisor in 2022: “We have made clear to the Russians that pipeline is at risk if they move further into Ukraine.”

Senator Ted Cruz in 2022: “The pipeline must be stopped and the only way to prevent its completion is to use all the tools available to do that.”

US President Joe Biden, standing next to Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz in 2022: “There will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”

Victoria Nuland, Undersecretary of State for Policy: “I want to be very clear: If Russia invades Ukraine one way or another, Nord Stream 2 will not move forward.”

After the Nord Stream 2 was sabotaged, former Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorsky tweeted: “Thank you, USA.” The very next day, leading politicians from Poland, Norway and Denmark were present to open the new Norwegian-Polish Baltic Sea pipeline as an alternative to Nord Stream.

Nuland expressed her enthusiasm. “I am, and I think the government is too, very pleased to know that Nord Stream 2 is now, as they say, a pile of metal at the bottom of the sea.”

The Washington Post’s White House correspondent and confidante of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, David Ignatius, described in May 2022 that US President Biden and then-Chancellor Angela Merkel had decided in early summer 2021 to seize Nord Stream 1 and 2 in the event of a Russian attack to cancel:

Germany has been a reluctant but indispensable ally, and the Biden administration made a controversial decision last summer to win Germany’s support. Biden waived a first round of sanctions against a company that built the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, in return for a commitment from Chancellor Angela Merkel that Nord Stream 2 would be canceled in the event of a Russian invasion. When the invasion came, Merkel was no longer there, but her successor Olaf Scholz kept the promise.

Germany is by far the biggest loser from the sanctions against Russia. Economically, they have a boomerang effect. The Federal Republic can neither replace Russian gas and oil at similarly competitive prices nor the huge Russian market. The impact of the sanctions has not been evaluated. The federal government misjudged the impact of the economic war. Cheap Russian natural gas must be replaced by expensive and ecologically problematic American fracking gas. Exploding energy prices are deteriorating the competitiveness of the German economy. The hasty decoupling from the Russian market and its resources plunged the economy into recession. BRICS observers speak of a “reversal of the German economic miracle”:

Germany is by far the biggest loser in this case, as its industrial might has experienced an unprecedented unraveling, almost a sort of reverse of what was once called the “German economic miracle” in the aftermath of the Second World War. Berlin wrongfully assessed Moscow’s resilience as it anticipated that launching the unparalleled sanctions war against Russia will actually work.

The sanctions act like a boomerang and destroy not the Russian, but the German economy. All business associations have warned against de-industrialization. ZF Saarbrücken has announced that it will cut up to 7,000 jobs from 10,000. BASF is cutting 2,600 jobs, including 700 at the main plant in Ludwigshafen. These are just two examples, but they represent a comprehensive process of de-industrialization. The former economic engine Germany is also dragging its partner countries into recession. The entire EU is on the path to de-industrialization and permanent impoverishment.

In particular, medium-sized businesses are the ones who suffer from this development. The Leibnitz Institute for Economic Research in Halle confirms that the number of bankruptcies continued to rise in October. Researchers tallied more than 1,000 bankruptcies, 2% more than in September and 44% more than in October of the previous year.

According to the current poverty report from the Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband, the poverty rate in Germany was already 16.9% in 2021. This means that 14.1 million people were living in poverty even before the war. The trend is also increasing as a result of the war. The transformation from a welfare state to an arms state is progressing. The focus of political argumentation is no longer social balance, but rather the creation of war capability.

Immigration pressure from Ukraine also continues. In October 2023, 1.16 million Ukrainian refugees were counted. However, they partly do not come from their mother country, but from the Netherlands and other neighboring countries and immigrate into the social systems. In Ukraine the minimum wage is 1.41 euros. There is no incentive to return to a poor, war-ravaged country. There is considerable social explosiveness lurking in all of these points. The growing dissatisfaction with the federal government’s policies and their social consequences is grist for the AfD’s mill.

Russian Security Council’s Scientific board member Sergei Karaganov said in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta:

Russia has completed its European journey… The European and especially the German elites are in a state of historical failure. The foundation of their 500-year dominance—the military superiority on which the West’s economic, political and cultural dominance was built—has been stripped away from them. Current Western elites cannot cope with the plethora of problems growing in their societies . These include a shrinking middle class and increasing inequality. Almost all of their initiatives have failed. The European Union is moving… slowly but surely towards disintegration. For this reason, European elites have shown a hostile attitude towards Russia for about 15 years. They need an external enemy.

Sergei Karaganov follows the official Russian line, which he helps shape in a responsible position. Nevertheless, his description of the shrinking middle class, a growing inequality and massive centrifugal forces within the EU is correct. The fact that Moscow is turning away from Europe is likely to have consequences that will hit Europe much harder than Russia. All of these trends represent social explosives that could easily push Europe and Germany to the brink of ungovernability.

Washington will shift the burden of war and reconstruction onto the EU. The result is a three-digit billion sum. The USA has concluded “land and lease” agreements with Ukraine based on the model of the Second World War for arms deliveries. Ukraine still has to pay for the borrowed weapons. These are billions. US Senator James Vance recently asked pointedly why one should believe that the $61 billion planned in Joe Biden’s budget will help Ukraine win when the $111 billion paid so far has not brought a breakthrough. These are the previous dimensions, and the costs of reconstruction are not included.

Overall, the war in Ukraine brings about a redistribution of the capital earned for Germany from bottom to top and from Europe to America.

6. Economic and Geostrategic Reasons for War

The Soviet Union tried to create a European peace order as early as the 1950s. This was rejected by the West. Irish historian Geoffrey Roberts has discovered documents showing that Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov proposed the USSR join NATO. The reason was the Soviet campaign for a European security order as an alternative to the European Defense Community. The proposal also included the idea of a reunified, neutral Germany. The West rejected this for two reasons: Firstly, the proposal only granted the USA and China observer status. Secondly, the West suspected that the proposal was only intended to weaken NATO’s cohesion and prevent the establishment of the EDC.

However, this rejection is an early part of the United States’ strategy to implement regime change in the Soviet Union and currently in Russia. DIA Director General Vincent R. Stewart quoted a document before the US Congress in 2017, showing that Washington was well aware of how much Moscow perceived regime change efforts as a threat:

The Kremlin is convinced the United States is laying the groundwork for regime change in Russia, a conviction further reinforced by the events in Ukraine. Moscow views the United States as the critical driver behind the crisis in Ukraine and the Arab Spring and believes that the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Yanukovych is the latest move in a long-established pattern of U.S.-orchestrated regime change efforts, including the Kosovo campaign, Iraq, Libya, and the 2003–05 “color revolutions” in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan (Vincent R. Stewart, pp. 15ff).

The West is acting side by side in Ukraine, but not as one. With the aim of weakening and dividing Russia, as long-time US security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski suggested in the 1990s, the current generation of European politicians is following the US-Neocons. The federal government is also actively helping to drive a wedge between Germany and Russia. The German government is trying to save its leadership role within the EU by remaining loyal to the United States. In doing so, Berlin has further damaged German-French cooperation and destroyed its effectiveness, which was still working when they jointly rejected the Second Iraq War in 2003. Washington, on the other hand, is increasingly dividing the European Union along the Vilnius-Warsaw-Kiev axis, thereby forcing an eastward shift of political and military weight towards new anti-Russian front lines.

The EU wants to get access to the Ukrainian mineral resources (lithium), the black earth soil, the sea routes, the sales markets, the cheap labor. If the West breaks away from Russia and China equally, then the EU will need Ukrainian rare earths, for example, for its decarbonization strategy. Conversely, large US agricultural companies are concerned with controlling the food chain. Monsanto, Elly Lilly, John Deere etc. have bought into the Ukrainian black earth soil. They own an area larger than the entire agricultural area of Italy. These are the most fertile soil in the world. The EU and USA have enforced the use of genetically modified seeds. This guarantees maximum productivity in the short term at minimum wages. Not only the Americans, but also the Europeans are dependent on Ukraine’s mineral resources.

The member of the Bundestag of the Christian Democratic Party and his parliamentary group’s military expert, Roderich Kiesewetter, revealed what it was really about. In the program “Report from Berlin Extra” he explained that the war in Ukraine is a proxy war not only for NATO, but also for Germany, which is essentially about natural resources:

If Europe wants to complete the energy transition, it needs its own lithium deposits. The largest lithium deposits in Europe are in the Donetsk-Lugansk region… So we also have completely different goals in the background here. And that’s why we need one. The combined efforts of citizens to ensure that our politicians have the backing to do more for Ukraine (Alexej Danckwardt).

Kiesewetter was also surprisingly open on another point: “It (Ukraine) is waging a proxy war.”

This is also proven by relevant studies. Ulrich Blum, Gregor Borg, Nico Krapp, Hanna Liventseva and Iewvgeniia Rozhkova have highlighted the geostrategic importance of raw materials in Ukraine:

Ukraine is rich in raw materials, especially in the Donbas region. These include raw materials such as iron ore and coal, which were important for the first industrial revolution. But the wealth also includes non-ferrous metals and battery-related minerals, especially lithium, which is of outstanding importance for the modern and especially a green economy (Blum, et al.)

This points to the deeper reasons for the war. For the European Union, it is not just about permanently weakening Russia alongside the USA. It is also about wresting important raw material deposits from the Russian orbit. Specifically: On Ukraine’s soil, the EU is fighting for its future raw material base. The study cited states:

An independent Ukraine could become a major competitor to Russia in the raw materials and minerals market. A Ukraine that belongs to the EU would be able to develop into a strategic network partner within Western economies. Magnesium plays an important role here: China currently produces over 80 percent of the world’s reserves of magnesium, an important alloying element for aluminum. If magnesium were no longer supplied due to a conflict, a large part of the aluminum industry—and thus also the vehicle industry—would come to a standstill within a short period of time (Blum, et al.).

In the territories occupied by Russia and incorporated into the Russian Federation, deposits can be found that could give Russia a market monopoly:

Under the conditions of the global energy transition, especially decarbonization, from Russia’s perspective the value of its fossil resources must inevitably erode. It can therefore be assumed that his attack on Ukraine was not only motivated by power politics, but was aimed at gaining access to Ukrainian raw materials and materials that could ensure Russia’s dominant position as a raw material supplier again in the age of a decarbonized economy. Such an approach has a tradition, because from a Russian perspective, the east of Ukraine—the Donbass—has long been considered central to the development and survival of the Russian economy (Blum, et al.).

Lithium deposits in particular play an important role in the EU’s decarbonization strategy for electromobility, renewable energies and energy storage. The low level of exploration makes it difficult to evaluate the resources. Deposits of pegmatite and spodumene are documented in the districts of Zaporizhzhia (Kruta Balka), Kirovohrad (Dobra Block) and Donetsk (Shevchenkivske): The grade and tonnage of the deposits are lower than world-class deposits, but they are still little explored and could have “considerable potential.”

This roughly outlines the geostrategic and economic reasons for war. But it is becoming apparent that a divided Europe will be unable to achieve either its political or economic goals and will instead be stuck with the costs over the long term.

7. Winners and Losers

Sustainable tectonic shifts are taking place in geopolitics and thus also in the global economy. The weight of the West is decreasing, the political and economic force is moving to the global south. The United States is fighting for its supremacy, for “full spectrum dominance”. Even if Washington is the beneficiary of the war in Ukraine—the USA is a phoenix in nosedive. While states like Russia, China, Brazil, South Africa and India are distancing themselves, Washington is preparing to drag its European satraps into the depths with it. As early as 2003, Jonathan Schell identified the USA’s pursuit of “full spectrum dominance” as the central cause of wars and crises worldwide.

The Ukraine war accelerates China’s rise to become the second superpower. China supports Russia because it does not want a weak state dependent on Washington in its north. In doing so, it also secures Russian raw material reserves. However, the threats of a nuclear strike are a thorn in Beijing’s side.

The war in Ukraine is also accelerating the independence of the BRICS and BRICS Plus states. But this is a long and contradictory process. The de-dollarization of international trade, especially oil and gas, has begun but will take a long time. Washington will defend itself against this with all its means. Because without linking energy transactions to the dollar, the United States can no longer go into endless debt and print money. But the trend towards a multipolar world continues. In the end, a new bipolar world will emerge, with Beijing and Washington as the antagonistic poles.

The EU has degenerated into a collection of satrap states of Washington, a subdivision of NATO. The EU once started out as a peace project; now this peace project is dead. As early as 2016, Richard Sakwa spoke of a “European suicide” with a view to the looming war in Ukraine:

We can talk of a ‘new suicide’ as the idealism associated with a whole era of European integration has been revealed as nugatory and an illusion. At the heart of the EU is a peace project, and it delivered on this promise in Western Europe before 1989. However, when faced with a no less demanding challenge in the post-Communist era – to heal the Cold War divisions and to build the foundations for a united continent – the EU has spectacularly failed. Instead of a vision embracing the whole continent, it has become little more than the civilian wing of the Atlantic security alliance… Atlanticism is becoming increasingly ramified, while Russia is left out in the cold (Richard Sakwa, p. 227).

The European Union has thus lost its central function. Historically, it has failed as a peace project. Overzealous transatlanticists in the federal government do not represent the interests of the German population, but rather those of the USA. The German-French axis no longer sets the tone. The tandem is not functional anymore. The reason is that Germany is increasingly trying to maintain its own leadership role within the EU. But the Washington-Vilnius-Warsaw-Kiev axis now sets the tone. US Deputy Secretary of State James O’Brien emphasized in December 2023:

Without referring to the past, I would like to emphasize that security cooperation between Poland and the United States has always been very close, regardless of what the American government and the Polish government were. Today we really want Poland to take a leading role in the European Union. And that is the declared goal of the new government.

By upgrading the EU’s eastern flank, the United States has succeeded in dividing the European Union. The eastern neighbors are now being integrated and supported as a bulwark against Russia—militarily, politically and financially. This puts Germany and Europe in the slipstream of geo-economic developments. We are becoming not only the backyard of the United States, but also the backyard of Russia. The energy flows and container traffic, the economic centers are moving eastwards, forming along the Budapest-Moscow-Astana-Beijing axis. The Silk and Road Summit in the Hungarian capital ten days ago clearly demonstrated this.

8. Conclusions and Policy Measures

Congress in Washington is currently blocking further aid to Ukraine. This leaves the Biden administration in a bind. The US government cannot keep its promises to Kiev. This shows that Biden has failed to convince skeptics in Congress that it is in the US interest to defeat Moscow in Ukraine. This also shows that Russia is NATO’s main target in the Ukraine war. The purpose of Ukraine support is not to defend Ukraine, but to exhaust Russia. The Ukrainians are just cannon fodder in the eyes of NATO. This shows the full cynicism of this war:

Ultimately, the game between the US and Europe in aiding Ukraine is that the purpose of the aid is not to defend Ukraine but to consume Russia. Ukraine is seen as a “consumable product” in the eyes of the West, and no country will pay a higher price for Ukraine’s security. This once again demonstrates the sad reality: Ukraine is the biggest loser in the entire conflict.

The United States is the biggest winner in this armed conflict. Through the Ukraine war, they have consolidated their control over their European and Asia-Pacific allies, achieving a level of hegemony that even exceeds that of the Cold War. The European Union has been reduced to a ward. Their governments behave like governors of Washington.

Ukraine is suffering the greatest damage from this policy. It can only survive thanks to the help of the USA and the EU. The country is effectively bankrupt. On the one hand, the US government is trying to fuel the war between Russia and Ukraine by increasing arms aid, but on the other hand, due to a lack of majorities in Congress, it cannot ensure follow-up funding. The war in Gaza is consuming the attention of the US government elite, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for lawmakers to win the support of war-weary US voters. This means that US politics is in a dilemma.

Despite these setbacks, the US government will not stop aiding Ukraine, because it has a demonstration effect: if Washington stops its support, European countries would follow suit. Therefore, a dirty game has begun: If the USA reduces its aid, then the EU countries will be forced to provide more support to Ukraine. But in the European Union the first governments are backing out. Six countries have not joined the declaration on security guarantees for Kiev.

These cracks in the front of the “values” West are deepening the longer the battle of attrition lasts in Ukraine. The West is unable to weaken Russia militarily, propagandistically and economically. For the Biden administration, the Ukraine war is becoming a burden in the election campaign. Nevertheless, the war will continue: The president wants to sell a Ukrainian victory as a diplomatic success. That is why there is no scope for peace talks.

The second loser is the European Union, especially Germany. There is nothing left of the “European values”: ammunition with depleted uranium; area bombings; cluster munitions; bombing of civilian targets by Ukrainians; an alliance with Nazis in militias and the Ukrainian army; ignoring Ukrainian atrocities—the West has lost all credibility, all moral integrity in the rest of the world. Not Russia, the West is isolated worldwide. People in Asia, Africa and South America look at Germany and Europe with contempt. Most of the world is united in rejecting this war provoked by NATO and in which the Ukrainian people are being burned. No one in the rest of the world is surprised that Russia does not want to see NATO missiles under its nose. People in the global South find the West’s phrases of an “unprovoked war of aggression” disgusting. Their governments don’t join in with the sanctions and laugh at Germany’s economic suicide.

This situation is a great chance for the global south: It can take advantage of unimagined opportunities: China has replaced European car manufacturers as a supplier to the Russian market. India and Saudi Arabia buy Russian oil and resell it to the stupid Europeans at a premium. A dozen large countries have demonstratively joined the BRICS alliance since the start of the war. In the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China and India are also in a military alliance with Russia. The sanctions have resulted in Europe completely destroying its reputation as a safe haven for investors. The seizure of Russian assets was legally, morally and economically insane. The exclusion of Russian athletes, artists and scientists cannot be justified and is a declaration of bankruptcy.

A change of course in German politics is therefore urgent. The federal government should end its political allegiance to Washington and focus more on an independent course. In terms of foreign policy, it would be advisable to advocate for an immediate ceasefire and the start of peace negotiations. This is the only way to stop further bloodshed and the complete destruction of Ukraine. Berlin should withdraw from military aid for Kiev and link further economic aid to Ukraine to the fact that the attack on the Nordstream pipeline is investigated and the perpetrator is punished and forced to make amends. The necessary political weight can be achieved by reactivating the German-French axis. Together with Paris and Rome, a peace policy alternative to the course of the US neocons can be formulated. In terms of economic policy, I suggest unilaterally withdrawing from the self-destructive sanctions against Russia, negotiating with Moscow about repairing Nord Stream 1 and putting the pipeline back into operation. Domestically, an active industrial, structural and educational policy would be required, which could put the 100 billion Euro package earmarked for armaments to sensible use. In my opinion, in the long term, leaving NATO, which is led by Washington, is a necessary step.

The war in Ukraine is the West’s greatest military, geopolitical and economic defeat since World War II. But that is not the worst of it. The West, especially the Federal Republic of Germany, betrayed all of its moral values in this war. We are stained with the blood of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians and Russians, for whose deaths we, the German politicians, military officers, arms managers and journalists, are also responsible. Again, we sit defiled among the nations.


Patrik Baab is a political scientist and journalist. His reports and research on secret services and wars do not fit in with the propaganda of states and corporate media. He has reported from Russia, Great Britain, the Balkans, Poland, the Baltic states and Afghanistan. His most recent book is Auf beiden Seiten der Front—Meine Reisen in die Ukraine (On Both Sides of the Front—My Travels in Ukraine). More about him is found on his website.


The Collapse of Modern Civilization and the Future of Humanity

The greatest challenge facing societies has always been how to conduct trade and credit without letting merchants and creditors make money by exploiting their customers and debtors. All antiquity recognized that the drive to acquire money is addictive and indeed tends to be exploitative and hence socially injurious. The moral values of most societies opposed selfishness, above all in the form of avarice and wealth addiction, which the Greeks called philarguria – love of money, silver-mania. Individuals and families indulging in conspicuous consumption tended to be ostracized, because it was recognized that wealth often was obtained at the expense of others, especially the weak. 

The Greek concept of hubris involved egotistic behavior causing injury to others. Avarice and greed were to be punished by the justice goddess Nemesis, who had many Near Eastern antecedents, such as Nanshe of Lagash in Sumer, protecting the weak against the powerful, the debtor against the creditor. 

That protection is what rulers were expected to provide in serving the gods. That is why rulers were imbued with enough power to protect the population from being reduced to debt dependency and clientage. Chieftains, kings and temples were in charge of allocating credit and crop-land to enable smallholders to serve in the army and provide corvée labor. Rulers who behaved selfishly were liable to be unseated, or their subjects might run away, or support rebel leaders or foreign attackers promising to cancel debts and redistribute land more equitably. 

The most basic function of Near Eastern kingship was to proclaim “economic order,” misharum and andurarum clean slate debt cancellations, echoed in Judaism’s Jubilee Year. There was no “democracy” in the sense of citizens electing their leaders and administrators, but “divine kingship” was obliged to achieve the implicit economic aim of democracy: “protecting the weak from the powerful.”

Royal power was backed by temples and ethical or religious systems. The major religions that emerged in the mid-first millennium BC, those of Buddha, Lao-Tzu and Zoroaster, held that personal drives should be subordinate to the promotion of overall welfare and mutual aid. 

What did not seem likely 2500 years ago was that a warlord aristocracy would conquer the Western world. In creating what became the Roman Empire, an oligarchy took control of the land and, in due course, the political system. It abolished royal or civic authority, shifted the fiscal burden onto the lower classes, and ran the population and industry into debt. 

This was done on a purely opportunistic basis. There was no attempt to defend this ideologically. There was no hint of an archaic Milton Friedman emerging to popularize a radical new moral order celebrating avarice by claiming that greed is what drives economies forward, not backward, convincing society to leave the distribution of land and money to “the market” controlled by private corporations and money-lenders instead of communalistic regulation by palace rulers and temples – or by extension, today’s socialism. Palaces, temples and civic governments were creditors. They were not forced to borrow to function, and so were not subjected to the policy demands of a private creditor class. 

But running the population, industry and even governments into debt to an oligarchic elite is precisely what has occurred in the West, which is now trying to impose the modern variant of this debt-based economic regime – U.S.-centered neoliberal finance capitalism – on the entire world. That is what today’s New Cold War is all about.

By the traditional morality of early societies, the West – starting in classical Greece and Italy around the 8th century BC – was barbarian. The West was indeed on the periphery of the ancient world when Syrian and Phoenician traders brought the idea of interest-bearing debt from the Near East to societies that had no royal tradition of periodic debt cancellations. The absence of a strong palace power and temple administration enabled creditor oligarchies to emerge throughout the Mediterranean world. 

Greece ended up being conquered first by oligarchic Sparta, then by Macedonia and finally by Rome. It is the latter’s avaricious pro-creditor legal system that has shaped subsequent Western civilization. Today, a financialized system of oligarchic control whose roots lead back to Rome is being supported and indeed imposed by U.S. New Cold War diplomacy, military force and economic sanctions on countries seeking to resist it.

Classical Antiquity’s Oligarchic Takeover 

In order to understand how Western Civilization developed in a way that contained the fatal seeds of its own economic polarization, decline and fall, it is necessary to recognize that when classical Greece and Rome appear in the historical record a Dark Age had disrupted economic life from the Near East to the eastern Mediterranean from 1200 to about 750 BC. Climate change apparently caused severe depopulation, ending Greece’s Linear B palace economies, and life reverted to the local level during this period. 

Some families created mafia-like autocracies by monopolizing the land and tying labor to it by various forms of coercive clientage and debt. Above all was the problem of interest-bearing debt that the Near Eastern traders had brought to the Aegean and Mediterranean lands – without the corresponding check of royal debt cancellations. 

Out of this situation Greek reformer-“tyrants” arose in the 7th and 6th centuries BC from Sparta to Corinth, Athens and Greek islands. The Cypselid dynasty in Corinth and similar new leaders in other cities are reported to have cancelled the debts that held clients in bondage on the land, redistributed this land to the citizenry, and undertaken public infrastructure spending to build up commerce, opening the way for civic development and the rudiments of democracy. Sparta enacted austere “Lycurgan” reforms against conspicuous consumption and luxury. The poetry of Archilochus on the island of Paros and Solon of Athens denounced the drive for personal wealth as addictive, leading to hubris injuring others – to be punished by the justice goddess Nemesis. The spirit was similar to Babylonian, Judaic and other moral religions.

Rome had a legendary seven kings (753-509 BC), who are said to have attracted immigrants and prevented an oligarchy from exploiting them. But wealthy families overthrew the last king. There was no religious leader to check their power, as the leading aristocratic families controlled the priesthood. There were no leaders who combined domestic economic reform with a religious school, and there was no Western tradition of debt cancellations such as Jesus would advocate in trying to restore the Jubilee Year to Judaic practice. There were many Stoic philosophers, and religious amphictyonic sites such as Delphi and Delos expressed a religion of personal morality to avoid hubris.

Rome’s aristocrats created an anti-democratic constitution and Senate, and laws that made debt bondage – and the consequent loss of land – irreversible. Although the “politically correct” ethic was to avoid engaging in commerce and moneylending, this ethic did not prevent an oligarchy from emerging to take over the land and reduce much of the population to bondage. By the 2nd century BC Rome conquered the entire Mediterranean region and Asia Minor, and the largest corporations were the publican tax collectors, who are reported to have looted Rome’s provinces.

There always have been ways for the wealthy to act sanctimoniously in harmony with altruistic ethics eschewing commercial greed while enriching themselves. Western antiquity’s wealthy were able to come to terms with such ethics by avoiding direct lending and trading themselves, assigning this “dirty work” to their slaves or freemen, and by spending the revenue from such activities on conspicuous philanthropy (which became an expected show in Rome’s election campaigns). And after Christianity became the Roman religion in the 4th century AD, money was able to buy absolution by suitably generous donations to the Church.

Rome’s Legacy and the West’s Financial Imperialism 

What distinguishes Western economies from earlier Near Eastern and most Asian societies is the absence of debt relief to restore economy-wide balance. Every Western nation has inherited from Rome the pro-creditor sanctity of debt principles that prioritize the claims of creditors and legitimize the permanent transfer to creditors of the property of defaulting debtors. From ancient Rome to Habsburg Spain, imperial Britain and the United States, Western oligarchies have appropriated the income and land of debtors, while shifting taxes off themselves onto labor and industry. This has caused domestic austerity and led oligarchies to seek prosperity through foreign conquest, to gain from foreigners what is not being produced by domestic economies driven into debt and subject to pro-creditor legal principles transferring land and other property to a rentier class. 

Spain in the 16th century looted vast shiploads of silver and gold from the New World, but this wealth flowed through its hands, dissipated on war instead of being invested in domestic industry. Left with a steeply unequal and polarized economy deeply in debt, the Habsburgs lost their former possession, the Dutch Republic, which thrived as the less oligarchic society and one deriving more power as a creditor than as a debtor.

Britain followed a similar rise and fall. World War I left it with heavy arms debts owed to its own former colony, the United States. Imposing anti-labor austerity at home in seeking to pay these debts, Britain’s sterling area subsequently became a satellite of the U.S. dollar under the terms of American Lend-Lease in World War II and the 1946 British Loan. The neoliberal policies of Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair sharply increased the cost of living by privatizing and monopolizing public housing and infrastructure, wiping out Britain’s former industrial competitiveness by raising the cost of living and hence wage levels.

The United States has followed a similar trajectory of imperial overreaching at the cost of its domestic economy. Its overseas military spending from 1950 onwards forced the dollar off gold in 1971. That shift had the unanticipated benefit of ushering in a “dollar standard” that has enabled the U.S. economy and its military diplomacy to get a free ride from the rest of the world, by running up dollar debt to other nation’s central banks without any practical constraint. 

The financial colonization of the post-Soviet Union in the 1990s by the “shock therapy” of privatization giveaways, followed by China’s admission to the World Trade Organization in 2001 – with the expectation that China would, like Yeltsin’s Russia, become a U.S. financial colony – led America’s economy to deindustrialize by shifting employment to Asia. Trying to force submission to U.S. control by inaugurating today’s New Cold War has led Russia, China and other countries to break away from the dollarized trade and investment system, leaving the United States and NATO Europe to suffer austerity and deepening wealth inequality as debt ratios are soaring for individuals, corporations and government bodies. 

It was only a decade ago that Senator John McCain and President Barack Obama characterized Russia as merely a gas station with atom bombs. That could now just as well be said of the United States, basing its world economic power on control of the West’s oil trade, while its main export surpluses are agricultural crops and arms. The combination of financial debt leveraging and privatization has made America a high-cost economy, losing its former industrial leadership, much like Britain did. The United States is now attempting to live mainly off financial gains (interest, profits on foreign investment and central bank credit creation to inflate capital gains) instead of creating wealth through its own labor and industry. Its Western allies seek to do the same. They euphemize this U.S.-dominated system as “globalization,” but it is simply a financial form of colonialism – backed with the usual military threat of force and covert “regime change” to prevent countries from withdrawing from the system.

This U.S. and NATO-based imperial system seeks to indebt weaker countries and force them to turn control over their policies to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Obeying the neoliberal anti-labor “advice” of these institutions leads to a debt crisis that forces the debtor country’s foreign-exchange rate to depreciate. The IMF then “rescues” them from insolvency on the “conditionality” that they sell off the public domain and shift taxes off the wealthy (especially foreign investors) onto labor. 

Oligarchy and debt are the defining characteristics of Western economies. America’s foreign military spending and nearly constant wars have left its own Treasury deeply indebted to foreign governments and their central banks. The United States is thus following the same path by which Spain’s imperialism left the Habsburg dynasty in debt to European bankers, and Britain’s participation in two world wars in hope of maintaining its dominant world position left it in debt and ended its former industrial advantage. America’s rising foreign debt has been sustained by its “key currency” privilege of issuing its own dollar-debt under the “dollar standard” without other countries having any reasonable expectation of ever being paid – except in yet more “paper dollars.” 

This monetary affluence has enabled Wall Street’s managerial elite to increase America’s rentier overhead by financialization and privatization, increasing the cost of living and doing business, much as occurred in Britain under the neoliberal policies of Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair. Industrial companies have responded by shifting their factories to low-wage economies to maximize profits. But as America deindustrializes with rising import dependency on Asia, U.S. diplomacy is pursuing a New Cold War that is driving the world’s most productive economies to decouple from the U.S. economic orbit. 

Rising debt destroys economies when it is not being used to finance new capital investment in means of production. Most Western credit today is created to inflate stock, bond and real estate prices, not to restore industrial ability. As a result of this debt-without-production approach, the U.S. domestic economy has been overwhelmed by debt owed to its own financial oligarchy. Despite America’s economy’s free lunch in the form of the continued run-up of its official debt to foreign central banks – with no visible prospect of either its international or domestic debt being paid – its debt continues to expand and the economy has become even more debt-leveraged. America has polarized with extreme wealth concentrated at the top while most of the economy is driven deeply into debt. 

The Failure of Oligarchic Democracies to Protect the Indebted Population at Large

What has made the Western economies oligarchic is their failure to protect the citizenry from being driven into dependency on a creditor property-owning class. These economies have retained Rome’s creditor-based laws of debt, most notably the priority of creditor claims over the property of debtors. The creditor One Percent has become a politically powerful oligarchy despite nominal democratic political reforms expanding voting rights. Government regulatory agencies have been captured and taxing power has been made regressive, leaving economic control and planning in the hands of a rentier elite.

Rome never was a democracy. And in any case, Aristotle recognized democracies as evolving more or less naturally into oligarchies – which claim to be democratic for public-relations purposes while pretending that their increasingly top-heavy concentration of wealth is all for the best. Today’s trickle-down rhetoric depicts banks and financial managers as steering savings in the most efficient way to produce prosperity for the entire economy, not just for themselves.

President Biden and his State Department neoliberals accuse China and any other country seeking to maintain its economic independence and self-reliance of being “autocratic.” Their rhetorical sleight of hand juxtaposes democracy to autocracy. What they call “autocracy” is a government strong enough to prevent a Western-oriented financial oligarchy from indebting the population to itself – and then prying away its land and other property into its own hands and those of its American and other foreign backers.

The Orwellian Doublethink of calling oligarchies “democracies” is followed by defining a free market as one that is free for financial rent-seeking. U.S.-backed diplomacy has indebted countries, forcing them to sell control of their public infrastructure and turn their economy’s “commanding heights” into opportunities to extract monopoly rent.

This autocracy vs. democracy rhetoric is similar to the rhetoric that Greek and Roman oligarchies used when they accused democratic reformers of seeking “tyranny” (in Greece) or “kingship” (in Rome). It was the Greek “tyrants” who overthrow mafia-like autocracies in the 7th and 6th centuries BC, paving the way for the economic and proto-democratic takeoffs of Sparta, Corinth and Athens. And it was Rome’s kings who built up their city-state by offering self-support land tenure for citizens. That policy attracted immigrants from neighboring Italian city-states whose populations were being forced into debt bondage.

The problem is that Western democracies have not proved adept at preventing oligarchies from emerging and polarizing the distribution of income and wealth. Ever since Rome, oligarchic “democracies” have not protected their citizens from creditors seeking to appropriate land, its rental yield and the public domain for themselves. 

If we ask just who today is enacting and enforcing policies that seek to check oligarchy in order to protect the livelihood of citizens, the answer is that this is done by socialist states. Only a strong state has the power to check a financial and rent-seeking oligarchy. The Chinese embassy in America demonstrated this in its reply to President Biden’s description of China as an autocracy:

Clinging to a Cold War mentality and the hegemon’s logic, the US pursues bloc politics, concocts the “democracy versus authoritarianism” narrative … and ramps up bilateral military alliances, in a clear attempt at countering China.

Guided by a people-centered philosophy, since the day when it was founded… the Party has been working tirelessly for the interest of the people, and has dedicated itself to realizing people’s aspirations for a better life. China has been advancing whole-process people’s democracy, promoting legal safeguard for human rights, and upholding social equity and justice. The Chinese people now enjoy fuller and more extensive and comprehensive democratic rights. 

Nearly all early non-Western societies had protections against the emergence of mercantile and rentier oligarchies. That is why it is so important to recognize that what has become Western civilization represents a break from the Near East, South and East Asia. Each of these regions had its own system of public administration to save its social balance from commercial and monetary wealth that threatened to destroy economic balance if left unchecked. But the West’s economic character was shaped by rentier oligarchies. Rome’s Republic enriched its oligarchy by stripping the wealth of the regions it conquered, leaving them impoverished. That remains the extractive strategy of subsequent European colonialism and, most recently, U.S.-centered neoliberal globalization. The aim always has been to “free” oligarchies from constraints on their self-seeking. 

The great question is, “freedom” and “liberty” for whom? Classical political economy defined a free market as one free from unearned income, headed by land rent and other natural-resource rent, monopoly rent, financial interest and related creditor privileges. But by the end of the 19th century the rentier oligarchy sponsored a fiscal and ideological counter-revolution, re-defining a free market as one free for rentiers to extract economic rent – unearned income. 

This rejection of the classical critique of rentier income has been accompanied by re-defining “democracy” to require having a “free market” of the anti-classical oligarchic rentier variety. Instead of the government being the economic regulator in the public interest, public regulation of credit and monopolies is dismantled. That lets companies charge whatever they want for the credit they supply and the products they sell. Privatizing the privilege of creating credit-money lets the financial sector take over the role of allocating property ownership. 

The result has been to centralize economic planning in Wall Street, the City of London, the Paris Bourse and other imperial financial centers. That is what today’s New Cold War is all about: protecting this system of U.S.-centered neoliberal financial capitalism, by wrecking or isolating the alternative systems of China, Russia and their allies, while seeking to further financialize the former colonialist system sponsoring creditor power instead of protecting debtors, imposing debt-ridden austerity instead of growth, and making the loss of property through foreclosure or forced sale irreversible.

Is Western Civilization a Long Detour from where Antiquity seemed to be Headed?

What is so important in Rome’s economic polarization and collapse that resulted from the dynamics of interest-bearing debt in the rapacious hands of its creditor class is how radically its oligarchic pro-creditor legal system differed from the laws of earlier societies that checked creditors and the proliferation of debt. The rise of a creditor oligarchy that used its wealth to monopolize the land and take over the government and courts (not hesitating to use force and targeted political assassination against would-be reformers) had been prevented for thousands of years throughout the Near East and other Asian lands. But the Aegean and Mediterranean periphery lacked the economic checks and balances that had provided resilience elsewhere in the Near East. What has distinguished the West from the outset has been its lack of a government strong enough to check the emergence and dominance of a creditor oligarchy.

All ancient economies operated on credit, running up crop debts during the agricultural year. Warfare, droughts or floods, disease and other disruptions often prevented the accrual of debts from being paid. But Near Eastern rulers cancelled debts under these conditions. That saved their citizen-soldiers and corvée-workers from losing their self-support land to creditors, who were recognized as being a potential rival power to the palace. By the mid-first millennium BC debt bondage had shrunk to only a marginal phenomenon in Babylonia, Persia and other Near Eastern realms. But Greece and Rome were in the midst of a half-millennium of popular revolts demanding debt cancellation and liberty from debt bondage and loss of self-support land. 

It was only Roman kings and Greek tyrants who, for a while, were able to protect their subjects from debt bondage. But they ultimately lost to warlord creditor oligarchies. The lesson of history is thus that a strong government regulatory power is required to prevent oligarchies from emerging and using creditor claims and land grabbing to turn the citizenry into debtors, renters, clients and ultimately serfs.

The Rise of Creditor Control over Modern Governments

Palaces and temples throughout the ancient world were creditors. Only in the West did a private creditor class emerge. A millennium after the fall of Rome, a new banking class obliged medieval kingdoms to run into debt. International banking families used their creditor power to gain control of public monopolies and natural resources, much as creditors had gained control of individual land in classical antiquity.

World War I saw the Western economies reach an unprecedented crisis as a result of Inter-Ally debts and German reparations. Trade broke down and the Western economies fell into depression. What pulled them out was World War II, and this time no reparations were imposed after the war ended. In place of war debts, England simply was obliged to open up its Sterling Area to U.S. exporters and refrain from reviving its industrial markets by devaluing sterling, under the terms of Lend-Lease and the 1946 British Loan as noted above. 

The West emerged from World War II relatively free of private debt – and thoroughly under U.S. dominance. But since 1945 the volume of debt has expanded exponentially, reaching crisis proportions in 2008 as the junk-mortgage bubble, massive bank fraud and financial debt pyramiding exploded, overburdening the U.S. as well as the European and Global South economies. 

The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank monetized $8 trillion to save the financial elite’s holdings of stocks, bonds and packaged real estate mortgages instead of rescuing the victims of junk mortgages and over-indebted foreign countries. The European Central Bank did much the same thing to save the wealthiest Europeans from losing the market value of their financial wealth. 

But it was too late to save the U.S. and European economies. The long post-1945 debt buildup has run its course. The U.S. economy has been deindustrialized, its infrastructure is collapsing and its population is so deeply indebted that little disposable income is left to support living standards. Much as occurred with Rome’s Empire, the American response is to try to maintain the prosperity of its own financial elite by exploiting foreign countries. That is aim of today’s New Cold War diplomacy. It involves extracting economic tribute by pushing foreign economies further into dollarized debt, to be paid by imposing depression and austerity on themselves. 

This subjugation is depicted by mainstream economists as a law of nature and hence as an inevitable form of equilibrium, in which each nation’s economy receives “what it is worth.” Today’s mainstream economic models are based on the unrealistic assumption that all debts can be paid, without polarizing income and wealth. All economic problems are assumed to be self-curing by “the magic of the marketplace,” without any need for civic authority to intervene. Government regulation is deemed inefficient and ineffective, and hence unnecessary. That leaves creditors, land-grabbers and privatizers with a free hand to deprive others of their freedom. This is depicted as the ultimate destiny of today’s globalization, and of history itself.

The End of History? Or Just of the West’s Financialization and Privatization?

 The neoliberal pretense is that privatizing the public domain and letting the financial sector take over economic and social planning in targeted countries will bring mutually beneficial prosperity. That is supposed to make foreign submission to the U.S.-centered world order voluntary. But the actual effect of neoliberal policy has been to polarize Global South economies and subject them to debt-ridden austerity. 

American neoliberalism claims that America’s privatization, financialization and shift of economic planning from government to Wall Street and other financial centers is the result of a Darwinian victory achieving such perfection that it is “the end of history.” It is as if the rest of the world has no alternative but to accept U.S. control of the global (that is, neo-colonial) financial system, trade and social organization. And just to make sure, U.S. diplomacy seeks to back its financial and diplomatic control by military force.

The irony is that U.S. diplomacy itself has helped accelerate an international response to neoliberalism by forcing together governments strong enough to pick up the long trend of history that sees governments empowered to prevent corrosive oligarchic dynamics from derailing the progress of civilization.

The 21st century began with American neoliberals imagining that their debt-leveraged financialization and privatization would cap the long upsweep of human history as the legacy of classical Greece and Rome. The neoliberal view of ancient history echoes that of antiquity’s oligarchies, denigrating Rome’s kings and Greece’s reformer-tyrants as threatening too strong a public intervention when they aimed at keeping citizens free of debt bondage and securing self-support land tenure. What is viewed as the decisive takeoff point is the oligarchy’s “security of contracts” giving creditors the right to expropriate debtors. This indeed has remained a defining characteristic of Western legal systems for the past two thousand years.

A real end of history would mean that reform stops in every country. That dream seemed close when U.S. neoliberals were given a free hand to reshape Russia and other post-Soviet states after the Soviet Union dissolved itself in 1991, starting with shock therapy privatizing natural resources and other public assets in the hands of Western-oriented kleptocrats registering public wealth in their own names – and cashing out by selling their takings to U.S. and other Western investors. 

The end of the Soviet Union’s history was supposed to consolidate America’s End of History by showing how futile it would be for nations to try to create an alternative economic order based on public control of money and banking, public health, free education and other subsidies of basic needs, free from debt financing. China’s admission into the World Trade Organization in 2001 was viewed as confirming Margaret Thatcher’s claim that There Is No Alternative (TINA) to the new neoliberal order sponsored by U.S. diplomacy. 

There is an economic alternative, of course. Looking over the sweep of ancient history, we can see that the main objective of ancient rulers from Babylonia to South Asia and East Asia was to prevent a mercantile and creditor oligarchy from reducing the population at large to clientage, debt bondage and serfdom. If the non-U.S. Eurasian world now follows this basic aim, it would be restoring the flow of history to its pre-Western course. That would not be the end of history, but it would return to the non-Western world’s basic ideals of economic balance, justice and equity.

Today, China, India, Iran and other Eurasian economies have taken the first step as a precondition for a multipolar world, by rejecting America’s insistence that they join the U.S. trade and financial sanctions against Russia. These countries realize that if the United States could destroy Russia’s economy and replace its government with U.S.-oriented Yeltsin-like proxies, the remaining countries of Eurasia would be next in line. 

The only possible way for history really to end would be for the American military to destroy every nation seeking an alternative to neoliberal privatization and financialization. U.S. diplomacy insists that history must not take any path that would not culminate in its own financial empire ruling through client oligarchies. American diplomats hope that their military threats and support of proxy armies will force other countries to submit to neoliberal demands – to avoid being bombed, or suffering “color revolutions,” political assassinations and army takeovers, Pinochet-style. But the only real way to bring history to an end is by atomic war to end human life on this planet.

The New Cold War is Dividing the World into Two Contrasting Economic Systems

  NATO’s proxy war in Ukraine against Russia is the catalyst fracturing the world into two opposing spheres with incompatible economic philosophies. China, the country growing most rapidly, treats money and credit as a public utility allocated by government instead of letting the monopoly privilege of credit creation be privatized by banks, leading to them displacing government as economic and social planner. That monetary independence, relying on its own domestic money creation instead of borrowing U.S. electronic dollars, and denominating foreign trade and investment in its own currency instead of in dollars, is seen as an existential threat to America’s control of the global economy.

U.S. neoliberal doctrine calls for history to end by “freeing” the wealthy classes from a government strong enough to prevent the polarization of wealth, and ultimate decline and fall. Imposing trade and financial sanctions against Russia, Iran, Venezuela and other countries that resist U.S. diplomacy, and ultimately military confrontation, is how America intends to “spread democracy” by NATO from Ukraine to the China Seas. 

The West, in its U.S. neoliberal iteration, seems to be repeating the pattern of Rome’s decline and fall. Concentrating wealth in the hands of the One Percent has always been the trajectory of Western civilization. It is a result of classical antiquity having taken a wrong track when Greece and Rome allowed the inexorable growth of debt, leading to the expropriation of much of the citizenry and reducing it to bondage to a land-owning creditor oligarchy. That is the dynamic built into the DNA of what is called the West and its “security of contracts” without any government oversight in the public interest. By stripping away prosperity at home, this dynamic requires a constant reaching out to extract an economic affluence (literally a “flowing in”) at the expense of colonies or debtor countries.

The United States through its New Cold War is aiming at securing precisely such economic tribute from other countries. The coming conflict may last for perhaps twenty years and will determine what kind of political and economic system the world will have. At issue is more than just U.S. hegemony and its dollarized control of international finance and money creation. Politically at issue is the idea of “democracy” that has become a euphemism for an aggressive financial oligarchy seeking to impose itself globally by predatory financial, economic and political control backed by military force. 

As I have sought to emphasize, oligarchic control of government has been a major distinguishing feature of Western civilization ever since classical antiquity. And the key to this control has been opposition to strong government – that is, civil government strong enough to prevent a creditor oligarchy from emerging and monopolizing control of land and wealth, making itself into a hereditary aristocracy, a rentier class living off land rents, interest and monopoly privileges that reduce the population at large to austerity. 

The unipolar U.S.-centered order hoping to “end history” reflected a basic economic and political dynamic that has been a characteristic of Western civilization ever since classical Greece and Rome set off along a different track from the Near Eastern matrix in the first millennium BC. 

To save themselves from being swept into the whirlpool of economic destruction now engulfing the West, countries in the world’s rapidly growing Eurasian core are developing new economic institutions based on an alternative social and economic philosophy. With China being the largest and fastest growing economy in the region, its socialist policies are likely to be influential in shaping this emerging non-Western financial and trading system.  

Instead of the West’s privatization of basic economic infrastructure to create private fortunes through monopoly rent extraction, China keeps this infrastructure in public hands. Its great advantage over the West is that it treats money and credit as a public utility, to be allocated by government instead of letting private banks create credit, with debt mounting up without expanding production to raise living standards. China also is keeping health and education, transportation and communications in public hands, to be provided as basic human rights. 

China’s socialist policy is in many ways a return to basic ideas of resilience that characterized most civilization before classical Greece and Rome. It has created a state strong enough to resist the emergence of a financial oligarchy gaining control of the land and rent-yielding assets. In contrast, today’s Western economies are repeating precisely that oligarchic drive that polarized and destroyed the economies of classical Greece and Rome, with the United States serving as the modern analogue for Rome.


Michael Hudson is President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He is the author of several important works in economics. His website is here.


Featured: Aeneas fleeing from burning Troy, by Kerstiaen de Keuninck; painted ca. 1610.


The Neo-Liberal Managerial State and NGOs

The “managerialization” of the State, imposed with arrogance after 1989, in fact corresponds to its neutralization or, more precisely, to its subsumption under the economic moment that led to the materialization of Foucault’s prophecy: “one must govern for the market, instead of governing because of the market.”

The inversion of the traditional power relationship ended up causing the transition from the market under State sovereignty to the State under market sovereignty: in complete liberal cosmopolitanism, the State is now a mere executor of market sovereignty.

Ceremonially celebrated by the new post-Gramscian Left and by its program (more and more clearly coinciding with that of the liberal elite), the abolition of the primacy of the State has contributed to liberate not the dominated classes, but the “wild beast” of the market.

In the era of the State with limited or dissolved sovereignty, the prerogative of superiorem non recognoscens is acquired in a stable and direct manner by the globalist elite of the neofeudal lord, which exercises it through organizations reflecting its interests—from the ECB to the IMF. The planetary economic has conquered the status of a power that does not recognize anything as superior.

The aforementioned private and supranational entities annihilate any possibility of addressing with public resources the dramatic and pressing social issues linked to labor, unemployment, growing misery and the erosion of social rights.

In the absence of the eticizing power of the State, the liberal-libertarian plutocratic elites openly preach and quietly practice, in their own interest, wage moderations, control of public accounts and, naturally, the sanctioning of eventual non-compliance. At the same time, they can recover everything they had lost through class conflicts, id est everything positive that in the Novecento—the century of labor and social conquests, and not only of “political tragedies” and genocidal totalitarianisms—the workers’ movement had managed to achieve: from the entry of law into the workplace to the formation of trade unions, from free education for all to the foundations of the welfare state.

Moreover, classist economic fanaticism can easily use the ideologies of the past, linked to ignominiously failed political projects, as a negative symbolic resource to legitimize itself. It can now present itself as preferable to any previous political experience, or liquidate a priori any project of world regeneration and any utopian-transforming passion, immediately assimilated with the tragedies of the twentieth century.

The proclamation of the End of History was raised, since 1992, as the ideological compendium of the world today entirely, subsumed under capital. Emblem of the destinalist philosophy of the capitalist progress of history, it succeeded in installing in the general mentality the need to adapt to the new power relations. And all this, moreover, with the awareness—cynical or euphoric, as the case may be—of having reached the end of the Western historical adventure, completed with the universal freedom of the planetary market and with humanity reduced to the condition of solitary consumer atoms, with an abstractly unlimited will to power and concretely coextensive with respect to the available exchange value.

Functional for the general alignment with the imperative of ne varietur, the postmodern demystification of the great meta-narratives proceeded hand-in-hand with the imposition of a single grand narrative permitted and ideologically naturalized in a single perspective admitted as true: the worn-out storytelling and the abusive liberal vulgate of the destinalist End of History in the post-bourgeois, post-proletarian and ultra-capitalist framework, inaugurated with the fall of the Wall and with the real cosmopolitization of the capitalist nexus of force.

Suffice it to recall here, as a concrete example drawn from our present, the role of the so-called “Non-Governmental Organizations” (NGOs). These, together with multinational and deterritorialized companies, have challenged the predominance of States. Behind the philanthropy with which these organizations claim to act (human rights, democracy, saving lives, etc.) is hidden the naked private interest of transnational capital.

Non-Governmental Organizations, in reality, claim from below and from “civil society” the “conquests of civilization,” the “rights” and the “values” established from above by the masters of the levelling globalism that “per sé fuoro” (Inferno, III, v. 39), the new financial conquerors and the custodians of the great business of the supranational market under the hegemony of private capitalist speculation.

Such conquests, rights and values are, consequently, always and only those of the competitive global class, ideologically smuggled as “universal”: demolition of borders, overthrow of rogue states (i.e., of all governments not aligned with the unipolar and American-centric New World Order), encouragement of migratory flows for the benefit of corporate cosmopolitanism, de-sovereignization, deconstruction of the pillars of bourgeois and proletarian ethic (family, trade unions, labor protection, etc.).

From this perspective, under the humanitarian veneer of NGOs, we discover the Trojan Horse of global capitalism, the tableau de bord of the cosmopolitan elite, with its ruthless fundamental rule (business is business) and its assault on the sovereignty of States.

If they are not analyzed according to the scheme imposed by the hegemony of the financial aristocracy, Non-Governmental Organizations reveal themselves as a powerful means to circumvent and undermine the sovereignty of States, and to implement point by point the globalist plan of the ruling class, in search of the definitive liberalization of the political regulation of sovereign national States as the last strongholds of democracies.

The clash between Non-Governmental Organizations and the laws of national States does not hide, as the masters of the discourse keep repeating, the struggle between the philanthropy of “love for humanity” and inhuman authoritarianism; on the contrary, we find the war between the private dimension of the profit of transnational groups and the public dimension of the sovereign States under their siege.

Specifically, for those who venture beyond the glassy theater of ideologies and assert the volonté de savoir of Foucauldian memory, on the horizon of globalization as the new scenario of the cosmopoliticized conflict between master and servant, Non-Governmental Organizations appear as the ideal instruments for the imposition of a political agenda matured outside any democratic process and exclusively protective of the concrete interests of the hegemonic class.

The latter, by the way, using the diligent work of the anesthetists of the spectacle, defames as “sovereigntist”—the umpteenth fraudulent category coined by the neo-language of the markets—anyone who does not definitively say goodbye to the concept of national sovereignty. A bastion of the defense of democracies developed within state spaces still resistant to the New World Order (which is post-democratic to the same extent that it is post-national), the objective is that the very notion of national sovereignty be ideologically degraded to an instrument of aggression and oppression, of intolerance and xenophobia.


Diego Fusaro is professor of the History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre ReturnsThis article appears courtesy of Posmodernia.


Featured: Corrupt Legislation, mural by Elihu Vedder, in the Lobby to Main Reading Room, Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.; painted in 1896.


The Economics and Ethics of Rape

I recently received this message over the transom from a disaffected reader of mine who shall remain anonymous. It was sent to a friend of mine, I received it indirectly from her. This writer was not a happy camper. (You young pups, if you don’t know what a transom is, or its significance look it up.)

Here is the message: “Did he (that is, me, Block) say, for example, that there is an ‘optimal level of rape in every society?’ I don’t know, that’s one example someone shared with me. To illustrate relative harms, did he write, for example, that a parent could justify giving one’s young child up for sexual acts with an adult benefactor to save their life? I am not making any judgements about these claims, their philosophical merit, or whether they fairly represent what Walter said (or didn’t say). If he did say and write these things there may have been good reasons to frame them in the way that he did. I am just reporting the responses I received when I started asking around…” (which were very negative).

This does sound horrendous. Reading in between the lines, it can be construed as attributing to me the view that I favor rape and child molestation. Let us consider each of these charges in turn.

Of course there is an optimal amount of rape. From an ethical point of view, that amount is precisely zero. Rape is a horrendous crime, second, only, to outright murder. All men of good will must wish it to be entirely banished from the human condition. (I write at a time when this despicable crime is now being committed in Israel). It should be banished forever.

However, from an economic point of view, the optimal amount of rape is not zero. Let me explain, lest it be thought that I am now taking back what I just about this heinous crime.

Of course, there is an optimal number of rapes (murders too, ditto for all other evil vicious crimes) and the optimal number is greater than zero – from an economic as opposed to an ethical perspective. For our society to try to ensure zero rapes would take the entire GDP, and I doubt that even this herculean effort would succeed in full eradication. That is, to somehow, doubtfully, achieve this good goal would take more than all of our wealth. If we devoted all of our economic efforts to entirely ending rape, we would thus all die of starvation, cold, disease, etc. That is no way to run a railroad.

So, what, then, is the optimal number of rapes from an economic point of view?

It would be the number that would ensue if we privatized the police forces and thus employed the “magic of the market” so as to most efficiently combat this scourge. In similar manner, what is the optimal amount of cookware, or carrots, or cars? It is the quantity of each that emanates from the free enterprise system.

Under present statist institutional arrangements, the optimal number would be at the point when the full cost of stopping the marginal or last rape just equaled the harm done by this crime. This of course it totally theoretical, since none of these statistics are available to us.

Now, let us consider the second issue, allowing children to be raped in order to save their lives.

“Death before dishonor” is all well and good for adults who can chose for themselves. But guardians of children are supposed to guard them! If a guardian of a child were confronted with the choice of allowing the child entrusted to him to die, or to be raped, and he chose the former, he should be considered a criminal. And not just a slight malefactor; rather an outright abettor of murder.

I have two children, they are adults now. If I were ever faced with such a dire choice, I would unhesitatingly choose the latter. My kids could always get therapy if they were alive. If they were dead, due to my choices… well, it would never happen.

Yes, in some cultures, “Death before dishonor” is widely accepted. But justice is justice. Allowing a dependent to be put to death when the alternative was a far lesser rights violation, should be severely sanctioned. Even the Godfather, in the movie of that name, drew a sharp distinction between these two crimes rape and murder.

My first point; it is a veritable staple of the dismal science; the optimal rate of rape or any other such heinous crime, is not zero, paradoxically. The second is a basic libertarian point; the optimal amount is precisely zero. The critic cited above is not a good economist, nor a libertarian. He is an economic and an ethical illiterate.


Walter Block is the Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics at Loyola University, New Orleans. Read more of his work on his Substack.


Featured: The Rape of Proserpina; artist unknown; painted ca. 17th century. Nizhny Novgorod Art Museum, from the collection of Fyodor Mikhailovich Kamensky (1836 – 1913).


Why Does Capitalism Now Prefer the Left?

The old bourgeois capitalism, in the dialectical phase, preferred the culture of the Right, with its nationalism, its disciplinary authoritarianism, its patriarchy, its alliance with the altar and its values, at that time functional to the reproduction of the mode of production.

Today, the post-bourgeois turbo-capital of globalization, of the free market and free desire, in the absolute-totalitarian phase, prefers the culture of the Left, with its celebration of anthropological deregulation and of the unlimited openness of the imaginary and of real borders, with its dogmatics of the de-sovereignization of the States and the falsely rebellious deconstruction of the old bourgeois norms. Therein lies—in Preve’s words—the “profound affinity between leftist culture and the fact of globalization.”

Right-wing capitalism, of nationalism, discipline, patriarchy, religion and compulsory military service, gives way to the new leftist capitalism—that is, to progressive neoliberalism—of cosmopolitanism, consumerist permissiveness, post-family individualism and ERASMUS as the new “compulsory military service” for the education of the new generations in the values of precariousness and nomadism, of openness and deregulated enjoyment.

The order of the hegemonic discourse managed by the heralds of the culture of the champagne-Left, on the one hand, celebrates globalization as a natural and intrinsically good reality. On the other hand, with a symmetrical movement, it delegitimizes as dangerous ethnic and religious, nationalist and regressive reactions; everything that in various ways calls it into question. However, as Preve has suggested, it would be enough to “gesturally reorient” the gaze to gain a different perspective, from below and for those from below. Instead of “globalization,” we should speak of American-centric capitalist imperialism without borders. And instead of ethnic and religious, nationalist and regressive reactions, we should speak of legitimate national and cultural resistance to the falsely humanitarian violence of capitalist globalization of misery and homologation.

It is what Nancy Fraser has called “progressive neoliberalism,” synthesizing well the honeymoon between the class fanaticism of the market economy and the liberal-libertarian instances of the “artistic critique” of the new Left referent in struggle against any figure of tradition and limit, of community and identity, of people and transcendence. The 1960s substitution of the Marxian revolutionary, who fights against capital, for the Nietzschean hooligan rebel, who transvalues the old bourgeois values, provokes this inclined plane that leads to the paradoxical present condition: “the right to reefer” and the “surrogate womb” are conceived by the neo-Left as more important and emancipatory than any act of transformation of the world, or of taking a stand against the neoliberal exploitation of labor, colonial exterminations and imperialist wars hypocritically presented as “peace missions.”

Herein lies the deception of “civil rights,” a noble title used entirely improperly by progressive neoliberalism to: a) divert attention from the social issue and labor rights; and b) lead the Left and the dominated classes to the assumption of neoliberal points of view, for which the only struggles worth fighting are those for the individualistic liberalization of customs and consumption (we repeat, “civil rights” liberal Newspeak calls them), along with the necessary export, by missile, of those rights to areas of the planet not yet subsumed under the free market and its progressive neoliberalism.

Particularly in philosophy, the relativistic and anti-metaphysical nihilism of postmodernist “weak thought” is presented idealiter as the pinnacle of anti-conformism, when in reality it is the ideal Weltanschauung to justify the foundationless society of the liberal-nihilistic globalization of the relativistic fundamentalism of the commodity form. The individualistic liberalization of lifestyles is based on the philosophy of postmodern relativism, thanks to which values and “the immutable”—to say it with Emanuele Severino—are dissolved, and everything becomes “relative,” that is, in exclusive relation to the desires of consumption of the desiring subject.

Nihilistic relativism and anti-veritative utilitarianism are the ideal forma mentis for the liberal-market cosmos, since they imply that all representations can be equally useful, as long as they do not conflict with the market and, in this way, favor it. The postmodernist Left finds its clearest expression in the philosophical work of Richard Rorty—convinced that leftist thought is based on the “ironic” deconstruction of absolutes and metaphysical foundations—and in the apparently very different thought of Slavoj Žižek, a bizarre example of “postmodern Marxism” that, in addition to transforming Marx and Hegel into trash phenomena, ends up delegitimizing resistance to Atlanticist globalization as totalitarian and terrorist.

Gianni Vattimo’s “weak thought” itself, regardless of its ultimate objectives in an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist sense—otherwise in contradiction with its basic philosophical presuppositions—owes its success not least to its high degree of compatibility with the new liquid and post-metaphysical structure of capitalism. Theorizing the “weakening” of the fundamental metaphysical and truthful structures, Vattimo outlined, back in the 1980s of the “short century,” the new ideological frame of reference of absolute-totalitarian commercialism, effectively confirming Jameson’s thesis about the nature of postmodernism as the cultural logic of late capitalism.

Turbo-capitalist society is no longer based on supposed transcendent truths (Christian religion) or on correspondence with human nature (Greek philosophy). It is based, on the contrary, solely on the verification of the correct capitalist reproduction actually given. For this reason, the turbo-capitalism of the global market society expresses itself economically in utilitarianism and philosophically in relativistic nihilism. As foreshadowed by Preve and as we ourselves emphasized in Difendere chi siamo (2020), the turbo-capitalist society needs homines vacui and post-identitarians, consumers without identity and without critical spirit. And it is the leftism of sinistrash that zealously produces the ideal anthropological profile for capitalist globalization, the postmodern and “open-minded” homo neoliberalis, that is, “empty” of all content and ready to receive whatever the production system wants from time to time to “fill” it with.

In fact, post-metaphysical turbo-capitalism knows no moral, religious or anthropological limits to oppose to the integral advent of exchange value as the only accepted value: the ideal subject of turbo-capitalism—homo neoliberalis—is, then, the left-wing individual, engaged in rainbow battles for the whims of consumption and disinterested in social battles for work and against imperialism; in a word, he is the post-bourgeois, post-proletarian and ultra-capitalist Nietzschean Superman, bearer of an unlimited will of consumerist power, economically right-wing, culturally left-wing and politically center-wing. It is, to stay in the lexicon of philosophy, the realization of the “protagoric man,” whose subject—understood as a desiring individual is—πάντων χρημάτων μέτρον—”measure of all things.” Thus, politics itself becomes, for the new Left, a struggle against all the limits that in various ways hinder the realization of the subjective desires of that protagoric man.

Moreover, the Left oriented individual is the ideal subject of turbo-capital, since tendentially—let us think mainly of the generation of 1968ers—he is a figure disappointed by the proletarian and communist “illusions.” And, eo ipso, he provides a depressive psychological basis in the name of “disenchantment” (Entzauberung); almost as if he were an ideal “figure” of the Phenomenology of Spirit, historicist disenchantment; that is to say, the loss of faith in the advent of the redeemed society is dialectically invested in the acceptance—depressive or euphoric—of the planetary reification of the neoliberal order. The post-modern can rightly be understood as the fundamental figure of the rationalization of disenchantment and reconciliation with the nihilism of capital elevated to the only possible world, with the addition of the definitive decline of belief in emancipatory “grand narratives.”

For this reason, the liberal new Left also presents itself as a “postmodern Left,” the guardian of relativistic nihilism and the disenchantment of the end of faith in the great narratives of overcoming capitalism: the “strong thought,” veritative and still radically metaphysical of Hegel and Marx, is abandoned by the new Left in favor of the “weak thought” of a Nietzsche reinterpreted in a postmodern key as a sulphurous “hammerer” of values and of the very idea of truth, and as a theorist of the Superman with an unlimited consumerist will to power.

As for relativistic nihilism, which the neo-Nietzschean Left celebrates as “emancipatory” with respect to the metaphysical and veritative pretensions of the Absolutes, this is precisely the foundation of capitalist disempowerment, which turns everything relative to the nihil of the commodity form and, neutralizing the very idea of truth, annihilates the basis of the critique of falsehood and of the insurrection against injustice. Nihilism does not lead to the emancipation of the multiplicity of lifestyles, as Vattimo believes, but rather leads to the disenchanted acceptance of the steel cage of techno-capitalism, within which differences proliferate in the very act with which they are reduced to articulations of the commodity form. From this point of view, Foucault also tends to be “normalized” and assimilated by the neo-Left, which has elevated him to the category of postmodern critic of the inevitable nexus between truth and authoritarian power. And, thus, they make liberation coincide with the abandonment of any pretension to truth.

As for disenchantment, it coincides with the profile of the “last man” thematized by Nietzsche. Der lezte Mensch, “the last man,” becomes aware of the “death of God” and the impossibility of the redemption in which he had also believed, and reconciles himself with meaninglessness, judging it as an irredeemable destiny. This anthropological and cultural profile finds timely confirmation in the existential adventure of the “generation of 1968” and of Lyotard himself, the theorist of the Postmodern Condition. He lost his original faith in socialism (he was a militant of the Marxist group Socialisme ou Barbarie) and reconverted to capitalist nihilism, lived as an inescapable steel cage but with consented spaces of individual freedom (in a rigorously alienated and marketized form, ça va sans dire). For all these reasons, postmodernism remains a philosophy of the rationalization of disenchantment and, at the same time, of the conversion to the acceptance of techno-capitalist nihilism understood as an emancipatory opportunity.


Diego Fusaro is professor of the History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre ReturnsThis article appears courtesy of Posmodernia.


Featured: Cut with the Kitchen Knife, collage by Hannah Höch (1889-1978); created in 1919.


“Ye Shall have No Other Society but This One!”: Neoliberal Theology

The theological character of the new ordo oeconomicus is clearly shown in its imposition of itself as an irrefutable and irredeemable horizon, as an objectively given totality, insuperable even if only at the symbolic level. It turns us all into followers of a cult without dogma, of a fetishistic incantation and of an omnipresent religion in everyday life, whose dominion extends “on Earth as it does in Heaven.”

We are confronted with commodities, stock market values or the inscrutable will of the market, as if they were emanations of the only surviving divinity: the fetishized economy. The result is an unprecedented vision of the world, which is smuggled in as aseptic, secular, anodyne and purely economic, but which in reality is a position of the highest ideological and religious content. It “unites” (religat, according to the original etymology of religio) all men on the planet to the omnipotence of the market as the sole guiding principle of the totality of fetishized social relations, like the Deus Mortalis referred to in the words of the Book of Job (41:24): non est potestas super terram quae comparetur ei.

That the economy represents the logical and chronological successor of the traditional monotheistic divinity is evidenced not only by the fact that its laws cannot be questioned, since they constitute the inexplicable with which to explain every reality of the market cosmos; it is also deduced from the very self-foundation that the economy began to operate, at least starting from the dialectical phase. Capitalist exchange presents itself, in effect, as a causa sui, according to the most typical prerogative of monotheistic divinity. Not only does it not need external foundations, of a political or philosophical character, but it must neutralize them, promoting the rejection of traditional faith, of contractualism as the political establishment of the social order, or of natural law as truth pre-existent to the self-instituted ordo oeconomicus.

From its abstract phase, the capitalist animal kingdom of the spirit aspires to eliminate the historical and social traces of its genesis, that is, its own condition of product of human action. It must be thought of as prior to any communal substance pre-existent to the network of mercantile exchanges (this is the social-historical deduction of the Lockean critique of the idea of substance), as without cause (this explains, on the social and political level, the Humean destructuring of the idea of cause) and, again, as ahistorically founded on free-trade human nature (the Smithian “invisible hand”). Like the monotheistic divinity, the market economy is not created and is, at the same time, at the origin of the creatio ex nihilo of the socio-political cosmos that considers it dominant as summum ens and as ens entium.

Postmodern men, disenchanted and already indifferent to the great narratives that have paved the way for Modernity, have ceased to believe in everything except the blind and mysterious force of the market, the only surviving Absolute. The market itself acts in its turn as the author of disenchantment with respect to any other value not superimposable or, in any case, not reabsorbable in the pantheon of the market, composed of exchange, consumption and the tenacious faith in the inevitability of economic fundamentalism conceived as the fatality of destiny. The continuous struggles of the secularist front against the monotheisms of tradition reveal here, once again, its misery: it is capital itself that sets aside any traditional form of religion other than that of the market.

Monotheism and polytheism coexist dialectically in the mystical figure of the divinized market, according to the aforementioned form of monocratic absolutism, which harbors within itself the kaleidoscopic plurality of lifestyles and unified customs functional to the sacred fury of unlimited valorization. Even in the common lexicon, as well as in the increasingly stereotyped lexicon of politics, whose sole purpose is to guarantee the non-existence of alternatives, the ordo oeconomicus presents the market in a form that is either singularized or pluralized. The market is pluralized when it offers possibilities of development that should not be missed (the so-called “market opportunities”) or, simply, when they are limited to carrying their existence significantly suprasensible as autonomous and divine entities.

In this, markets reveal themselves to be similar to Epicurus’ gods. Projected in the cosmic space of the interworld, hidden from human gaze and action, they exist self-referentially, indifferent to our needs and sufferings. Compared to them, we, inhabitants of the time of the fractured social bond, are just as many atoms that accidentally aggregate to disintegrate again in the vacuum of the circulation of commodities. And yet the market is once again reordered in the singular, when it assumes the status of a punitive divinity that, like the God of the Old Testament, imposes its inscrutable and non-negotiable will, giving rise to the figure of the imperatives of the market, before which politics and, more generally, human life, are called upon to submit passively.

In an integral rehabilitation of what traditional religions had condemned without appeal as vices (greed, lust, etc.), economic theology expresses itself in an unprecedented religious form that is purely cultic (of worship). It is devoid of dogmatics and theoretical justification, in harmony with its intimately nihilistic nature, because it is based on the unconnected extension of the commodity form to all spheres. That capitalism is a faith is clear from the unshakable confidence that continues to be placed in the market, despite the catastrophes and calamities it generates daily on a planetary scale. It is presented as if it were a God whose goodness cannot be doubted, following the typical recourse of all theodicy and its guarantee that, in the end, evil will not triumph.

Having attained its degree of absoluteness, capital today assumes in fully realized form the status of the new God to which it secretly aspired from its auroral gaze: we thus return to the religious spirit of capitalism of Protestant origin studied by Weber. To corroborate the status of unconditional faith that permeates our connection with the Nomos of the economy and also, in our daily life, the fact that, more and more often, it is not we who choose, but we happily and frivolously trust in brands—that is, in the almost divine guarantee of the griffe (the now disused slogan “in God we trust” gives way to the postmodern “in brand we trust”)—we count on the complicit and increasingly invasive dictatorship of advertising. The latter millimetrically disciplines our desires according to the dual and synergistic movement of its ever-renewed urgency and its diversion to the market: it is not permissible to desire anything that is virtually external to the society of the spectacle. The totalitarian character of a production apparatus that not only determines the socially required roles and attitudes, but also itself informs the needs and aspirations, the dreams and innermost desires of individuals, emerges once again.

The phenomenon of the gadget, that is, the aberration transformed into a commodity, can also be understood from a not-too-distant perspective. Gadgets such as advertising key chains—Debord suggested—not only reveal the umpteenth mystical abandonment to the transcendence of the commodity form: their meticulous collection fulfills a function similar to the accumulation of indulgences, constituting the proof for the adept of the cult of the commodity form of his own condition as a faithful of the religion of planetary alienation and of the creed of truth in money.

As Benjamin anticipated, in his prescient considerations of 1921 on Kapitalismus als Religion, the commodity faith, which satisfies the concerns and anxieties to which in the past the traditional religions responded and which are now increasingly abandoned, is articulated in the form of a religion of permanent worship. It knows no holidays inaccessible to economic transactions or consumerist rituals. It is a religion of daily life that shapes, according to its logic and its liturgy, each of our actions and each of our thoughts: from the moment we sign a check to the moment we make a bank transfer or even the moments when we wander through the temples of merchandise (supermarkets, shopping malls, outlets, etc.).

The religion of capital—which could perhaps be called “capitalism”—is a Deus absconditus (Isaiah 45:15), as can be inferred as soon as we consider that the market corresponds to the first religion that tends to conceal its own God in the very act with which it spasmodically celebrates its cult. It segregates in its own image and likeness an ethic of sacrifice and guilt, periodically immolating peoples on the altar of the market and its unfathomable lex divina. Guilt declines, in the religion of capital, as debit: and this, according to that semantic convergence which is symptomatically made explicit in the German word Schuld—which encompasses both meanings—and shows its operative unity in the capitalist landscape (where debt is also guilt).

The political lexicon is always revealing, for in it is sedimented the spirit of the times. The rhetoric of sacrifice is condensed today in theologomena, so commonplace that it goes unnoticed (“it is necessary to make sacrifices”, “the market demands it of us”, “the debt must be paid off,” “it is the will of Europe,” etc.). It is typical of religious thought: it is always governed by the idea of a salvation which, in the last analysis, does not depend entirely on us and which can, at most, be brought about by sacrificial rites whose most hidden meaning escapes human reason. The only possible economy of salvation today seems to be that which preaches the salvation of the economy, in the two senses of the sacrifice of all reality for the sake of maintaining the ordo oeconomicus and the reabsorption of all soteriological perspective in the immanent dynamics of the market.

The transcendental historical change introduced by the advent of the religion of capital is also made evident by the fact that salvation from the anguish and pain of existence is no longer pursued through the path of traditional religions, as fuga mundi. The only possible salvation, in times of the economic apocalypse and the “universal flood” of global liquidity, becomes unbridled consumption and, therefore, the loss of oneself in the meaninglessness of the world. It provokes that enslavement of the subject to the absolute power of the object which, as we shall see, constitutes the culmination of the reified hellish scenario, determining the oblivion of praxis. The cunning of production consists in generating the illusion that possible salvation resides in the commodity-object and, at the same time, in ensuring that this is characterized by a structural emptiness of substance: the commodity-object dissolves quickly, in the very act with which it is consumed.

Thus, in the order of the religion of capital, the illusion of salvation is punctually frustrated in the emptiness of the object and, at the same time, always re-emerges as itself, in a macabre dance of commodities that are extinguished in consumption only to re-emerge again and again. It is in this perverse circuit that lies the secret of the consumerist liturgy, as a constant search for salvation in an object that continually disappears in consumption and always reappears in circulation. The commodity-object, instead of saving, continues to generate ex novo the disastrous circularity it promised to break. For this reason, the enjoyment proposed by the discourse of the capitalist is unsatisfactory. Its unlimited pursuit gives life to the hell of the compulsive search for the new, which is always equal to itself, typical of the Kierkegaardian aesthetic phase to which Oedipal capitalism condemns humanity. Herein lies, incidentally, the “metonymic character of desire” (Massimo Recalcati), that is, its frenetic drive, in a fluctuation without peace, that leads humanity from one object to another, in the promise of a worldly salvation that, according to the theology of the market, always refers to the next commodity. The condition of lack is not safeguarded as constitutive of existence, but is continually generated as a ruse aimed at the unlimited reproduction of an ephemeral jouissance that is always the same.

The cunning of production exploits to its own advantage this tragic condition of Western man: pretending to want to cure it, it always renews it from scratch, exploiting it with a view to the circuit of self-referential valorization. The dictatorship of advertising is its finishing touch. The latter, through the artifice of fashion, determines the programmed obsolescence of the object, relentlessly declaring the expiration of the merchandise it praised until yesterday. In the words of Debord’s Société du spectacle: “both Stalin and outmoded products are denounced by those who imposed them” (§ 70); and, in this way, the new advertising lie disproves the preceding lie so that it can, in turn, be challenged by the subsequent one.


Diego Fusaro is professor of the History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre Returns[This article appears courtesy of Posmodernia].


Featured: Collins St., 5 pm, by John Brack; painted in 1955.


Land and Sea: Globalization as a Fluid Realm

Uncontrolled and uncontrollable, the sea is the realm of immoderation and universal transience, of pirate nomadism and uncontainable wandering: “in the sea it is not possible to sow or even to dig straight lines. The ships that sail the sea leave no trace behind them.” The trails that are drawn in the sea disappear almost instantaneously, without being transferred to the future. They are, precisely for this reason, the symbol of the universal transience of the global liquid society.

Unlike terrestrial spaces, regulated and subject to geographical differences, to natural roots and borders, to rooted and territorialized communities, the open space of the sea is literally uninhabitable. It is crossed without the possibility of being able to inhabit it stably. It is, by its essence, the space of free and perpetual omnidirectional circulation, devoid of barriers and borders, of norms and limitations.

To cross the thalassic surfaces implies the abandonment of terrestrial stability and the acceptance of the possible dangers linked to the absence of solid ground and the eventual encounter with pirates who, in the same way as those of finance and the banking system, carry out raids in the absence of laws to control and limit them.

Without land there is neither political power nor frontier. In a word, there is no νόμος; that is why the thalassic expanse appears as the natural place of deregulation and, consequently, of that falsely libertarian anarchy which in reality secretly coincides with the uncontrolled domination of the strongest, with their freedom to preserve without restrictions their own self-interest.

Marine expansion, like the financial market of planetary flexibility, knows only waves, ebbs and flows, sudden storms and unexpected turbulence. “The trembling of the sea” (Purgatory, I, v. 117) offers no protection and, instead, exposes to the permanent risk of storms, shipwrecks and pirate boardings.

Indeed, it has been the financialization of capitalism that has played a decisive role in its post-bourgeois metamorphosis, which has led it to transit from the solid to the liquid element: finance, in fact, is volatile and unpredictable, the enemy of stability and rootedness.

The sea thus becomes an absolute metaphor for flexible and post-telluric production, aeriform for its immateriality and thalassic for its liquid movement and freed from the political power of the νόμος.

This is true not only for the liquid condition characteristic of cosmo-marketing, but also for the convergent process of deterritorialization—to take up a notion dear to Deleuze and Guattari—that distinguishes the epoch of planetary uprooting, set in motion by the expansion of the globalized market: the sea is perennially unstable in its incessant becoming and, at the same time, prevents any stabilizing action from being implemented. It forces those who venture into it to the perpetual dynamism of navigation and displacement, of nomadism and instability. It is the place of wandering and vagrancy, not of citizenship and communal territoriality.

Hegel already, anticipating Schmitt, had contrasted terrestrial rootedness, centered on the idea of frontier, to maritime limitlessness, where barriers are lacking and the dimension of schlechte Unendlichkeit, the “bad infinitude” of permanent mobility, prevails:

“The sea is something indeterminate, unlimited, infinite, and man, feeling himself in the midst of this infinity, is challenged to cross the boundary. The sea invites man to conquest and rapine, but also to profit and gain. The dry land, the river plain, fixes man to the ground, from which multiple obstacles arise. On the contrary, the sea pushes him beyond these limited circles.”

In Hegel’s perspective, the oceanic extension, open and uncontainable, corresponds to the infinite evil of excessive growth, to the rage to transcend all limits: it is the emblem of Modernity which, forgetting the Greek value of the just limit and of the sacred measure, always ventures recklessly “beyond these limited circles.”

It is in this sense that, in Elements of the Philosophy of Right, as an anticipation of the dichotomy that will be at the center of Schmitt’s reflection, Hegel maintains that “a condition for the principle of family life (Familienlebens) is the earth, a foundation and a stable ground” (§ 247); in contrast, “for industry” (für die Industrie) the “natural element” (natürliches Element) is the sea that opens towards infinity.

The telluric stability of the “ethical roots,” with its solid and solidary dimension, which sinks deep into the earth, draws a space of permanent enmity against the vacillating flow of the thalassic extension of the “system of needs,” where everything is relentlessly subjected to the uprooting of trade and bargaining, of competition and exchange of one and all.

Ethical roots aspire to regulate the anarchic space of the system of needs, subjecting it to the νόμος of communal control. Such a space, for its part, aims at the opposite goal: that is, at its own integral liberation from the power of the νόμος connected with the ethical roots. Moreover, it explicitly tends to produce the uprooting and, therefore, the devitalization of those roots, so that the self in its interest, and with it every human relation, are redefined according to the thalassic logic of unsociable sociability and piratical deregulation.

From this point of view, turbo-chrematistics globalization could rightly be understood for all intents and purposes as the triumph of the thalassic principle over the telluric one and, therefore, as the successful destruction of all surviving ethical rootedness: from that of family life to that of ethics linked to the State form, passing through the intermediate bodies of the population (from schools to trade unions and public health).

We know that the Greeks feared the sea as a mobile space of limitlessness and as a very concrete place of infinite openness, before which Achilles, their most powerful hero, wept: “bursting into tears, he sat far from his own, apart, on the shore of the whitish sea, gazing at the infinite expanse” (apeiron) (Iliad, I, 349-350).

Let us note that in the Homeric poems it is commonplace to associate the sea with the term apeiron, which literally means “without border,” “without limit” and consequently, by extension, “infinite,” “unlimited,” “indeterminate.”

The uniform space of the thalassic immensity, with its structural absence of borders, appears as the opposite not only of the mainland, where roots and ethical communities distributed over the territory and different in culture and traditions prevail; additionally the increasingly unequal “financial integration of the world” is producing the destruction of the properly geographical element, i.e., of the plurality of differentiated and unequal locations, according to what has been defined as the end of geography.

Oceanic expansion is also presented as the antithesis of that sea, limited and perimetered by the land, that is the Mediterranean, where limitlessness is literally “contained,” delimited, because it is enclosed within precise confines that allow, at least to a certain extent, the control and management of the territory.

Unlike the infinity of the ocean, the Mare Nostrum comes to be defined as a figure of that politicized economy that constitutes the essence of the ethical life thematized by Hegel. The Mediterranean then stands as the living image of a sea regulated and subjected to the power of the νόμος, because it is surrounded by land and, to a certain extent, controlled by the latter and subordinated to its demands.

Absent in Hegel, the clear conceptual differentiation between the bounded sea and the borderless ocean-like sea is found in Kant’s work. In The Metaphysics of Morals (1797) he distinguishes between mare clausum and mare liberum.

The former is the sea close to the land, subject to the control of the latter and defensible “as far as the guns that guard the shore can reach.” It is, so to speak, a regulated and disciplined sea, subject to the jurisdiction of the continent and controllable by the political force that governs it.

Such is the essence, as we have recalled, of the Mediterranean, the closed and limited Mare Nostrum, open to plurality and difference, a fertile, pluralistic and multicultural space—as Braudel has exemplarily shown—of the origin and gestation of civilizations (Greeks and Romans, Christians and Muslims).

Thus, in Hegel’s Lectures on the Philosophy of World History, the mare clausum of the Mediterranean is celebrated as the axis of Weltgeschichte, as the space for the flowering of the greatest civilizations that have traversed the history of the human race:

“All the great states of ancient history rest around this navel of the Earth. It is here that Greece, the brightest point of history, is located. In Syria is Jerusalem, the center of Judaism and Christianity. To the southeast of it are Mecca and Medina, cradles of Islam. To the west lie Delphi and Athens, and further west Rome and Carthage; and so to the south Alexandria, which is even more central than Constantinople, where the spiritual fusion of East and West is completed. The Mediterranean is, then, the heart of the Old World, being its motor, its condition of life.”

The mare liberum, on the other hand, is the sea free of controls, indefensible and physiologically uninhabitable: as Kant points out, “no domicile is possible in the open sea” or, we would say, no citizenship. The denied territoriality is accompanied by the thalassic wandering, which turns the navigator into mobilis in mobili.

And also according to this hermeneutic key, which links illimited and mare liberum together, the story of Dante’s Odysseus can be understood: “I launched myself toward the open high seas,” Odysseus declares in the presence of the Florentine poet, confessing his own guilt, which is, in all evidence, a guilt of ὕβϱις, derived from the surpassing of the just limit.

It is not by chance that Dante’s Inferno imagines the death of Odysseus when he sets out “toward the high open sea,” venturing on a voyage impossible because it leads toward the limitless. The Dantesque is one of the possible readings, if we consider that, for example, Elias Canetti of The Tongue Set Free (1977) reads the character of Odysseus in the opposite key, that is, as a figure of diminution and measure, as could be deduced from the gesture with which the hero of Ithaca makes himself “nobody” (οὐδείς) in order to defeat the Cyclops.

Because of its uncontrolled and uncontrollable, unregulated and unregulable nature, the open sea of the oceanic type gives rise to a sort of bellum omnium contra omnes of the aquatic type: by virtue of the absence of political regulation, the open sea remains a space attributable to the logic of status naturae.

It is, therefore, the sign of post-telluric anomie, where only the anarchic logic of piracy can prevail, that is, the status naturae that the globalist animal kingdom of the Spirit has generated by dissolving the telluric framework of ius publicum europaeum.

On the maritime surface, just as on the horizon of the commercial anarchy of the de-sovereignized market, the logic of the strongest prevails once again: that is, the possibility for the latter to “compete” freely and without restrictions with the weaker, according to the rule of free trade in free seas. A quintessential expression of the anomic energy of thalassic extension, the maritime conflict is ab origine unlimited and exempted from legal obligations.

As Schmitt has specified, “the sea does not constitute a state territory,” it is subtracted from the legal order and from the jurisdictions guaranteed by the political: its extension is intrinsically depoliticized and open, and “is, therefore, free from any type of spatial authority of the State.” The thalassic extension appears, then, as the space taken away from state power and its fundamental functions, from law to citizenship.

“The maritime realm knows no borders, no obligations, no rights, no control. It is presented as the unregulated space par excellence, as the locus naturalis of pirates, corsairs and all those who recognize no law other than that of the strongest: precisely because ‘no law applies at sea,’ it is inaccessible to law and human order, forming the space for a free confrontation of forces.”

The boundless vastness of the open sea “constitutes a free zone of free predation. Here the privateer, the pirate, can exercise his evil trade with a good conscience” and, above all, without legal impediments. Perhaps it is also from this perspective that the text composed by Hugo Grotius in 1609, programmatically entitled, Mare liberum and directed against English monopolistic pretensions, can be explained.

Indeed, as we know, the capitalist economy, which begins to develop also in the Mediterranean capital of Genoa, arises mainly in the oceanic spaces of the “English ports” evoked by Bloch, where the thalassic dimension (mare clausum) is overcome and we venture into the oceanic (mare liberum) in search of an unlimited expansion of profits. In the words of Carl Schmitt in his Land and Sea:

“England became the queen of the sea, and around her maritime dominion over the entire globe she built a British empire spread over every continent. The English world thought in terms of footholds and lines of communication… The age of free trade was also the age of the free display of England’s industrial and economic superiority. Free seas and free world markets were united in an idea of freedom of which only England could be the bearer and the guardian.”

Like the navigator, at an unprecedented distance from the mainland and at the mercy of storms, the precarious man navigates “by eye” between drifts and shipwrecks, be they labor or existential, in what, with Guicciardini, we could rightly characterize as “a sea agitated by the winds.”
Uprooted and subjected to the gales that constantly batter the sea far from coastal protections, the cybernaut of thalassic globalization is projected into a dimension of constant insecurity and piratical competitiveness, which will strike at the very possibility of his existence. The latter does not adopt solid and stable forms, always fluctuating between the waves of the market, on which it has been transformed into a dependent variable.

In the framework of the “vulnerable society,” it is the markets, like the sea for the cybernaut, that decide the survival of the inhabitant of the thalassic late-modernity, deprived of any communal roots and of any frontier that could protect him and provide him with a certain stability in his daily life.


Diego Fusaro is professor of the History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre Returns[This article appears courtesy of Posmodernia].


Featured: Sail through Rough Seas, by Henry Moore, no date.


Homo cosmopoliticus: Adam Smith and Globalist Subjectivity

“The proprietor of stock is necessarily a citizen of the world” (Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Book V, Chapter II, Article II).

The perverted universality of globalism can be considered fulfilled in the verification of the logic that was already outlined by Smith in The Wealth of Nations:

The proprietor of stock is necessarily a citizen of the world, and is not necessarily attached to any particular country. He would be apt to abandon the country in which he was exposed to a vexatious inquisition, in order to be assessed to a burdensome tax, and would remove his stock to some other country where he could either carry on his business, or enjoy his fortune more at his ease (Book V, Chapter II, Article II).

Following Smith’s thesis, it goes without saying that the liberal Right of Money is cosmopolitan and vocationally non-border. Capital is, by its essence, stateless and deterritorialized (“not necessarily attached to any particular country”).

Moreover, if we venture beyond Smith, it is founded on the reduction of the whole world to its “homeland” of reference: it is cosmopolitan precisely because, in order to realize itself in an “ab-solute” form, it must neutralize national barriers and saturate the globe, reducing it to a smooth plane for the omnidirectional displacement of the flows of commodities and commodified persons, of speculative capital and consumer desires.

The possessor of capital is, therefore, “necessarily a citizen of the world,” free to move and circulate in order “carry on his business, or enjoy his fortune more at his ease.” And this, as is evident, according to that logic of profit which, if during a historical period coincided with the space of imperialist nationalism, today finds its own ubi consistam in denationalization and in the opening of all material and immaterial frontiers.

From this point of view, homo cosmopoliticus seems to be the most genuine product of that cosmomarket anthropology and of that rootlessness inscribed in its original code, against which De Maistre’s theorem remains largely valid, according to which we never find the “man” qua talis, but always the Frenchman, the Italian or the Russian (and since Montesquieu—De Maistre ironically added—we learned that the Persian also exists).

Once again, the Left of Custom, trapped in the “Ptolemaic phase,” deludes itself into thinking that it fights against power, when in reality it sustains it, fully defending its interests and intervening against any project of emancipation of the oppressed with respect to the auri sacra fames of turbo-capital.

It fights the very idea of national rootedness, confusing it with its pernicious and dangerous drift that was capitalist nationalism, without realizing that today it has been completely surpassed by the new non-border globocracy, which is the first to use the anti-nationalist rhetoric to demonize, no longer the nationalist imperialism that for a time it supported, but the very idea of Nation and, with it, of the Gramscian national-popular as the basis of cultural, identitarian, political and social resistance of the oppressed against the intrinsically undemocratic market cosmopolitanism.

In this scenario emerges, with clear outlines, the structural incompatibility of capitalist cosmopolitanism with proletarian internationalism or, more generically, of the classes today dominated. Internationalism implies a nexus of socialist solidarity inter nationes and, therefore, the opposite of the cosmopolitan annihilation of nations carried out by global-capitalism following Smith’s theorem and, if you will, according to Trotsky’s cosmopolitical perspective of communism, as deconstructed by Gramsci in the Prison Notebooks.

The internationalism of the national-popular Servant does not coincide, then, either with the conquering nationalism of the historical Right (which was the expressive function of imperialist capitalism in its dialectical phase), or with the capitalist cosmopolitanism of the de-sovereignized and post-national market (which is the project defended in our day, structurally, by the liberal Right of Money and superstructurally by the libertarian Left of Custom).

From what has been exposed, it is again inferred that, in order to break the yoke of liberal Glebalism, we must first of all deconstruct the hegemony of the single thought that sanctifies the really-given power relation. In particular, it is necessary to dismantle the ideological architecture of the champagne Left of Custom, which superstructurally legitimizes the structure of the dominance of the financial Right of Money.

The ideological fraud of the nationalist Right—if it still intends to use, for heuristic purposes, the obsolete and, in fact, “useless” Right-Left dichotomy—lies in presenting a certain authoritarian and non-democratic sovereignty, as if it were the real opposition to capitalist cosmopolitanism, which is precisely its other face (rectius, the culmination).

The imposture of the champagne and rainbow Lefts consists, on the other hand, in smuggling in as socialist internationalism what, strictly speaking, is liberal cosmopolitanism; that is to say, the sphere of conflict favorable to the competitivist Lord.

With an attitude that always oscillates between incomprehension of the power relation and its active legitimization, the champagne Left surreptitiously believes—and here is the core of its error—that “the contrast of cosmopolitanism implies a repudiation of internationalism;” on the contrary, it is socialist internationalism that carries implicitly a firm rejection of both imperialist nationalism and liberal cosmopolitanism. There can be no socialist internationalism in the absence of national States which recognize each other as free and brotherly.

By the way, it was the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 that certified the acknowledged “conversion of the Italian communists to neoliberalism.” On that occasion, the definitive and integrally cosmopolitan forma mentis of the market-friendly Left was forged, now convinced that any opposition to non-border globalism was no longer the possible defense of the dominated classes against the offensive of the unified market without borders, but the path of identitarian and regressive closure, which would necessarily have to be combined with the right-wing quadrant of politics.

Bobbio was undoubtedly right when, in his successful book, Destra e sinistra (Right and Left), he pointed to the “great problem of inequality between men and peoples” as the unresolved knot in the post-1989 world. However, this impeccable diagnosis coexisted, in Bobbio’s works, with the unreal ideal-typical identification of the Left with the defense of that equality, with respect to which the really-existing new Left, converted to liberal cosmopolitanism, had already said goodbye in an evident manner for some time.

If historically the Left—as Bobbio also admitted—was based on the connection between freedom and equality and used the action of the State as an instrument of action upon reality, with a view to implementing that end, how could the post-Marxist new Left still call itself “Left,” which to the questions of equality and labor rights had now placed individualist liberalization and the rainbow rights of the individual consumer before the questions of equality and labor rights; that to the struggle for equality and freedom of colonized peoples had preferred unconditional support for the abstractly humanitarian and concretely imperialist interventionism of the dollar thalassocracy; and that, even before the eticizing power of the State as a means to achieve equality, had chosen to adhere to the de-sovereignizing globalization which is the means that guarantees the ever growing hegemony of the ruling class?


Diego Fusaro is professor of the History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre Returns[This article appears courtesy of Posmodernia].


Featured: Folio 13 from The Nuremberg Chronicle, or the Schedelsche Weltchronik, or Liber Chronicarum (Book of Chronicles); published in 1493.


Neoliberal Globalization: A New Religious Faith

Using Gramsci’s syntax, ideology exists when “a given class succeeds in presenting and having the conditions of its existence and of its class development accepted as a universal principle, as a conception of the world, as a religion.”

The culmination outlined by Gramsci is entirely relevant if reference is made to the ideology of globalization as a nature that has always been given, irreversible and physiological (globalismus sive natura). In the framework of the post-1989 New World Order and what has been defined as “the great chessboard,” it is presented to all intents and purposes as a “universal principle,” because it is indistinctly accepted in all latitudes of the planet (it is what we could call the globalization of the concept of globalization) and, at the same time, it is also embraced by the pole of the dominated, who should oppose it with the utmost firmness. It is presented as an unquestionable and universally valid truth, which only asks to be ratified and accepted according to the modality of an adaequatio that is both cognitive and political.

Globalization shows itself then, as a “conception of the world;” that is, as an articulated and all-embracing system, because it has been structured in the form of a unitary and systematic perspective, centered on denationalizing cosmopolitanism and on the elimination of all material and immaterial limitations to the free circulation of commodities and marketized persons, to the flows of liquid financial capital and to the infinite extension of the competitive interests of the dominant classes.

Finally, it takes the form of a “religion,” because it is increasingly experienced as an unquestionable faith and largely situated beyond the principles of rational Socratic discussion: whoever does not unthinkingly and with fideistic credentials accept the new globalized order will be immediately ostracized, silenced and stigmatized by the language police and the gendarmes of thought as a heretic or as an infidel, dangerously threatening the stability of the mundialist catechesis and its main articles of faith (free movement, integral openness of all material and immaterial reality, borderless competitiveness, etc. ). Globalization thus coincides with the new idolatrous monotheism of the global market, typical of an era that has ceased to believe in God, but not in capital.

In general terms, globalization is nothing other than the theory that describes, reflects and, in turn, prescribes and glorifies the post-Westphalian class-based New World Order, which emerged and stabilized after 1989 and—to take up Lasch’s formula—was ideologically elevated to the rank of true and only heaven. Such is the world entirely subsumed under capital and under the American-centric imperialism of liberalized private capital markets, with collateral export of free market democracy and free desire, and of the anthropology of homo cosmopoliticus.

The symbolic power of the concept of globalization is so invasive that it literally makes it impossible for anyone who dares to question the concept to gain access to public discourse. It is, in this sense, more akin to a religion of obligatory creed than to a theory subject to free discussion and hermeneutics embedded in dialogical reason.

Through categories that have become cornerstones of the capitalist neo-language, any attempt to curb the invasiveness of the market and to challenge the absolute domination of the globalized and American-centric economy is demonized as “totalitarianism,” “fascism,” “Stalinism,” or even “rojipardismo” (red-fascism), the diabolical synthesis of all three. Liberal fundamentalism and globalist free-market totalitarianism also evidence their inability to admit, even ex hypothesi, the theoretical possibility of alternative modes of existence and production.

Any idea of a possible control of the economy and of an eventual regulation of the market and of the open society (with built-in financial despotism) would lead unfailingly, according to the title of a well-known study by Hayek, towards “The Road to Serfdom.” Hayek states it without euphemism: “socialism means slavery.”

Obviously, the theorem of von Hayek and his acolytes does not take into account the fact that totalitarianism is not only the result of political planning, but can also be the consequence of a private competitive action of political rules. In the present Europe, by the way, the danger is not to be identified with nationalism and the return of traditional totalitarianisms, but rather with Hayekian market liberalism and the invisible violence of the subtle club of depoliticized economics.

It is therefore imperative to decolonize the imaginary of current hegemonic conceptions of globalization and try to redefine its contents in an alternative way. To this end, it is necessary to re-understand Marxian social relations as mobile and conflictive, where the gaze flooded with ideology only registers things that are inert and aseptic, rigid and immutable.

In other words, it is necessary to deconstruct the hegemonic image of globalization, showing its non-neutral but class-based character.

When analyzed from the perspective of the globalist ruling classes, globalization may indeed appear enthusiastic and very worthy of praise and empowerment.

For example, Amartya Sen celebrates it most insistently for its greater efficiency in the international division of labor, for the fall in production costs, for the exponential increase in productivity and—to a decidedly more questionable extent—for the reduction of poverty and the general improvement in living and working conditions.

Suffice it to recall, at a first glance at the new millennium, that Europe has 20 million unemployed, 50 million poor and 5 million homeless; and all this while, in the last twenty years in the same Europe, total income has risen by between 50 and 70 percent.

This confirms, in a way that is difficult to refute, the class character of globalization and the progress it generates. From the perspective of the dominated (and thus seen “from below”), it is identified with the very concrete hell of the new technocapitalist power relation, which was consolidated on a planetary scale after 1989 with the intensification of exploitation and commodification, of classism and imperialism.

To this hermeneutic duplicity, which presides over the duplicity of classes in the very fractured post-1989 context, returns the endless debate that has interested and continues to interest the two foci of this frontal contraposition: on the one hand, the apologists of globalization; and on the other, those engaged in the elaboration of the cahier de doléances du mondialisme.

The former (who as a whole can be called “globalists,” despite the kaleidoscopic plurality of their positions), extol the virtues of making the world a market. On the contrary, the latter (who only partially coincide with those whom the public debate has baptized with the name of “sovereigntists”), emphasize the contradictions and the eminently regressive character with respect to the previous framework centered on national sovereignties.

In short, and without delving into the intricacies of a debate that is practically unmanageable because of the quantity of content and diversity of approaches, the panegyrists of globalism insist on how globalization extends the industrial revolution, progress and the conquests of the West to the entire world; or, in other words, how it “universalizes” the achievements of a humanity somehow understood as “superior” and, therefore, entitled to organize the “single file” of linear development of all the peoples of the planet.

Even the most soberly skeptical authors on the axiological value of globalization, such as Stiglitz, seem to suffer from a magnetic and ultimately unjustified attraction to the work of turning the world into a market. In the view of Stiglitz and his reformist optimism, this process, which at the same time also “planetarizes” capitalist inequality and misery, deserves not to be abandoned because of the developments and changes to which it might give rise.


Diego Fusaro is professor of History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre ReturnsThis article appears courtesy of Posmodernia.


Featured: Playing Chess. Cafe “Dominic,” St. Petersburg, by Hugo Karlovich Bakmanson; painted in 1909.