There is war in Ukraine. So once again, we get to witness just how ruthless states can be when they see their self-preservation at stake. The warring powers leave no doubt that they alone decide when their existence is on the line and what that entails for their people. And yet, the same people, across the globe and especially in Europe, feel morally obligated to take sides.
Have they lost their minds?
Right in the middle of our beautiful Europe with its wonderful peaceful order, suddenly there’s war again? Just how could it come to this? Yes, how indeed? One thing is for certain: war did not just break out all of a sudden in the midst of the most beautiful peace. Nor did some crazed Russian autocrat rush into war for some inexplicable reason. As is always the case, the reasons for this war were created in peace. They were created by states that have once again reached a point in their dealings that they each think they have to inflict a crushing defeat on the other.
A new housing shortage has broken out in Germany’s major cities. Average wage earners currently pay around a third of their income for housing — and rents continue to rise. The fact that this elementary living condition is a luxury the working majority can hardly afford is officially recognized at the highest levels as a “social problem.” Especially during election campaigns, politicians promise to ensure that housing remains affordable. And really that says it all: after 150 years of capitalist growth, for many it is not.
A number of things can be observed in and about Israel in the course of the year 2019. Taken alone and and even more so taken alongside each other, some of these phenomena rank among the customs in all established democracies of the West, which Israel decidedly is part of, some of them are due to the populism increasingly widespread in the West, and some of them are rather unusual in Western nations.
Competition of Capitalists will appear continuously in the political quarterly magazine GegenStandpunkt. This page provides an overview of the table scheme as it has been finalized so far. Updated January 17, 2021. (Download PDF version.)
There is one achievement the capitalist mode of production can count on making a good impression with, or at least commanding respect: unstoppable technological progress, seen in all kinds of consumer goods along with the means for producing them. It is popularly illustrated by sophisticated equipment in fashion at the moment. On suitable occasions it is measured in the few hours and minutes of working time required for producing a certain product nowadays as compared with the past. “Downsides” are not ignored: the oversized “footprint” left by the consumption of resources, destruction of the environment, loss of jobs due to “rationalization” — all this is recognized as problematic. But “rationalization” is still called by that name; and the solution of choice for the excessive load on “nature” is considered to be — alongside a personal willingness to do without things — more technological progress. Yet it is quite clear that neither free choice nor rationality is the reason for the unstoppable technological progress the capitalist mode of production impresses with. It is caused by a practical constraint that industrialists actually create for themselves.
Apparently, you can’t reveal it often enough. It doesn’t matter that the man has almost a full term behind him. Seasoned journalists still see the final verdict about Donald Trump as being that he is above all a man with no sense of decency. Three and a half years of America first!, his implementation of impressive visions and revisions of American world politics, of the ‘homeland,’ and of the most powerful office in the world — everything he does on and around the job is perceived solely as evidence of a defective moral sensibility.
In the market economy, growth is an officially and quite generally recognized necessity. It is taken for granted that the growth of the economy is the precondition for prosperity; when growth slows down or actually stops altogether, there is a risk of want and need. Those who warn that continuous economic growth is an absurdity go more or less unheard in the culture section. Critics who maintain that a growth geared solely to immediate economic performance is too narrow a focus for society’s well-being and who call for broader criteria and values to be included are suspected of being anti-consumerist or anti-progress, or accused of ultimately having no idea of human nature and inherent human needs. Even the most sober reference to “natural limits of growth” will face the accusation of being divorced from reality. And indeed it is — reality being that those in charge of business definitely do not know or recognize any ‘natural limit’ that could thwart the economic purpose that is in effect and being practiced: a market economy needs growth. The only question is why? Where does this absolute necessity come from?