Communism failed and capitalism seems to be on

the brink of collapse: Can human beings come up

with a better way to organize society?



Gazeta, Russia

Beyond Capitalism and Communism


"The magnitude of the current global crisis isn't just unprecedented; after a short respite it clearly promises even more overwhelming turmoil. It would seem time, finally, to think not so much about rescuing national economies, but about ridding humanity of similar disasters."


By Boris Tumanov


Translated By Yekaterina Blinova


December 24, 2008


Russia - Gazeta - Original Article (Russian)

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous than standing armies … If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."


Today, as the global financial crisis is becoming almost a literal confirmation of these warnings, it's hard to believe that they were uttered over two centuries ago, in 1802. And then not by some economic “guru” of the era, but by a provincial (by European standards of the time) named Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States.


Nonetheless, let's be honest: Thomas Jefferson was a well-educated man - known as a philosopher, agronomist, architect and inventor. But his visionary discussions of the perils of the banking system were clearly inspired not so much by a profound understanding of economics, but practical experience dealing with banks as a Virginia plantation owner. In other words, by elementary common sense.


The financial and economic history of the United States, and consequently of the entire world, has repeatedly (including during the current crisis) confirmed the truth of Jefferson’s prophecy. But his warning was soundly forgotten.




Humanity has preferred to see this series of crises not so much as an indication of the inherent viciousness of the “market economy,” but as proof of its ability to “rise from the ashes” after another catastrophe, and, consequently, its suitability for continued use.


Over time, in the perceptions of those who were in some way touched by this process, the increasingly complex market economy became a self-sufficient, self-regulated mechanism, existing entirely independent of reality, including the ethical and moral needs of humanity.


Almost half a century ago, in 1962, this phenomenon was concisely but exhaustively described by American science fiction writer Clifford Simak in his novel They Walked Like Men. It's a story about how some aliens, scrupulously respecting our planet's legal codes in regard to real estate, make nearly the whole of humanity homeless. Not as a result of some hateful intentions, however, but solely as a consequence of following commercial objectives.


[Editor's Note: The book is about an alien conspiracy to legally buy the Earth. The aliens look just like humans, and appear to have unlimited wealth ].


Simak put his thoughts on the matter into the mouth of an elderly shop owner, a distinguished representative of a commercial dynasty from a small trading town in the American Midwest:


"People today have forgotten what good manners are. They have forgotten what courtesy is. What respect is. They haven't been brought up to think kindly of their neighbors. The business world has become nothing but accounting transactions performed by machines, or humans that mirror the thoughtlessness of machines. In the world there is no honor, no trust, and its ethics have become those of a wolf fight. [This is a translation from Russian - not the book's English edition].


A skeptic will necessarily see that in light of the Marxian denunciation of the “inhuman nature of capitalism,” the old trader wasn't saying anything new. But the crux of the problem today is not how to determine who has made the better commentary on this sad reality. And it isn't about gloating over the next crash of the “country of the yellow devil,” in other words, the United States. It is for us to ask ourselves a basic question:


[Editor's Note: In the 1955 book Soviet Faustus by Bulat Galeyev, there is a chapter entitled Soviet Faust in the Country of the Yellow Devil which is about the author's visit to the United States in 1928-29. The book has never been translated into English ].


Can humanity come up with something more reliable than a system that repeatedly commits increasingly catastrophic failures, and in which human destiny is effected not merely on a national scale, but across the entire planet?


Karl Marx died with confidence that unlike, let us say, Campanella  or Thomas Moore , he had invented an entirely realistic formula for the ideal society. Remember? As soon as humanity reaches a certain level of productive power, the principles of communism would enter into force - from each according to abilities, to each according to his needs. This formula of universal welfare, understandable and therefore unconditionally coveted by any peasant, implied by default that the “level of productive power” would be consistent with the level of social consciousness, which in turn would deter individuals from seeking to acquire four ocean yachts, twenty “Bentleys” or “Jaguars,” or take trips to Courchevel in the company of a battalion of long-legged maidens. [Courchevel is a ski area in the French Alps].


This isn’t the first time going beyond communism and

capitalism has been suggested. This 1931 Nazi poster

reads: 'Death to Lies.' On the snake it says 'Marxism'

and 'High finance.'


In other words, Marx sincerely - and quite logically - presumed that a moral and ethical component in communist society is just as important as the level of production and development. It would never have entered his mind that the growth in production and of new technologies, unheard of in his time, would lead to the moral degradation of humankind. That very state of which Simak's hero spoke with such hopelessness.


The post-Soviet nouveau riche amply demonstrate the consequences of the lessons of pseudo-voluntary asceticism and communist “philanthropy,” which for decades were drilled into the heads of homo sovieticus.


But in this sense, Russia is merely a backward caricature of Western society. Just as most Western societies look like caricatures of the communist society born of the imagination of Marx.


Indeed, from the point of view of the founder of “scientific communism [Marx]” and upon closer examination, the United States in recent decades, has nearly fulfilled his principal condition, i.e., it has brought the development of productive power up to the level required [to make true communism possible]. Moreover, American citizens have achieved the standard of living promised by communism. That is, society has asked each, including the dedicated unemployed, to live according to his given ability, and has allowed each to live according to his given needs. And this, as we now see, has culminated in a complete concurrence with Jefferson’s prophetic warning. Most interesting, however, is that the banks are in essence copying the behavior of the citizenry (or perhaps vice versa), seeking to maximize profits, i.e., expand consumption, and assuming more obligations than their actual financial resources allow.


The same phenomenon can be observed in Europe, albeit on a smaller scale. The platitudinous “Protestant ethic,” which supposedly calls for moderation, has nothing to do with this. After all, the national ethos of the United States was also created by “White Anglo-Saxon Protestants.” But the acquisitive vices of each European nation are revealed on a scale that reflects the size of its economy.


Simply put, there isn't a whiff of morality in the situation. This assertion will hardly shock those who remember the sad commentary of Jefferson’s contemporary, Adam Smith, who in the late 18th century noted that the central purpose of man is vanity. Hence, according to Smith, this is where the distortion of the “moral senses” originates. And the mechanism of this distortion, according to Smith, is in the following: "Worship of fame and riches replaces respect for prudence and virtue, and disdain for poverty and misery is often more visible than disgust towards vice and ignorance that accompany them [translated from Russian]." Meanwhile, the magnitude of the current global crisis isn't simply unprecedented; after a short respite it clearly promises even more overwhelming turmoil. It would seem time, finally, to think not so much about rescuing national economies, but about ridding humanity of similar disasters. 


Adam Smith and Karl Marx: Can we go beyond the theories

of these men, which have so shaped modern civilization as

we know it?


Naturally, we should pay tribute to today’s economic and financial managers who, perhaps for the first time in history, are attempting to coordinate their actions for a comprehensive rescue, showing, albeit grudgingly, a sort of global solidarity. But while in principle this is laudable activity, it is not nearly enough to supersede the scope of "accounting transactions performed by machines, or humans that mirror the thoughtlessness of machines."


In our world, constantly torn by glaring contrasts of affluence and poverty, imperial ambitions, religious and racial intolerance, egocentric national psychologies, the vanities of the powerful and, finally, “vices and ignorance,” it would be irresponsibly idealistic to propose as a panacea the next utopia, in the form of a call to formulate a certain global ethic, including an ethic of consumption. Especially when one sees that in the midst of the crisis, the consequences of which are still impossible to predict, countries on which much of the planet’s future depend continue to devote themselves to gleefully building geopolitical Potemkin villages  - in Iraq or Afghanistan, and some in the Caribbean Sea.


And if the statement of this reality confirms, even in the slightest degree, the hypothesis that mankind represents the dead-end branch of evolution, then it is hardly significant in what form our world - unipolar or multipolar - reaches that end.























































[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US January 3, 1:23pm]