Application before the European Court of Human Rights (5)
On the one hand, with hundreds of laws, legal proceedings and rules, politicians try to keep a grip on everything, while on the other hand, the financial economy is without structure. The undersigned once attempted to clarify this in a pamphlet, the politico-economic illusion:
It shows how 'paperprofit' by businesses leads to the production of more new 'laws and rules' by the government. But in fact we play hide-and-seek behind these paper 'truths', without taking responsibility.
That we cannot take responsibility is somehow logical because what is this all about? About apples or about bureaucratising added value? Moreover, taking responsibility is not interesting economically speaking, because, as a rule, it involves an increase in costs. If possible, you try to pass on the costs to an abstract whole, which has a favourable effect on your profit margin. Obviously, the authorities will eventually find out that something is wrong, so they will devise a new law or rule. Thus, the game of cat and mouse goes on.
The apple should just become an apple again and a euro a euro. But as T.S. Eliot said:Humankind cannot bear much reality.
To be perfectly clear, nobody finds it easy to get their head around this:
We, the government, businesses and the financial world, have created a mechanism based on a trick of creative accounting. Our current political and economic system is in reality one huge accounting scandal. We cling like religious fundamentalists to eternal book (paper) profit, thereby losing sight of daily reality and our responsibilities. From a political perspective, this is a social/liberal delusion, in which the socialists want to use this paper profit for the benefit of society, and the liberals to reward individual initiative. Surprisingly, both suffer from the same malady, that is, their faith in this non-existent paper profit.
Source: The political-economic Decoy, 2004
Nowadays, we all depend on bureaucratic reward. In 2009, Jacques Attali described a G20 meeting in London as: a meeting of alcoholics in a bar. Let me be clear, we are all addicted to our dose of bureaucratic reward, our purchasing power, bringing in more than we actually contribute. Is it possible to return the economic system to some form of natural balance? Without actually questioning the economic dogmas of growth and profit, this seems impossible to me. But what is the real problem in these proceedings?
What has gone wrong, theoretically and hence practically speaking, in the course of time?
Great thinkers all recognised the dangers of concentrating power in a relatively small group of people. From different angles and in different contexts, the “big three” have all given their vision of this: Montesquieu (1689 – 1755,) Adam Smith (1723 –1790) and Karl Marx (1818 – 1883.)
Montesquieu could perhaps be considered the founder of the political separation of powers. Adam Smith knew that an economy profits from individual initiative and maximum participation, with the result that economic communication remains in balance because of mutual competition. Adam Smith can, in a sense, be seen as wanting to keep the economic concentration of power under control by means of a kind of “economic separation of powers”. Mergers and the endless buying up of companies is at odds with this. How can you sum up Karl Marx’s ideas? Maybe he can be regarded as the scientific founder of “social equality”. The isolated role of money in society has alienated man from this social equality so that he lives in a kind of permanent and anxious isolated exile.
For me, these basic precepts do not contradict each other. Rather, they are complementary and integral. It would seem as if we have taken the separation of powers too literally. In the sense of: we are responsible for this and now you are trying to cast doubt on our independent way of working. I don’t interfere in your business either, do I? What I am trying to say is that the separation of powers has taken on dogmatic/technocratic features, and, as a result, the comparative outsider no longer has access to the place that theoretically regards each human being as equal. It makes little difference whether this concerns politics, the economy or the judiciary. By delegating this, specialists/winners keep you at arm’s length because you are, basically, a danger to the “establishment”. Money reinforces the separation of powers, because if you have money today, you let that money communicate for you and you yourself remain inviolable. At the same time, money has reduced the dependence of others, which, in many cases, is extremely positive. The real political and economical trick is to strike a dynamic balance between these. If the market of politics, the law and economics are a meeting of equals with different responsibilities, then we must leave our ivory towers (the technocratic separation of powers) to safeguard what unites us, and we should all, on the basis of our own responsibilities, watch over and strengthen this meeting of “equals”. This can only come from the inside, awareness is not something that you can impose on others.
In my first letter to Prime Minister Balkenende (2 May 2006), I wrote the following in the appendix:
The economy is nothing other than a form of social communication and, therefore, the most important building block of democracy. A lasting reform will only be possible when we show the courage and the will to democratise the economy.