不断革命:胜利中的失败-新自由主义的历史轨迹 读《制高点》后记

共产主义左翼入门 ———— 左畔学社

 

阅读书目:

《制高点——重建现代世界的政府与市场之争》

胜利中的失败-新自由主义的历史轨迹 读《制高点》

 

作者:不断革命

 

 最近读到一本名叫《制高点》的书,据说在西方风行一时,风头直逼当年福山的“历史的终结”。前一段时间凤凰卫视也专门做了10期节目,名字就叫《制高点--百年世界经济风云录》,当然也是以此书为基本结构的,可见其风头之盛。

 
 本书的副标题也是很吸引人的,“重建现代世界的政府与市场之争”(明显属于最时髦的那种话题,呵呵。)
 
 此书用了很大一部分的篇幅来告诉我们,在二战之后自由市场的理论是如何带来经济的巨大增长,而国家干预又是如何不断的“失灵”的(大概作者把能和自由市场沾上边的都算上了。)。并且描述了一副基于自由市场的巨大的经济繁荣的景象,以及自由市场的巨大前景。
 
 当然这本书不光是政府与市场(进一步说是凯恩斯主义和新自由主义)争夺经济的制高点的“战役地图”,而且更是新自由主义的胜利宣言。
 
 新自由主义已经在全球范围内取得胜利,它正紧随着全球化的脚步,将自己的影子投向全世界。任何敢于反对新自由主义的国家都不得不面对通货膨胀、经济衰退、资本外逃等等“市场”的惩罚。(个人认为这些问题并不只是国家干预的结果,而是全球的资本干预的结果。托宾税就是一个例子,任何一个国家若是敢于单独开征托宾税,则必然带来资本外逃,尽管托宾税对金融体系的稳定起了极大的作用。)
 
 
 新自由主义的胜利意味着资本主义重新回到了他真正的发展逻辑,不是为了社会的福利,也不为了充分的就业,对于利润和增长的追求重新回到了“制高点”上。对于利润的追求从新名正言顺的成为资本主义的“至高法则”。
 
 如果需要什么例子的的话,那么乔治。索罗斯和他手下的量子对冲基金就是一个证明,无论是92年狙击英镑还是97年由他一手炮制的亚洲金融危机(这个让我在小学的时候就记住他了),对冲基金为了巨额的利润可以去摧毁一个国家的经济(索罗斯狙击英镑使他获利超过10亿美元,同时英镑贬值9%,欧洲货币一体化机制几乎崩溃)。
 
 新自由主义的胜利带来令人炫目的经济增长、和可以让一切资本家魂牵梦绕的超额利润、以及随之而来的“市场万能、自由万岁”这个让一切民族国家俯首称臣、让一切资本家欢喜雀跃的箴言。
 
 当然资本主义的灭亡的原因一定在其发展的逻辑之中。新自由主义的巨大胜利绝不可能意味着“历史的终结”,新自由主义的胜利中同样也昭示着他的失败必然来临(就像凯恩斯主义当年的结局一样)。在长波周期和经济危机的铁律之下,新自由主义的结局也许不会比凯恩斯主义更好。
 
  不知道在凯恩斯走下资本主义的守护神的神坛之后,资本主义要靠谁来守护。或者等不到任何新的守护神,而在新一轮的全球经济危机中灰飞烟灭?谁又说的清楚呢。
 
 
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Some characteristics of the neoliberal counter-reforms. (资料来自第四国际统一书记处 http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article1014)

a) We are witnessing, in a certain sense, the installation of a new mode of accumulation of capitalism. There is a generalisation on the world scale of the main tendencies of capitalist globalisation:

- financialisation of the economy but a new growth of industry and services in certain countries (emergent countries or specialisation for some key countries, new technologies in the US and equipment goods in Germany).
- continuation of privatisation
- deregulation
- tendencies towards the unification of the labour market on a world scale.

These main tendencies develop on the basis of an integration in the world market of new sectors like the countries of Eastern Europe, Russia and China.

They have led to rates of growth in the world economy which average 4-5% with rates of 8-10% in the developing countries or in China.

b) World growth is drawn by three locomotives : the USA, China and India. 5% for the USA and 10% for China, without forgetting India with more than 7%.

Nonetheless the dynamic of US growth remains unhealthy. It rests on a basis of huge deficits : a trade deficit of 6% of GDP, a budget deficit of more than 4.5%. Americans buy more than they produce and spend more than they own, in particular because of a brutal policy of tax cuts for the rich and an explosion of arms spending.

This policy risks being aggravated with the rise in prices of raw materials.

External indebtedness is financed mainly by China and Japan, notably through the purchase of US treasury bonds. Internal indebtedness - resulting from a high level of household consumption - is paid for by a systematic policy of credit, in particular in the area of property. There is now a huge property bubble in the USA which accounts for more than 50% of jobs created in the recent period.

Things are holding together, and the entire chain of the world economy and capital has an interest in the system continuing to hold. It should be said that anti-crisis mechanisms have been used to contain crises leading to potential collapse - since the crises of 1994, 1997 and 2001 in Argentina, there has not been anything similar - but for how long will that hold?

c) This new phase of the world economy also involves a reorganisation. There is a rise in power of the “emergent countries”, China but above all India and Brazil, even if Brazil has had mediocre growth rates in the recent period. The discussions of the WTO and the role played by India and Brazil, who have negotiated new positions for their economy, in particular the agro-export sector, are an indication of this. The positions taken by Brazil and Argentina on the question of the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) and involvement in Mercosur are a second indication. Socio-economic and political capacities - the ability to manage mass movements - to create the conditions for a temporary stabilisation form a third element.

d) In this phase of growth of the world economy, Europe is “dragging its feet”, with rates of 1% to 2% and a certain weakening in the face of world competition. The current phase of globalisation also has a specific dimension in the USA/China/Europe competition. The contradiction between the growing integration of “old Europe” in globalisation and its weak growth rates, like its unfavourable position at the level of monetary policy - a euro which is too strong faced with a weak dollar - lead to a hardening of all bourgeois economic policies, notably in France and in Germany.

The European “social models” are, in the eyes of the neoliberals who want to smash them, an obstacle in the competition between the great powers. Targets of these policies: the deregulation of social relations, the smashing of the labour code in France, the liquidation of the rights of the jobless in Germany and so on. In any case, in a country like France, the right is now attempting to liquidate the fixed duration contract of employment (the “CDI”) - which was the typical work contract - in favour of work contracts allowing employers to dismiss workers without explanation from one day to another. That exists in other countries but in France it amounts to a major turning point. This aggravation of competition can even lead some European countries or the European Union to attempts protectionist policies.

e) Finally, far from disappearing, the role of states is also still decisive. More precisely they are regrouping, focusing on the defence of the interests of the dominant classes, abandoning a series of social domains. States are concentrated on the policy of economic liberalisation, but also form an instrument in the economic war and in competition. We witness the authoritarian hardening of states, against the social movements and the revolts or explosions linked to the increasing precariousness of the living conditions of millions of people, and in immigration policies. We witness above all the hardening of states in the policy of armament and political-military domination of key territories, as shown by the US in Iraq and in central Asia. Capitalist globalisation is accompanied by armed globalisation. The state has a strategic place in these developments. .