Democracy in Crisis: The Terror of the Economy is a Danger to Democracy

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"There is a powerful crisis dynamic that is stronger than the will of the sovereign and democratic institutions. When capital relations fall into crisis, everything can be redefined or instrumentalized: the basic law, democracy, elementary human rights and even human life. Alternatives are not up for debate. In the end middle-class democracy does not go beyond and is exhausted in the choice between Pepsi and Coke.

Economic pressure creates an extremism of the middle. The pressure increases on everyone considered a cost-factor - the unemployed or southern Europeans. The economic logic was long imposed on the whole society that is proverbially described as "Germany Inc."

In crisis-times, the one-dimensional public democratic discourse - caught in the crumbling capitalist categories - is the greatest danger for democracy since it gives a democratic legitimation to the terror of the economy. Still democracy is the conditio sine qua non of every transformational mastery of the crisis.."

to read Tomasz Konicz' article "Democracy in Crisis: The Terror of the Economy is a Danger to Democracy" published in July 2012, click on

demandside's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm


I find the article to be poorly translated and generally incomprehensible, and about Germany, not the USA.

Miles Davis might say, as to it's nearly indecipherable purpose here: So what?

anonymous green
Jan. 5, 2012 10:47 am

Note that the relationship of powerhouse Germany to the rest of the Eurozone is similar to the relationship of our own Federal Goverment to the states when it comes to monetary policy. The European Central Bank takes its orders from Germany...its primary backer.

Germany, like the U.S., has taken the side of capital,,,which is pushing the rest of the Eurozone into poverty. The demands of capital on the rest of Europe have effectively hamstrung their individual pariliaments. They've lost much of their democratic sovereignty...their ability to respond to restore their economic functioning..

Our states, similarly, have lost much of their ability to cope...with national policies of growing austerity at the federal level that continue to reduce tax revenues in states, counties and cities. Unemployed people don't pay a whole lot in taxes. Federal policy of encouraging outsourcing contributes to that.

Money that used to flow into state, counties and city treasuries is drying up. Ditto the local tax revenues generated from spending that revenue locally.

When the federal government provides most of the cost for a bridge, etc., taxes from wages/expenditures of labor to build it are collected locally...Ditto from the businesses and the multiplier effect throughout the local economy.

Germany dis-allows that as a condition for remaining in the Eurozone. . The U.S. is following suit. A different application of starving state/county/city economies, but the result is the same

If the federal government is going to stop spending money back into the states, highways, medical services, Soc. Sec. and the like, it should probably stop collecting it and let local communities use it as their own tax base. Not likely.

Germany demanded the money to bail its banksters/financiers operating throughout Europe. it also dictates where the money to do that will come from....Main Street Europe. Same as Main Street here subsidizing finance in a similiar manner.

Finance doesn't pay for it's own bailouts. Calls to raise their taxes to pay for that are still met with disdain...years after the initial bailouts began.The trillions in Quantitative Easing by the Fed didn't go to Main went to finance just like the trillions outside of a Congressional mandate did. (Uncovered by an audit of the Fed).

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

"Forever Number One" has become a black hole for the global economy. Once the hope of the world, the US is increasingly seen as the threat to the world. Financial capitalism and shareholder value capitalism must give way to resource sharing and respect for nature. The future must be regional and de-centralized. The credit-bubble prosperity was a fleeting moment, a wrong turn when government and corporate oligarchs refused future necessities and intercultural learning. Our economic problems are endogenous, not exogenous: privatization, deregulation and liberalizing markets for hot money turbulence.

According to the neoliberal myth, higher profits would lead to greater investments and more jobs. In truth, corporations reward CEOs for outsourcing and use their mighty profits to buy back their own stock or speculate on foreign currencies.

Over 600,000 government jobs have vanished in three years. Government employment has fallen to the 1968 level. The state must create jobs and reduce working hours, build community centers and raise the minimum wage when the private sector sits on its trillions in profits. Can the empire become a republic? Can the financial sector be shrivelled and corporate tax evasion proscribed? Can the gains of productivity be shared? Will we hear the wake-up call and see the writing on the wall? Jeremiah walked the streets with a broken cistern to warn the Israelites what was about to happen. The US can no longer sell its financial products and its short-term fixation. Another world is possible and another economy is necessary. What is our alternative?

demandside's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I have blogged this before. I give the example of India which has a better government.

The civil servant can be a “strong hand of careful wisdom”. The framework is where the wisdom resides. I give this using the example of India with a better constitution.

India has a better government with “socialism” and “fraternity” added and “pursuit of happiness” deleted. I copy the preamble from the wiki:

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;

and to promote among them all

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;


India supports the commons well, with low taxes to the agriculture sector, free university education, rural employment for infrastructure development, funding for science and technology development etc. The central bank, RBI was nationalised in the year 1949 and combines the treasury and federal reserve, is owned by the govt and operates as a bankers bank for all state banks (owned by the individual states). Its banking is mostly government owned and operated by well qualified civil servants (from the Indian Administrative Service) and the plutocracy is kept away. Letting banks be private is a disaster because it gives money creation power to the wealthy which leads to corruption of the government. There are no too-big-to-fail banks in India.

Railways, oil and gas, National Airlines, post and telegraph, Ship building, Steel Industry are government owned. There are also many private airlines. Private enterprise is not discouraged but anything related to mineral wealth is owned by the government.

The treasury and fed are combined into a central bank and money creation is not restricted by “debt limits”. It offers T bills for sale but is not required to do so. It is left to the banking department. Projects approved for funding from various ministries are directly funded by the central bank. Commercial banks are restricted to support the commons:

  1. Banks are mandatory required to keep 24% of their deposits in the form of government securities.
  2. Banks are required to lend to the priority sectors to the extent of 40% of their advances.

As per the CIA World Factbook, in 2010, India ranks 49th in the world, with respect to the public debt, with a total of 51.90% of GDP. India must know MMT just like Japan!

There are many parties and proportional representation in elections. In general, coalitions govern better than a two party bought-and- paid- for government as in USA. In the lower house of the parliament, 33% is reserved for women( a proposal not finally voted on), 50% for men and the rest for socially backward classes and tribes. There are no lobbies but only selected (by peer review) committes and ad hoc committes to assist in policy making. There is no filibuster. Money matters are formulated by the lower house as here and the upper house has two weeks to consider changes. If nothing happens in that time the bill passes.

The idea “government is your enemy” will never fly in India.

The wealth inequality in India is similar to that of Canada and Australia. Of course, India is much poorer than western democracies but is doing the right things for the future of the country. The corruption in India is small scale and is not hyper- scale as here, approved by the Supreme court that corporations are people and money is free speech.

How can we get some thing like this here?

pshakkottai's picture
Jul. 11, 2011 10:27 am

Where is Donald Trump's Worldview Leading Us?

I want to step back a little from the constant strum of the latest Trump scandal to the most recent outrage, the Trump constantly popping into the news literally every day. I don't remember this during the Obama administration or any other presidency frankly of my lifetime.

Every day they look for some way to get in the news even if it's negative.

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