Writing in Monthly Review, Costas Panayotakis, author of Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy, argues that the next Greek election scheduled for June 17th will be, “not just be an election over austerity but over the very future of democracy in the land where its concept was born”. Panayotakis continues:
Recent developments in Greece provide an acute illustration of the long-standing contradiction between capitalism and democracy. This contradiction has also been felt in Greece in the past, including in the history of military coups aimed at the repression of popular movements and at ensuring the country’s subordination to the wishes of the United States during the Cold War. Just as this earlier history illustrated the hypocritical incongruity of the United States’ support of brutal fascist dictatorships in the name of defending democracy and the free world, so does the present moment refute the long-standing myth on which the European project was built.
Panayotakis describes how the Greek crisis has revealed what he sees as a fundamental tension between capitalism and democracy:
…Instead of calling an election, Greek and European capitalist elites installed a coalition government between conservatives and socialists that was headed by an unelected former banker, Lucas Papademos. This government’s purpose was to adopt the very loan agreement and the harsh austerity accompanying it that would seal the future of the country and its citizens.
The hope was that, once the loan agreement that Greek citizens could not be trusted to approve became a fait accompli, Greek voters could, after the fact and with the help of the ideological terrorism dispensed by Greece’s mainstream media, be convinced to continue supporting the socialist and conservative parties that had doomed them to a future of economic depression and misery.
To minimize the risk of any unpleasant surprises, the leaders of both the conservative and the socialist party were required to sign statements that they would continue the brutal austerity program prescribed by the loan agreement no matter what the result of any future election might be.
Visit Monthly Review to read the article in full.
From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy
Costas Panayotakis. Foreword by Joel Kovel
Powerful challenge to the current neoliberal economic orthodoxy. Asserts that economic democracy should be the new guiding principle for humanity.
“This book combines theoretical boldness and the determination to extend Marxian theory. It deserves to be read as another impressive product of the global rethinkings of Marxism now engaged in building a Marxism for the twenty-first century.” – Richard D. Wolff, Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
“Capitalist-produced scarcity proves to be an extraordinarily enlightening vantage point from which to analyse both capitalism and its socialist alternatives. Panayotakis’s book provides an extremely scholarly, insightful and well-argued contribution – with ecology and feminism given the attention often denied them – to this crucially important literature. Highly Recommended!” – Bertell Ollman, Department of Politics, New York University, author of Dance of the Dialectic: Marx’s Method and other works