The Corona crisis is showing it once again: Very many people are afraid for “the economy”. And very few people have any idea what “the economy” is supposed to be. In any case, they firmly believe that “the economy” has something to do with “money”. And in this misconception they are getting blackmailed.
The most beautiful definition of “economy” is by Ludwig von Mises: “Economy is the science of human action.” So “the economy” is NOT about “money”. It is about the actions of us humans.
As Marx and Marxism had failed precisely because of this mistake, Hayek and Neoliberalism are failing precisely because of this mistake right now. It’s not about “money” as the cause of our liberty. There is something fundamentally different.
What’s this? The United Nations tried to catch it immediately after the catastrophe of Second World War and Shoah: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,” is the first sentence of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”. This sentence would be completely meaningless in the logic of “money” – and is nevertheless the basis of everything. It is just about what guarantees this “dignity of man”. That is far beyond all “money”. Both Marxism and Neoliberalism have failed catastrophically in their pursuit of “money”. It is about exactly this other. And that is now becoming true.
When I first came to South America in 1991 as a development worker, the continent was subjugated after ten years of “neoliberal” Reaganomics. Hyperinflation, mass poverty and mass cholera deaths were the result at that time. During my last stay two years ago, poverty and environmental destruction (the rape of people and nature) peaked due to the “neoliberal” speculation on food. Now the “economic crisis” suddenly hits us ourselves, the so-called “First” world of permanent (blossoming) white profiteers.
“Every person who is starving in the world today is murdered,” says Jean Ziegler. So far, this has only affected areas far away from us, in the so called “Third World”. Now the hellish grimace of “money” is beginning to become visible to us too. And now, suddenly, even the richest of the rich are dealing with fear.
“Don’t have fear!” John Paul II translates the “Do not be afraid!” of the Christmas gospel. What are we afraid of? Having nothing left to eat? Having no loved ones around us any more? Having to die in loneliness? What are we afraid of?
Maybe a few people are starting to think about an unconditional basic income from now on…