Venezuela's Adjunct Ambassador to the United Nations, Julio Escalona writes: The problem is no longer how to grow indefinitely and how to distribute the results of that growth ... the growth of Capitalist production has been like an unbounded torrent that has been destroying countries, peoples, families, jungles, species, landscapes. It no longer produces goods, but evils.
It was not only Keynesian policies by themselves that allowed recovery in the 1930s. Fascism and war were essential.
Today, such policies are not enough either.
The automobile industry is a symbol. It is agonising and needs State injections of millions of dollars to restructure it. The condition is that it starts producing non-polluting vehicles. But does that mean that each family will have three or four vehicles for their private transport? Or will we have an automobile sector for public transport that does not continue wasting resources, destroying nature on highways, freeways and more CO2?
Civilisation centred on hyper-consumerism, hyper-individualism and the destruction of the planet is what is in crisis. The planet was able to resist 275 particles of CO2 per million. Now, we have 387 ... which must be reduced urgently to fewer than 350. Today's grave recession is an opportunity to reorganise the productive apparatus and adopt values of solidarity and altruism. More directed towards the community than the international market. More towards endogenous development.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has destroyed Africa's local economies, boosted privatisations and the international market. The result has been hunger and death.
The financial economy, not the real economy, grew in the world. That is why we have unemployment, crisis in health and education, hunger. Financial products have corrupted everything. The big banks have swindled citizens and received millions of dollars as a reward. Madoff is just the tip of the iceberg.
The main activity of world trade is the purchase of our consciences. If it succeeds in that task, it will have won the battle and the reorganisation will be worse than more of the same. Discontentment is growing in Latin America, the United States of America, France, Spain ... the General Strike has reappeared.
Will the spiritual and political forces be capable of guiding the process? Or will Fascism and war as in the 30s be the result?
The time has come to be more realistic and to ask for the impossible.
H.E. Ambassador Julio Escalona is Venezuela's Adjunct Ambassador to the United Nations in New York. He holds degrees in economics, geopolitics and environmental issues, and is a former director of the School of Economics at the Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV) in Caracas and head of its department of human development. He is a professor of economics, general economic history, economic education in Latin America, contemporary Marxism and contemporary social problems. He has coordinated research seminars on economic integration, local economies and local development, and alternative technologies and has been a participant and guest lecturer at seminars, forums, academic institutions in Peru, Brazil, Japan, Paris, Mexico and Venezuela.