Saturday, February 22, 2014

Two interviews with Paul Mattick Jr, second part

From the second interview:
I n the early part, he talks of Marx critique of capitalism, its tendency for decreased returns on capital and resulting depressions. The keynsian interventions postpone the problems and the government debt increases until austerity kicks in...His suggestions of solutions seem to involve some conflict:
"Rail: Your book ends on a somber note—the vision of a coming catastrophe once the coming economic and ecological. We were hoping for a little more optimism from someone who believes, as you’ve said in another article, that another world is possible. Is this just an empty gesture or phrase? What is that other world, what does it look like, and what can people do to make it a reality?
Mattick: Well that’s what is so frustrating because it’s so obvious. We have this enormous productive apparatus. We have a world full of buildings, offices, schools, factories, farms, and technology. And there is absolutely no reason why people shouldn’t simply take that stuff and start using it. What holds them back is that, on the one hand, it doesn’t occur to them that they can do it and, on the other hand, that the police, the army—an enormous apparatus—prevents them from doing it. The way people are raised makes it very hard for them to think that you can just take this over, that this belongs to you. It’s funny—I was reading an article written in 1831 by the French revolutionary Blanqui with the wonderful title: “The man who makes the soup deserves to eat it.” He says it’s all very simple: if all the owners of capital were to disappear, the world would be exactly the same—you would have the same farms, the same factories—but if all the workers disappeared, then everyone would starve to death. We have not advanced one bit beyond that point of view. The problem is that people are so used to the existence of capitalism, they’re so used to the idea that you have to work for somebody else, that they don’t see that they can just take it over. What will move people to take that step? I think that it takes a very drastic experience to push people out of their normal mode of behavior."

No comments: