Economic Crisis and the 'Third Way'
The reflections of Tony Blair and Ota Sik
Alfredo Ascanio (askain)
Published 2008-10-09 15:00 (KST)
During this financial crisis in America and the world, I have two reflections to share. First, developed countries are seeking new institutional forms for the future, because the crisis also produce opportunities; and second, some emerging countries who want to have a socialist political system or Communist system, are arguing that capitalism and neoliberalism are already in intensive care -- just as Karl Marx envisioned many years ago.
The analysis of the crisis by politicians of the extreme left is an expression of class struggle in the field of ideas and ideologies. However important political leaders in the 1970s responsibly had already suggested that it was possible to find a "third way".
Tony Blair supported social democracy in order to ensure the basic values of the center and center-left and so England would not commit itself only with an ideology of either left or right. Blair stressed that his country could achieve a "third way".
Another leader who also was thinking of a different political system was the Czech Ota Sik. Ota was economy minister during the government of Alexander Dubcek during the year 1968 with the movement "Prague Spring" and then the "Velvet Revolution".
Ota Sik calls into question the application of the Marxist-Leninist theory that considers very dogmatic. The conclusion of Marx that capitalism would disappear was wrong. Marxist theory of democracy is very superficial, Sik said.
In this theory Marxist-Leninist was unaware of the importance of freedom and is also known that not all those with capital are evil persons and workers are always oppressed.
Western democracy has shown that it is not a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and on the contrary, the socialist state is separated from the people and transforms into a repressive instrument made up with an elite power. A state turned into a bureaucratic monopoly.
Also in his analysis Sik said that while the struggle for wealth distribution and welfare are only the expression of conflicting interests that produces crisis and inflation and losses for society, the economy would not be accepted as a good tool for solving problems.
The economy in the future will be an accepted science as long as they can be adjusted income, investment and consumption in an indirect way and as long as the democratic consensus can ensure that the collective human interest are the most important and can minimize the interests Individual or partial. The market economy should be a tool to control the evil country's decisions, Sik said.
Parasitic and speculative capital is a disturbing phenomenon. If a social majority does not allow the monopoly of the state with bureaucratic interests of power, then the country will be able to consolidate democracy and good institutions and may also eliminate political authoritarianism.
Political regimes cannot be imposed through violence, because they are directed to failure. You cannot change capriciously to the people. Any ideology that does not correspond with the interests and experiences of people always ends in a utopia unworkable.
The reflections of Blair and Sik, in these times of crisis, are ideas more responsible and without emotion that often can be detrimental to make decisions.
Today, Oct. 8, in Venezuela we are discussing the problem of the global crisis and its impact on Latin America.
Six economists from academic institutions in the country went to the Legislature to conduct its analysis, but the government and its Ministry for Planning invited, the same day and using the TV's Channel State, a group of intellectuals from the left and also Communists (some more radical than others), to discuss the crisis.
The reflections of the two groups were contrasting and without borders for a good consensus.
This political behavior does not allow search a "third way" either English or Czech style.
Alfredo Ascanio is a professor of economics at Simon Bolivar University in Caracas, Venezuela.