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Jacques Cheminade : Human creation, source and measure of the real economy

Jacques Cheminade

President of Solidarité & Progrès, Paris.


“God laughs at those who deplore the effects of which causes they cherish.”

This stark denunciation by Bossuet in the XVIIth century can be used today against the countries of Western Europe and North America where people claim to be moved by statistics and the appearance of forms – increase of unemployment, social inequality, drug consumption and money and weapon traffics – without uprooting what would allow them to bring all this to an end. Oligarchies keep in effect peoples in a state of voluntary submission and rig the environment in which they operate : to increase the Gross Domestic Product of the EU member states, the European accountants demand now that countries include in their statistics the revenue generated by all sorts of traffics. By the magic of the markets, for example, prostitution is no longer a human tragedy or a burden for society, but a profit appearing on the balance sheets. Mandeville’s precept, according to which the sum of private vices is a public virtue, dominates the entire scope of western behavior, to the point of making of human labor an “adjustment variable”, and a profit generated to the detriment of human labor exploitation, the supreme reference for the markets.

Our transatlantic region is thus dominated by an incestuous relationship between the banks from Wall Street and the City and the large cartels of the cyberindustry, nicknamed the “seventh continent” of GAFA, meaning Google (G) for cartography and databases, Apple (A) the internet provider, Facebook (F) the social networker and Amazon (A) the bartender of culture.

That system gambles without producing, and does so at the speed of light; it is High Frequency Trading (HFT) without any judicial control; operating on “alternative platforms” of the global shadow banking, after having reduced the institutions of the Nation-States to the servitude of debt and enslaving individuals to their desire to possess by finding out not merely what we do, but attempting to predict what we will do, and even to know it before ourselves, thanks to a multitude of data about us accumulated in the web without our consent.

This predatory society is a modern version of the British Empire, with the same destructive impulses as those resulting from the fusion of the British monarchy and the East India Company. It carries within itself war as the rain clouds carry the tempest, because its predatory character makes it unable to produce the resources required for future generations. Hence, for one euro or dollar produced, it creates at least four Euros of debt and an accumulation of debt titles without historical precedent.

We know the official figure of financial derivatives which are gambling claims on future prices which are traded independently from the possession of the underlying material goods: 800,000 billion dollars, or more than ten times the entire yearly world production. The real figure of all these accumulated money claims which nobody knows with certainty since the cross-engagements among financial institutions are managed by computers operating at speeds counted in billions of seconds, is undoubtedly far superior to 2 million of billions of dollars !

We are really up to “mad finance” in the real sense of that term, the madness of a pathological murderer. It destroys human capital on which the entire society is based. Countries who like the United Kingdom, the United States or Germany report less unemployed have in reality suppressed them by statistical manipulation and organized hardship.

In these conditions, a “climate of war” has been created in the world, which Pope Francis rightly denounced in Sarajevo. We are living in an “Empire that kills”, he said already some months ago. The folly of finance is murderous. More and more officials, from China to the United States and especially Russia, compare the current situation with the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, the only difference being that this time, it is the USA, the UK and NATO that have deployed their forces and nuclear missiles to the borders of Russia, violating everything they promised at the time of German reunification.

Two factors make the situation in which we are today infinitely more dangerous than that of 1962. The first factor is the fact that the majority of citizens no longer mobilizes against the war which comes or against the looting of their existence. And there where they do mobilize, they do it because they have their backs against the wall of their exploitation and exclusion, as in Greece or in Spain. They reject what should be rejected but have no project to achieve what is necessary.

Yet, if we want to reestablish a world of real growth and mutual development, we must contribute to the impetus of the BRICS countries and their associates, a surplus of power and a larger horizon. We cannot simply say we’re going ride on the train of the BRICS and wait till they take us the terminus ! That’s already better than remaining on the platform or to gight them as the oligarchs desire us to do, but that isn’t at the level of the challenge, our challenge and theirs.

We must contribute the best of ourselves, since it is the economic orientation of the entire world which we have to change. It is not such or such element of the current system which leads us to disaster, but the entire “logic” of the system itself. We must change the system. That change is the precondition of a future peace, a capacity to create the conditions of a harmonious mutual development based on the win-win principle, as underlined repeatedly by the Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Therefore, we must understand what an economy really is. It is in reality the conception of a true human being which we have to rediscover in ourselves. Human beings are not geopolitical animals trying to occupy territories or control resources to the detriment of other human beings; human beings define themselves by their capacity to discover the principles of the universe they inhabit and modify the environment through the application of discoveries which allow his fellow humans to grow and multiply towards a better existence.

An economy is not buying cheap and selling dear in order to make a financial profit, but to build platforms of mutual development to produce more and better with less, thanks to technological applications derived from discoveries. It means increasing one’s productivity per capita, per surface area and per unit of matter employed in these processes. These platforms incorporate the means to guarantee this dynamic : human infrastructure, education, health and R&D and physical infrastructure, transportation and production units. US political statesman and economist Lyndon LaRouche, called this capacity of the human individual, the potential of relative population density, relative to the level of technological and human platform which has been set up.

This notion of potential, of capacity per human being, has been taken up by the Russian friends of LaRouche. The Russian scientist Pobitch Kouznetsov proposed to call it the “L”, an economic unit measuring the applied and verified impact of human creation. You now understand why I called my intervention “Human creation, source and measure of the real economy”.

It is crucial to underline that with their conception of “One belt, one road”of the land and maritime New silk road, the Chinese experts and leaders express the same conception of the human being. As far as my understanding is right, the concept of the “shi” evaluates the potential to be developed. We no longer require a pre-established detailed plan, but are considering situations such as a mines, whose veins we will exploit through a transformative idea ,operating in a way that at the point I engage my action and my combat, I’ve already won, since I’ve prepared the conditions to win over my enemy, by transforming him into my partner. The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fully understood this principle when he declared at the conclusion of the BRICS summit in Fortaleza last July:

The uniqueness of BRICS as an international institution [is that] for the first time, it brings together a group of nations on the parameter of a “future potential,” rather than existing prosperity or shared identities. The very idea of BRICS is thus forward-looking. I believe they can offer in this way new perspectives and ways to function for the existing international institutions”.

This conception of the economy is radically opposed to Aristotle’s formal logic, based on the “principle of non contradiction” according to which an enemy is an adversary to be destroyed. While for us, an adversary is somebody to win for your cause, on condition that the debate is elevated. As Nicolas of Cusa underlined the matter, creation supposes the “coincidence of the opposites”, which, at a higher level of conjecture, makes knowable and controllable, what on a relatively lower level appeared as unknowable and uncontrollable.

Confucius, with his conception of the “ren”, i.e. the advantage given to the other, which allows to acquire the mandate of heaven by instructing the other, develops an approach of a similar nature. Contrary to current Malthusian nonsense which pretends that “the history of the finite world has begun”, Jean Bodin, in his Six books on the Republic, in the footsteps of Cusa, states that “There is no wealth nor strength but man” provided that a leader makes “accords from discords”, an aspiration for unity in diversity whose principle runs as a red line through Chinese civilization.

Hence it is clear that we Europeans and Americans have a lot to share with the BRICS and even to contribute to them. In France, the reign of King Henri IV, with Sully, Laffemas and Olivier de Serres, in Germany with the Enlightment of Lessing and Mendelssohn and the concept of National Economy of Friedrich List, and in the United States, the Hamiltonian conception of political economy. It is there that appeared most clearly a sense of economy and of a society driven by a vector of scientific progress and not by obedience to a tradition.

In two of the four founding reports of the “American System of Political Economy”, Hamilton shows that public credit, organized by a National Bank, is the foundation of an economy, since it represents a “bet on the future”, on the capacity of future investments to produce the means to reimburse the debt incurred. The future of the United States, he understood, was in “manufacturing”, i.e. industry supported by public credit, and not in agriculture as wanted by Jefferson, since it is industry which can increase the quality and the quantity of human labor. It is the increase of the energy flux density and technology which provides this “physical surplus” allowing us to reinvestt in still a higher level of future human creation.

In his report on a National Bank, Hamilton demonstrates in particular, to the great astonishment of the other founding fathers, how debt can be transformed into money allowing the emission of public credit. The National Bank was conceived of as a receptacle for deposits coming from income of all origins, including titles of the federal debt which, which could be capitalized and lent to investors.

Debt served thus as a guarantee to circulate money credit and avoid the control over the American economy by foreign interests, emphatically British. Needless to say, these deposits could not be seized and the debts could not transformed into shares of the bank as many would like to do today in Europe, in order to bail out speculative bankers. This was all about the real economy, dealing with projects that produced productivity, and not financial gambling to expand private banks to the point they become systemic, which means that their size allows them to blackmail the government to prevent their bankruptcy and to demand help from the state in case of difficulties, to the detriment of peoples.

This reference is essential today in dealing with the issue of current Greek public debt. In respect to the criteria defined by Hamilton and to the debt cancellations granted to the German Federal Republic in 1953, we have to add the separation of reimbursable and legitimate debts from those that are not. Scarcely 10% of the debt incurred by Greece was in the interest of the people and the economy; the rest only benefitted the internal compradores and even more so, the external financial speculators, who are unduly demanding their « pound of flesh » today. If there is any negotiation at all, it should involve this point and not the tourniquet imposed on the Greek population and its economy by the “institutions” in the form of an austerity that amounts to bleeding a body that was made sick.

A platform for taking off and development, great infrastructure projects, public credit, energy and technology flux density, inspiration and support. Charles de Gaulle, in a speech given in Lille on 1 October 1944, said, when speaking at the end of the war: « We want to pool everything we possess on this Earth and to succeed in doing so, there is no other way than what we call the directed economy. We want the state to lead the economic effort of the entire nation for the benefit of all, and to ensure that the life of every French man and woman becomes better.”

Earlier, in Algiers on 1 May 1944, he said: “Great human affairs can not only be settled by logic. One needs the atmosphere that can only be created by the agreement of sentiments.”

You also need a lot of courage, which, fortunately, is contagious. This is what Franklin Delano Roosevelt had to say in Madison Square Garden of New York on 31 October 1936, about his enemies, who were the same as ours are today: “They are unanimous in their hatred of me – et I am happy with their hatred.”

A direction, an inspiration and the conviction of the sentiment : that was the “detente, entente and cooperation” among peoples of General de Gaulle. This is what Valentina Matviyenko, president of the Russian Federation Council calls today “a certain format of cooperation between the five BRICS countries that have a common agenda”, including “defense of their national sovereignty, the protection and promotion of their national interests on the basis of the principles of equality, non interference into their respective internal affairs and the refusal of a unipolar world”.

That is what is prompting China to find an agreement with India and Russia, to open access to its Asian infrastructures and investment bank (AIIB) to Japan and to the United States, despite historical litigation and inimical actions of both of them. That is also what has prompted Chinese interests to open an trans-oceanic canal in Nicaragua, to invest 50 billion dollars in Brazil and to finance a railroad, also trans-oceanic, between Brazil and Peru. And this is what has inspired the Russian central bank to propose a new bank clearing system similar to the Western Swift system.

Let us consider for a moment the economic changes for the past 100 years. China was the only country which did not sign the Versailles Treaty in 1919, because it had been stripped of its territory. China had not even been invited to the San Francisco Conference after WWII, , although it had fought with great courage against Japan. Once we are aware of what China had to suffer worldwide, we can better understand the sympathy it has for Greece today, and for Russia.

Because what we are inflicting upon Greece today, we of the European Union, is what we inflicted yesterday on China. Are we capable of changing? Are we capable of understanding that what is happening to Greece today can happen to each of us if we do not change policy? Voices are being heard in Germany, as we heard, to ask for Russia to be invited back to the G8. That is more in our interest than in Russia’s interest, because the latter is linked to the BRICS, that is to say, to more than half of mankind. Are we able, as Europeans, to avoid a new war? The test will be what we can do for Greece, and de facto for ourselves.

Economics means to recreate the conditions of a “will to live together”, by bringing together our our creative competences and making the whole greater than each of its parts. Today, in the skies of Eastern Europe and even closer to us, above the Sea of China, if two planes come close to each other, everything can degenerate. Today, the depopulation policies have started. And when facing the the waves of migration, the only idea with which our countries came up was bombing the ships transporting the refugees and starting a new colonial expedition. Are we that stupid as to accept going down into deadly barbarism for the others and suicidal for ourselves? Economics, means finding back the creative goodness of Aeschylus Prometheus, offering to all the possibility to grow and multiply thanks to a greater mastery of science beyond everything known and find new vigor by reminding ourselves our best accomplishments.

 Economics means doing for peace through mutual development in the XXIst Century what we did for war in the XXth Century, i.e. radically changing, overnight and from top to bottom, our way of thinking and conceiving the world.

 A new economy will be the smart cities of the future, the digital technology freed from financial domination and not a fatal destruction of jobs as anticipated by the experts, but the foundation of a new economy associated with new forms of more forms of energy density, as controlled thermonuclear fusion power. No solution can lead us back to the past. It is only by reestablishing confidence in their own creative powers and rejecting their state of exploitation by their oligarchic masters of the transatlantic zone, that our fellow human beings will rise to the level of the challenge of our epoch. Space exploration and domestication will play necessarily a fundamental role as a common objective for mankind, to escape from our earthly cradle.

However, all of this will not arrive fatally of mechanically. The reality is subjective. We have to find back the courage of Victor Hugo, who, in 1961, denounced the saccage of the Summer Palace, the garden of vortexes of clear water and the gardens of perfect clarity, constructed by Emperor Qiang Lon and the Jesuits:

“One day two bandits entered the Summer Palace. One plundered, the other burned… Before history, one of the two bandits will be called France; the other will be called England… Mixed up in all this is the name of Elgin, which inevitably calls to mind the Parthenon. What was done to the Parthenon was done to the Summer Palace, more thoroughly and better, so that nothing of it should be left.”

For having done that, we owe China to enter with her in the future, not to destroy but to construct the world in the BRICS era. Let me nevertheless tell you that I’m proud by the fact that Hugo’s letter is on the official Chinese websites and on internet translated into mandarin. I want now to speak myself about what we are doing to Greece and the refugees coming from Africa with the same anger inspired by that of Victor Hugo.

However, there remain reasons to be optimist and reasons to hope. First because it are the BRICS which from now on define the tuning of the world orchestra and a new drive towards a political mutation is manifest in Europe, including in those countries where the physical economy remains relatively robust, such as in Germany as we have seen yesterday and also in the United States with our own political movement and the candidacy of the O’Malley which took a stand against the bandits of Wall Street and is calling for a new Roosevelt style Glass-Steagall.

Looking into this room, I see we have friends and fighters for this idea from the entire world. So we can hope that the Silk Road will arrive among us and that we can make it a common objective for mankind in its way of thinking the world by walking the unknown path, in the heart of ourselves as well as in the growing mastery of what is taking place inside the solar system and our galaxy, because it is there, yes clearly there, as the next speakers will demonstrate, that lies the economy, the real one, that of our future.

 Since I convoked Victor Hugo, let’s ask him for more. Confucius teaches us one has to tease and challenge our friends to force them to rise above the contradictions of a given situation. It was also a June, 130 years ago, that he entered our Pantheon. Let’s listen to what he wrote in “Lux”:

 O vision of the coming time!

When man has ‘scaped the trackless slime

(…)

Upon the sky-line glows i’ the dark

The Sun that now is but a spark;

But soon will be unfurled—

The glorious banner of us all,

The flag that rises ne’er to fall,

Universal Republic of the World!

Simone Weil, our great platonic philosopher, said one day that in all labor resides a part of poetry, since real human labor is always creative. Here’s the labor before us. To someone who asked me why Helga Zepp-LaRouche and the Chinese leader had found this what he thought being a strange name of the “new silk road”, I answered: it was nothing but natural to them, since the economy is based on creative human labor and that work is pregnant of poetry. And that is what we will don with the world who gives its verdict.