Cualquier parecido con la realidad no es mera coincidencia. Un vistazo a los tiempos electorales en el cine mexicano (primera parte) | Cultura y vida cotidiana

Cualquier parecido con la realidad no es mera coincidencia. Un vistazo a los tiempos electorales en el cine mexicano (primera parte) | Cultura y vida cotidiana
— Leer en cultura.nexos.com.mx/

Chomsky ataca gobiernos de izquierda por aliarse con corruptos y provocar graves efectos negativos en sus países, como Venezuela, y otros de Iberoamérica

Referencia a la entrevista , en español: http://elestimulo.com/blog/noam-chomsky-venezuela-es-un-desastre-la-corrupcion-ha-sido-extrema/?fbclid=IwAR2M3q_G0dW4BcwLoMuEMIeg1BGoOxu5MlF6OyQQNlOL_wOlB1EMnvRf-vk

 

Fin del capitalismo y de la democracia.Video de Noam Chomsky


FIN DEL CAPITALISMO Y DE LA DEMOCRACIA EN LA GLOBALIZACION

El concepto de identidad como mito ideológico (Eliseo Rabadán)

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El concepto de la identidad cultural
como mito ideológico

Autor: Dr.Eliseo Rabadán Fernández
Cantabria – España . Junio del 2002

INTRODUCCIÓN :

EL MITO DE LA IDENTIDAD CULTURAL
Y EL SERVILISMO INTELECTUAL [1]

Cabría decir que los pioneros de la Antropología política se veían impulsados a mantener su estructuración distributiva de las sociedades africanas y que la institución del gobierno indirecto constituía para ellos el modo de compatibilizar su condición de súbditos que trabajaban por cuneta de un imperio colonial (“atributivo”) y su condición de antropólogos respetuosos con las realidades étnicas. Por ello, Fortes y Evans-Pritchard, llegaban ingenuamente a afirmar que el conocimiento objetivo de la estructura de estas sociedades políticas era la mejor garantía del gobierno indirecto, de la “colonización científica”.
El “gobierno indirecto” fue sólo un compromiso transitorio y las guerras mundiales lo desbarataron (aunque sólo fuera para sustituirlo por un gobierno económico).

Gustavo Bueno Primer Ensayo sobre las categorías de las ciencias políticas [2]

Introducción :

En el número 2 de El Catoblepas hablábamos de “El cuerpo político imperial y las nematologías de la identidad cultural” y comentábamos cómo, mientras los filósofos dedican su elevado espíritu a discutir sobre los problemas de la identidad cultural y los modelos políticos de la posmodernidad (otro concepto sumamente oscurantista y muy querido de estos intelectuales serviles), los hechos hablan de otra manera en la cual la ideología es la propaganda en el sentido de Chomsky (un sistema para tener a la chusma a raya, según diversos métodos ad hoc).

En esta segunda parte vamos a presentar varios modelos existentes que se nos presentan como modelos para definir lo que se entiende por identidad cultural y diversidad cultural.

El modelo de la comunicación compleja. En México se ha promovido desde el Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey una “Red de Investigación en Comunicación Compleja”, que aborda el tema de la identidad cultural desde las Ciencias y Técnicas de la Comunicación Social, o Ciencias y Técnicas de la Información, es decir ,la carrera de periodismo, para entendernos. Ellos utilizan un sistema de coordenadas gnoseológicas para teorizar sobre los fenómenos de comunicación social, que presentan a sus seguidores( que son miles, pues todo estudiante , desde el bachillerato hasta doctorado y los comunicólogos ya profesionales son considerados como investigadores de esa inmensa red que trabaja sobre la comunicación compleja)como de creación propia aunque reconocen deberle mucho al sociólogo francés Edgar Morin .[3]

El modelo antropológico religioso de la OP. Tenemos otro modelo de análisis de la identidad cultural, representado por la tradición católica de la Orden de los Predicadores, es decir, los dominicos. En México han planteado la cuestión a través de una página consultable en internet , bajo el título “Nuestro carisma”. [4]
Como una de las prioridades apostólicas de la OP se cita la de la “Evangelización en la diversidad de las culturas”
Para esa evangelización es preciso saber manejar los medios disponibles, entre ellos se insiste especialmente en los medios de comunicación , tanto los macro como los micro medios.
En el punto 211 del documento se plantea “los predicadores en México reconocemos el largo camino que nos aguarda para realizar nuestra inculturación en las diferentes culturas del país”.
La referencia que hace la Orden de Predicadores en su sede mexicana a “la inspiración de los siglos XVI y XVII, en los que nació la cultura propiamente mexicana” es filosóficamente un dato fundamental para nuestra crítica.
El modelo religioso protestante, el islámico y otros modelos pertenecientes a la idea religiosa de identidad cultural los trataremos en otros artículos de El Catoblepas.

El modelo de las culturas híbridas. Es un modelo complicado en cuanto a la posibilidad de establecer con cierta claridad cuáles podrían ser sus coordenadas gnoseológicas. Aquí podrían ponerse en planos distintos los idealistas y los que ni siquiera pueden ser considerados como otra cosa sino ideólogos en el sentido de la palabra, es decir, ideólogos que ni siquiera son conscientes del papel que sus “propuestas” sobre la identidad cultural juegan en tanto nebulosas intelectuales al servicio de intereses imperiales muy determinados. En este modelo , quienes quieran asomarse al panorama actual, pueden echar un vistazo al Congreso Internacional de Filosofía de la Cultura y Filosofía Intercultural que se celebrará en la ciudad mexicana de Morelia en agosto del 2002 . El lema del Congreso es esta frase ¿Hacia un nuevo universalismo cultural? Se organiza el Congreso en torno a cuatro ejes temáticos, a saber: 1-Cultura y normatividad,2-Los nuevos movimientos sociales y culturales;(feminismo, ecologismo, etnicidad, &) ,3-Interculturalidad, pluriculturalidad y multiculturalidad; (relativismo cultural y conflictos culturales. Diálogo y políticas culturales. Sociedades pluriculturales, ciudadanía multicultural, filosofía intercultural),4-¿Hacia un nuevo universalismo intercultural?;(globalización o particularización; mundialización y regionalismos; ética, política y utopías culturales).Como se puede observar, en el Congreso caben todos los filósofos dedicados a esta sacrosanta y mítica Idea: la Cultura. Si no fuera porque estos Congresos, según he podido constatar, en su inmensa mayoría son congresos turísticamente enfocados habría algún interés filosófico por asistir a este de Morelia para ver si hay alguna polémica al desarrollarse una imaginaria polémica entre los defensores de la cultura y quienes la criticamos desde coordenadas materialistas. Pero además de este interés muy secundario habrá el interés por ver cómo reacciona toda esa elite intelectual cuando se ve en el riesgo de que alguien haga ver que su trabajo no es sino una impostura impresentable a los ojos de la sociedad que los sustenta con el pago de sus impuestos .
La Universidad organizadora de este magno congreso imparte una Maestría en Filosofía de la Cultura (se trata de cursos de dos años posteriores a la licenciatura, no los masters que se están poniendo de moda en España recientemente, al modo yanki). Su orientación fundamental gira en torno a lo que nosotros definimos como el mito de la cultura, que llevado a la actividad académica universitaria es revestido de un aura de cientificidad que al ser presentada a la opinión pública a través de los medios de comunicación acaba siendo una de las secciones de los mismos, a saber: la sección de la Cultura. Y estos especialistas en Filosofía de la Cultura dedicarán su elevado espíritu a alimentar esas secciones tan admirables pero tan poco efectivas políticamente hablando para producir otra cosa que el lucimiento de los cultos y de quienes asisten a sus eventos sociales donde las clases precisamente cultas se regodean ,mientras el pueblo queda al margen de tan elevadas actividades, aunque se les imparten dosis de cultura a través de las llamadas casas de cultura o casas del pueblo.

El modelo de la Comisión Trilateral, que será el modelo canónico de la política neoliberal al que nos hemos referido en la primera parte de este escrito ya citada, el El Catoblepas Nº2 .

El modelo del materialismo filosófico nos será de utilidad para llevar a cabo una trituración de todos esos materiales culturales de cuño metafísico y por tanto fundamentalmente ideológicos y muestras efectivas de lo que hemos considerado como nematología, siguiendo para ello las propuestas de Gustavo Bueno. [5]
En un libro fundamental, [6] Bueno se refiere a la implantación de la Filosofía, en cuanto ella está relacionada con un plano diamérico, con un plano metamérico, con la conciencia filosófica y con el segundo género de materialidad.
Por otra parte, existe una conexión de la Filosofía (en tanto es una “figura de la Conciencia”) con otras “figuras o formas de la Conciencia, a saber: la conciencia religiosa, técnica, matemática, poética, política,&
En el plano diamérico se establecen las relaciones de la conciencia filosófica con esas otras formas de la conciencia: religiosa, política,& y en el plano metamérico se relaciona la filosofía con otro tipo de realidades (biológicas, metafísicas,&) no clasificables como figuras de conciencia, pero que son entendidas como el suelo en el cual está implantada la Filosofía.
La distinción dialéctica entre los dos tipos de implantación implica que no consideramos este concepto como un género porfiriano: género implantación y especies implantación gnóstica e implantación política. Originariamente la implantación es no-reflexiva, es decir, es “política” y es de un modo dialéctico, como negación de la no-reflexividad, como se puede llegar a la “auto implantación de la Filosofía” o “implantación gnóstica” de la Filosofía. Dicho en términos que quizá puedan ser de más sencilla comprensión para algunos: la Filosofía de la Cultura, pongamos por caso ,no se alimenta de sí misma, sino que se alimenta de los componentes políticos que generan esa cultura determinada. Cultura que no está dada en un círculo de tipo megárico (lo que se llama hoy la identidad cultural en el modelo del relativismo cultural) como algunos parecen pensar desde sus coordenadas idealistas. Una de las cuestiones más importantes en este trabajo gira en torno a los argumentos que proponía Bueno en Ensayos Materialistas para justificar el sentido que tenía regresar a una arquitectura trimembre en la ontología especial y su propuesta de los tres géneros de materialidad. Se trata de lo siguiente:
1)demostrar las limitaciones internas de la crítica ilustrada que pretende destruir la divinidad ignorándola…en lugar de concederle un sentido histórico ateo(en M3).
2)recuperar para el materialismo la enorme masa de verdades filosóficas constituidas históricamente que pasan simplemente por errores espiritualistas o idealistas.
3)Elaborar una crítica a Hegel. Ello en dos aspectos fundamentales, a saber: en cuanto al plano ontológico-general se niega todo cosmismo mundanista, que abriga la idea metafísica del universo como una omnitudo realitatis ordenada, en la que todo lo racional es real y viceversa. El materialismo niega tanto el monismo como el holismo armonista, y ello a partir de la base de que el Mundo es una pluralidad infinita .
En el plano de la ontología-especial, los tres géneros de materia son enclasados desde la totalidad no como un todo indiferenciado sino según relaciones de pertenencia y clases con características específicas y que cuando no se considera esta cuestión adecuadamente se cae en la hipostasiación metafísica que confunde unos géneros con otros sin otro criterio que el de propagar falacias en aras de intereses de grupos religiosos, filosóficos, políticos, gremiales,&Es necesario establecer con claridad que para evitar estas hipóstasis es imprescindible recurrir a un criterio que nos evite la exposición permanente a este error en el que cada vez vemos inmersos a una creciente capa del tejido intelectual. Se trata de algo a mi manera de ver tan sencillo como la distinción entre partes y todos.
Las partes pueden ser homogéneas y heterogéneas y los todos disyuntivos y conjuntivos. Los disyuntivos a su vez pueden ser distributivos o combinatorios y los conjuntivos porfirianos o atributivos. Además es hay que tener en cuenta las distintas clasificaciones: taxonomías, tipologías, desmembramientos y agrupamientos. [7]

1- El modelo de la comunicación compleja
Cintya Smith habla de la identidad latinoamericana en interacción con la cadena CNN en Español, como un fenómeno de glocalización. [8] Por glocalización entiende más o menos lo siguiente: homogeneización y a un tiempo fragmentación. ¿Qué quiere decir esto?.Que la cadena norteamericana debe adaptar el contenido de sus programas de “información” a las características locales, sin por ello dejar de informar sobre noticias internacionales, pero adaptando siempre el modo de informar y presentar los hechos a las audiencias de cada país. La glocalización es el modo en que las corporaciones transnacionales adaptan sus productos globales a los mercados, locales. Tratan de localizar los temas globales y globalizar los temas locales. Citando a Tomlinson [9], Cintya Smith asume que la glocalización es el perfil dominante del mundo posmoderno. Por otra parte, las redes de comunicación global están innovando sus productos para hacerlos adaptables a audiencias que se definen dentro de regiones geo-culturales, geo-lingüísticas y geo-políticas. Pero estos movimientos de información entres dichas áreas distintas implican translación, mutación, adaptación e hibridación. La señal de la CNN alcanza un 98% de la población mundial, pertenece al conglomerado de Time Warner. El sistema de información durante las 24 horas del día ha revolucionado el modo de informar pues transmitir en vivo sobre lo que sucede en el planeta es una profunda modificación de los esquemas de transmisión de las noticias. [10] Lo que habría que considerar aquí es que la transmisión en directo no significa que sea helecho tal como es ya que la visión que nos ofrece la CNN es fabricada por el director del programa, digamos, de un modo emic, describiendo un hecho como si su estructura fenoménica fuera en realidad la estructura esencial del mismo. Resulta bastante inocente pensar que un hecho transmitido en directo por las cámaras de TV y comentado por una persona que depende salarialmente de una gran corporación, va a transmitir de un modo etic. [11]
Esta investigadora se plantea la pregunta de si el flujo de noticias global es enviado desde la cultura norteamericana hacia la cultura latinoamericana vista como el espejo de las identidades de esa región o es un mero resultado de la construcción basada en una visión norteamericana de la realidad de la región y su posición respecto a los hechos que suceden en el mundo. Se afirma que hay una sustitución de la nación en cuanto estructura social por una serie de estructuras globales de información y comunicación, las llamadas redes de flujos. Dichas redes de flujos son un conjunto descentrado de economías de signos y espacios. Respecto de estos flujos se dice que los individuos (espectadores de TV y de noticieros de la CNN en concreto)son cada vez más “reflexivos”.Por reflexividad se entiende un proceso en el cual se asignan significados a los distintos objetos, que progresivamente han ido perdiendo contenido material. La autora, que sigue en estas proposiciones a los autores Lash y Urry(Economies of signs and spaces;London;Sage Publications;1994) llega a plantear que estamos ante un cambio en la conceptualización del espacio y del tiempo. Se produce un cambio respecto al espacio por un proceso de desterritorialización y una posterior re-territorialización,(que puede no tener sustento físico, el caso más típico puede ser el del espacio virtual).En cuanto al tiempo, éste se reduce a series de eventos desconectados y discontinuos.
Me conmueve sinceramente la inocencia de esta analista de los medios. Cuando afirma que a través de la cadena CNN todos podemos ser partícipes de eventos sin importar el lugar del mundo donde ellos se producen . Y continúa: Las famosas imágenes de esta cadena sobre la Guerra del Golfo son recordadas por todos como la primera oportunidad que permitió seguir una guerra en directo. Sentir las explosiones de las bombas, los gritos de pánico y ver las personas malheridas por la pantalla del televisor en el mismo momento en que esto se producía, fue un de las primeras experiencias del mundo global de las que fuimos partícipes, pero por supuesto desde el living de nuestros hogares Cyntia Smith no parece ver más que el fenómeno ,lo que aparece en la pantalla de TV, y llega a creer que ese fenómeno es lo real. No es capaz de distinguir entre apariencia y verdad. Esto sucede a muchos espectadores, pero en ello radica el enorme poder de la TV para controlar el pensamiento.
Otro caso de interés para el modelo que hemos definido como de la comunicación compleja. El artículo titulado “Comunicación global y local e identidad cultural en Chile”, de Luis gallegos, en la revista mexicana de Comunicación de la Fundación Manuel Buendía,en http://www.cem.itesm.mx/dacs/buendia/rmc/rmc60/luisg.html
Según este autor “la comunicación global, al homogeneizar los mensajes, puede derivar en la privación de las culturas”.Denuncia que el imperialismo cultural norteamericano no encuentra prácticamente oposición, pero deja la puerta de la “esperanza” abierta en la actividad de una sociedad civil que mediante sus diferencias han dado su voz de alerta y organizado la resistencia de manera dispersa, inorgánica y aún sin proyecciones estratégicas, y una de esas luchas se da en el nivel de las expresiones de comunicación local, buscando la identidad propia de sus orígenes. Entre las formas de lucha se menciona la religiosidad popular. Si la identidad cultural propia incluye las luchas por una imagen venerada en el pueblo de Santa Clara Coatitla (Estado de México) [12] frente a la pretensión del párroco y del Obispo de imponer el culto al indio Juan Diego, lo local difícilmente podrá ser otra cosa que Folklore, sabiduría popular, pero que no es sencillo de relacionar con noticias como la Guerra del Golfo, sin caer en el ridículo absurdo de quienes mezclan todo tipo de cuestiones sin más criterio al parecer que su interés psicológico o su estado psicopatológico momentáneo o permanente.
Sobre las radios locales, tuve ocasión de conocer e incluso participar en una de las dos, según me informaron, únicas autorizadas en todo el país en el Estado de Veracruz. Allí los habitantes de ese municipio cercano a la capital del Estado podían participar en los asuntos locales e incluso escuchar diálogos sobre asuntos como el problema del EZLN y otros, pero el alcance de esta pequeña emisora de radio era tan limitado como su influencia sobre las capas del cuerpo político del Estado mexicano, con 101 millones de personas .
Otra emisora, esta vez con un alcance mayor, ya que cubría un territorio de unos 60 Kms. De diámetro alrededor de Xalapa, la emisora de la Universidad Veracruzana, me permitió conocer el poder de influencia de las emisoras de radio, y por ello también la campaña para hacer cambios en la dirección de TODOS los programas emitidos, lo que incluía la eliminación ,lenta pero implacable de todo programa que fuera más o menos crítico con los lineamientos políticos del rector de la Universidad más importante de este Estado mexicano.
El análisis de este artículo es sumamente falaz, desde las coordenadas gnoseológicas, pues no hace ninguna distinción de fenómenos que se colocan en el mismo plano, como si fueran categorías genéricas. Se considera a los individuos como productores como consumidores y como ciudadanos y se llega a decir que los medios de comunicación son distribuidores y catalizadores de los roles de ese individuo, dentro de esos tres roles destaca el del ciudadano que además debe potenciar el rol holístico . Ese rol holístico es el del “constructor de utopías, constructor de sueños, diseñador del arte y las cosmovisiones que nutren y dan sentido escatológico y ontológico a su quehacer en las tres dimensiones estructuradas”.
Termino este ejemplo con unas frases épicas de Luis Gallegos: “Hoy se nos muestra la posibilidad de que el género humano pueda, por fin, redimirse y avanzar un peldaño más en su humanización y en su divinización. Es hora de que hagamos de la comunicación global y local, un instrumento eficaz y vital de esa posibilidad”. No queda mucho que criticar ante estas afirmaciones tan vacías de contenido y tan llenas de vehemencia mística.
Si tiene usted, lector, la paciencia de seguir recorriendo este modelo de la comunicación compleja, le propongo un último caso. Se trata del escrito de un estudiante de la Maestría en Ciencias con especialidad en Comunicación y Comunicación internacional del ya mencionado ITESM. Se publicó en la web http://www.mty.itesm.mx/dhsc/hiper-textos/04/juancarlos-centeno/identidad-estigmatizada.htm
El artículo de Juan Carlos Centeno lleva el título siguiente: “Ensayo sobre la Identidad Estigmatizada, desde la Teoría de Erving Goffman”.Monterrey(México), marzo del 2000
La identidad estereotipada que se aplica por grupos sociales mayoritarios a grupos minoritarios se llega a convertir en un estigma cuando se presenta a ese grupo estereotipado bajo todas las características negativas, respecto del grupo mayoritario y su identidad como tal. Los grupos minoritarios, si quieren evitar ser considerados como grupos estigmatizados, deben luchar por defender frente a los grupos mayoritarios su identidad característica. Este asunto es el equivalente de los nacionalismos y sus identidades características o rasgos culturales únicos.

2- El modelo antropológico religioso de la Orden de Predicadores (los dominicos)

Uno de los filósofos más influyentes de México en el presente es Mauricio Beuchot, quien se formó en la tradición tomista, como no podía ser menos, dada su formación religiosa en el seno de la OP. Algunos filósofos pueden pretender que precisamente su formación es un obstáculo para su trabajo filosófico. Creemos que no es así, pues si observamos con atención el panorama filosófico de un país(México)que ha mantenido un innegable prestigio en Iberoamérica, Beuchot supone uno de los filósofos cuya obra resulta más seria y desde luego con argumentos forjados desde la tradición de la verdadera filosofía, lo cual queda como aval de su propia obra, en un panorama en el que ya ni siquiera resulta sencillo encontrar verdadera filosofía. Veremos en este apartado algunas de sus tesis y cómo resultan , a nuestro juicio, más interesantes e incluso mucho más prudentes que algunas como las recientemente expuestas por el filósofo mexicano Luis Villoro [13] .
Una revista mexicana, “Logos-Diá”(revista especializada en Educación Intercultural), de la Universidad Pedagógica Nacional, publica en su edición electrónica dos artículos de Mauricio Beuchot: “La Filosofía ante el pluralismo cultural” y “hacia un pluralismo cultural analógico que permita la democracia”.
Por cierto la revista Logos-Diá forma parte de un proyecto en el no sólo participa la Universidad Pedagógica Nacional sino la OEA(Organización de Estados Americanos) y pretenden formar la Red-EI que quiere decir: Red de Educadores e Investigadores en Educación Intercultural.
Parece mentira que en un país que ha tenido investigadores en el campo de la Antropología de la talla de Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán, por citar al más relevante, a mi juicio, del siglo XX, no disponga de criterios gnoseológicos suficientes para criticar todo este maremágnum de aportes para planificar la educación en México, al menos en lo correspondiente a educación indígena.
Comenta Beuchot acerca de la necesidad de buscar una vía intermedia, que posibilite que los pueblos indígenas conserven en cierta medida su identidad cultural y, por otra parte y en otra medida, se integren a los beneficios de la cultura moderna .
En un acuerdo armonioso con Villoro, Beuchot asume la distinción de aquél acerca de que hay dos aspectos de la identidad, a saber: la física y la de representación.
La identidad cultural estaría más en la línea de la representación de sí mismo, más que en la física, afirma Beuchot. Ante este asunto se pueden tomar dos caminos: aislarse ante los cambios que proceden del exterior a la propia cultura, lo cual lleva a los nacionalismos “integristas”.La otra alternativa es la de la búsqueda de una nueva representación de sí mismo, en la que pueda integrarse lo que una colectividad ha sido con lo que proyecta ser.
La propuesta de Beuchot en el asunto de la identidad de representación supone la introducción de la que él define como integración analógica o integración analógica del mismo.

Encontramos una aparente coincidencia con Bueno en este planteamiento, no en cuanto a los contenidos, sino meramente en cuanto a que existe una relación .Se trata de la relación entre la Antropología política y la Filosofía política. Lo que no coincide es el modo en que esta relación se explica. Beuchot afirma que el problema de la diversidad cultural se plantea sobre todo en la filosofía política, pero hunde sus raíces en la antropología política, en la filosofía del hombre. Beuchot plantea el caso límite de la filosofía unitarista o el universalismo absoluto y por otra parte, el relativismo o particularismo. Ambas posturas, dice, llevan a consecuencias indeseables.
La propuesta de la analogía es heredera de santo Tomás, como bien se sabe, y es de esta herencia de la que parte Beuchot para proponer una idea de cultura analógica. Hay elementos de las culturas que son distributivos y otros que serían atributivos, pero no hay exclusión entre ellos, sino la llamada analogía de proporción. Aquí, por utilizar el mismo lenguaje de Beuchot, preguntaremos: ¿cuál es en estos casos el primer analogado para esa atribuir o distribuir características culturales?, es decir, ¿cuál es el elemento generador común a las diferentes culturas y cuál elemento que se puede “desviar” de ese primer analogado sin caer en el relativismo cultural?
Al establecer el criterio de que ante la libertad es necesario establecer una jerarquía en la que hay valores superiores que están a la base de la analogía (primer analogado), Beuchot, a mi modo de ver, de manera, como decía, mucho más sabioa(sophrosyne)que Villoro, se refiere al primer analogado de lo que en la filosofía política de SantoTomás es el bien común. De este modo se evitarán los riesgos de dispersión política a que conducen las propuestas de autonomía de los pueblos indígenas a la que se refiere Villoro, en cuanto a que se debiera aceptar en el derecho mexicano el derecho de los pueblos indígenas, que se deriva de lo que llamamos usos y costumbres, pero que podemos llamar también derecho indígena, no deja de ser derecho por no estar consignado en códigos [14]
Es muy probable que en el actual México, donde la Iglesia Católica parece tener nuevamente un papel político importante, tras la derrota del PRI en las elecciones del año 2000, la posición de Beuchot tenga aceptación en sectores sociales amplios, pero algo que quizá entre los filósofos profesionales no le ayuda, es su crítica ,muy fundamentada, a los célebres Levinas, Habermas, Apel por una parte, y por otra parte, a Derrida oVattimo.
La batalla por la implantación política de la filosofía es mucho más seria de lo que podría parecer, en el sentido de que Habermas, por ejemplo, representa el modelo socialdemócrata. Vattimo y Derrida son el relativismo político que lleva a tantas exageraciones como estamos observando en Italia, Francia &.
La crítica de Beuchot al reconocimiento univocista del otro o el “estado de abierto” completo, de la apertura plena, sin ningún cierre hacia el otro de Vattimo y Derrida, son , en el planteamiento del dominico mexicano, posiciones imposibles ontológicamente, pues hay ciertas cerrazones inevitables que son las que precisamente nos hacen diferentes: pre-juicios y pre-comprensiones, muchos supuestos. Una apertura absoluta no existe, no tendría sentido…sí puede estar lo suficientemente abierto como para comprender al otro y respetarlo en lo aceptable.
Una propuesta de Beuchot que nos parece interesante es la siguiente: en la lucha entre universalismo y particularismo, es necesario establecer un criterio fundamental del pluralismo analógico, a saber: no hay universales unívocos, sino universales análogos.Y este punto clave en las tesis de Beuchot: el universalismo analógico se basa en una noción aristotélica que es la prudencia o frónesis. Sólo que debe añadirse a esta prudencia que tiene como objeto el bien común , la solidaridad expresada desde la fraternidad, y aquí es donde se constata el componente antropológico teológico de la filosofía propuesta por Beuchot, pues dice que en la analogía debe ser el analogado principal el más pobre, el marginado, con lo que vemos en sus tesis un residuo importante de la llamada Teología de la Liberación, salvado ya el “escollo” de su carga marxista originaria.

3-El modelo de las culturas híbridas

He quedado impresionado por la verborrea barroca de los intelectuales de este modelo, que al parecer tiene legiones de cultivadores en Iberoamérica. Además, están formando ya auténticos módulos sectarios en los que filósofos alemanes son los orquestadores de este magma de nematologías creciente. Los estudios culturales son el nuevo campo de siembra donde se cosechará más fácilmente. Se siembra identidad cultural y se recoge despolitización o en el mejor de los casos una politización fundamentalista que lleva a disgregar los Estados políticos de Iberoamérica en beneficio de los Estados donde las sedes de las corporaciones tienen su máximo apoyo.
El libro Culturas híbridas-No simultneidad-Modernidad periférica compilado por Sarah Mójica, editado en Berlín por Wissenschaftlicher Verlag el año 2002 puede ser una referencia para la exposición de este modelo.
Se menciona helecho de que los intelectuales latinoamericanos son cada vez más dependientes de las becas obtenidas fuera, en los países como Estados Unidos, Inglaterra, Alemania, lo cual no resulta nada novedoso, por cierto. Pero lo que sí resulta interesante es que se plantea que el célebre gurú de este modelo de las culturas híbridas, Néstor García Canclini está ,junto con otros gurús como Beatriz Sarlo y Carlos Rincón , apuntando ya hacia un nuevo giro más abarcador, y tanto en términos de los estudios culturales(literatura y medios masivos)como en su relación con el nuevo horizonte multidisciplinario del marketing globalizante en el cual la estética, la política y la economía se vuelven inseparables [15]
Si la estética y la economía junto con la política son inseparables, no es extraño que países como Argentina estén en la situación en que los vemos. Es gnoseológicamente un gravísimo error pretender que se pueden “juntar” las categorías estéticas, las políticas y las de la economía.
La referencia al concepto de culturas híbridas al parecer no es sino el interés del editor de un estudio de García Canclini acerca de las relaciones culturales en una zona de la frontera entre México y EEUU en san Diego y Tijuana. Canclini puso originalmente el siguiente título: la reconversión cultural.
Lo que se plantea en este modelo es helecho de que Latinoamérica ha entrado a la modernidad de un modo subordinado, dependiente. La vieja teoría de la dependencia es hoy replanteada en términos de cultura. Y la cultura incluye los estudios literarios, como si a través de la literatura se pudiera pretender expresar la identidad de los diversos pueblos de Latinoamérica y por ese medio mantener una diferencia que les permite no ser culturas periféricas que para la cultura etnocéntrica de las metrópolis son meras culturas bárbaras o cuando se pretenden integrar al modernismo como modo superior de la cultura, son siempre vistos como inferiores o meros imitadores.
El problema principal, a mi juicio, es que estos grupos de intelectuales pretenden que las propuestas post (post marxistas, post modernas,&) les van a ayudar a estos países a salir de la modernidad que los ha mantenido en el subdesarrollo. Hay que desconstruir, esa es la consigna, pero manteniendo lo genuinamente latinoamericano…lo difícil es saber que es genuino u qué no lo es. Por eso el concepto de culturas híbridas les resulta tan útil. Maíz híbrido es un maíz que ha sido biológicamente una mezcla de distintas semillas, pero hombres híbridos culturalmente, ¿qué significa eso?. No se pueden utilizar categorías biológicas para manejar fenómenos antropológicos, sociológicos o económicos y políticos. En este sentido resulta crucial para la crítica de este modelo la tesis del materialismo filosófico expresada en la Teoría de la Ciencia denominada Teoría del Cierre Categorial de que hay tantas categorías como ciencias [16]

4- El modelo de la Comisión Trilateral

Este modelo tiene sobre todo la característica de ser dirigido por sectores sociales norteamericanos, en especial banqueros, como los Rockefeller, iniciales promotores de esta organización llamada la Comisión Trilateral. No sólo norteamericanos, sino japoneses, europeos y canadienses forman parte de este selecto grupo de políticos, banqueros,& del cual hasta hace poco no podían formar parte quienes fueran del llamado Tercer Mundo, lo cual ha cambiado muy recientemente, cuando se invita a ex presidentes de México, a escritores peruanos como Mario Vargas Llosa a las reuniones de la Comisión. Como hemos hablado de esta Comisionen nuestro artículo del Nº 2 de El Catoblepas no vamos a mencionar, en este momento, sino a Vargas Llosa, por su concepción mercantilista de la Cultura y su defensa de una identidad global, en el sentido de que todo lo referente a la identidad cultural de los pueblos es parte del mercado y la producción de mercancías culturales es sometida a la ley del mercado, en la que lo más rentable y aquello que soliciten los consumidores será lo que predomine o incluso siga “vivo” en el nuevo orden neoliberal. De cualquier manera, este asunto será objeto de análisis en la sección Diablo Hispano de la revista El Catoblepas en próximos números.

5- El modelo del materialismo filosófico

El estudio crítico materialista de las nematologías de la identidad cultural debe incluir tres aspectos fundamentales: 1)Las relaciones políticas y la Idea de Espacio antropológico,2)El papel ideológico de la Idea de Cultura ( y la identidad cultural),3)Estudio de la Idea de Imperio y el análisis de la misma en relación con la Idea de Cultura, con la Antropología y la Idea de cuerpo político.
Hemos hecho una descripción fenoménica de las relaciones políticas en la parte primera de esta serie de artículos, aunque nos falta el regressus de esas estructuras fenoménicas buscando conocer el modo en que se estructuran esencialmente en la medida en que ello sea posible(teniendo en cuenta que nos movemos en situaciones beta operatorias). Proponemos el uso de la Idea de Espacio Antropológico para esta tarea. Y como este concepto supone algunas definiciones muy determinadas sobre lo que es la Antropología, que introduciremos en este apartado 4, la relación con los temas de las relaciones políticas se deberá llevar a cabo en un artículo posterior. [17]

La cuestión emic/etic
La tesis de Gustavo Bueno es que la oposición emic/etic es un “contexto colimador” en el campo de las ciencias humanas .
La organización de un campo categorial procede por medio de “centros de cristalización”, que aparecen en diversos lugares del campo, y que ulteriormente tomarán contacto entre sí. Estos centros de cristalización no serán, en principio, extrínsecos al campo (salvo en el caso de modelos exógenos) sino que estarán constituidos por los propios términos del campo, cuando éstos dibujan figuras o contextos determinados [18]
Para evitar el error de Goodenough al plantear lo emic y lo etic como si lo primero fuera la descripción que de un sistema nos ofrece el nativo y la descripción etic se basara en elementos conceptuales del sistema de referencia, Bueno propone la tesis de que el núcleo de la oposición etic/emic está en la distinción entre SA(sujeto actuante)/SG(sujeto gnoselógico).
Lo que hace la generalización de Goodenough es borrar el núcleo (SA/SG) y sustituirlo por la oposición entre un sistema dado y un sistema patrón. El sistema dado por ejemplo en lo sonidos de la lengua mixteca y el sistema patrón del modelo fonético de Pike.
Esto nos lleva al problema de no saber con claridad cuáles el sistema de referencia, si el que nos transmite el informador nativo o el que nosotros le atribuimos. [19]
Independientemente de la caracterización política de las actividades de Pike y el célebre ILV(Instituto Lingüístico de Verano), [20] la crítica desde el materialismo filosófico a las tesis de Pike nos muestran que su teoría es ella misma emicista, en el sentido señalado por Bueno (Nosotros y ellos) cuando recuerda que la región del campo antropológico constituida por las últimas guerras europeas o mundiales, en la medida en la que hacemos uso de la distinción de Lenin entre “una historia diplomática” y un “análisis objetivo” de las mismas , es decir ,ayuna historia fenomémica y una historia esencial, no sólo fisicalista. La distinción de Pike emic/etic al no ser universal puede convertirse en un reduccionismo, porque “obvia” otras distinciones como las citadas por Bueno en el análisis de Lenin.
El “lugar geométrico” de las estructuras esenciales debe situarse fuera del plano emic. Esta tesis de Bueno resulta crucial para entender su tesis del núcleo de la Idea de Barbarie. Las relaciones entre la escritura y la Historia y las sociedades ágrafas y la Etnología son cuestiones clave, que desarrollaremos a continuación.
No se puede reducir el “prisma de Pike” a la cuestión de dentro/fuera.
El adentrismo, explica Bueno, equivale a negar la posibilidad de la ciencia .
Bueno aclara que la posición de Pike es emicista pero no adentrista, puesto que hay los behavioremas .
En cuanto a Marvin Harris , podemos recordar que Bueno le reconoce la capacidad suficiente para noquear en el idealismo de tipo Hegel ni en el conductismo tipo Skinner, al desarrollar una jerarquía ontológico-causal en la que el plano etic es digamos, superior al etic, sin dejar por ello de reconocer al plano emic un papel explicativo relevante dada su capacidad incluso operacional para el antropólogo de penetrar en los reductos de la esfera de lo emic/mental.Su tesis se puede intentar resumir aquí a partir de este modo en que el mismo Harris lo resume:
Como ha señalado el propio Harris en su libro Materialismo cultural, la reformulación de la distinción emic/etic para incluir cualificadores mental y conductuales en cuatro modos contrastantes de descripciones etnográficas:
1.Lo emic de la vida mental
2.Lo emic de la corriente de conducta (behavior stream)
3.Lo etic de la vida mental
4.Lo etic de la corriente de conducta
La crítica a Harris llevada a cabo por Bueno podemos comprenderla en este texto de Nosotros y ellos:
La yuxtaposición, en el plano esencial, de las perspectivas etic y emic la lleva a cabo Harris “doblando” los objetivos del análisis antropológico según un “patrón universal” expuesto originariamente en un plano etic. El patrón universal está inspirado sin duda, en el materialismo histórico…
El error de Harris ha sido hipostasiar componentes de la Antropología(la distinción etic/emic) con componentes de la Psicología( la distinción mental/conductual) con lo cual su modelo es metafísico en gran parte. Ello nos lleva a situaciones que bajo apariencia de explicaciones “científicas” son más bien construcciones ficción de realidad explicadas desde un molde escolástico gnoseológicamente falso. El caso de las explicaciones que hace Harris de la muerte de los terneros en la India. Lo interesante sería comprobar cómo este error ocurre en los planteamientos de muchos antropólogos( del campo de la llamada Antropología Filosófica) que utilizan la hermenéutica para explicar fenómenos del campo etnológico e histórico, cuando hablan de la identidad y cómo ella es contemplada por el “Otro”…
La propuesta de Bueno, muy resumida por mí , será la siguiente:
El único camino que vemos abierto… … es disociar las dos relaciones principales contenidas en la distinción dentro/fuera, por cuya intersección del “prisma de Pike” se configura. A saber:
A) el dentro/fuera que se da en el plano geográfico o antropológico(por ej.,intercultural)
B) el dentro/fuera que se da en el plano psicológico/etológico (por ej.,intraindividual)
(El plano etológico relacionado con la oposición cerca/lejos, esto es, las relaciones paratéticas y apotéticas)
Las ciencias sociales no pueden operar sin referentes fisicalistas, pero no se puede reducir su “actividad” a describir los fenómenos, sino que deben buscar la estructura esenciadle ellos, esto implica que los hechos ,al no ser la realidad absoluta sino que esos mismos hechos precisan de un lugar que se da en un horizonte histórico, el cual está determinado por en contexto cultural histórico.[21]
Para terminar, Bueno añade a las tres posiciones sobre el prisma de Pike (emicismo, eticismo o yuxtaposición de ambas posiciones), una cuarta posibilidad de interpretar dicho prisma.
La consideración dialéctica de los fenómenos antropológicos, que lleva a las cuestiones que plantearemos enseguida, al comprobar que hay una lucha por mantener los contenidos culturales propios
Frente a otros, y esa lucha desborda la relación emic/etic que manejan los antropólogos. Este asunto ha sido trabajado minuciosamente por Bueno en el libro Etnología y utopía, al que nos referiremos a continuación.

Trataremos de exponer muy esquemáticamente algunas de las tesis de Bueno respecto de la Etnología.
Respecto a la antropología de Lévi-Strauss – y que puede ser perfectamente aplicada tantos representantes de las llamada Teoría de la Cultura en el presente – se plantea lo siguiente en Etnología y utopía : El etnologismo se configura, de este modo, como crítica de la civilización desde la nostalgia de la barbarie .
Esta tesis tiene una relevancia que no podemos dejar de tener presente si es que queremos al menos intentar que nuestro trabajo no sea servil, es decir, favorable a quines intentan históricamente someter nuestros países a la servidumbre política, económica,& [22]
De cualquier manera, en parte no me preocupa tanto el momento de auge del actual modelo de identidad que he denominado aquí de la comunicación compleja, en el que incluía( quizá a falta de poderlo colocar en otro lugar mejor o por sus semejanzas en tanto que serían más bien una especie de etnología hermenéutica unas y otras tendencias).Y no me preocupa porque si es verdad lo que Bueno dice en la conclusión de su libro, lo que nos debería preocupar más bien , sería la etnología mucho más sutil por su modo de trabajar, la que Bueno define como etnología crítica, en tanto que ella se presenta como alternativa a la Filosofía (crítica, no metafísica, estoes, la que se confunde con el etnologismo hermenéutico). Este etnologismo es a la Filosofía crítica actual lo que en tiempos de Platón era la sofística a la Filosofía platónica, académica. La crítica de Platón a este modelo radica en su incapacidad o en su desdén (seguramente etológico, proléptico, interesado y con fines y estrategias muy concretos, lo que he llamado no por insultar gratuitamente, sino con todo respeto, servilismo intelectual)para desprenderse de los fenómenos, que en el caso de la Etnología consiste en permanecer en el fenómeno de la Barbarie como única posibilidad. Ahora bien –dice Bueno –la crítica etnologista respeta el nivel de la barbarie, en virtud de una gratuita identificación entre la Humanidad y el salvajismo. Por consiguiente, esta crítica consiste en una superposición de dos niveles culturales, de los cuales uno es preferido por motivos estéticos o psicológicos – el resentimiento contra la propia cultura. Sin duda la crítica etnologista es mejor que el conformismo: es así un sucedáneo de la verdadera crítica, que sólo puede ser la crítica revolucionaria. El enfrentamiento entre Etnología( o su versión frecuente de la Filosofía de la Cultura,&) son sólo en apariencia enfrentamientos con la Filosofía porque sólo lo son( enfrentamientos) por el modo en que se presentan en la sociedad de consumidores, y porque tienen en común componentes ideológicos de la hermenéutica y la metafísica y los componentes nihilistas tan difundidos desde el posmodernismo y otras de sus añoradas versiones, por ejemplo en Heidegger y Nietzsche o el Nietzsche de Heidegger en sus cursos durante la época nazi en Alemania, digamos, por citar los más conocidos, por no mencionar a Foucault).
Otra de las tesis interesantes de Bueno es la que afirma que hemos llegado a la sociedad universal, cuya faz dura será siempre una paradoja para todo espíritu utopista. En este sentido es muy importante situar el célebre libro de Samuel Huntington, quien, no deberíamos dejarlo a un lado, es un experto en asuntos de relaciones entre el poder militar y el poder político en los Estados Unidos, en cuanto a cuál de estos dos poderes se debe hacer cargo del control del Estado en casos de emergencia en asuntos de seguridad Nacional. No es el momento de extendernos en estas cuestiones, pero al estudiarlas con cuidado nos viene a la memoria el modelo que ya mencionaba en el primer número de esta revista, cuando recordaba el modo de trabajar de Gregorio Selser, autor que volverá a estas páginas para mostrarnos otro modelo, mucho más cercano del modelo de la Idea de Cultura que defiende el materialismo filosófico. Para entendernos, en los trabajos de Selser queda muy claro lo que es metafísica de lo que es trabajo científico, aun sabiendo que no es posible evitar el componente subjetual de las ciencias humanas es decir, en términos de Bueno: los sujetos operatorios forman inevitablemente parte de los fenómenos.
El etnocentrismo se ha construido como género absoluto y que no ha tenido en cuenta las asimetrías entre las culturas, que son reales, concretas. Y esta asimetría entre culturas es esencial. El etnocentrismo lo que ha hecho ha sido sustantificar el concepto de cultura.
Una tesis de crucial interés para este modelo (el materialista) es la que sostiene que es preciso criticar el etnocentrismo.¿Por qué este interés?,podemos preguntarnos. Porque es precisamente el supuesto etnocentrismo de la supuesta cultura dominante el que debe ser también incluido en la negación de la posibilidad de una nivelación de las “620” culturas. Esto supone, desde la crítica de Bueno, la negación del concepto de Cultura como concepto clase y la sustitución de ese concepto, o, al menos, de una gran parte de su extensión lógica, por el concepto de un individuo, de un universal concreto, históricamente desarrollado .
Bueno introduce un criterio de diferenciación entre las Ideas de Barbarie y Cultura que creemos interesante para analizar los asuntos relativos a al llamada identidad cultural,&.
Se trata de la combinación matricial de la oposición entre la ciudad y el campo que son colocadas (lo designa como Mc, modelo cíclico),en el que se parte de cuatro clases de términos, a, b, A, B, que corresponden a ciudades o “campo” desde el plano fenoménico o desde el plano funcional (estructural).
Hay la posibilidad de ciudades cerradas o abiertas e incluso la posibilidad de la desaparición de ciudades o de destrucción. Una de las tesis de Bueno en torno a la cuestión de la relación entre Etnología e Historia afirma que : si no tenemos documentos escritos de las sociedades bárbaras es porque éstas no tienen historia.
Es necesario establecer o buscar criterios ontológicos para diferenciar Barbarie y Civilización, explica Bueno, y esto requiere buscar algún modo de conexión entre Ciudad, Escritura e Historia, y correlativamente de la conexión entre Barbarie, Agrafía y Etnología .
La Escritura introduce criterios de relación que suponen un modo de superación de la reflexividad en la comunicación, de tal modo que la transitividad consigue variar el concepto de identidad de las sociedades ágrafas.
El tiempo histórico se diferencia del tiempo cronológico en cuanto a las culturas, por el hecho de que la Historia incluye un proceso que va desde el pasado al presente de tal modo que ese presente tiende a considerar la cultura como universal y no como enclasado a través del tiempo cronológico que “mueve” las culturas enclasadas: la civilización azteca, la civilización helénica. El concepto de Cultura Universal es referente de la Historia, y desde Toynbee o Spengler hasta Huntington lo vemos operativamente en los hechos Históricos de un presente en que una Cultura y otras se enfrentan en los campos diplomáticos, militares, e incluso culturales.
Desde esta perspectiva , al pretender mantener las culturas en sus esferas megáricas, cuando lo que se tiene es un proceso histórico en el cual el tiempo cronológico de las etnias supuestamente sujetas a la protección de sus derechos étnicos, digamos ha dejado de tener sentido, se llega a situaciones tan peligrosas para la propia etnia o cultura que se pretende defender de ese etnocentrismo depredador, se dice.
Esto tiene un desarrollo muy específico en el artículo de Gustavo Bueno de El Catoblepas Nº2 titulado “Etnocentrismo cultural, relativismo cultural y pluralismo cultural”.
Terminamos esta segunda parte de un estudio que propone una tercera parte, como ya se mencionó, con la referencia a esta cuestión a manera de propuesta para el debate:
En la medida en que unos pueblos, o unos rasgos culturales -incluida la escritura – permanecen aislados, abstractos (es decir, permanecen marginados de la “corriente central” de la Civilización) recaen en el espacio de la barbarie.
Cita de un texto del capítulo X de Etnología y utopía

[1] Este artículo lo presentamos como la segunda parte de nuestro anterior titulado “El cuerpo político imperial y las nematologías de la identidad y diversidad cultural”, publicado en el número dos de El Catoblepas
[2] Libro editado en 1991 en Logroño por el Gobierno de La Rioja (España)y el Ayuntamiento de Logroño, en la colección Biblioteca Riojana, Nº1
Además de este libro consideramos que son fundamentales para nuestro trabajo de crítica al mito de la identidad cultural ,los siguientes libros de Bueno:
Etnología y utopía; Madrid-Gijón;Eds.Júcar,2ªed.1987
Nosotros y ellos.(Ensayo de reconstrucción de la distinción emic/etic de Pike); Oviedo; Ed. Pentalfa; 1990
El mito de la cultura ; Barcelona; Ed. Prensa Ibérica;2ª ed.1997
El artículo de Bueno publicado en la revista El Basilisco 2ª época , Nº 23(1999) “Predicables de la Identidad” resulta clave , aunque sin duda a muchos de los llamados filósofos se les va a complicar el asunto ,puesto que desde coordenadas tales como las que propone el invento yanki de última moda , denominado critical thinking , se echa por la borda toda la lógica para engendrar una especie de actividades de tipo de trabajos manuales para niños , como sustituto de los trabajos de ingeniería reales que llevan a la construcción de presas o puentes,&.Queremos decir con esto , que somos conscientes de que este trabajo que presentamos , en el supuesto de que lo lean en Iberoamérica , corre el peligro de no ser ni siquiera mínimamente comprendido, dada la actual degeneración que hemos podido observar en la inmensa mayoría de facultades iberoamericanas de Filosofía. Un alumno que me entregaba un trabajo final decisivo para aprobar, en un curso de maestría que impartí en México hace tres años, tras terminar su licenciatura, me contestaba a una crítica que se le pedía: “-estos argumentos, por ser una falacia de orden total , no son ni siquiera dignos de la más mínima consideración racional”. Claro está que tuvo que reconsiderar su postura, porque quería aprobar esa materia, pero una vez con el título de maestro en Filosofía ,ya se puede ir presentando por ahí en cualquier foro de Filosofía y pregonar su sabiduría . El comentario que podemos hacer es este: el hábito no hace al monje, pero por desgracia hay un ejército de curas sin sotana en el mundillo intelectual.
[3] Este sociólogo pretende que su método nuevo(ya hace 25 años que aparecía su El método. La naturaleza de la naturaleza ) va a superar esa separación entre el orden el desorden y la organización. Y además, para ello es preciso, según Morin superar nuestra desviación con respecto de la naturaleza. Para ello debemos según el gurú francés (lo es de hecho para los investigadores citados de la red de investigación de la comunicación compleja) ser conscientes de que el problema de la naturaleza no debe ser disociado del problema de la naturaleza del conocimiento. Es tan necesario estudiar todo conocimiento físico en su enraizamiento ántropo-social, como estudiar toda realidad social en su enraizamiento físico. Y así se puede esbozar ya el método de la complejidad. Su teoría de la organización pretende ser una superación dialéctica, digamos, de la teoría de sistemas y de la cibernética.
[4] Puede consultarse en este web http://mexico.op.org/carisma.htm
[5] Cfr. el Diccionario Filosófico de Pelayo García tanto en formato de papel ,coedición de la Fundación Gustavo Bueno (http://fgbueno.es) de la editorial Pentalfa, Oviedo 2002 , como en el formato internet
http://www.filosofia.org
[6] Se trata de Ensayos materialistas, Madrid, Ed.Taurus; 1972
[7] Cfr. nuevamente el ya citado Diccionario Filosófico de Pelayo García para un estudio mucho más elaborado de estas cuestiones .
[8] Vamos a manejar un artículo suyo publicado en la página web del ITESM(Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey) http://www.itesm.mx/dhsc/hiper-textos/04/cintya-smith/CintiaSmith.htm
[9] Se refiere Cintya Smith al artículo de Tomlinson “Cultural globalization and cultural imperialism. A critical introduction”, en Mohammadi, Ali(editor);London; Sage Publications;1997
[10] No podemos extendernos en este momento en ello, pero debemos señalar su relevancia para el modelo criticado. Se trata de dos asuntos clave:
1-¿quién o quiénes deciden acerca de las noticias que se van a transmitir en cada momento?.La agenda setting en términos de teoría de la información. Consultar el libro de Felicísimo Valbuena; Teoría General de la Información; Madrid, Ed. Noésis;1997
2- El modo en que se manejan las imágenes que acompañan la información hablada por el locutor o presentador. Hay dos libros de Gustavo Bueno esenciales al respecto. Televisión: Apariencia y verdad, Barcelona; Ed. Gedisa; 2000 y el libro Telebasura y democracia; Barcelona; Eds.B.S.A.;2002
Otro libro muy interesante, a mi juicio, es ¡Ojo con los media! del periodista belga Michel Colon; Hondarribia(Guipúzcoa);Argitaletxe Hiru ed.;1995
[11] La distinción emic/etic la tomamos en el sentido que propone Gustavo Bueno en su libro Nosotros y ellos Oviedo; Pentalfa ed.; . Cuando analicemos el modelo materialista desarrollaremos más esta crucial cuestión. También puede consultarse el Diccionario Filosófico de Pelayo García ya citado
Sería interesante también consultar el libro Emics and Etics.(The Insider/Outsider debate),editado por Thomas N . Headland, Kenneth L.Pike y Marvin Harris; London; Sage Publications;1990
[12] Cfr. el semanal mexicano Proceso Nº 1333 de mayo del 2002.
[13] El libro de Villoro Estado plural, pluralidad de culturas; México; Ed.Paidós en coedición con la Fac.de Filosofía y Letras de la UNAM; 1999(reimpresión),1ªed.1998 maneja un vocabulario lleno de imprecisión, pero lo más grave es, en este libro, su llamada a otorgar a los “pueblos” una autonomía, en la que mete en el mismo saco una serie de pueblos (el vasco, el catalán, el kurdo, los quebequenses de Canadá,&), llega a afirmar que: por desgracia… tanto en México como en otros países de América Latina, las etnias indígenas están mezcladas entre sí y con los mestizos y criollos, o bien ocupan poblados aislados, sin una conexión sólida entre ellos. Establecer allí una región autónoma plantearía problemas muy difíciles …Intentaremos plantear la crítica a Villoro, por contraste, al exponer los planteamientos de Beuchot. De modo similar, el contraste entre el modelo materialista y las tesis tanto de Beuchot como de Villoro permitirá “tomar partido” sobre estas cuestiones.
[14] Cfr.Villoro; op.cit, pág. 106
[15] Esta cita la tomo de Sarah Mójica en el citado libro ,de su texto titulado “cartografías culturales en debate: culturas híbridas-No simultaneidad-Modernidad periférica”
[16] Consultar la obra(5 vols. hasta el momento) Teoría del Cierre Categorial, (Oviedo, Ed.Pentalfa,1992,Vol.1;1993,Vols2,3,4,5)de Gustavo Bueno. Se puede consultar el libro de introducción al tema ¿Qué es la Ciencia? ,en la web siguiente
http://fgbueno.es
Las ciencias – y no los juicios – serían los hilos conductores que nos guiasen en la determinación de los campos categoriales. Hablaremos así de categorías mecánicas, químicas, biológicas; en cada una de estas categorías, será preciso reconocer categorías subalternas o subcategorías En pág. 133 del Vol 1

[17] Para los conceptos metodologías beta ( y alfa ) operatorias, Espacio Antropológico, regressus, estructura esencial y estructura fenoménica,& consultar el Diccionario Filosófico de Pelayo García citado
[18] Cfr. G.Bueno; Nosotros y ellos; Oviedo; Pentalfa ed.;1990; pág. 19 Las referencias serán en las próximas páginas a esta obra, si no se señala otra cosa
[19] Vamos a hacer referencia a un libro del antropólogo mexicano Gonzalo Aguirre, que creemos ayudará a entender lo que es el modelo emic/etic de Pike, y que Gustavo Bueno expone muy brevemente, por dar por hecho que los que lo leen (a Bueno)se han tomado también la molestia de estudiar la obra de Pike sobre el lenguaje y la influencia de Bloomfield en sus propias tesis. El estudio de las lenguas habladas en Oaxaca (el mixteco) y otras, lleva a Pike a corregir ,o mejor dicho, a ampliar algunas tesis de Bloomfield.
En Lenguas vernáculas. Su uso y desuso en la enseñanza: la experiencia de México; México;Eds.de la Casa Chata, Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social,1983, comenta lo siguiente Aguirre Beltrán: Hay, afirma[Pike]dos actitudes posibles cuando se intenta describir un suceso humano; una es la actitud (fon)ética que caracteriza los sucesos mediante el empleo de criterios espacio-temporales y veda toda hipótesis que explique los hechos que caen bajo observación con base en la función que desempeñan . El dsitribucionalismo estructural post-bloomfieldiano es ejemplo patente del punto de vista ético( etic), aplicado al lenguaje. La perspectiva que proporciona la descripción es necesaria, inexcusable; pero representa sólo el punto de partida para la actualización de la actitud (fon)émica que se caracteriza por tomar en cuenta la función particular que el acontecimiento tiene en el mundo cultural donde se produce para describir los aspectos significativos o pertinentes , los componentes funcionales y dinámicos en el análisis: Pike concluye por afirmar su conclusión de que el lenguaje es una variedad de conducta humana y no un mero código, un combinado escueto de formas simbólicas o un simple modelo lógico-matemático, y que, en tal carácter, puede ser enfocado 1) en términos de jerarquías de partículas o unidades mínimas,2)desde la perspectiva de secuencias de oleadas o flujos de movimientos o actividades o bien 3) con referencias a campos o totalidades en cuyo trasfondo se manifiesta la concentración de energía que llamamos cultura.
[20] Consultar el artículo publicado por El Catoblepas Nº 2 titulado “Babel redivivo ,o divide y vencerás”,firmado por G.Bueno Sánchez. El asunto de los intereses de este instituto consistía en que se enseña a los indios mexicanos, no el español, como se suponía , sino el inglés, y además por medio de la Biblia. Esto es una muestra más del modo en que el imperialismo yanki ha venido trabajando en tantos países como se ve en el artículo de Bueno Sánchez a que nos referimos. Lo que no logro comprender es por qué motivos , y tras las insistentes denuncias de los antropólogos mexicanos ,no se expulsa definitivamente a estos misioneros tan peligrosos para la identidad mexicana, pero esta vez una identidad que se identifica ontológicamente en la civilización occidental que se expresa a través del legado lingüístico del idioma español y no ,al menos por el momento, del inglés, como sucede, hecho bien sabido por todos, que se intenta imponer en Puerto Rico desde hace más de medio siglo.
[21] Cfr. Nosotros y ellos, en especial págs. 70 a 85 .Para aquellos que están todavía interesados en sacar algo positivo útil de la obra de Husserl y su célebre método y en especial el concepto de intencionalidad, es muy interesante trabajar sobre lo que Bueno menciona al respecto de la fenomenología en este sentido: desde las categorías apotéticas. Pero es imprescindible para sacar provecho de ello tener en cuenta la relación entre dentro/fuera y anverso/reverso que Bueno explica (pág.73 y 74): anverso y reverso son no sólo perspectivas, sino estructuraciones del campo, ligadas a operaciones diferentes en principio.
Ver también apaotético/paratético en el Diccionario Filosófico de Pelayo García
[22] En este asunto quiero insistir especialmente por ser un planteamiento clave ,fundamental, recogido en el libro de Gustavo Bueno España frente a Europa ,Barcelona;Alba edit.;1ªed. 1999.
Conceptos tales como los siguientes: la Idea de Imperio, biocenosis, y otros ,son necesarios para reconstruir una serie de planteamientos previos de carácter historicista de cuño idealista cuyo núcleo es precisamente la Idea de Cultura desarrollada en la Alemania del siglo XIX y que el libro también de Bueno El mito de la cultura intenta “triturar”. Tal como oye podido entender la obra de este filósofo español, no hay un libro que no tenga una conexión muy “fuerte” con los demás, en el sentido de un sistema filosófico, de ahí precisamente su dificultad para quienes no se han podido empapar de sus conceptos y sus tesis, ciertamente muy polémicas, pero por ello tan sugerentes para el plano de la acción política.
Desde la perspectiva Iberoamericana ( y desde luego de la española en otros aspectos similares) a mi juicio , las tesis de Bueno sonde gran pertinencia para criticar las propuestas de Leopoldo Zea y todos los trabajos que giran en torno a sus propuestas, aunque en este trabajo no me ocuparé de ello)

ACADEMIA: LA INTELIGENCIA NO PAGADA, PERO …

goya-2
CITA DE NORBERTO BOBBIO : Es un destino del cual no se escapa, apenas se plantea el problema de qué cosa son los intelectuales. Quien se plantea este problema se convierte, por el solo hecho de planteárselo, en un intelectual, es decir en alguien que no hace cosas sino que reflexiona sobre las
cosas, alguien que no maneja objetos sino símbolos y cuyos instrumentos de trabajo no son las máquinas sino las ideas.(Cfr artículo en este enlace: http://www.peu.buap.mx/web/seminario_cultura/Los_intelectuales_y_el_poder.pdf

FUENTE https://dissidentvoice.org/2018/05/de-briefing-academics-unpaid-intelligence-informants/

De-Briefing Academics: Unpaid Intelligence Informants
by James Petras / May 5th, 2018

Over the past half-century, I have been engaged in research, lectured and worked with social movements and leftist governments in Latin America. I interviewed US officials and think tanks in Washington and New York. I have written scores of books, hundreds of professional articles and presented numerous papers at professional meetings.

In the course, of my activity I have discovered that many academics frequently engage in what government officials dub ‘de-briefing’! Academics meet and discuss their field-work, data collection, research finding, observations and personal contacts over lunch at the Embassy with US government officials or in Washington with State Department officials.

US government officials look forward to these ‘debriefings”; the academic provided useful access to information which they otherwise could not obtain from paid, intelligence agents or local collaborators.

Not all academic informants are very well placed or competent investigators. However, many provide useful insights and information especially on leftist movements, parties and leaders who are real or potential anti-imperialist adversaries.

US empire builders whether engaged in political or military activities depend on information especially regarding who to back and who to subvert; who should receive diplomatic support and who to receive financial and to military resources.

De-briefed academics identify ‘moderate’ and ‘radical’ adversaries, as well as personal and political vulnerabilities. Officials frequently exploit health problems or family needs to ‘turn’ leftists into imperial stool pigeons.

US officials are especially interested in academic gate-keepers who exclude ‘anti-imperialist’ critics, activists , politicians and government officials.

At times, US State Department officials claim to be sympathetic ‘progressives’ who oppose ‘Neanderthals’ in their institution, in order to elicit inside information from leftist academic informants.

Debriefing is a widespread practice and involves numerous academics from major universities and research centers, as well as non-governmental ‘activists’ and editors of academic journals and publications.

Academic participates in debriefing frequently do not publicize their reporting to the government. Most likely they share their reports with other academic informers. All claim they are merely sharing research and diffusing information for ‘science’ and to further ‘humane values’.

Academic informers always justify their collaboration as providing a clear and more balanced picture to ‘our’ policymakers, ignoring the predictable destructive outcomes likely to ensue.

Academics in the Service of Empire

Academic informants never study, collect research and publicize reports on US covert, overt and clandestine policies in defense of multi-nationals and Latin American elite which collaborate with empire builders.

US officials have no interest in ‘debriefing’ academics conducting anti-imperialist research.

US officials are keen to know any and all reports on ‘movements from below’: who they are, how much influence they have, their susceptibility to bribes, blackmail and invitations to the State Department, Disneyland, or the Wilson Center in D.C.

US officials fund academic research on militant trade unions, agrarian social movements, feminist and ethnic minorities engaged in class struggle ,and anti-imperialist activists and leaders, as they all serve as targets for imperial repression.

The officials are also keen on academic reports on so-called ‘moderate’ collaborators who can be funded, advised and recruited to defend the empire, undermine the class struggle and split movements.

Academic informants are especially useful in providing personal and political information on Latin American left-wing intellectuals, academics, journalists, writers and critics which allows US officials to isolate, slander and boycott anti-imperialists, as well as those intellectuals who can be recruited and seduced with foundation grants and invitations to the Kennedy Center at Harvard.

When US officials have a difficult time understanding the intricacies and consequences of ideological debates and factional divisions within leftist parties or regimes, ex-leftist academic informers, who collect documents and interviews, provide detailed explanations and provide officials with a political roadmap to exploit and exacerbate divisions and to guide repressive policies, which undermine adversaries engaged in anti-imperialist and class struggle.

The State Department works hand and glove with research centers and foundations in promoting journals which eschew all mention of imperialism and ruling class exploitation; they promote ‘special issues’ on ‘class-less’ identity politics, post-modern theorizing and ethnic-racial conflicts and conciliation.

In a study of the two leading political science and sociological journals over a period of fifty year they published less than .01% on class struggle and US imperialism

Academic informants have never reported on US government links to narco-political rulers.

Academic informants do not research widespread long term Israeli collaboration with death squads in Colombia, Guatemala, Argentina and El Salvador, in cases because of their loyalties to Tel Aviv and in most cases because the State Department is not interested in debriefings which expose their allies and their joint complicity.

Academic Informants: What do they want and what do they get?

Academic informers engage in debriefing for various reasons. A few do so simply because they share the politics and ideology of the empire builders and feel it is their ‘duty’ to serve.

The great majority are established academics with ties to research centers who inform because it fattens their CV — which helps secure grants, prestigious appointments and awards.

Progressive academics who collaborates have a Janus face approach; they speak at Leftist public conferences, especially to students and in private they report to the State Department.

Many academics believe they can influence and change government policy. They seek to impress self-identified ‘progressive’ officials with their inside knowledge on how to ‘turn’ Latin critics into moderate collaborators. They invent innocuous academic categories and concepts to attract graduate students to further collaboration with imperial colleagues.

The Consequence of Academic Debriefing

Former leftist academic informers are frequently cited by the mass media as a reliable and knowledgeable ‘expert’ in order to slander anti-imperialist governments, academics, and critics.

Ex-leftist academics pressure rising scholars with a critical perspective to adopt ‘moderate’ reasonable critiques, to denounce and avoid anti-imperialist ‘extremists’ and to disparage them as ‘polemical ideologues’!

Academic informants in Chile helped the US Embassy identify neighborhood militants who were handed over to the secret police (DINA) during the Pinochet dictatorship.

US academic informants in Peru and Brazil provided the Embassy with research projects which identified nationalist military officials and leftist students who were subsequently purged, arrested and tortured.

In Colombia, US academic informers were active in providing reports on rural insurgent movements which led to massive repression. Academic collaborators provided detailed reports to the embassy in Venezuela on the grass roots movements and political divisions among Chavista government and military officials with command of troops.

The State Department financed academics working with NGO who identified and recruited middle class youth as street fighters, drug gangsters and the destitute to engage in violent struggles to overthrow the elected government by paralyzing the economy.

Academic reports on regime ‘violence’ and ‘authoritarianism’ served as propaganda fodder for the State Department to impose economic sanctions, impoverishing people, to foment a coup.US academic collaborators enlisted their Latin colleagues to sign petitions urging right-wing regimes in the region to boycott Venezuela.

When academic informers are confronted with the destructive consequences of imperial advances they argue that it was not their ‘intention’; that it was not their State Department contacts who carried out the regressive policies.The more cynical claim that the government was going to do their dirty work regardless of the debriefing.

Conclusion

What is clear in virtually all know experiences is that academic informers’ ‘de-briefings strengthened the empire-builders and complemented the deadly work of the paid professional operatives of the CIA, DEA, and the National Security Agency.

Varoufakis/Chomsky video and transcript

April 26, 2016, LIVE from the New York Public Library, http://www.nypl.org/live, Celeste Bartos Forum

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Good evening, we don’t have anyone to introduce us, so I’ve been asked to kick off by saying firstly that isn’t this wonderful that we are all here just to subvert the notion that nothing good can come out of the public sector? (laughter) Noam.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, the fact that I’m here, barely, actually has a relationship to that comment. I came from Boston, my wife and I came from Boston, it took seven hours, and any society that hasn’t been smashed by neoliberal policies of the kind you describe, it would have taken maybe an hour and a half, two hours. (laughter) There is a train, the pride of the public sector, which I took for the first time in 1950, and it’s about fifteen minutes faster now than it was then, (laughter) when it makes the schedule, which is a chancy situation, so we decided to come by airplane and spent most of the afternoon on the runway.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Well, Noam, what shall we talk about?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, we can talk about the neoliberal assault on the world’s population in the last generation, which you’ve written so brilliantly about.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: What strikes me given the last quite eventful year of my life, what really strikes me is the major disconnect between the philosophy and ideology of neoliberalism and that which I encountered when negotiating, inverted commas negotiating, when being dictated by the greater good of the neoliberal international financial establishment. Think about it. If you take the great libertarians, the great neoliberals, who castigate all tax-funded activities, and you consider the reason why I’m here today and I’m not still the minister of finance of Greece. Why? It’s because I refused another hundred billion smackers, dollars, of tax-backed loan to my insolvent government, which the creditors insisted that I should take.

NOAM CHOMSKY: The three-year loans.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: It’s astonishing, so here it is, here you have the international monetary fund, the European Central Bank, and the European commission insisting that our bankrupt state takes on another hundred billion, under conditions that guarantee we will not be able to repay the taxpayers of Europe that will be granting us that money, and that comes from neoliberals, who supposedly are against all tax-funded loans to government, and who supposedly believe that an insolvent entity doesn’t have the moral right to take on more loans.

NOAM CHOMSKY: But as you point out, what is it, 90 percent of those loans go to French and German bankers.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: That was the first loan. This loan it would go from the one pocket of the creditors to another pocket of the creditors so they would maintain the pretense that Greece was not bankrupt. But effectively what I’m trying to say is the intense hypocrisy of the neoliberal establishment, which is not really even interested in sticking to its own neoliberal ideology. This is just nineteenth-century power politics of crushing anyone who dares stand up to them and say a simple word, “No.”

NOAM CHOMSKY: But I think that’s actually traditional. One of the paradoxes of neoliberalism is that it’s not new and it’s not liberal.

(applause)

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Exactly. Exactly.

NOAM CHOMSKY: If you look at what you describe is a form of hypocrisy but the same is true of saying that we should not support tax-funded institutions. The financial sector is basically tax-funded.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Of course.

NOAM CHOMSKY: You recall the IMF study of the leading American banks, which determined that virtually all their profits come from their implicit government insurance policy, cheap credit, access to higher credit ratings, incentives to take risky transactions which are profitable but then if it’s problematic, you guys pay for it, or just take the basis of the contemporary economy, which actually I’ve been privileged to see developing in government-subsidized laboratories for decades. MIT, where I’ve been since the 1950s, is one of the institutions where the government, the funnel in the early days was the Pentagon, was pouring in money to create the basis for the high-tech economy of the future and the profitmaking of the institutions that are regarded as private enterprises. It was decades of work under public funding with a very anticapitalist ideology. So according to capitalist principles, if someone invests in a risky enterprise over a long period and thirty years later it makes some profit, they’re supposed to get part of the profit, but it doesn’t work like that here. It was the taxpayer who invested for decades. The profit goes to Apple and Microsoft, not to the taxpayer.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Indeed, indeed. If you take an iPhone apart, every single technology in it was developed by some government grant, every single one.

NOAM CHOMSKY: And for long periods.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: And some of them by government grants from other countries, like WiFi from the Australian Commonwealth.

NOAM CHOMSKY: And it’s—you see an interesting picture of it from a place like MIT, or other major research institutions. So if you walked around the building where I work fifty years ago, you would have seen electronic firms, Raytheon, ITech, others, IBM, there to essentially rob the technology that’s being developed at public expense and seeing if they can turn it into something applicable for profits. You walk around the institution today, you see different buildings, you see Novartis, Pfizer, other pharmaceutical, big pharmaceutical corporations. Why? Because the cutting edge of the economy has shifted from electronics based to biology based, so therefore the predators in the so-called private sector are there to see what they can pick up from the taxpayer-funded research in the fundamental biological sciences, and that’s called free enterprise and a free-market system. So speak of hypocrisy, it’s pretty hard to go beyond that.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Quite right. This hypocrisy is fundamental to the whole enterprise culture of capitalism from 250 years ago.

NOAM CHOMSKY: From the beginning.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: I mean the whole notion that there can be a market system which is at an arm’s length separated from a state, which is the enemy, is the sickest joke in the history of humankind. If you think that this narrative of private wealth creation which is appropriated by the big bad wolf, the state, on behalf of trade unions and the working class that need a social welfare net, is just a preposterous reversal of the truth that wealth is being created collectively and appropriated privately but right from the beginning. I mean, the enclosures in Britain would never have happened without the king’s army and without state brutality for pushing peasants off their ancestors’ land and creating the commodification of labor, the commodification of land which then gave rise to capitalism. Just half an hour ago, we were being shown, some of us, the magnificent collection of maps of the city of New York in this wonderful building and you could see in one of the maps of Alabama, the precise depiction of the theft of land from Native Americans, the way in which it was parceled up, commodified. Now that would never have happened without the brutal intervention of the state and created the process of privatization of land and therefore of commodification.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Actually one of my favorite passages from Adam Smith is where he gives advice to the new colonies, to the newly liberated colonies, as to how they should pursue sound economics, which is pretty much what the IMF tells the third world today. What he said is the advice was you should concentrate on what was later called comparative advantage, produce agricultural products, you’re good at that, export furs, fish, and so on, but don’t try to produce manufacturing goods, because Britain, England has superior manufacturing goods, so therefore you should import them from England, they’re good at that, you’re good at cotton and corn. Incidentally, the cotton was hardly by free enterprise. And you should certainly not try to monopolize the resources that you have, and if you pursue those practices, then everybody will be better off, economic theory proves that.

Well, the United States happened to be free of English control so therefore they were able to do the opposite, just as England had done. High tariffs to block English goods, enabled them to create a textile industry, the beginning of the industrial revolution. Later in the century a steel industry blocking superior British steel, and right up to the present, as I’ve mentioned, with high tech.

As far as monopolization is concerned, the United States made a major effort to monopolize the basic resource for the early industrial revolution, namely cotton. That’s the oil of the nineteenth century, and the U.S. had most of it, not all of it, and the conquest of Mexico, which was not exactly by free enterprise, was largely undertaken to try to contain, to gain a monopoly of cotton which would overcome the major enemy in those days, which was Britain. Britain was the big force, the enemy, and the Jacksonian presidents, Tyler, Pierce, the mid-nineteenth century, their position was that if we could monopolize cotton, we could bring England to her feet, that way we could really defeat them. Didn’t quite make it, but made a lot. Incidentally, that effort was what Saddam Hussein was charged with in 1990, the charge was ludicrous, but the charge was he was going to try to monopolize oil and bring us all to his feet, which was crazy, but the U.S. try to monopolize cotton and that’s part of the way in which power shifted from England to the United States, and I think that’s a pretty good record of the way sound economics has worked over the years.

There have been places where sound economics was applied, liberal policies. It was called the third world and it’s not an accident. You take a look at the global south. One country developed, Japan, the one colony that was not colonized. Take a look at East Asia, the tigers of East Asia, with one exception, the one that was conquered by the United States, 1898, with a couple hundred thousand people killed and stays semicolonized, not part of the Asian Tiger explosion of industrialization. The pattern is just uniform but somehow hasn’t entered economic theory. I wonder why. You’re an economist.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Well, the reason why it never entered economic theory is because economics in universities was—began to evolve from the 1950s onwards as the queen of the social sciences, and what gave discursive power and monopoly power within the academic environment to economics was the claim that it was the only social theory which was peddling universal truths to be proven by mathematical means and it succeeded, so when a sociologist, an anthropologist, and an economist applied for a grant, it was always the economist who got it on the basis of this discursive monopoly.

However, in order to close the model mathematically, the only way to solve the equations is by making assumptions that distance the model from really existing capitalism. So for instance you have to assume that there’s no time and there’s no space, because if you allow time to interfere with your model, or space to enter, you end up with indeterminism. In other words, you end up with a system of equations that cannot be solved or that have an infinity of possible solutions and then you have no predictive power. You can’t say, “well, this is what’s going to happen.”

So you have a very interesting inverse Darwinian process. The more successful economists were at creating models that said precisely nothing about capitalism, the greater their success in the academy, so they became the opposite of the public intellectuals that you’ve been writing about. They create wonderful abstractions, aesthetically pleasing models that I spent quite a few years studying in the same way that you go to a museum and you look at a piece of abstract art but you don’t expect to find the truth of capitalism in its form. So this is the interesting sociology of knowledge within the economics profession.

But then there is a parallel shift, the end of Bretton Woods, which unleashed banking. Remember, Roosevelt made sure that in the Bretton Woods Conference, which designed the postwar—the first postwar phase between the 1940s and 1971, 1973. He had stipulated that one kind of person should not be allowed into the Bretton Woods conference. You know who these people were. Bankers. Not one banker attended the Bretton Woods Conference and that was at the explicit order of FDR.

NOAM CHOMSKY: And it showed.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: So you had boring banks between 1944 and 1971, but after 1971 and we can discuss why that is, suddenly banking was unleashed and their capacity effectively to mint private money became unlimited and essential to the second postwar phase of global capitalism, of American capitalism, of American hegemony. During this unleashing there was a need for a theoretical and ideological cover, so I don’t blame my fellow economists for pulling the trigger that created so much devastation in 2008 and before that and after that, but I blame them for providing the economic, the mathematical models, the sermons which steadied the hand of the financiers and allowed them to believe that what they were doing was perfectly okay, consistent with science, provable mathematically that it was riskless, and therefore allowed them the mental and emotional strength to do a lot more damage than they would have done otherwise.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Actually one of the more interesting moments in the history of science and scholarship was actually in 2008. For, as you know, for decades economists had been claiming with extreme arrogance that they completely understood how to control and manage an economy. There were fundamental principles, like the efficient market hypothesis, rational expectations, and anyone who didn’t accept this was dismissed as a kind of a, some strange kind of moron. The whole system collapsed, the whole intellectual edifice collapsed in a most amazing fashion and had no effect on the profession.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: None at all. Well, it did have. It had the effect that sometimes when we’re driving on a freeway, and I usually go well above the speed limit, condemn me if you will, and I get stopped by the police, for the next twenty minutes I drive below the speed limit, but it doesn’t last for more than twenty minutes. After a while, I just go back to where I was. This is exactly like the economics profession. They had a brief moment of—

NOAM CHOMSKY: Some did.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Some, some or at least of being a bit humble and keeping their heads under the parapet for a bit, but then within twenty minutes they forgot about it and they carried on teaching the same rubbish to their students. But what is interesting, Noam, is two small points. It’s not that the economists went headlong into this mathematicized religion, because that’s what it is, a religion with equations and a bit of bad statistics. What happened was two things.

Firstly, there was a kind of ethnic cleansing of anybody that had retained their wits about the economy. So there were economists who challenged this view and who were simply not reproduced by the system. They never got the grants, they never got the PhD students, their PhD students never got lectureships, never got assistant professorships. So there was a purge of this type. The second, which is a far more interesting phenomenon, is that the wonderful minds that created the general equilibrium models, the highest, the popes of the Catholic Church, were not believers. So take for instance Ken Arrow. Ken Arrow is, you know, and Gerard Débreu, they are the ones that, John Nash, they established the mathematical theorems upon which all this hypocrisy is based.

Now, these people, Ken Arrow, I remember in the early 1990s, he was giving a talk at NYU. There were about twenty people. It was a highly mathematized paper. Okay, so he was enthusiastically going through the equations and one of the professors there interrupted him at some point and said, “Professor Arrow, equation 3.3 reminds me of the argument in favor of this kind of taxes opposed to that kind of tax,” and Ken stopped him immediately and said, “My dear boy,” he was a bit condescending, I think rightly so, he said, “You are confusing that which is interesting with that which is useful. (laughter) This is interesting. If you try to apply it to anything real, it is dangerous.”

So the gurus, the popes, understood that this theory was examining a postcapitalist world, a world without labor markets, a world without the, you know, labor exploitation, without monopolies, without even the slightest of capacities to alter prices on the behalf of employers, of entrepreneurs, of conglomerates, a world without firms. Because what is a company? A company is a market-free zone, it’s a hierarchy, it’s a small Soviet Union with Gosplan and central planning. If you look at Google, if you look at Microsoft, that’s what it is.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Then you have Coase’s theorem, that’s a big help.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Yes, but the Coase’s theorem is taught for five seconds and then forgotten, in order to—to make them feel that they’ve said something about the reason why firms exist. But then in those models that produced the macroeconomic policies that were applied even under Clinton, especially under Clinton, there are no firms, there is no times, no firms, no space, everybody resides at the same point in space, so that there are no costs of transport or anything like that, so imagine a world in which economic policy is predicated upon models that assume there is no time, space, firms, profit, or economic event.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Or monopolies.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: It’s time to get really scared.

NOAM CHOMSKY: You know, there’s a question that I’m sure you know the answer to from your own experience which has kind of puzzled me about contemporary economists. It has to do with the IMF and your experience as Greek finance minister. From what I could see from the outside, it looked as if the IMF economists were pretty harshly criticizing the austerity policies of the troika, but the IMF itself was strongly supporting them. What was going on in there?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Well, this is exactly what was happening and is happening to this very moment. Wikileaks leaked a wonderful conversation between my old friend Poul Thomsen who made his name by crushing the Greek economy and as a result being promoted to IMF chief in Europe, (laughter) and a Romanian lady going by the name of Delia Velculescu. Read this exchange, just read it, it came out a few weeks ago, Wikileaks, go and look at it. It’s fantastic, because they’re telling the truth, and they’re telling exactly what you’re saying. They are admitting that which they—Poul Thomsen and I had this conversation.

The first time I met the IMF chief in Europe was in a hotel in Paris, and I was elected with a mandate to negotiate a debt write-down for the Greek debt against the troika of lenders, against the wishes of the creditors, but at the same time, because I had a mandate to negotiate, not to clash, with the creditors. I was prepared to clash if I had to, but my intention was not to clash, my intention was to come to an honorable agreement between us. Because I knew that the German government had a very serious political problem going to the federal parliament in Berlin, to the Bundestag, and admitting that the money they had given to the Greeks was not money for the Greeks but for the Deutsche Bank, and therefore that they were never really expecting to get it back, so this is why we are going to give the Greeks a restructure. That’s what Mrs. Merkel should have said to the Bundestag, but of course this is not something she could have said and remained chancellor of Germany.

So I knew that the Germans had a political problem admitting to what they had done, in the sense of having given money to the Greeks so that effectively the German taxpayer and the Slavic taxpayer, because they spread the risk like good financiers do to the other Europeans. Effectively they were bailing out their banks a second time in twelve months. Of course I knew that and I was trying to find a formula that would allow our debt to become more manageable and less toxic for the Greek people while at the same time achieving a kind of political arrangement with Berlin that would make it palatable for them to say yes to it.

So first meeting with Poul Thomsen I come to him with a proposal for a kind of debt swaps, financial engineering, that Wall Street is very good at. Not the kind of thing the one expects from a left-wing minister of finance, but I wanted to make things work at that point, not so much to go and clash with him. Do you know what he said? “This is too mild. We need to take a large chunk of your debt and write it off, immediately.” I said, “Well, that’s music to my ear, Poul. How are you going to convince Wolfgang Schäuble to do this?” “This is a problem, you know, but we’ll find a way.”

So at this level of bilateral discussions even with the leadership of the IMF, you got the idea that they understood what they had done. They knew that they had done a nasty deed. They were subterfuging with what they had done. There was a bailout for banks presented as solidarity to a suffering nation and they were trying to do something about it. But then when it came to the final settlement, as creditors, they stuck to one another, they remained loyal to one another. They spread the rumor that our government was putting forward impossible demands, that we didn’t want to reform, that we had no proposals.

We came to them with financial engineering proposals from Wall Street, they had nothing to suggest except for the signals that they were emitting. But I think that the most important discussion I had was with somebody really high up in the IMF. The name will not be mentioned. Higher up than Poul Thomsen, you can imagine.

(laughter)  

After ten hours of negotiations when we got into the nitty-gritty, these were extremely boring meetings with aides, with advisers, with experts, with committee on pensions and another committee on VAT, in the end we ended up together and we had a discussion, confidential discussion, tête-à-tête. I heard the following words, “Yanis, of course you’re right. These policies we’re trying to impose upon you can’t work.” I thought, “Oh, no.” I don’t know whether you have this. You probably don’t, you’re Noam Chomsky, you wouldn’t. I’m less experienced in this game of clashing with powers that be at that level.

And deep down, if I think, if I psychoanalyze myself, I really wanted to think that the adults know what they are doing, and that I am a child that is recalcitrant, kicking and screaming, but deep down, the adults, the people in power, at the top of the IMF, know what they are doing, and my complaints and protestations, maybe they are not completely accurate. Maybe they know more than I think they do, but when these big people turn around to me and say, “You’re right, it can’t work. What we are trying to impose on your nation can’t work. But, Yanis, you must understand we have invested so much political capital in this program, we can’t go back, and your credibility,” my credibility, “depends on accepting it.” I think that answers your question.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, how do they—how do the participants in the troika deliberations react to the technical papers that are coming out from the IMF economists saying, their own economists, Blanchard, others, saying, these policies of austerity under recession are just destructive.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: It’s very simple. They ignore them.

NOAM CHOMSKY: What do they say?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: In the Eurogroup, these were never mentioned. I mentioned them. I quoted chapter and verse from their own statisticians and economists, like Olivier Blanchard and those people. I quoted. There was also a remarkable study from the IMF showing that the liberalization of labor markets, the removal of the protection of labor, of trade union protection, of trade union rights, protection from unfair dismissal and all that, that that in the end is counterproductive when it comes to competitiveness and productivity. The IMF came out with this in the spring of 2014. A beautiful report. It could have been written by a progressive economist from the New School.

NOAM CHOMSKY: What exactly did it conclude—what did it conclude exactly?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: It concluded that these labor market reforms that the IMF had been pushing down the throat of countries from Africa to Asia to Europe, they don’t work, they do not enhance competitiveness, especially when investment is acute. Which is always my argument. So I quoted that as well in the Eurogroup. I might as well have been singing the national anthem of Sweden. (laughter) It was exactly the same thing. Because you’ve got to understand that these meetings are quite brutal. They have already decided what they are going to do. The ministers are treated like vermin by their own minders and by the representatives of the troika. Something very few people know is that the Eurogroup is actually led by the troika, not by the finance ministers, the elected representatives of the nations. So you’ve got the head of the Eurogroup, who is usually, let’s face it, appointed by Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble. Then next to him there is the real ruler of the European Union, a gentleman named Thomas Wieser, nobody’s heard of him, he holds the real power.

NOAM CHOMSKY: What is his position?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: He is the head of the Euro Working Group, which is the cabinet under the Eurogroup.

NOAM CHOMSKY: The nonexistent group.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: They are the shadow cabinet of the nonexistent Eurogroup. And this gentleman has been around now—

NOAM CHOMSKY: How does the Eurogroup get established? You don’t discuss this in your book, you just say it’s there.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: I think it just sprung out, out of the shell like, you know, Aphrodite in Cyprus. (laughter) Look, when we created in our infinite wisdom, a common currency and we had a common central bank but without a state to correspond to this central bank, and with a couple states that did not have a central bank, because that common central bank was created on the proviso that it would not come to the assistance ever of any of the states of which it would be the central bank. They decided that well, every now and then, these finance ministers of these nations that now don’t have a central bank but have created a common central bank should get together and discuss economic policy to coordinate. This is how it emerged. It’s not in any treaty. Do you know how I found that out?

NOAM CHOMSKY: So the Eurogroup consists of the finance ministers?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Yes, well, that was the initial idea, the finance ministers, and one of them chairs it. Before Dijsselbloem, who is now the president, it was the head of the largest tax haven in the world, Luxembourg, a certain Jean-Claude Juncker.

NOAM CHOMSKY: The United States is getting close.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Not as badly as Luxembourg, not as badly as Luxembourg.

NOAM CHOMSKY: A couple of states are getting there.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: It’s close but not as bad—

NOAM CHOMSKY: Not at that level.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: But ever since this Eurozone, which by the way the euro is a carbon copy of the gold standard of the 1920s. It was created in the image of the gold standard of the 1920s. So you know what happened to the gold standard of the 1920s. It gave rise to the roaring twenties, to immense financialization, immense concentration of industrial power, funded by the consolidation of the financial sector and then Wall Street 1929.

NOAM CHOMSKY: And enormous inequality.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Of course enormous inequality which is the result of this easy private money minting by the financial sector and when the chickens came home to roost in 1929, the common currency of that era, the gold exchange standard, collapsed, started fragmenting, very soon, the Germans hated the French, the French hated the Germans, everybody hated the Greeks, (laughter) and we descended into the abyss of the 1930s and 1940s.

After our generation’s 1929, which took place in 2008, guess what happened? The gold standard started fragmenting, it was called the euro in Europe, and very soon after that, the Germans started pointing moralizing fingers at the Greeks, the Greeks remembered the Nazi occupation, everybody hated the French, and we are now in a state of disintegration where refugees are the problem.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Actually you should bring up 1953, the London Agreement.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Of course.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Which most people don’t know about, that’s rather critical maybe you want to say a few words about that?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Of course. But let me just complete the story about the Eurogroup. I’ll just tell you the story about how the Eurogroup doesn’t exist in law. By the way, one more point, after our country started failing—

NOAM CHOMSKY: Is it inconsistent with European law or just orthogonal to it?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: No, it doesn’t exist in law.

NOAM CHOMSKY: It’s kind of orthogonal, no connection.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: It’s outside the framework of European law.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Now, do its decisions impact—how do its decisions impact—

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: It makes all the important decisions that determine the future of Europe. Every single one of them.

NOAM CHOMSKY: How are those decisions transmitted to the official decision-making bodies, to the Brussels bureaucracy?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Oh, yes! What happens is first there is the Eurogroup meeting, and then afterwards there is an Ecofin meeting. The Ecofin meeting—Ecofin does exist. It’s the meeting of all the European Union finance ministers, including the ones who are not using the euro. So George Osborne from Britain is there, the Danish finance minister is there, and what happens is it’s a rubber-stamping process. So whatever the Eurogroup has decided, Ecofin says, “okay, we’ll do it.” There is never any debate.

NOAM CHOMSKY: No debate. No debate.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Let me tell you, this is quite interesting. How I came to understand that this is a paralegal group. At some point, the troika inside the Eurogroup, because it’s not just the finance ministers, it’s the IMF, Lagarde is sitting there, Thomsen is sitting there, the European Central Bank is sitting there, the Commission is sitting there, they set the scene and then the vermin, us, the finance ministers, simply nod, happy.

NOAM CHOMSKY: And the IMF has no reaction to the Eurogroup decisions?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Well, it’s in the Eurogroup, the IMF is part of the Eurogroup. It’s astonishing, isn’t it?

NOAM CHOMSKY: So they’re represented in the Eurogroup.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Well, let me give you an example. When the ultimatum was presented to me on the 25th of June, on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, and what that meant was that if I said, “No, I’m leaving it,” our banks would have been closed, as they were, five days later. So that’s a pretty powerful ultimatum, it’s like making me an offer that I can’t refuse, even though we refused it. For a while.

NOAM CHOMSKY: For a while.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Until we caved in and then I resigned. But this is interesting. I was presented with this ultimatum. It comprised three chapters. One was the fiscal policy that we would have to follow for the next twenty years. Interesting. It’s interesting given that our mandate from the Greek people was only for four years.

NOAM CHOMSKY: This is spelled out.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Spelled out. In black and white, what the primary surplus should be, what the tax take should be, what measures we should use, what the VAT rate should be in order to get that primary surplus. Chapter 1. Chapter 2—

NOAM CHOMSKY: And this is specifically for Greece.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Only for Greece.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Has there been something similar for Spain, or Italy?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Yes. Portugal. This colonization is at full blast. It started with Greece, all bad things start with Greece. (laughter) And then they spread out. Greece is the laboratory of misanthropy.

NOAM CHOMSKY: How do they deal with France?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: France of course is a final destination.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Is that beginning, to give orders to France?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Of course.

NOAM CHOMSKY: That is. From the Eurogroup.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Noam. The beauty of those five, six months in power. Power. Not, what power. In office—

NOAM CHOMSKY: Watching power.

(laughter/applause)

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: In office. The beauty of it was, you know, we academics all our lives we theorize about things. Okay, we try to get evidence, but we theorize. During those five months I didn’t have to theorize, and to answer your question about France, at some point I was having a very interesting conversation. I had many interesting conversations with the finance minister of Germany, Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble, at some point when I showed him this ultimatum and I said to him, it’s a long story, but I’ll cut it short.

I said to him, “Would you sign this?” I said, “Let’s take off our hats as finance ministers for a moment. I’ve been in politics for five months. You’ve been in politics for forty years, you keep barking in my ear that I should sign it. Stop telling me what to do. As human beings. You know that my people now are suffering a grave depression. We have children at school who faint as the result of malnutrition. Advise me on what to do, don’t tell me what to do, as somebody with forty years, a Europeanist, somebody who comes from a democratic country, Wolfgang to Yanis, not finance minister to finance minister.”

To his credit, he looked out of the window for a while, and he turned to me and he said—Well, the question that I’d actually asked him was, “Would you sign this?” And he turned around and said, “As a patriot, I wouldn’t.” Of course the next question was, “So why are you forcing me to do it?” He said, “Don’t you understand? I did this in the Baltics, in Portugal, in Ireland, you know. We have discipline to look after, and I want to take the troika to Paris.”

NOAM CHOMSKY: He said that.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Yes, so I don’t need to theorize. It starts with Greece. Greece is a pipsqueak country, it’s not that important. With that small problem you impose these unsustainable loans, which give creditors huge power and then you start cutting, cutting, cutting, because the final intention, and I try to explain this in this book, is to curtail the Parisian elite’s long-standing ambition to usurp the power of the Deutsche Mark for the purpose of expanding the French nation-state’s reach and control of Europe.

NOAM CHOMSKY: And also I presume for the Bundesbank to be able to control the French budget.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Absolutely, not so much the Bundesbank, but the finance minister himself. And I don’t blame the Germans for that. If you go back to 1992, when the euro was first created, the Maastricht Treaty, to convince the French to vote for it, the French conservative newspaper Le Figaro had a headline that was offensive to human beings. It read, as an encouragement to the French to love the Maastricht Treaty, “Maastrict,” and underneath, “A New Versailles Treaty without a shot being fired.” Now that is offensive to the German people, it is offensive to anyone who understands the pain of the Second World War. It is offense to all well-intentioned human beings.

NOAM CHOMSKY: And do you think French elites actually believed that at Maastricht?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Absolutely. And this was the intention. The goal in 1965, in response to a journalist, who asked him don’t you worry that with this European Economic Union, Germany is going to become the powerful country here, and his response was, “They’re going to be the horse and we are going to be the carriage driver.” It’s clear.

NOAM CHOMSKY: The Brussels bureaucrats.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: The French graduates of the great Grandes Écoles who would be populating the Brussels bureaucracy. We should not be anti-German, anti-French, we just must understand that the elites of Europe have made a complete and utter mess of the project of European union.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Yes but when you get to Maastricht, the French elites still believed that they were controlling German power in the Maastricht Treaty?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Yes.

NOAM CHOMSKY: That’s pretty astonishing.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: It’s an astonishing error on their part. But so was the German elite’s estimation that—Helmut Kohl for instance, who was a Europeanist, who was a federalist deep down, that you create a currency union first and when it gets in trouble, the political union would follow. What an error. When you create a gold standard and it starts fragmenting, you’re not going to end up with a political union, you’re going to end up with an abyss. You’re going to end up with Le Pen in government in France, the Golden Dawn in Greece, the AfD there in Germany and the fragmentation.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Do you think he understood say Nicholas Kaldor’s prediction?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: He never did.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Never?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: No. None of them did.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Including Kohl?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Including Kohl. He didn’t understand it and he didn’t believe it. He really genuinely thought and in a rather simpleminded manner that we are creating this monetary union. Its fragmentation is going to bring about humungous costs for Europeans, so our successors, when this fragmentation begins, must fix it by creating a political union. Well, yes, they must, but they are not doing it. And they are not doing it because they are falling prey to this self-reinforcing negative feedback mechanism between authoritarianism and bad austerity policies.

NOAM CHOMSKY: How did the Fed respond to Maastricht?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: The Fed?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Yeah.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: It is interesting. Remember Alan Greenspan was not the most astute of central bankers.

(laughter)

NOAM CHOMSKY: He was in some ways. He understood why the economy was working so well. Remember his testimony to Congress where explained how magnificent the economy was that he was administering. He said it was based on growing worker insecurity.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: True.

NOAM CHOMSKY: That was a good remark.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Yes, so he was a real class warrior, but he did not understand finance.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Yeah.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Unlike Paul Volcker.

NOAM CHOMSKY: But he understood power.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Yes, he understood power, but Paul Volcker, his predecessor, understood both power and the pitfalls of overreliance on markets.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Yeah, okay, so what was the reaction to Maastricht by the Fed?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: None.

NOAM CHOMSKY: None? They didn’t pay attention?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Yeah, there was—well, I did not know of any substantial reaction. I haven’t seen any, I’ve done some research, they were just going along. They would be making comments about the specifics, technicalities, but not any—Paul Volcker did make some very interesting comments.

NOAM CHOMSKY: What was his reaction?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: All very critical. He was very critical of the lack of checks and balances and shock-absorbing mechanisms. But Alan Greenspan and the Fed under Alan Greenspan indulged in autolobotomy regarding these structural aspects of global capitalism.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Actually I want to bring up the 1953 story. That’s quite critical.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Well, it’s part of a broader story of American hegemony after the Second World War, which has two dimensions that are of course interwoven. One is the Cold War story, which is a very important story, and the increasing authoritarianism of the United States after Truman.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Yeah.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Beginning with the Truman Doctrine, again, Greece, remember, everything bad starts in Greece, like the Cold War, which began in the streets of Athens in December 1944, not in Berlin, then spread to Berlin, with the first attempts by the CIA, successful attempts, to overthrow governments that they considered inimical to the interests of the global empire. Like the Mosaddegh government, then later our government. I grew up in the dictatorship that the CIA managed to create before the Pentagon had its own coup with the generals.

You know, there was a wonderful race between the Pentagon on the one hand and the CIA as to who was going to stage the Greek coup in 1967 first, and they were working quite separately from one another, the Pentagon with generals and the king, the CIA with the colonels, and the colonels got in first, they were more agile, so they moved in first, then you had Pinochet, you had the Latin American brutality and so on, so that’s one story. We all know about American imperialism post 1944.

But the second dimension, which is much more interesting and much more benign. Because if you look at—it starts with Bretton Woods, an attempt to prevent by the New Dealers in power, and by some very good people, to prevent another Great Depression in the states. The great fear of course was in 1944, they could see that the war would end, they could see that the wonderful factories that were churning out the aircraft carriers, the tanks, the bullets, the jeeps, and so on, even if they were reconfigured to produce white goods and cars and consumer durables, there would not be sufficient demand within America for all those products that these factories could potentially make, so eventually they would scale down investment at a time when the American GIs, the American soldiers would be coming back from the front and that would spear—and they called it “the 1949 moment,” they feared that the 1949—that twenty years after 1929 there would be another crash.

NOAM CHOMSKY: The famous dollar gap.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Exactly. So they sat down and designed a magnificent global plan to prevent this from happening. They also knew—there was the Cold War of course, there was the pressing agenda of making sure that Europe doesn’t fall to the communists and Asia doesn’t fall to the communists, so the two dimensions were combined and the global plan of which the Bretton Woods system was just one part, entailed just to put it as succinctly as I can, the following characteristics and dimensions.

Europe would be dollarized, so that Europeans could buy the gleaming cars and the gleaming aircraft and washing machines from Westinghouse and so on and so forth that America would not be able to absorb on American soil. Europeans were in ashes after the war, so they needed to be dollarized. So they would be allowed to recreate all their own currencies, but their currencies would be pegged to the dollar, effectively they would have the dollar in different form. And that was a fixed-exchange-rate regime.

It was very similar to the gold exchange standard but with a very great difference. The New Dealers who had felt the Great Depression in their bones, most of them, if you look at their biography, had actually suffered during the Great Depression, and they were very keen to avoid it again, understood that what was missing in the gold exchange standard, was a system of surplus recycling, of taking surpluses from jurisdictions where they were being created through a political mechanism and siphoning them in the form of productive investments or some kind of investment into the deficit areas, in order to be able to generate the income in the deficit areas that were necessary to keep purchasing stuff from the surplus countries, so the surplus countries could remain surplus countries, like America for instance. To keep recycling surpluses and deficits to maintain this global plan. If you think about the—This is an extension of the New Deal.

NOAM CHOMSKY: It’s worth bringing out the role of reconstructing Germany—

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Of course. 

NOAM CHOMSKY: —in this system, which was quite critical.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: I have looked at Senate papers from 1946 talking exactly about that, because this global plan had to rely on a European pillar and an Asia pillar, and they had to have a strong European currency and a strong Asian currency to act as shock absorbers. There are these amazing documents where they say, “American capitalism is going to going to go through a spasm like capitalism always does,” that shows a kind of understanding that today on the last twenty years is absent from policymakers. So they could see that there would be a recession.

And the question that we’re asking, if we only have one currency after the war, because Europe was destroyed and we would be dollarizing them. If we only had the dollar, any crisis in the dollar zone, in America, would be transmitted very quickly both to Asia and Europe and maybe those shocks would be magnified instead of being dampened. So we need shock absorbers, we need the European currency and the Asian currency that would do the shock absorbing. But in order for those currencies to be sufficiently strong they would have to have—

NOAM CHOMSKY: They’d have to be subordinate—

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Industry. Industry.

NOAM CHOMSKY: And crucially subordinate to the dollar. Not—

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Exactly. Exactly. So they would have to be net exporters in their vicinity. Germany within the rest of Europe, Japan within China.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Within the global system managed and run—

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Within the global system under the tutelage—

NOAM CHOMSKY: That’s the Keynes/White dispute.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: The Battle of Bretton Woods, which is an amazing episode in intellectual and financial history. At that point the problem they had when they were thinking about this in 1946, late ’45, early ’46, is they already had agreed with the French to turn Germany into a pastoral land, to deindustrialize Germany. So they had to go back to the French and say, “We changed our minds,” and they did, and they offered them a bargain. “You will agree to the reindustrialization of Germany. You will agree to a write-down of German debt, otherwise the German economy will never be able to recover if it is in a dark cloud of unsustainable debt. And in return what we’re going to give you is the leadership of Europe.” This is the goal idea, that they are the drivers of the carriage and Germany is the horse that powers it, and indeed this is what happened. If you think of—where is the OECD? It’s in Paris. What is the OECD? The OECD is a relic of the Marshall Plan. So the French were distributing Marshall aid in Europe. Think about Brussels. Brussels was completely and utterly designed by the French elite.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Yeah.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Think about the IMF. Why is Christine Legarde the managing director of the IMF? Why was Strauss-Kahn the manager —this is still the relic, the leftover of this deal with the French and the Germans. Interestingly, so going to ’53. Fifty-three is where the Americans grabbed the heads of the British, of the French, of the Italians, and of the Greeks, incidentally, and banged them together and said, “You are going to write down German debt.” So Greece was owed money by Germany that it throws off so that Germany could reindustrialize in the 1950s.

NOAM CHOMSKY: And that illustrates the title of your book. The French got something in return, the Greeks didn’t, the weak suffer as they must.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Yes, indeed. But of course I always like to leave a degree of optimism hanging in the air (laughter) so you may have noticed that my book ends with—the title ends with a question mark, and the emphasis is on the question mark and the dedication is to my mother and it says that my mother would have slaughtered with immense kindness anyone who dared say that the weak suffered what they must. And even the original expression comes from Thucydides in the History of the Peloponnesian War, when he recounts as an Athenian—remember, Thucydides is an Athenian historian and soldier and general who is recounting the story of when Athens sent a fleet with troops, the marines, the Athenian marines, to the island of Melos to crash the local society, the local city-state. Why? Because Melos refused to take sides in the cold war, or actually the hot war at the time, between Athens and Sparta. And Athens had its own NATO in the archipelago of the Aegean and it was very worried that if the Melians were allowed to be independent, then the rest might get ideas that they want to exit NATO, the NATO of the time, so they sent the troops to crush them. And there is this interesting meeting when the Athenian generals meet the Melian representatives, delegates to announce to them, but you know, your life is over, surrender quietly and we will sell you as slaves. If you resist, we are going to crush you. And the Melians gave them a Kantian argument that you should never treat human beings as a means to an end, you should treat them as an ends in themselves. Not exactly but more or less this.

NOAM CHOMSKY: They hadn’t read Kant yet, remember.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Of course, but it was more or less that kind of Kantian argument. You should treat those in a position of weakness in the same way you would want to be treated in a position of weakness, because one day you will be in a position of weakness, as of course the Athenians of course did become—

NOAM CHOMSKY: Very soon.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Shortly afterwards when they lost the war to Sparta, and the Athenian general responded, no, you’ve got it just wrong, the strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must. But Thucydides is telling us this story in order to allow us to criticize it. Thus the question.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, I think the real optimistic element in the book is the Condorcet quote about power really being in the hands of the masses if they take it.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: In the mind of the masses.

NOAM CHOMSKY: In the mind, and in fact that goes back to and he was probably quoting David Hume, who in “The First Principles of Government” makes that point very clearly. He says it’s surprising to see the easiness with which the great mass of the population is subordinate to their governors, because power is in the hands of the governed, and if we inquire into the means by which this wonder is achieved we see that it is by consent alone that the powerful are able to govern. Meaning that if the governed refused to consent, to use your words, the game is over.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. And I and Danae, my wife, we felt that on the third of July last year. And that was a magnificent moment. Because you’ve got to remember our government won the election in January 2015 with a mandate to speak truth to the powerful, to say no to them and, “do your worst, we are not accepting any more of your toxic loans under conditions that will shrink our economy and our people further.” And we won this election, but because of the system of disproportional representation, we won government with 36 percent of the vote. The previous governing party received something like 25 percent, so we had enough seats in parliament to form a government, but that’s 36 percent of the vote, and we had the whole media of Greece and the world completely and utterly, militantly against us.

We had the central bank, third day I was in my office, the president of the Eurogroup visited me to say, “Either you accept the existing policies,” the ones we were elected to challenge, “or your banks will be closed within a month.” So this is the—you can’t be weaker than that. We did have a strategy, we did have a secret weapon, we can talk about this later when we open this up, but when they closed our banks down, I believed that it was just a matter of days before our support would wane. And we had called for a referendum to support us to carry on fighting.

So remember, we had only won 36 percent. The banks were closed, people didn’t have access to their money. Pensioners were fainting in line in front of closed banks to get some money out in order to feed themselves. The press is bombarding, terrorizing people in their living rooms on their television sets, saying to them that if they went with us against the troika, Armageddon is going to come, and we’ll be expelled from the universe, not just Europe. (laughter) And those crazy, magnificent Greeks gave us 62 percent. Why? Because the one deficit they could not bear was the deficit of dignity. And they had a Condorcet moment.

(applause)

NOAM CHOMSKY: So what happens to Greece now?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Well, unfortunately, that very night of the referendum, our government, my prime minister, surrendered.

NOAM CHOMSKY: But now.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Well, to answer your question. That surrender meant that that we have the worst possible combination. We have a neoliberal ideology with completely anti-neoliberal policies. They increased the corporate tax rate, they increased the VAT rate, they increased the income tax rate, they reduced pensions, they reduced wages. So they did—

NOAM CHOMSKY: Even harsher conditions than the ones you refused.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Even harsher conditions. The Greek economy is fading, all business plans are going haywire, in a sense remember “liquidate, liquidate, liquidate” under President Hoover, Mellon, I think was the name of the U.S. treasury secretary that said that. That is what’s happening. Complete liquidation of Greek business, the Greek state, and the Greek people. And all that is happening in the context of the nineteenth-century gunboat diplomacy, the purpose of which is not so much Greece, it is how to keep France, Spain, Portugal.

After my prime minister’s surrender on the 13th of July, he signed the document of surrender, and you know what happened, the Spanish right-wing prime minister came out of the room wielding this document like this in front of the cameras, and speaking in Spanish to the Spanish media he said, “this is what you get if you vote for the Syriza of Spain,” for Podemos.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Podemos.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Well, thankfully, the Spanish voted him out but didn’t vote Podemos in, so they now have a hand parliament in Spain, no government.

NOAM CHOMSKY: No government.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Well, actually that’s much better than having that government.

NOAM CHOMSKY: So what do you think the future is for the peripheral—when you say “liquidate,” do you mean liquidate into German hands primarily?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: No what I mean is, what’s going to happen is there’s going to have hundreds of thousands of small businesses, people who will lose their shops, they will lose their pharmacies, they will become homeless, they will leave the country, with their kids, who are well educated, they will go to Germany, they will go to Spain—Spain, no, because the Spaniards are leaving—they will come here, they will go Canada, they will go to Australia, they will go to South America, somewhere to find a way of making ends meet. You are going to have the liquidation of households with foreclosures and foreclosures in Greece are worse than here, because here you can take the keys to your house and go to the bank and say, “Take it. Bye.” In Greece, you can’t do that. Even if you lose your house, you still have the debt, you carry it with you, like Mephistopheles walking around with hell around him, you are walking around the world with that same debt, even though you no longer have the house.

NOAM CHOMSKY: It’s kind of like student debt here.

(applause)

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Exactly. So in answer to your question, what is now the prospect of progressive politics and of hope in Greece? I think that now we had a window of opportunity in Greece to reboot this loan agreement and to reboot Europe, because had we succeeded there, then it would have really spread to Spain and to Italy and throughout the rest of Europe, we missed that. This is why I and some other utopians and recalcitrants throughout Europe, we have created what we call DiEM, the Democracy in Europe Movement, with our manifesto that Noam Chomsky signed, making me the happiest person in Europe.

(applause)

For the same very simple reason, I think we are in a 1930 moment. Shortly after the collapse of Wall Street, the great financial crisis, and just before the slide into a postmodern abyss of xenophobia, misanthropy, failed economic policies, austerity, debt deflation that will become a major source of uncertainty, of misanthropy, of pain and unnecessary not just for Europe but for the rest of the world. Allow me at this point, I have a pin that I’ve brought with me for DiEM to give to you which I am wearing, and this is a bit of propaganda for our Democracy in Europe Movement, and I can’t not give this to Noam Chomsky since he signed our manifesto.

(applause)

NOAM CHOMSKY: Thank you very much.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: And I’m being signaled to that we have to open this up to Q and A.

NOAM CHOMSKY: It’s a good point, good point.

Q: Mr. Chomsky, Mr. Varoufakis my question is about European integration policy, the then and now. We know that in 1992 the leaders of the day signed the Maastricht Treaty, which stipulated those convergence criteria to measure well, I guess, the similarity between economies such that if they were able to fulfill those criteria, they qualified for the initial round of euro membership. Are EU policymakers only looking at those criteria now, those deficit criteria, or are they looking at other measures of integration given what we know about what’s—is that their only policy focus?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Well, let me say that they never looked at those criteria. These were bogus criteria. Greece didn’t meet those criteria. Italy didn’t meet those criteria. Far from it. The criterion was 60 percent of debt over GDP as a maximum. Italy had 100 percent. But of course the whole point of creating the Eurozone was in order to stop Fiat producing cars that would remain competitive vis-à-vis Volkswagens through devaluation of the lira. So they needed Italy, so they violated their own criteria. They just ignored them, and they brought Italy, Greece in. And you know how Greece got in? We had some smart people in the finance ministry, in the central bank of Greece, and they copied exactly the same tricks that they used to let Italy in. They said, “Well, we know what you’ve been up to. So if you let Italy in, we were doing the same tricks, we will present the same data, so either you have to kick the Italians out or allow us in as well.” So this is how we got caught up.

You’ve got to understand that it’s a very hypocritical concept, the whole thing, the whole process, so it was never a question of integration, really. It was a question of expanding the limits of predatory financialization. What did Greece have to offer the Eurozone? Can I tell what we had? We had no oil, we had really—we were not a traditional colony that had natural resources to—what we brought to the Eurozone was a population with minimal debt and a lot of equity. Because Greeks loathe debt. My parents’ generation didn’t have credit cards, personal loans, mortgages. They worked for thirty years, put some money aside, borrowed some money from an aunt or an uncle and bought a house, okay? So we were a dream come true for German and French bankers. We had a Protestant almost ethic in terms of debt, and there was very little debt. And a capacity, once extended, once the Deutsche Mark was extended to Greece, okay, we had the capacity to borrow and borrow and borrow on the basis of very sound collateral.

So this edifice was never designed to sustain an economic crisis. You know which were the two countries that violated the Maastricht criteria first, before anybody else? Germany and France. So these rules were written not to be respected, but were written to be used as a club by which to beat the weak and the ones who dare speak out against the irrationality of the system.

Q: Thank you.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Thank you.

(applause)

 Q: Hello. My question is for Mr. Chomsky. In the past you’ve been very critical of the way in which the West has engaged in political and economic imperialism around the world behind closed doors, kind of smoke and mirrors. How do you believe that transparency and democratizing the Eurozone—

NOAM CHOMSKY: And democratizing the Eurozone.

Q: How it will kind of affect or possibly deter this behavior?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, actually one of the things that Yanis discusses in his book is that the Eurozone—in the Eurozone, democracy has declined arguably even faster than it has in the United States. During this past generation of neoliberal policies there has been a global assault on democracy, that’s kind of inherent in the principles. And in the Eurozone it’s reached a remarkable level. I mean, even the Wall Street Journal, hardly a critical rag, (laughter) pointed out that no matter who gets elected in a European country, whether it’s communist, fascist, anybody else, the policies remain the same. And the reason is they’re all set in Brussels, by the bureaucracy, and the citizens of the national states have no role in this, and when they try to have a role, as in the Greek referendum, they get smashed down. That’s a rare step. Mostly they are sitting by passively as victims of policies over which they have nothing to say, and what Yanis said about the Eurogroup is quite striking. This is a completely unelected work group. Not in any remote way related to citizens’ decisions, but it’s basically making the decisions, the choices and decisions. That’s even beyond what happens here. Here it’s bad enough, but that’s more extreme.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Let me add to this just to clarify something. Actually I will go further than Noam about Europe. The European Union doesn’t suffer or the Eurogroup from a democratic deficit. It’s like saying that we are on the moon and there is an oxygen deficit. There is no oxygen deficit on the moon. There is no oxygen, full stop. (laughter)And this is official in Europe.

At my first Eurogroup, as the rookie around, I was given the floor to set out our policies and to introduce myself, which is nice, and I gave the most moderate speech that I thought it was humanly possible to make. I said, “I know that you are annoyed I’m here. Your favorite guy didn’t get elected, I got elected, I’m here, but I’m here in order to work with you, to find common ground, there is a failed program that you want to keep insisting on implementing in Greece, we have our mandate, let’s sit down and find common ground.” I thought that was a pretty moderate thing to say. They didn’t.

And then after me, after I had expounded the principle of continuity and the principle of democracy, and the idea of having some compromise between the two, Doctor Wolfgang Schäuble puts his name tag forward and demands the floor and he comes up with a magnificent statement, verbatim I’m going to give you what he said, “Elections cannot be allowed to change the economic policies of any country.” (laughter) At which point I intervened and said, “this is the greatest gift to the Communist Party of China, because they believe that too.” (laughter)

Now, while I was in there at the twelve Eurogroup meetings that I attended before I resigned, I noticed in those very lengthy, incredibly intense and depressing sequences of discussions, some of them lasted more than twelve hours. The room was full of cameras, microphones, you know, these screens, we had thirty of them, we were in the same room with people and I was watching them on television. Because, you know, this is the power of the screen. You don’t watch the person speaking, you watch him on the screen, or her. Yeah?

And at some point it hit me, “We don’t need a revolution here, somebody in the control booth just press a button and connect all these cameras to the Internet.” Just imagine if that were to happen, huh? You don’t need a treaty change, a constitution, a revolution, nothing. Somebody just press a button, like in a science fiction movie, you press a button and suddenly have a new universe. What would happen? Would Schäuble say this? I don’t know, maybe he would, but you know what, it would make a difference for the Germans, the French, the Portuguese, to hear him say those words, instead of reading the Financial Times where people like Peter Spiegel were simply saying that Yanis Varoufakis was resisting reform in his country and he demanded more money for it. So transparency is everything. It’s a first step. It’s a huge revolutionary step that takes nothing more than the press of a button so this is why on our side again, I’m a salesperson here tonight.

In DiEM25.org, there’s a transparency in Europe now campaign where we’re demanding the livestreaming of all these meetings. We’re demanding that the ECB publishes its minutes. (applause) We’re demanding that all the TTIP negotiating. Do you know that as the minister of state for finance in Greece in order to look at the TTIP documents of the negotiations between the European Union to which I was a finance minister and the United States I had to sign a nondisclosure agreement? In other words, the price of looking at those documents was that I promised not to tell my electorate. So if you can, get into our site and sign the petition for transparency. It’s a small step, just to make it difficult for them. Even if they have to answer the question why are they not livestreaming the meetings, that’s a small step, because you are putting them in a difficult position.

PAUL HOLDENGRÄBER: I just want to say that we are also livestreaming, (laughter)and that I’m not going to tell you how many questions we’re going to take, but we’re going to end at 8:59, so next question.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: 8:59, you and your precision.

PAUL HOLDENGRÄBER: 9:01.

Q: Hi, it’s a little bit follow-up question to the previous one to Varoufakis. You wrote that Wolfgang Schäuble wants to kind of have a superminister of all of the Eurozone. Nonelected, will just kind of decide on national—that’s his plan. But I’m just wondering what do you propose instead because sometimes it’s a bit unclear to me if you also want kind of a superminister, just an elected one, or if you want more power taken back to the national countries? And also—

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: You have a second question?

PAUL HOLDENGRÄBER: Just one question.

Q: But also just that Eurozone, if you want to keep the euro in the long term or if it should be maybe slowly—

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: It’s the same question.

Q: Yes.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Let me be brief. What Schäuble wants and I know that because he’s written about it and we’ve discussed it, is a semblance of federation where the Eurogroup becomes a—he doesn’t feel good that it’s not legal. He wants to legalize it. And he wants to turn the president of the Eurogroup the fiscal leviathan of the Eurozone. He doesn’t call him that, but he wants him to be if you want the fiscal representative of—or the treasurer, the treasurer of the Eurozone. But he wants to give this person a tiny little budget, tiny federal budget, 1 percent of GDP, nothing, in other words, and the main function of this person will be to have a veto power over national budgets.

Now this is a monstrous notion. Let me give you an example. On the one hand you have a parliament, the French National Assembly, voting in a budget. OK? The budget of the French government is 50 percent of GDP; half of the economy of France is controlled by the state. Now you’re going to have a fiscal overlord in Europe, that has a 1 percent budget, in other words has absolutely no capacity to affect surplus recycling within Europe and stabilize European capitalism, but he is going to have—I was going to say he or she but we know it’s going to be a he, don’t we? He is going to have the right to veto the budget that National Assembly of France voted. And why? To keep countries within the fiscal constraints of the Maastricht Treaty, which has so spectacularly and abundantly failed.

And let me give you an example of why this is just mad, and makes absolutely no sense, even from a neoliberal perspective. Take Ireland, Ireland before 2008 was the blue-eyed boy or girl of the international neoliberal Washington consensus. They had turned their markets so elastic that they, you know, they resembled the circus. They had a debt-to-GDP ratio of 25 percent. Half that of Germany. They were never above budget, they had a surplus, actually they had a surplus in their, they call it their federal budget, I call it their state budget. So they were the model country, the model citizen of the neoliberal mantra, okay?

Now, of course, if you look at what was happening in the private sector, they had gone crazy with, there was a frenzy of indebtedness like here in Wall Street and so on and so forth. The moment the credit crunch begun after Lehman Brothers, the developers went bust, the developers’ loans to the Anglo-Irish Bank and the various other shady banks in Ireland went bad, they became nonperforming, those banks immediately became insolvent, and then the president of the Central Bank, a certain Mr. Jean-Claude Trichet, called the Irish prime minister, “transfer all the losses of the private sector onto the public books, onto the taxpayers, or else, or I will close down your banks.” Remember that happened to me a few years later too. And at that point suddenly Irish publish debt went from 25 percent to 120 percent.

Now, what would the fiscal overlord do then? Nothing. Would he veto this? No, because it was the Central Bank’s direct directive that pushed all the losses of the private sector onto the taxpayer. So this system that Dr. Schäuble is proposing is just an attempt to legitimize the illegitimate current informal system. It has absolutely no capacity to stabilize European capitalism. The only thing it will do, it will formalize the current impasse.

You’re asking me what I want. I would like a federal democracy. I would like a European parliament, I would like a federal government with a substantial budget and proper surplus recycling and I would like to have a European Union constitution that is fifteen, twenty pages and not written by a failed former president of France that scripts the preface, that happened 2005, beginning with the rights of capital. You knew that one, didn’t you? That there was an attempt to write the European Union that began, the preface, the bill of rights was all about the rights of capital. You can’t make it up.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Schäuble’s comment about elections.

Q: Hi, first of all, I’m very honored to be here in front of both of you. I wanted to ask a quick question for Yanis. To what extent do you agree with the notion that the Greek government was caught in a tragic circumstance, and they did what their options allowed them to do at the time, given that the other option might have been an exit from the euro combined with the refugee crisis that they have now. And for Mr. Chomsky, I wanted to ask a little bit your evaluation on the Bernie Sanders phenomenon in American politics and how do you evaluate that for the future of American politics?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Sorry, say it again?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Bernie Sanders.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Oh, Bernie.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Bernie. You start with Bernie.

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, Bernie Sanders is an extremely interesting phenomenon. He’s a decent, honest person. It’s pretty unusual in the political system. (laughter) Maybe there are two of them in the world. (applause) But he’s considered a radical, an extremist, which is a pretty interesting characterization, because he’s basically a mainstream New Deal Democrat. His positions would not have surprised President Eisenhower, who said, in fact, that anyone who does not accept New Deal programs doesn’t belong in the American political system. That’s now considered very radical.

The other interesting aspect of Sanders’s positions is that they’re quite strongly supported by the general public and have been for a long time. That’s true on taxes, it’s true on health care. So take, say, health care. His proposal for a national health care system, meaning the kind of system that just about every other developed country has, at half the per capita cost of the United States and comparable or better outcomes. That’s considered very radical, but it’s been the position of the majority of the American population for a long time. So if you go back say to the Reagan—Right now, for example, latest polls about 60 percent of the American population favor it.

When Obama put forward the Affordable Care Act, there was you recall a public option, but that was dropped. It was dropped even though it was supported by about almost two thirds of the population. You go back earlier, say to the Reagan years, about 70 percent of the population thought that national health care should be in the constitution because it’s such an obvious right, and in fact about 40 percent of the population thought it was in the constitution, (laughter) again because it’s such an obvious right. And the same is true on tax policy and others.

So we have this phenomenon where someone is taking positions that would have been considered pretty mainstream during the Eisenhower years, that are supported by a large part or from a considerable majority of the population, but he’s dismissed as radical and extremist. That’s an indication of how the spectrum has shifted to the right during the neoliberal period, so far to the right that the contemporary Democrats are pretty much what used to be called moderate Republicans. And the Republicans are just off the spectrum. (laughter) They’re not a legitimate parliamentary party anymore.

And Sanders has the—significant part of the—he has pressed the mainstream Democrats a little bit towards the progressive side. You see that in Clinton’s statements. But he has mobilized a large number of young people. These young people who are saying, “look, we’re not going to consent anymore,” and if that turns into a continuing organized mobilized, mobilized force, that could change the country. Maybe not for this election but in the longer term.

(applause)

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: I’m going to answer your question by saying, and I hope you don’t consider this to be too harsh a judgment of your question. I will say that embedded in your question is the most toxic form of TINA, of the proposition that there is no alternative. The idea that in the end we had to surrender because the alternative would be worse effectively denigrates the 62 percent of Greeks who ordered us not to surrender. And it denigrates those of us who actually won government, because if what you said is right, we wouldn’t leave. We walked in there and thought that with the power of our rationality and the force of our personality we would convince the troika of lenders to be kind to us, we were relying on the kindness of creditors. No, we were not naïve. From 2012 to 2013 I had long conversations with our team, the team that eventually became the negotiating team, the government, the inner cabinet, the war cabinet as we called it, and we were talking about how are we going to respond to the threat of bank closures that would happen on the first day of our government. And we had worked out a plan of what our retaliation would be. I won’t bore you know, we don’t have the time, I have spoken about this extensively, we would have to haircut the bonds that the ECB held that were in Greek law. It was perfectly simple to do it and we would not end up as Argentina because it was Greek law, the ECB would have to come to a Greek court to contest it, they would not be dragging us to Luxembourg to London or to New York and that would have crippled QE, it would have brought down with a very high probability the euro, so if they closed down our banks, we had a weapon by which to retaliate. We were planning a parallel payment system in case the banking system was in disrepair, could not be used for transaction.

We had that agreement. It’s the only reason I stood in front of the Greek people and asked them to vote me in. I didn’t ask them to do this in order for me to go in there and go in to the Eurogroup and give nice speeches and hope for the best. And we did not see this through. To say that it was inevitable that we would surrender and that the alternative would be worse is effectively to confirm that there is no alternative to barbarism, and I shall not confirm this.

Q: Thank you.

(applause)

PAUL HOLDENGRÄBER: If this would be okay for you, may I suggest that we take, we bundle three questions together and so you ask three brief questions, you ask one question, you ask one question, and that gentleman there asks one question, and the others of you there I applaud you for being so hopeful.

(laughter)

Q: Thank you very much for this conversation and I would like to ask my question to both of you. You have discussed the situation in Spain and we have just found today that after four months without being able to form a government there will be new general elections on the 26th of June so my question would be which would be your message in this critical juncture in the battle of ideas in Europe for the Spanish people and also for Podemos? Thank you.

PAUL HOLDENGRÄBER: Question number 1. Question number 2?

Q: Yes, thank you for a fascinating evening. Austerity is bankrupt. It’s bankrupt empirically, it’s bankrupt intellectually, it continues to be imposed on the people of Europe. You have framed this tonight as primarily a political conflict, primarily between Germany and France. Can’t we interpret this as an agenda by people who have no particular political or national allegiances to impose Reagan- and Thatcher-style capitalism on the core of Europe, including Germany, what happens to German pensions at the end of this game?

PAUL HOLDENGRÄBER: And the last question.

Q: My question was concerning some of the other peripheral countries in Europe—Ireland, Spain, and Italy and their national governments did not support you last year during the crisis. Now would you comment on that and also what do you think the prospects for those countries are now, economically?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, the message for the people of Spain I think should be this,(applause) that’s what they should be voting for, and they can achieve it. Go back to David Hume. Power is in the hands of the people if they don’t consent, and that’s critical.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: I have nothing to add to this. I’ll try to combine with the last question, because what applies to the people of Spain applies to the people of Italy, to the people of France but indeed also to the people of Germany, and that brings us to the other question as well. We’re in it together.

The notion that Europe is split between north and south and that north is populated by all the ants whereas the grasshoppers have congregated to the south and to Ireland is a very strange idea. There are ants and there are grasshoppers everywhere. What happened before 2008 was the grasshoppers of the south and the grasshoppers of the north got together into a splendid alliance of debt-driven frenzy. They were the bankers. They were the spivs, they were those who predicated their growth on transfers from the European Union budget to create motorways that went to nowhere, Olympic Game sites in Greece, and so on and so forth, and they became fabulously rich. This was the alliance of the grasshoppers. The ants were working very hard and were finding it very hard to make ends meet during the good times. And then when the grasshoppers’ empire collapsed, it was the ants of the north and the ants of the south that had to bail them out, and it’s time for the ants of the north and the ants of the south to unite in Europe to change that crazy regime.

(applause)

PAUL HOLDENGRÄBER: Any final words?

NOAM CHOMSKY: I think—

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: I want to pay my respects to this institution, and I want to thank you and to your staff—I met some of them before—for the diligence and the dedication and the enthusiasm. If only our rulers had a modicum, a percentage, a small percentage to public service, the world would have been a much better place.

PAUL HOLDENGRÄBER: Continue, continue a little more. (laughter) Thank you very much!

(applause)

 

UE/EEUU: NUEVO TRATADO EN CURSO …COMO ES LO USUAL, LO ESENCIAL DEL MISMO, EN SECRETO

La Asociación Transatlántica de Comercio e Inversión (TTIP en inglés) abarca un gran abanico
de temas y sectores, entre los cuales la seguridad alimentaria, los productos transgénicos,
los productos químicos tóxicos, los combustibles altamente contaminantes y la protección
de datos. Las conversaciones amenazan con mermar o erosionar salvaguardias acordadas
democráticamente y establecidas para proteger el ambiente y las personas en beneficio de las
ganancias de las grandes empresas.

CONSULTA EL ARTÍCULO COMPLETO EN EL ENLACE

http://www.tni.org/sites/www.tni.org/files/download/ttip-isds-fracking-briefinges.pdf