[artinfo] Franco Berardi & Geert Lovink: Zero Work is the Tendency, Negative Money is the Tool
geert at xs4all.nl
Wed Oct 26 12:42:32 CEST 2016
Zero Work is the Tendency, Negative Money is the Tool:
To rescue Europe from the abyss of racist war we must design Europe 2.0
By Franco Berardi and Geert Lovink
The systematic rejection of migrants at the borders of Europe is not
a mere manifestation of brutality, it is symptomatic for the
transformation of the Union into a racist fortress: a wave of
nationalism and hatred is mounting among the European population.
The Archipelago of Infamy is spreading all around the Mediterranean Sea.
Europeans are building concentration camps on their own territory,
and pay their Gauleiters in Turkey, Libya and Egypt to do the dirty
job on the Mediterranean shores, where salty sea water has replaced
Zyklon B. This is laying the foundation for a racist civil war in the
entire Euro-mediterranean area, unless we stop this barbarity.
It is not difficult to understand why Europeans have become so unwelcoming.
>Financial predation has pauperised the continent and people in
>Europe have become so obsessed with fear that they resort to
>scapegoating a few million migrants for the economic breakdown
>brought about by financial capitalism and for their own despair.
>Where there is an attempt at reactivating democracy, as happened in
>July 2015 in Greece, the financial dictatorship overrules it, and
>pushes people further into humiliation and misery. Rightly or
>wrongly, many see the European Union as an oppressive power they
>want to get rid of. The Union model is dead. And yet backtracking
>into the nation state format makes no sense either.
We need to reinvent Europe since no one else will do it for us.
We do not want to cease being Europeans. Period. We don't accept the
menace of a closure of the European horizon: it would open the doors
to a fascist hell.
Now however, the financial and political elites have all but
destroyed any possibility to remain European: having lost their grip
on right-wing populism and no longer able to create sustainable jobs,
they watch the economy, not recovering at all, but drifting towards
Before the neoliberal turn and the capitulation of the Union to the
diktat of the financial markets, Europe was a project geared towards
redistribution of money and work. Ever since the Maastricht Treaty,
stability became the overall goal of national governments, but the
phantom of stability is fooling us.
Full employment turned out to be a dystopia: there is simply not
enough work for everyone. According to the McKinsey Global Institute
half of the jobs existing today will be gone in the next decade with
the broad deployment of artificial intelligence technologies. Zero
work is the tendency, and we should get prepared for it, which is not
so bad if social expectations change, and if we accept the prospect
that we'll work less and we'll have time to think about life, art,
education, pleasure, love, and what have you rather than solely about
profit and growth.
We are already in the midst of a downturn, and according to Lawrence
Summers and many other economists this slump is going to last
through the century. In fact it is not even a slump, but a paradigm
shift. Not only has the neoliberal project failed, but the capitalist
paradigm is at loss to frame the complexity of the networked
intellect. Political wisdom of Europe should be about trying to come
to terms with the end of the growth paradigm.
The current reality is depressing because we aren't able to overcome
our obsession with economics. "Financial stability" has resulted in
impoverishment and precarity. Far from being a factor of stability,
finance has turned into burden for social life, and a disgrace.
But money might in fact act as an activator of demand. This is why we
want to reclaim Quantitative Easing for the people, not for banks and
shareholders. Let the ECB helicopters fly and throw out the money,
special money, money that burns. The central banks of the Union
should distribute digital money that auto-deletes if not spend it
within a few months. Should be an easy software job. We couldn't care
less whether that QE dough is denominated in Bitcoins or Euros. That
money should trigger a badly needed inflation factor.
But who is able to implementing such monetary measures? A Commission
whose former President is an agent of Goldman Sachs? A phoney
parliament? The unassailable power centre of finance, the European
Central Bank? Obviously not, because these structures are totally
crippled and dominated by the financial system, and cannot be
reformed from the inside.
Only a movement from below, of citizens and cities, can kick the
moribund European Union back into life. So the question is: what is a
social movement in the age of social media? Is a distributed think
tank model, as put in practice by Democracy in Europe (DiEM25)
initiative, sufficient? We look for a movement as an act of
performative enunciation broad enough to provoke the final demise of
the rotting corpse of the former European Union, and strong enough to
start forthwith the construction of a Europe 2.0, based on universal
basic income, negative money and the immediate reduction of labor
Remember 1989. Thick walls can fall down overnight. The EU is in
danger of disintegration. Are you prepared? We need concepts,
networks, software and sustainable revenue models supported by a
universal basic income. And we need confidence in our own wisdom,
even as history turns into unexpected (and possibly horrendous)
More information about the Artinfo