Thursday, 22 November 2012

Market: The Rise of a New God

There is something happening slowly during our lifetime, something that happens from time to time in history. It's the end of an era and the beginning of another one.

Anyone who has ever studied literature was probably able to appreciate in a very clear way how history is cyclic. Each literary period is associated with a historic period and we can clearly visualize how humanity oscillates between periods of anthropocentrism and theocentrism. It's also true that when I say "humanity" I am basically referring to "western civilization" as the eastern part of the world didn't quite follow the same historical periods.

Anyway, the dichotomy is very clear and very real. The great classical period, in which the Greek gave us the gift of science and critical thinking, was followed by the regrettable Dark Ages, in which the Church gave us the Inquisition. Then, we were compensated by the Renaissance, which brought us our science and maths back (thanks to the Arab world, by the way). It's not wrong to say that until some time ago we were still living the last part of the Renaissance, but we are now entering a new period of "darkness". This one is theocentric too, but dangerously disguised as an anthropocentric one.

The period we are entering now has as its main characteristic the uncritical acceptance that there is an entity called "The Market", which has as one of its incarnations "The Almighty Economy", to which we owe our allegiance and which will bring us peace and prosperity. If you are against the Market or against the Economy today, this is as heretical as it was in the Dark Ages to be against God (meaning, Iaweh in those days). 

The parallel doesn't stop there. In the same way as nobody really knows exactly what God was, nobody really knows what the Market is. Still, it became an act of faith to ascertain that if we live by the Market, then we are doing well.

The real deal is that there are indeed some groups to which the Market is a good thing. The first, of course, is the one which really gets something from it. These are the businessmen. The class that earned the right to influence the government after the French Revolution. I reckon I'm just throwing a stone here without really giving the full set of arguments. I will correct that on a later post. Right now, you need only to think about that.

The other group is obviously the government. First of all, part of the money always go to the government. Second, the Market serve as a credible excuse for every kind of abusive and repressive measure. You can see an example of this if you read this article

Consider this paragraph:
The prime minister outlined plans to axe equality impact assessments at the CBI conference, saying new government measures needed to be "tough, radical and fast" to help British business compete in the global race. He said "faster government" was one of the key steps Britain needs to take to thrive – "in this global race you are quick or you're dead", he said.
The "race" referred to is the one set by the Market. It is very clear that the UK Prime Minister is trying to gather more decision power and minimise the influence of the rest of the population and using as an excuse "The Market". The problem is that many people will say "Oh, of course, his right! Save the Market!"

However, what is behind this is something extremely dangerous. If we praise the Market above everything else, we are accepting that It is above people. Do you really think that the GDP is a good measure of quality of life? Well, GDP is used as an all-encompassing measure of the healthy of the local Market for the countries.

The amount of absurd ideas that rely on the "better for the Market" excuse is so large that I will analyse them in other posts. This one is just intended to be a reference and a warning. Forget about Zombie Apocalypse, there is another entity wishing to eat your brains... 

No comments:

Post a Comment