Today there is a stormy debate about the causes and prerequisites of the so-called global economic crisis. The search for ways to resolve it is no less actively discussed. Note that the discussion about the presence or absence of this crisis has practically disappeared. The crisis situation as such is recognized, but no clear answers to the traditional “who is to blame” and “what to do” have been received so far.
In the information space, several stable structures have gradually developed, with the help of which a crisis situation is described. One of them: the clash of conventional globalists and conventional traditionalists, D. Trump and the mysterious Deep State, who is opposed to him, represented by the Democrats. Nationalists, owners of industrial capital, seem to be opposed to global financiers and owners of transnational corporations. The second stable construction concerns the description of the basic economic processes and postulates the thesis about the crisis of the industrial model of development, which has exhausted the possibilities and reserves for further extensive growth.
The convenience of these theses lies in the fact that, on the one hand, they reflect part of reality, on the other hand, they have good potential as a basis for a wide range of inferences and forecasts: from purely economic analysis to the work of political scientists and adherents of conspiracy theories, "conspiracy theories" and lovers to delve into the symbolism. The problem of these theses follows from their advantages: having become a kind of axioms, they, describing only a part of the whole, in advance model the direction and method of analysis. The decision tree is stretched within the specified vectors. Yes, we really see a clash of elites in the United States, but to what extent is the same D. Trump an anti-globalist in reality? This is still a huge question, as is the Chinese project, which is often presented as an example of economic nationalism.
One day an old Japanese monk was accused of molesting a young female. The old man was locked up and asked if he was doing wrong, to which the answer was received: "Is this so?" After a couple of days, the young lady felt ashamed, she came and told that she had told a lie, that she was mistaken. When the old man was released, they apologized to him, because now everything is clear: he did nothing, to which the answer was received: "Is that so?" The old monk's rhetoric seems to illustrate well the problem of the above theses.
The "end of the economy" adherents often point to a crisis in the system of interest rates. Is this so? Yes, in Russia, unfortunately, the interest rate has become a real brake on development, the rates are high, the processes are complicated, the consumer does not have sufficient solvency. But "there" interest rates on loan interest today often approach zero, and the consumer is solvent. Nevertheless, development really stops, the economies are not growing, and indeed there is no growth in consumption. For a long time, gatherings and gatherings of the powerful in closed communities and then political elites in the G7 / 8/20, Davos, Rome, Vienna and other "clubs" had one of the basic tasks of overcoming regional imbalances in economic development. In fact, it is quite understandable that such equalization programs were primarily intended to cover new markets with tight credit policies. Yes, their own production in these markets was jammed, however, they did not spare funds for injections into the consumer sector. Examples: double-circuit economy of the European Union, industrial symbiosis of China and the USA, Germany and China, etc. When they talk about the end of the era of extensive economic development, I would like to ask the question: are the reserves for consumption actually exhausted today, are the reserves in Latin America, India, Africa, Central Asia exhausted? Yes, the economic model is in crisis, but is it only and so much because of the impossibility of further expansion? Loan interest is the culprit of all the troubles or is the problem somewhere deeper?
To a person interested in history wars and armed forces, economic problems are close: all wars have economic reasons and prerequisites, but not every war leads to armed confrontation. One of the interesting features of the current situation is the fact that all participants in the geopolitical process are diligently avoiding direct armed conflicts, transferring them to the plane of "proxy wars". And it's not just that some of the defendants have nuclear weapons (it was also during Vietnam): today even "horseless" (in the sense of nuclear-free) states do not particularly strive to enter the path of direct clashes of the official armed forces. No matter how much some “hotheads and parties in the United States are encouraged to strike at Iran or Venezuela, the United States stubbornly avoids direct conflict. Although they have enough resources and funds for this, such conflicts themselves have always been a convenient way for Americans to solve problems in public finances.
France, Greece, Turkey and Egypt stand opposite each other, China and India, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Iran and Israel, but the hot phase, about which so many people write, they say, is about to begin, still no and no. The active actions of the parties are slowed down in Donbas, turning into an endless positional exchange. In Syria, the interests of dozens of large and small states converged, however, with all the political battles in the UN and the struggle of projects and special services, one cannot fail to notice that the presence of Russian troops there is the result of an albeit implicit, but quite real consensus of large forces, and the game there is going on according to certain rules that try not to break. Yes, there are conflicts and wars, weapons are shooting in the world, but the direct participation of states in an armed struggle with each other, even with the availability of resources and operational benefits, is hampered. The question is: by whom and why? How many economic prerequisites are there and what?
We are constantly confronted with what is sometimes popularly called cognitive dissonance (in fact, a contradiction of meanings). We are talking about national projects, and the entire world press is describing to us how nationally oriented Russian policy is, however, all governance is liberal in essence, method and result. At the same time, our liberals in some incomprehensible way quarreled with globalist-liberals there, in the "blessed" West, while being friends with China, the main sponsor of modern globalism, and looking with tenderness at the sanctions of D. Trump, the main "governor" of anti-globalism.
There are many examples of such dissonance of meanings. The strange epidemic that covered the world economies, for some reason, primarily affected the G20 countries and almost bypassed the state at a smaller level. Despite all the contradictions between the leading players, it was interesting to watch the remote meeting on oil production in March this year: it looked like an emergency meeting of the plant's board of directors, which received a thrashing from shareholders. The hand of "global institutions"? But look at these institutions, they actually stopped working. The big question remains: how, given the obvious and historically inevitable globalization of the economy, can we do without working world institutions? Uniform rules and regulations are needed.
In the author's opinion, today we are faced not with a natural, but with a man-made change in the economic model (the COVID-19 pandemic here simply acts as one of the tools) and the subsequent reinstallation of the institutions of global governance. In full agreement with Lenin's thesis: "before uniting and in order to unite, we must first decisively and definitely delimit ourselves." Economic clusters are forcibly separated in different directions for the purpose of subsequent revision, the formation of new rules, management institutions and a new system of commodity-money exchange.
With the initial consensus of the beneficiaries of this process, contradictions between the players at the lower levels are quite obvious, since in reality there is a battle not between traditionalists and liberals, but between several projects of the future liberalism of a new type. Who will represent their interests in the new institutions and what will be the size of options and bonuses for national management teams, what will be the “equity capital” of specific national elites in this global “trust” of a new post-industrial type?
However, why do the true beneficiaries need it? Why did they reach this consensus on the fundamental dismantling of not just an economic model, but a transition to a fundamentally new way of life? The reserves for the development of the old have not yet been exhausted, which means that there is a strategic contradiction that cannot be resolved without radical and root changes. The author wants to propose for discussion the following: such a contradiction is the question of profit, the main engine of the economy (and not only) since the times, perhaps, of Cain and Abel.
There are, by and large, two approaches to the profit factor. Relatively speaking, this is a modern monetary school and an old political and economic school. Each of the approaches has its own rational kernel, but each of them contains a number of contradictions. In the first case, profit is viewed as an organic, natural factor of economic activity, the limitation of which is an extremely negative process, since it neutralizes the main incentive for development.
From the point of view of the political economists of the Marxist school, profit is by nature the product of appropriating a part of surplus value, added labor, on which the owner of the means of production constantly saves. Thus, the issue of profit is closely linked to the issue of labor exploitation. Profit maximization in this case inevitably leads to contradictions between the owner and the hired worker, whose extra time constantly turns into the owner's profit.
The monetary school traditionally bypasses the simple question that the phenomenon of profit itself is really the result of an unequal and unequal exchange, if someone makes a profit during exchange, then someone gets a loss, which he will inevitably strive to compensate elsewhere. Including due to the exploitation of labor.
The classics of political economy, in turn, run into the factor of the growth of productive forces, because without profit it is not very clear how to expand and intensify an enterprise. The first say that free competition is a natural limiter of profit, the second - that in a capitalist economy, the profit factor is one of the causes of crises, and only a transition to a new formation is able to use this factor effectively. But neither the Soviet nor the Chinese economic systems were able to bypass the issue of profit as such (and did not seek to). It was established and planned within the framework of general and sectoral plans for the development of the national economy.
With what care the Marxists dug the theory of value “to holes”, with the same ease monetarists brushed aside the discussion of questions of value in principle. The world went through many stages (often very bloody) on the way to a single market for goods, labor and capital, from stock exchange houses and trading companies to financial groups of the XNUMXth century, which made money on all participants in the Napoleonic wars at the same time, building a prototype of a united Europe. The world has created emission systems, from those based on precious denominations to systems on the mass of commodities and stock markets. And each of them worked for one task: creating added value for expansion and turning it into profit.
Pre-industrial societies accumulated gold, industrial society accumulated profits, post-industrial society of the late XX - early XXI centuries. learned to create this profit "out of thin air", to print and draw, but by doing so, the post-industrial financiers neutralized the very essence of profit. As a result, the profit was not needed today. For the largest owners of capital, the concept of profit has ceased to matter. She has ceased to be a driving force.
If earlier profit was a source of expanded reproduction, then the further we go into the XNUMXst century, the less important it is for this process. One can reasonably say, yes, it has ceased to be the driving force for this layer of “top” owners (beneficiaries), but for everyone else it has not gone anywhere as the main motivating factor. But after all, it is the beneficiaries who have the printing press in their hands and it is they who regulate the exchange rates for basic products (hydrocarbons, steel, wood, grain, etc.), to which all other commodity exchange operations are tied. They are the actual ultimate owners of the basic means of production, they also print a loan for themselves to expand their capacities, and they already give the consumer a loan, for which he buys from them for their money the goods produced by them.
In fact, the pool of beneficiaries today itself regulates for itself the real and nominal value of assets, while having unlimited access to financial resources. The question arises: what is the point in this situation for this pool in profit as such? Profit really becomes unnecessary. Your money supply is limited, in fact, by the fact that the players who are on a lower level just insistently want to get this very profit, but the final owners of the process are no longer interested in this.
This thesis, at first glance, is very controversial, but only at first glance. We see a lot of examples of the so-called venture financing, behind which there is no profit and real potential for market trading. Liberal teams are waving flags of similar projects with appeals: look how "there" are invested in development, how many investments are in innovation! Indeed, you look and think: how people care about the future! However, after analyzing these projects, you begin to understand that they are strictly divided into two unequal parts. One investor is engaged in substantive and serious work, the other is easily ready to write off. Nevertheless, both the one and the second part do not pursue the task of maximizing profit. Moreover, even financial institutions ceased to pursue this goal, those who for centuries derived income from the difference in exchange rates and from the issuance of loans. Since the end of the last century, the distribution of money has become the norm, rates are falling, and in a situation with a pandemic, the issuance of funds becomes almost free of charge.
An interesting problem arises: can the previously created institutions of global governance really work in such a situation? No, since they were created and conceived as centers for the formation of rules for the distribution of profits, as emission centers for the issuance of funds for subsequent profit. What institutions are needed? The answer will probably surprise: an analogue of the Soviet State Planning Commission. And this is the prototype of this "State Planning Commission" of the post-industrial type, we observed during the March meeting on oil prices.
It is unlikely that it will be a secret that even at the present stage of development of productive forces, only artificial inhibition of automation and robotization of production is the reason that the mass of jobs continues to be jobs themselves. For many years, both in the United States and in Europe, it has been easier to simply distribute funds to personal accounts than to fight for providing real employment for the population. The higher the level of the post-industrial economy, the higher the level of fictitious employment becomes. Yes, Russia is showing its unique features here, according to various estimates, our level of such “employment” ranges from 12% to 18% of the working-age population and continues to grow, although our economy has not even knocked at the door of a post-industrial society.
And in this situation, what should the beneficiaries of the economy do? In the post-industrial society, a lot of fictitious projects and fictitious jobs are created, in pre-industrial and industrial societies - overpopulation and real unemployment, since the level of world consumption has already reached its peak. No matter how many different "clubs" tried to work out mechanisms for distribution and regional economic equalization, none of the projects actually worked to the end, to the result.
In this regard, the transition from a society of profit to a society of distribution of benefits seems quite logical. Only now the criteria for access to benefits are gradually changing. Such a society moves from the ability to work and productivity to correct thinking, perception of the world, and correct activity in the information space. We are inevitably moving towards the fact that the criteria for assessing an individual will soon be based on his activities on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. Your position in life meets the criteria - there is access to benefits, distributed by levels, does not correspond - there is no access or it becomes limited. Look at the notorious OGE and USE. Pupils do not learn, they train to answer certain questions correctly and literally.
If you answer the questions correctly, you have access, if you think freely, you don't. Actually, all electronic platforms today are only engaged in collecting social information, processing it and developing access criteria. A huge experiment is being unfolded all over the world to control the mental activity of societies and individuals. Artificial intelligence is a means of a new system, post-industrial institutionalism, a society of general distribution, but the criteria and principles of this society, conceived by the beneficiaries of the economy, may turn out to be far from rosy.