The Delusions of Utopia
Gerrit Wiesmann and Chris Bryant write in The Financial Times about Berthold Huber, the head of Germany’s huge carworkers’ union, IG Metall. HERE
“A German union of dogma and pragmatism”
“The global crisis destroyed the intellectual foundation of the “recent type of shareholder-capitalism”, he says with quiet intensity. “No one believes in the selflessness of self-interest any more, in the invisible hand of the market, though to reduce Adam Smith to that is wrong.”
After some seconds of silence, he adds: “He was a highly moral person. I know, because I’m one of the few people to have read all of him.” …
He says that the performance of communism in East Germany compared to the performances of capitalism as far as the living standards and employment conditions of workers made a lasting impression on his outlook as a trade union leaders.
“That’s what finally convinced me one has to deal with real problems. It can’t be about forcing Utopias into existence, it has to be about shaping real life.”
I can concur with Berthold Huber’s observation from my limited experience of visits to East Germany in the early 1980s, and my comparatively more numerous trips to West Germany from the 1970s. Visions of so-called utopias, be they economic, political or religious, are mainly delusionary and they can sometimes be dangerous too.
I am pleased that Berthold Huber is wide-awake to the myth of “the invisible hand of the market” and what appears to be its supposed relationship to the “selflessness of self-interest”.
Now, why are we lumbered in Britain with trade union leaders imbued with a passion for Marxist-Trotskyist delusions about a coming revolutionary utopia leading to a better kind of socialist utopia than the one already failed in East Germany?