Monday, August 07, 2006

What They Teach in Germany


A lively piece by Stefan Thell in Newsweek, which he calls ‘Capitalist Manifesto’, and adds a somewhat clichéd play on a sentence from the Communist Manifesto (1848) by Marx and Engels: ‘A spectre is haunting Europe. It’s the gospel of free markets, loosed [!] from chains’.

The report he gives is somewhat worrying if true and not just the impressions of a few students. Dariani, 26-years, looks back on his school days from the vantage of his 25 employee Internet business and remembers his teachers a decade ago warning him and others of that the ‘market economy was a dangerous wilderness full of risk and bankruptcy’. German textbooks state that ‘entrepreneurs’ are to blame for unemployment, alcoholism, the Internet (!) and cell-phone ‘addiction’.

It’s not much better in France, Stefan reports. Economic growth ‘fosters stress, nervous depression, circulatory disease and even cancer’. If that is the case what does economic stagnation cause? Is unemployment good for you, after all? Why not go the whole hog, dismantle the developed economies and, apparently, improve the mental and physical health of people stuck in capitalist societies. I didn’t realise that the people of sub-Saharan Africa were not depressed, had no circulatory problems and were free from cancer, if they lived long enough to develop the disease.

Fortunately, local initiatives are fighting back in campaigns against the nonsense. ‘Their common goal’ is to make ‘sure the next generation of Europeans is less in tune with Karl Marx and more with Adam Smith.’

I’m pleased to hear that, though I wonder what evidence is needed after what the ideas of Karl Marx did to the mental and physical health (even the to lives of the millions who died at the hands of people repeating his mantras ad nauseum), plus the millions murdered by National Socialists and Corporate Fascists (led by an ex-socialist).


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