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In fact, a pan­dem­ic such as this one is the fatal test for the entire ratio­nale behind neolib­er­al­ism. It puts a brake on what cap­i­tal­ism requires be kept in a con­stant fre­net­ic move­ment” wrote Frédéric Lordon.

In my own way I could have writ­ten that this coro­n­avirus def­i­nite­ly emp­ties the mar­kets more sure­ly than the fre­net­ic moves of an unfor­tu­nate can­di­date at the Parisian munic­i­pal elec­tions. It would be less serious…But do we need to say any more on this at the moment?

This sen­tence by Frédéric Lor­don could fig­ure in the game of pick-up-sticks I’ve begun in this ongo­ing column.

Read the preceding article: 
1 • The coronavirus also serves as a social revealer


2• The financial bubble boosts the effect of the virus

Here also, a “nev­er again” was spo­ken in 2008.

And dur­ing the 12 years that fol­lowed, the uncou­pling of the real econ­o­my from the finan­cial sec­tor became even more of a fea­ture of glob­al­iza­tion. Greece, among oth­ers, suf­fered to the core from the EU’s finan­cial pol­i­cy when, in 2011, then in 2012, the EU rein­forced the “Euro­pean Bud­getary Pact”. Finan­cial dog­mas, both those of com­pe­ti­tion and those of a rul­ing Mar­ket, just as those imposed on States order­ing them to “trim the fat” off their expens­es, these were the heirs of 2008 in Europe.

At the same time, the clear­ing of prof­it mar­gins based on exist­ing eco­nom­ic dif­fer­en­tials at the world lev­el accel­er­at­ed and boost­ed even more the glob­al­iza­tion and “fre­net­ic move­ment” Lor­don mentions.

Ten years lat­er, “the Mar­kets” – best described as the tip of the ice­berg of glob­al­ized finance — had recouped their loss­es, at the expense of pub­lic infra­struc­tures, notably, and to the great sat­is­fac­tion of the cap­i­tal­ist mar­ket. The phrase “col­lec­tivize debts and pri­va­tize ben­e­fits” was applied to the hilt. To such an extent that many econ­o­mists expect­ed a new neg­a­tive reac­tion from the finan­cial mar­kets, one of those bursts of the bub­ble the cap­i­tal­ist sys­tem knows so well since it car­ries with­in itself all of the ini­tial con­tra­dic­tions that may lead to its downfall.

To sim­pli­fy the world-wide sit­u­a­tion in 2020, one can sim­ply say that the coro­n­avirus has for­ward­ed the date on a latent finan­cial cri­sis, and arrives in a world con­text where the mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism between States, as pos­si­ble “ratio­nal­i­ty of the sys­tem” has dis­ap­peared with the with­draw­al of the 1st world pow­er and its launch of an eco­nom­ic war against the world, start­ing with Chi­na. This is a thor­ough­ly sim­pli­fied panora­ma, but it is use­ful in order to under­stand how a coro­n­avirus that moves one of the sticks in the game threat­ens the totality.

Of course, the finan­cial mass­es which neolib­er­als call “investors” and that we must char­ac­ter­ize as “annu­ity con­fis­ca­tors” are pan­ick­ing even if they already knew full well they could not dou­ble their invest­ments indefinitely.

While con­sump­tion of pan­golins falls, the world trade mar­kets are at one anoth­er’s throats…For visu­al con­tent, let’s add a bar­rel and an oil field. You will get the picture.

The great glob­al tur­moil, ini­tia­tor of wealth now cough­ing a bit and one of the coun­tries allow­ing the upheaval step­ping back, the price of fos­sil ener­gies suf­fers the con­se­quences, know­ing that the eco­nom­ic com­pe­ti­tion between pro­duc­ing coun­tries, includ­ing the Unit­ed States, no longer has a price ref­er­ee who can reg­u­late the game. This coro­n­avirus did­n’t show any fair­play in wait­ing a bit for India, Viet­nam, Africa even to grab the relay stick on dif­fer­en­tial prof­it. Finance is worried.

Don’t expect me to com­ment on the redemp­tion of cen­tral banks’ debts, the cat­a­stroph­ic reliance on fresh­ly print­ed mon­ey. Don’t expect from me speech­es either on the after where “every­thing will no longer be like it was before”, since there were “no alter­na­tive”. One can only expect that cap­i­tal­ism, act­ing like a wolf against humans, will seek and undoubt­ed­ly find yet anoth­er tem­po­rary exten­sion, by cob­bling togeth­er some of its crises, once again. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the cli­mate cri­sis will not cease with a tem­po­rary improve­ment on CO2 emissions.

Undoubt­ed­ly, it is more urgent to attempt a look at how the “States” in dis­ar­ray are becom­ing both deci­sion­ary struc­tures towards which every­one turns, so ded­i­cat­ed are they to obscur­ing or set­ting aside their pub­lic poli­cies on health, while becom­ing the cen­ter of future and cur­rent respons­es as finan­cial ser­vices, under cov­er of “main­tain­ing activity”.

You don’t re-invent yourself.

Read the fol­low­ing article

Illus­tra­tion: Street art appeared on the walls of Nantes

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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Daniel Fleury
Let­tres mod­ernes à l’Université de Tours. Gros mots poli­tiques… Coups d’oeil politiques…