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Read the preceding articles:
1• The coronavirus also acts as a social revealer
2• The financial bubble boosts the effect of the virus
3• And since the State insists on keeping a hand in


4• Anticipate, anticipation …find the coronavirus

In the mouth of a polit­i­cal leader these days, the verb “to antic­i­pate” about the coro­n­avirus is either a pho­ny excuse, or a lie, or a talk­ing point used to hide detri­men­tal antic­i­pa­tions on an upcom­ing future.

For cen­turies already, the cap­i­tal­ist world has nev­er antic­i­pat­ed any­thing oth­er than its ben­e­fits, and has arranged mat­ters in such a way as to keep labor­ing human­i­ty with its head suf­fi­cient­ly above water to go on breathing.

I know, pro­nounc­ing that dirty word of “cap­i­tal­ism” is old fash­ioned and shows my age…

Would you rather I wrote “glob­al­iza­tion of exchanges”, “mar­ket econ­o­my”, lib­er­al eco­nom­ic sys­tem”, “the world of free and unbi­ased com­pe­ti­tion”, or any­thing else of the sort, in one of a num­ber of less “dat­ed” periphrases? But why should I put a mask on what finan­cial and eco­nom­ic actors them­selves call by its right­ful name, as if a cer­tain Cap­i­tal had once con­vinced them and seen through their disguises?

I don’t think I need explain to Kedis­tan read­ers that the Stal­in­ist expe­ri­ence con­tributed as much to cap­i­tal­ism and to the surge of its glob­al­iza­tion than did two world wars, by crush­ing peo­ples, destroy­ing all human con­science, and mak­ing an ad nau­se­am farce of polit­i­cal parlance.

As I said, this cap­i­tal­ist world has always man­aged its inner con­tra­dic­tions through crises, col­o­niza­tions, wars, mar­ket krachs and accel­er­at­ed proletarization…It has com­pen­sat­ed its labor crises by var­i­ous tricks, from slav­ery, oh yes, to “social habi­tat”. It even put up with class war­fare when that seemed indis­pens­able to its sur­vival. The his­to­ry of the labor move­ment is filled with regressions/social gains…of which we can­not say if they were a per­ma­nent vic­to­ry, an achieve­ment con­quered through strug­gles or a “reform nec­es­sary” to the sys­tem’s survival.

So, has­n’t the time come to de-con­fine ideas? Faced with the fears being dis­tilled, has­n’t the moment come to try to under­stand what has tak­en hold of over one third of human­i­ty to the point of hold­ing it frozen and hov­er­ing above itself?

I don’t think Enki Bilal will resent my bor­row­ing an image from his 2019 album “Bug”.

Read­ing it, you will see that it deals a bit with our top­ic, but as a “nov­el of antic­i­pa­tion”. This is the name giv­en to this lit­er­ary genre, pur­port­ing to clas­si­fy books inside libraries…

This image came to my mind along with that of drones that wish us well.

We have antic­i­pat­ed the san­i­tary crisis.

We have been prepar­ing for a good while for this eventuality.

The objec­tive is to antic­i­pate the curve.

The gov­ern­ment had antic­i­pat­ed the risk of shortages.

Antic­i­pat­ing the eco­nom­ic cri­sis requires urgent and deroga­to­ry measures…

I inter­rupt the selec­tion here and spare you the actors spew­ing these words on the flat screen.

But take heart, I can see it, the dawn­ing antic­i­pa­tion.
It does­n’t wear a mask in fact, even where there are no short­ages of them.

With a Don­ald Trump or a Bol­sonaro, it even opens its mouth wide. And it rat­tles on about the Econ­o­my, and sav­ings, about labor and about finances. The same con­cerns are expressed by those who, up until this point, favored the Malthu­sian, qua­si Dar­win­ian hypoth­e­sis for the epi­dem­ic that would just nat­u­ral­ly fol­low its course. This con­cern takes the aspect of “emer­gency State mea­sures”, notably in France.

Yes, urged on by the recent finan­cial pan­ic, by the mew­ing from the Stock Mar­ket, by the rebirth of com­pe­ti­tion, States are begin­ning to antic­i­pate, and to under­stand that with their good old recipes for aus­ter­i­ty tem­porar­i­ly pushed aside, ways and means may be found to take advan­tage of the sit­u­a­tion in order to liq­ui­date social imped­i­ments, through long-term tem­po­rary mea­sures, like those old post-war wartime baracks still dot­ting the countryside.

Such is direct­ly the case in the field of rela­tion­sh­hips between finance, banks and the real economy.

We all know that the world cri­sis, of a finan­cial nature, in 2008, allowed for a Dar­win-like restruc­tur­ing and accel­er­at­ed the great world-wide move to “shar­ing of work” and hence, the exploita­tion of eco­nom­ic dif­fer­en­tials, mar­gins and ben­e­fits. If you exam­ine the curve of delocalizations/unemployment, you see that the 2008 virus, fought thanks to mas­sive bailouts for banks, the social­iza­tion of loss­es and the pri­va­ti­za­tion of prof­its took us to the brink of anoth­er poten­tial burst­ing of the bubble.

So, old reme­dies being applied to new prob­lems, we see emerg­ing the pro­file of a finan­cial antic­i­pa­tion that may very well put in the hands of the bub­ble and of the banks, that sec­tion of the real econ­o­my (a cap­i­tal­ist one, true enough) that was still mak­ing its own deci­sions on the “mar­ket” – you know, that cel­e­brat­ed “risk tak­ing by busi­ness­men”. In the same way as bank­ing mod­elled pro­duc­tivist agri­cul­ture through loans and aids with shack­les attached to them, we see the pro­file of sim­i­lar poli­cies at the core of the means of pro­duc­tion. Neolib­er­al­ism spins around, through State finan­cial poli­cies, with the banks tak­ing advan­tage of the cur­ren­cy print­ing press pro­vid­ing loans to the real econ­o­my. In those instances where States could nation­al­ize hold­ings, the fox of indebt­ed­ness will enter the chick­en coop. Advice and eco­nom­ic ori­en­ta­tions will fol­low, like pesticides…

From the game of pick-up sticks, we should also draw out the stick involv­ing social pro­tec­tions, those “givens” I men­tioned ear­li­er. From one exon­er­a­tion of pay­ment to anoth­er, because of the coro­n­avirus, from sick leave to post­pone­ments, from bil­lions on to more bil­lions, we can sim­ply won­der from were all those sud­den rich­es are sud­den­ly trick­ling down on us? What abysmal deficits will serve lat­er as rea­sons to “reform” this sys­tem and erad­i­cate the social virus from it?

Just a thought, on the spur of the moment, with no true hind­sight yet on the French-style announce­ments of anticipation.

Appar­ent­ly, we are told, div­i­dends would match those of the 2019 upturn. Freeze!

(To be continued).

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…