The European Tribune is a forum for thoughtful dialogue of European and international issues. You are invited to post comments and your own articles.
Please REGISTER to post.
His whole concept of society and the economy is somewhat outdated. Jaures sees a society of rentiers and owner-capitalists vs. everyone else. However, even when he when he was writing the modern professional and managerial classes were beginning to emerge, and today are at least as important as the other two wealthy groups.
But it feels like the left has given up on changing society. Is this idea done for?
I certainly hope so, at least in the terms we're talking about here. Every attempt to completely eliminate the private economy has ended badly. On the other hand the social market model of postwar Western Europe created a very good society - not perfect, but quite good in spreading prosperity to most of the population. Why would anybody in their right mind support something which has always failed when there's a good alternative that has worked. You might say that socialism has never been done the right way, perhaps. But how does that differ from the radical neo-liberals who argue that the full blown, completely unfettered market economy would bring prosperity and happiness to all, if only it were done the right way?
Incidentally, I'm not sure why you view Jaures' concept emphasis on the nation here as completely outdated. He is simply saying that given that the fundamental unit of political organization is the nation state, one has to work within that structure. Present day Europe is different due to the EU, and international organizations like the WTO and the IMF play an important role in imposing and regulating socio-economic systems, but even now the individual nation-states remain very important, particularly outside the EU. Jaures' emphasis on the nation is thus only partially anachronistic, just as in the case of his view of the upper class as made up of owner-capitalists and rentiers.
the modern professional and managerial classes were beginning to emerge, and today are at least as important as the other two wealthy groups.
It doesn't mean the analysis has to chang much. The wealthy professional class (law and medecine, essentially) gets its wealth through monopoly conditions by limiting the number of members, and being necessary means of living.
As for the management, its lower rungs are now becoming part of the working class, if not of its poorest parts (at least in France), whereas higher management has been coopted by the owning class.
On the other hand the social market model of postwar Western Europe created a very good society - not perfect, but quite good in spreading prosperity to most of the population. Why would anybody in their right mind support something which has always failed when there's a good alternative that has worked.
Firstly, even the social market model failed to put democracy in the workplace, although some attempts were made of union participation in management - that's quite an important problem, prosperity is not democracy.
Secondly, that model, which existed and prospered after WWII, has practically disappeared in most of the world. Labor markets are being unregulated, national public services are privatised, etc... Much of that model was set up thanks to the pressures of socialist and communist forces, and the fear of revolution. Now that this alternative doesn't exists, the world is getting back to the unregulated free market model of the 19th and early 20th century, which has actually already failed twice.
A little bit of French history - after WWII, the various French Resistance groups met and decided on a few things that would be part of the French system. Everybody, from communists to Gaullists, participated in reaching that consensus - Social Security, progressive taxation, nationalisation of public utilities... The goal of a different society was necessary in creating that model. (I'd be interested in learning how that model was reached in other countries...)
Now, noone seriously rejects the market-based approach, and it seems going back to the post-WWII social democracy is hard.
Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by Frank Schnittger - May 31
by Oui - May 30 42 comments
by Frank Schnittger - May 23 3 comments
by Frank Schnittger - May 27 3 comments
by Oui - May 13 66 comments
by Oui - Jun 55 comments
by Oui - Jun 253 comments
by Oui - Jun 112 comments
by Oui - May 3172 comments
by Frank Schnittger - May 31
by Oui - May 3042 comments
by Frank Schnittger - May 273 comments
by Oui - May 2738 comments
by Oui - May 24
by Frank Schnittger - May 233 comments
by Oui - May 1366 comments
by Oui - May 928 comments
by Oui - May 450 comments
by Oui - May 312 comments
by Oui - Apr 30273 comments
by Oui - Apr 2662 comments
by Oui - Apr 8107 comments
by Oui - Mar 19145 comments