Open Thinkering


Bauman on inequality and the logic of capital.


I’m going to present this without comment. It’s from Zygmunt Bauman’s recent interview that I quoted in a previous post.

Simon Dawes: And what do you make of the recent surge in interest in inequality, and the economic and environmental crises, that proposes de-growth, sustainable economies, post-capitalism or the continuing salience of communism as solutions to these problems?

Zygmunt Bauman: Poignantly and succinctly, the great Jose Saramago has already answered your question, pointing out that ‘people do not choose a government that will bring the market within their control; instead, the market in every way conditions government to bring the people within its control’ (2010).

I would say that the main, indeed ‘meta’, function of the goverment has become now to assure that is the meetings between commodities and the consumer, and credit issuers and the borrowers, that regularly take place (as with the government known to fight tooth and nail over every penny which the ‘underclass’, that is the ‘flawed (useless) consumers’, need to keep their bodies alive, but that now miraculously find hundred of billions of pounds or dollars to ‘re-capitalize the banks’, have recently proved; if proof were needed…)

Let me quote Saramago once more: ‘I would ask the political economists, the moralists, if they have already calculated the number of individuals who must be condemned to wretchedness, to overwork, to demoralization, to infantilization, to despicable ignorance, to insurmountable misfortune, to utter penury, in order to produce one rich person?

Image CC BY Francesco Fiondella

One thought on “Bauman on inequality and the logic of capital.

  1. Great quotes. Bauman is a great fan of José Saramago. That particular quote is from The Notebook, essentially the transcript of a blog he kept between September 2008 and August 2009 before his death in 2010 at the age of 87, about the age Bauman is now. Saramago referred to the internet as his ‘infinite page’. Rather polemically, Bauman has made the claim that the problem is not too many poor but too many rich!

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