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Theoretical and Applied Economics
No. 10 / 2010 (551)

The Orient's Inneism

„The birth (and rebirth) of capitalism in the Orient resembles a child gifted by the gods to experience all the crises of growing up, together with meeting his school chores and the obligations of being the unique heir of the paternalist tradition.”

The experience of post-communist countries in approximating the pro-capitalist path has, essentially, the consistency of an experiment. Simply by referring to the developments structured on a theory contained in the Washington Consensus, witnessing the condition of the transformations is easy.

There is no doubt that the imprint of this theory, founded on excessively idealized assumptions which are fundamentalist in regard to the societal system, did not configure a reality in accordance with the historical layout of capitalist society - as it has naturally evolved in the past three centuries. To the point, the experiment insinuated itself in the void between the expectations generated by the abstract vision - with ingredients of functional Utopia belonging to the Washingtonian pattern of transition - and the reality formed by the long-term existence of the competition for resources, statuses and institutions.

It is known that the temptation for the extremes of attitude, specific to societal experiments, does not change anything per se, except maybe the mathematical sign of the convictions of public discourse. The proof of this is the behavior which gives away the conditioned reflex of changing the dependency on one geographical direction with the other geographical direction. Change is formal, plain and simply, because what is considered to be the strong suggestion of the post-communist transition theory - the independence to act, behave, feel and decide - does not appear.

The theory of post-communist transition has been contaminated, frankly speaking, by what was supposed to be the theory of post-capitalist transition: the dialectic and historical materialism, through its propagandistic phalanx known as scientific socialism, the miraculous force to change the world. The post-communist experiment has in fact, still, another utopian determination, on top of the utopian determination of communism. This experiment is, due to the double determination, the very illusion of the radical and absolute change itself.

History's arguments tell that both in the interrupted phase of capitalism (by way of revolution or geopolitical arrangement) as well as in the one restarted by the post-communist transition, the specific performance of normal, uninterrupted evolution has not been attained - an evolution centered on the concept of capital, as it has happened in the Occident.

The more than a century's delay of the capitalist transformation in the Orient (both the European as well as the Asian one), interrupted by the few decades of the experiment of communist occupation, has implemented a mechanism meant to shorten the path towards wealth. But this mechanism, which is specific to the effervescence of the periphery, has short-circuited the moral element of the social context, as it has liquefied the norms-generating structures.

To be direct, this is the natural effect of inventing the agents of change out of nothing, both with regard to the alignments of freedom, as well as with regard to the management of property.

Ironically, the explanation gathers meaning if we compare the birth (which has always been a rebirth) of capitalism in the Orient with that of a child gifted by the gods with experiencing all the diseased of childhood, together with meeting his school obligations, as well as those of being the single living heir of the paternalist tradition. Here lies the core of the ineluctability of the experimental characteristic of the transition, which can be found - implacably - in the means and goals implied as well as in the societal finality.

Apparently paradoxical, this statement expresses the double essence of the -somewhat integrative of intercultural sensibilities - order, centered on the final cause in the Occident and on the absolute essence in the Orient. Resorting to the collectivist reflexes of the Oriental meme while running a scenario built on the Occidental individualism meme has led inevitably to a Malthusian pre-capitalism instead of a functional capitalism. The observable result is, thus, part of the category of societal constructions which pre-configure capitalism through reformed social agents which stimulate its development by redistributing common property for no equivalent value, toward clan-like structures.

It is obvious that from an exclusively Occidental point of view, the situating and the situation of the Orient are precarious. But what is also evident is the Orient's answer to the Occident's claimed winning choice: causal simplification unites material wealth with spiritual poverty. The explicit accusation is about the excess of externalization in the name of an efficient materialism which annihilates man and about the centripetal accumulation of wealth which draws its proportions from the poverty centrifuged into a periphery which covers increasingly more human space.

Expectedly, the societal Orient tries to remain equally distant from determinations and targets, persisting in a perpetual experiment because it does not opt definitively for one ideological vision or the other. The Orient murmurs continuously, as if coming out of a trance, that the choice belongs to the human nature and not to the ideologies.

What is unsettling is the fact that the measure of all things is to be found between the absolute essence of the Orient - in which fulfillment is, paradoxically, possible through renunciation, and the final cause - fixed by the Occident in wealth, where fulfillment is exclusive and, paradoxically, against nature.


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The Orient's Inneism
Marin Dinu

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