Mohamed El-Erian has published a piece in today’s Guardian entitled “Retreat from globalisation will destabilise the world economy“. I can’t help but comment on this because it was precisely neo-liberalism that constituted the unstable factor in globalisation and globalism. Neo-liberalism (in which I include neo-conservatism and neo-socialism as well) was an edifice erected upon a foundation of running water. Only the willfully blind could fail to see that it would inevitably implode on its own self-contradictions through a process I’ve frequently described as “ironic reversal”.
The destabilisation of the (neo-liberal) world economy signals the intensification of that “chaotic transition” that is the theme of The Chrysalis. But, at the same time, it might be considered the prelude to a transformation of the existing world economy into a truly planetary economy on a sounder basis than it is presently. Neo-liberal economics was always promiscuous in its disregard for limits.
The chief feature of the fascist dynamic is a process that, in the German historical context, was referred to as Gleichschaltung. Gleichschaltung (pronounced like “glykshaltung”) is a difficult word to translate into English. Literally, it means something akin to “like-switching”, but generally it describes how gears interlock and intermesh, like in the transmission of a car or as the power-train of the automobile (or a factory, for that matter). Gleichschaltung is literally, then, about turning everything into a “cog in the machine”. “Nazification” is often used as a synonym for Gleichschaltung, although that is not very accurate in my opinion. Both terms refer to a process of “totalitarian coordination” of all aspects of society with the State, although, in effect, the State is represented in the will of the Maximum Leader, which was called der Führerprinzip, and the “great personality” in whom the magic and mysticism of all-powerful “will” was made manifest. Hence Leni Riefenstahl’s famous film and Nazi propaganda “masterpiece” called “Triumph of the Will“.
I hope Chris Kutarna, co-author of The Age of Discovery, doesn’t mind my public posting of a private correspondence, but I thought that I would re-post something I wrote to Chris this morning, as a follow-up to our meeting earlier this month. It does, I think, express the central concerns of The Chrysalis in a nutshell.