The market economy was born between 1650 and 1750. However, the current economic model was established by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, from the 1980s onward. Its imperatives were maximizing profit, competition and accumulation of capital.
Today, in all fields (such as automobiles, aviation and others) there is now room for only very large consortia. For example, there are only ten oligarchies in food consumption : Coca-Cola, Kraft, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Pepsico, Unilever, Kellog, Johnson & Johnson and General Mills.
Its main digital tools are markets, banks and networks that cease to massify and begin to branch out. This model reacts to a logic of « always more » : always more dreams = always more needs = always more consumption.
Make the economy a servant, not a mistress.
Yves Leclerc, Redo the world.
God made commerce lawful and usury illegal.
Hervé Philippe. La Tribune, octobre 2011
The only dreams now allowed are dreams of wealth, conquests or domination.
When they have cut the last tree, polluted the last creek, caught the last fish, then they will see that money is not eaten.
Sitting Bull, spiritual guide of the Lakota tribe.
Some reference points
1792 First great « modern » financial crisis.
1825 Crisis that forces the creation of big banks.
1854 Crisis demanding a New world organization.
1907 Creation obliging the creation of the Federal Reserve.
1929 Great economic crisis.
1933 New Deal of F. R. Rooseveld.
1936 General Theory of John Maynard Keynes.
1942 Project Manhattan (Vannevar Bush): birth of the US military-industrial complex and the atomic weapon.
1944 Bretton Woods Agreement and the beginning of the Thirty Glorious Years.
1957 American Express, first plastic credit card.
1975 Invention of stock options.
1980 The economy sees productivity multiplied by the arrival of microcomputers.
1990 The fall of the Berlin Wall, the triumph of American capitalism and the emergence of the concept of a New Economic Order.
1995 Adoption by the industrialized countries of the Internet.communication protocol. Long-term goal : make the global market free of duty in 2015.
2000 Implosion of the stock market bubble, then the dot-com speculative bubble and the beginning of accounting scandals (Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia, etc.)
2008 Subprime crisis caused by major financial consortia.
2012 The G20 replaces the G8, now regarded as a wealthy club.
The crisis of 2008 was therefore under preparation for more than thirty years, during which the culture of savings and thrift by citizens was replaced by a culture of credit centered on consumption and short term thinking. This in turn has created and supports a culture of generating waste.
Debt has become a real sword of Damocles.
Today, several researchers propose new approaches: a green capitalism or an ecological Keynesianism (for example). These approaches really do not seek to change the existing dominant model, rather only to ‘improve’ it.
We live in a world in which four economies co-exist :
The Real Economy
Companies that generate real money with real utility value; the sum of the GDP of all States.
The Virtual Economy
Financial exchanges that speculate. It is this financialization of the real economy that has recently bypassed the latter.
The Pirate Economy
Undeclared work, bribes, counterfeits and tax evasion.
The Mafia Economy
Illicit trafficking (drugs, weapons, online gambling and prostitution).
In major crises (as we now face) the pirate and mafia economies become more important than the real economy, thus distorting all or most of the analyses of decision-makers.
The magic of the neoliberal market created over-centralization and its excesses imposed hierarchy, uniformity and monopolies on citizens. The utopia of endless growth for a society organized as a business ensured a preoccupation with profitability based solely on the consume-throwaway model.
This model of « Always-More » has generated two major problems : it has not redistributed wealth equitably (rich people make less than 15% of the population) and its unbridled growth has destroyed too many natural systems.
It is not a matter of questioning the existence of markets or profits, only their hegemony.
This is the end of a growth model that was considered to be infinite but cannot function in a finite world.
From the year 2000 on the big banks entered a phase of excess financialization. This financialization has developed an unbridled capitalism and in turn has created a globalization of indifference. These institutions felt they were too big to go bankrupt, so demanded to be rescued by the state (see the rescue orchestrated by Obama in 2008). For example, the bursting of the housing bubble in the United States made more than $8 trillion evaporate.
Several premises :
- Free trade necessarily increases welfare (?)
- Markets spontaneously lead to efficiency (?)
- Trickle-down economy ultimately benefits all members of society (?)
- Banking secrecy is necessary for economic efficiency (?)
The responses to the irritants of the current model were clearly identified at the G20 meeting in April 2009 in London :
- increase financial regulation ;
- modify executive compensation ;
- eliminate tax havens ;
- supervise rating agencies.
The economy is always a matter of trust.
Jeremy Rifkin, 2006.
Economic results that promoters were not expecting
The current transition from industrial society to a knowledge-based society took place in three stages. The short-term economic strategies of Internet 1 and 2 have not yielded the long-term expected benefits:
With Internet 1
Digital culture alters the office, factory and store in the name of productivity.
With Internet 2
The digital culture settles in the home and dematerializes objects of communication like the book, the disc, the newspaper and the film. User are no longer obliged to physically obtain them at the store.
With the Internet 3 (after 2020?)
Digital culture will reach the individual wherever s/he is ; It will feature the ability to buy products and content from the Cloud.
In stage 1, the model of product and customer massification promised to create an accumulation of profits, which are then globalized in stage 2. With the third stage, the model of economic development (2008) is brought into question. In fact, the model has stimulated economic activity so unevenly that it has led to enormous imbalances and a widening gap between people and countries :