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Exit Globalization, the Euro, or Exit Capitalism?

Translated Thursday 22 September 2011, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Bill Scoble

At the end of the debate on the evening of Sept. 17, at the Fête de l’Humanité, which was dedicated to globalization, I had the feeling that, to find ways out of the crisis, there has to be more discussion of the nature of today’s capitalism. As Jean-Marie Harribey of Attac said, it is less than ever the sum of national capitalisms, but rather a financialized and globalized system. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any regional or national roots, or that it isn’t supported by differentiated cultural areas. What follows from that is that our emancipatory struggles must themselves have a national, a regional, a European, and a world dimension.

This can be seen with regard to a question as essential as that of currency. Can you imagine that we can free ourselves of the dominance of the dollar by abandoning the euro? The United States manages to finance its system of technological and military domination thanks to other people’s money. The only reason they can get their hands on wealth produced elsewhere is because the dollar is the keystone of the international monetary system.

How is this stick-up done? American governmental power and private interests have merchandise and services delivered for which they pay on credit. They have thus accumulated an enormous private and governmental debt. These bonds are held in particular by China, Japan, and the oil-producing countries. The only thing that holds the system together is the fact that, for these countries, ceasing to finance that foreign debt would amount to seeing their enormous accumulated dollar reserves devalued considerably and to seeing the international monetary system collapse.

In Europe, the big private interests dared to upset this hegemony by trying to set up their own as well. That’s the meaning of the “strong” euro policy. It is a matter of establishing an over-valued exchange rate for the euro in order to attract foreign investment, too. But the stronger the euro, the weaker the welfare state. This competition is ruinous for Europe and its peoples, who are losing jobs and resources.

Could we get with a devalued franc what we have not been able, for the moment, to get with the euro – the end of this dollar domination? It would be better to form a coalition with the other peoples of Europe, to use that collective force to back up the demands of the emerging countries, notably of China, which are looking for a different common world currency and are trying to form alliances in order to make international monetary relations secure.

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