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Translated Tuesday 30 April 2019, by Hervé Fuyet


Friday, February 1, 2019
By Marie -Jean Sauret

Do an experiment.

Place a banknote on a table and come back later: it is more than likely that it will have succumbed to someone’s greed for yet one more euro. Money does no labor. So why do we tolerate billions stagnating in the stock market? Because they are said to support the real economy? But how, since the billions never leave the stock market - except to go to another one? Where do the interests of speculation come from, except from work? There is only work that produces wealth and added value.

The capitalist cannot stand any decline in asset value : but when a stock falls, it does not necessarily mean that the owner loses money, only that he makes less profit on money that is used only to earn money through speculation. To compensate for this, it is not only necessary to produce more, but of course also necessary to consume more. To consume more, you need more money. A coherent system would connect production to consumption. However, capitalism has less and less confidence in the consumption of the middle classes since it punishes them, and bets on their indebtedness (speculation!) and on the overconsumption of the rich (this last is limited: it is difficult to eat, to dress, to heat... twice as much as the wealthy already do). Taking money from finance is not the way forward: but by producing more or as much, but with fewer employees and by cutting back on the cost of reproducing work - this is the way forward. Low wages and unemployment are adjustment variables. The shareholder takes precedence over the employee. If this is not enough, the PLAs and the ISS are abolished, the benefits are cancelled: austerity is imposed on those who have little and they are forced to pay for the richest. While the government is reluctant to give purchasing power to the poorest (which would benefit businesses), funds are being released for businesses. This is a demonstration of the fact that governments have put politics at the service of finance and the rich. But it also proves that politics could play the opposite role.

The rich benefit from public services that they do not want to finance, but which they condescend to offer to the working classes. Not only are these services manufactured by workers, provided by civil servants and employees, but their sustainability is guaranteed by their direct and indirect taxes. The rich also want access to good television programmes, interesting literature, good music, etc. And yet, apart from a few on the fringe, artists see their status as intermittent performers challenged: no small profits for the wealthy.

The theory of runoff does not flow from the top down, the top sucks up all the wealth from the bottom, including cultural wealth! It is from this logic that the gilets jaunes - the yellow vests - are the symptom. Everyone knows the story of the man who loads his donkey with rice and who cannot resist the temptation to make him carry more and more: he is surprised to see him fall under the weight of a single additional grain of rice, forgetting the load he crushed him with. How can we understand this mortal logic without recognizing the lust for MORE, the submission to the greed of the superego (" GET! "), without finally becoming enslaved to the death drive? Because it is the same logic that makes it better to accumulate a grain of rice of additional wealth than to spend one euro on the ecological rescue of the planet, to facilitate the investment of money than to welcome a fugitive, to die of obesity rather than to fight hunger and poverty, in short, to devote oneself to absolutely all the financial, material and sexual predations.

Marie -Jean Sauret

Psychoanalyst and author

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