Alfred Gusenbauer

20.03.2013. Пленарная дискуссионная панель I «Кризис рыночного фундаментализма в мире и России. Рождение новых ориентиров»

Cheers, the moderator is Ruslan Grinberg, director of the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Grinberg: I would like to give the floor to a person who was only recently was the chancellor of Austria Alfred Gusenbauer, whose name I have already mentioned today. I would like to say that he’s one of the leaders of the world’s social democracy, vice-president of the social and national. For me it is a great honor that he consented to be in our meeting today. We have known each other for quite a long time. And I would like to emphasize that these days we see, I believe who effect that during for the left politically and economically — Barack Obama and Orlan. And I believe that Germany will also see elections, this year we should confirm this suggestion. But I know that Alfred Gusenbauer, the GDP per capita in Austria exceeded, and Austria exceeded Germany in GDP. And it was a great success, of course, by the chancellor, of course. You have the floor.

Gusenbauer: Thank you very much. It’s a great pleasure to share this presidium with such prestigious thinkers and practitioners of business and economy, like my friend Vladimir Yakunin. And as I only have a limited time, please, allow me to be very, let’s say, focused on some of the issues, that I think are important. First of all...

Grinberg: You can make this second intervention after the old. Fantastic! That’s...

Gusenberg: That’s very generous! I’m sorry — generous. First of all, why does this capitalism not work anymore? Classic capitalism was based on the externalization of costs from the Northern hemisphere to the Southern hemisphere. And as soon as we switched into an economy of globalization, this externalization of costs does not work anymore. And the remarkable ideological tragedy that is happening right now is that we all know that this recipe does not work anymore, and the prescriptions that are delivered to the economies and to the countries around the world are that we all should do the same. And what is these prescriptions that are now offered to countries — we all should produce current account surplices which is the general recipe in order to help your economy to come out of the crises.

I think this is a very interesting proposal, because it leads the economic debate to, it transforms the economic debate to a mythological debate. Because the fundamental suggestion behind the proposal that we all should produce, current account surplices must be that there is life in economy behind the globe. So that there should exist the possibility that we are going to export to the Moon or to the Mars or another planet. Which I think is rather interesting that the protagonists of this near-liberal model do not understand what is the consequence of their proposal. The consequence is their proposal only works if there is life behind our planet, which at least until now is not proved yet.

The second thing is I do not believe in the ultimate truth. And I do not believe that anybody has found a solution to all our problems. This is why I’m strongly in favor of heresy I’m strongly in favor of the social experiment that people, countries and economies around the world have to try to do their best in order to achieve goals that are valued by their society. And what are such goals? Such goals are of course full employment. Such goals are certain social justice in your society. Such goals are equal opportunities for everybody in the society and there are many more. And there is no formula that is valid for all the countries in the world. But I think history help us that there have been more and less successful political projects.

And I’m not here today as the chief propagandist of social democracy. But let’s face it, if you look, for instance, to those parts of the world that have the longest social democrat practice of government which are the Scandinavian countries, you will recognize that following some of these criteria, they are the most successful countries on Earth what concerns the level of employment, what concerns the level of social justice, what concerns the level of education and health care. And what also concerns the readiness of people to engage in a society and to produce social solidarity.

There is of course the downside that I do not want to neglect. There is always the danger that the social democrat wealth state is becoming too paternalistic. There is always the danger of the bureaucratization. There is always of the danger of the inside and outside phenomena. So there are a lot of the downsides too. But if we are looking at the history of the 20th century at least due to my understanding and not only to mine — no social experiment has been more successful than that.

And I want to go back to my friend Led Ta Mojad who said that in the history civilization in his understanding nothing more successful than the social democrat wealth state has been established which does not mean that this can be taken as a formula all around the world. But the same ideas that have taken root in the Scandinavian countries and some other parts of Europe and has taken route in Brazil and in other places around the world where the concrete practice of social transformation of course takes a different feature. But the leading idea behind is to transform the capitalist-dominated market economy into a socially-dominated or co-dominated market economy.

And let me make the final point on that. Over the decades social justice was an additional political goal, in addition to economic, effective, in addition to GPD growth, etc and etc. And that has changed. Nowadays social justice is fundamental pre-requisite for economic success. Because social justice only means that there will be additional demand that is more wide-spread and more socially distributed all around the world.

And I come back to what Te Mojad said: without demand that is coming from the people there is no rescue of the economy.