Do We Oppose the Anomalies of Capitalism or Capitalism Itself?


Q. Can you comment on increased public outrage regarding acts of corruption and strivings towards achieving what is considered normal functioning of the capitalist system?

A. The question is: Do we oppose the anomalies of capitalism or capitalism itself?  Corruption is vastly overrated.  Of course, it can reach proportions in which even the normal functioning of capitalist so-called democracy is made impossible, but that is exception.  The fact is that most of the oppressive, intolerable, unjust, unfair rules we have to submit to are in the public domain: official and public acts of national parliaments, international bodies, courts of law, public agreements between various institutional actors, and so on and so forth.  To disseminate the idea that our problem, including crises, is due to some secret, invisible factor, be that anything, is very dangerous, not only because of fascist paranoia, which of course is there, but also because it’s wrong, because it’s simply wrong.  What we have to oppose is not some extraordinary, occult, new power but the power structures that exist.  What we are opposed to are governments and armies and courts and police forces and international banks and the UN and the WTO and the IMF and the World Bank and the European Union and so on.  All these are perfectly legal and out-in-the-open public institutions.  There’s no secret.

Gáspár Miklós Tamás is a public intellectual in Hungary.  This interview was conducted in Zagreb during the conference on “The Future of Europe” (13-19 May 2012).  The text above is an edited partial transcript of the interview.