The ultimate salvation of Europe is in Russia

Capitalism is one of the greatest inventions of humanity because it brought unprecedented prosperity, innovation, and creativity. This proposition is the premise of Rebecca Henderson, a professor of Economics from Harvard Business School, to reinvent capitalism instead of rejecting it. In her book ' Reimagining capitalism in a world on fire,' she admits that capitalism has caused severe problems. Purely focusing on making money was catastrophic for the environment. Because the wealth that capitalism brought mainly goes to a minimal group, with the result that society is destabilized. Only one percent of the world's population has benefited enormously from the past half-century economic growth. Capitalism has not worked for 55 percent of the world's population. The difference between rich and poor continues to increase. Nevertheless, it must be recognized that hundreds of millions of people have escaped from extreme poverty, thanks to capitalism. In fifty years, the total monetary value of the world's gross domestic product (GDP) of goods and services produced has increased fivefold, while in the same period, the world's population has tripled.

According to Henderson, it is undeniable that more attention to employees' well-being, more respect for them, and higher wages lead to higher productivity. Besides, the new generation of young investors attaches great importance to environmentally friendly production and corporate social responsibility. For these reasons, it is essential to change traditional capitalism into capitalism aimed at a better world, that is, more attention to the environment, to social justice, and to institutions that work democratically. This new capitalism is no longer just about dividends from shareholders. Production and profits must also serve the interests of workers, suppliers, consumers, and society as a whole. Henderson calls companies that pursue these higher goals: 'Purpose driven compaPurpose-driven focus will lead to significant improvements in production and innovation, ensuring the long-term future of these companies. If not, we can expect much more social unrest and destruction of the environment.

Reinventing capitalism, for example, also means that the real costs of production are taken into account. The production of electricity with fossil fuels costs 5 cents per kWh, but at least 10 cents is added if we take all costs into account, including the climate and health consequences. Now we pay three times too little, and we pass it on to future generations.

Is there a chance that companies will transform on a large scale to create a new kind of capitalism? Henderson says she is not optimistic, but hopeful. People are very good at solving problems, we work very hard, and there are many action groups forcing companies to change. However, profound change depends on the collaboration between governments and businesses to commit to a new business model. The private initiative is certainly insufficient. This does not mean that a totalitarian system would be better able to make economic activities more humane, social, and responsible. Henderson absolutely believes in the power of a democracy that is transparent, attaches great importance to freedom of the press, permits unions, and where there is sufficient citizenship. According to her, there is no guarantee that it will work, but a one-sided focus on making money will inevitably destroy our planet. All those gloomy sounds of the last decades do not make us happier. How can we justify our behavior towards our children and grandchildren? Most adults are well aware of this and want to get rid of that gloom, which is why Rebecca Henderson remains hopeful.

Personally, I am neither optimistic nor hopeful but realistic. Not much can be expected from totalitarian regimes. In countries like India and the African countries, there is a small group of rulers who swim in money and will not give up their privileges. We are talking here about two-thirds of the world's population, of which we cannot expect a new course and with which we will go to damnation if no radical change occurs.

Also, the totalitarian leaders and those in power in the latter countries have the military means to control the population. The fact that a Lilliput country such as the Netherlands is taking environmental measures is touching, but ultimately useless, not even as an example, because the economic consequences can be so severe for us that this will be an argument for our big brothers to leave everything old. Après nous, le déluge.

The only real solution I can imagine lies in a strong Europe, becoming a new world power. But when is Europe strong? The EU is precisely a model of indecision and powerlessness. A strong Europe is a European Confederation that is extended to Russia and Israel. Russia has the military power to enforce the necessary measures. Israel is a laboratory for innovation and creativity. The European countries that now belong to the EU can monitor democracy throughout the confederation. If such a confederation comes about, then there is a reason to be hopeful and optimistic. The threats we are now facing and still facing will push European countries into the arms of Russia.

I was recently profoundly affected by a live broadcast of the dedication of a massive Russian Orthodox cathedral on a military site near Moscow. Impressive military displays accompanied this. Here is a vast country that has not denied its Christian roots. This can be the ultimate salvation for Europe.

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   © Juliaan Van Acker 2024