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Metamorphosis of Values Beyond Capitalism: War Economy and Democratic Planning

In the face of the unfolding planetary catastrophe, how can we establish a more egalitarian and sustainable society through a democratically structured “war economy” and a corresponding new notion of freedom and progress?

Metamorphosis of Values Beyond Capitalism: War Economy and Democratic Planning

In the face of the unfolding planetary catastrophe, how can we establish a more egalitarian and sustainable society through a democratically structured “war economy” and a corresponding new notion of freedom and progress?

ABOUT

We are heading towards a planetary catastrophe with full speed. Free markets, economic growth, and technological progress, once supposed to be rational, efficient, and emancipatory, now threaten human civilization. In 1919, Otto Neurath rejected the “pseudorationality” of a market economy, arguing for the need to install a “war economy” not based on monetary exchange. In addition to pandemics, inflation, and wars which also characterized Neurath’s time, we are witnessing a climate crisis which accelerates the polycrisis. The Anthropocene therefore calls for new concrete visions to overcome the “pseudorationality” of the current system.

In the face of the polycrisis, neoliberal market fundamentalism is no longer acceptable, and correspondingly, there is an increasing demand for radically rethinking conventional values such as “market freedom” and “eternal economic growth.”

The war economy in the Anthropocene puts forward two antitheses against the capitalist optimism: “planning” and “degrowth.”

The obvious dilemma arises due to the incompatibility between the bottom-up and horizontal approach of degrowth and the top-down approach of economic planning under the war economy. In order to overcome this dilemma, this research program explores the rich but marginalized tradition of degrowth, socialism, ecofeminism, and post-development.

By drawing on various forms of democratic planning in theory and practice, we aim to explore new avenues of value creation for social well-being that go against and beyond the capitalist concept of value as endless profit maximization. We will work along three dimensions:

  1. how is it possible to secure and even deepen democracy under war economy?
  2. how can social and individual freedom flourish despite the obvious necessity to strictly follow social and ecological planning?, and
  3. what would prosperity and development mean in life after capitalism?
PROGRAM CHAIR
PROGRAM CHAIR

Kohei Saito
University of Tokyo


Kohei is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Tokyo. He received his PhD from Humboldt University in Berlin. He works on ecology and political economy from a Marxist perspective. His latest bestseller, Capital in the Anthropocene, has been credited with inspiring a resurgence of interest in Marxist thought throughout Japan. Due to his desire to continue his research on post-capitalism and the Anthropocene, he felt the need to interact with theories and practices that are rapidly developing in Europe, especially in Germany, as a response to the deepening of the climate and economic crises.

Curatorial Note
Curatorial Note

Jan Hoeft, Processes, 2022, Courtesy of the artist

n Jan Hoeft's "Processes 2022," a sprawling 42-meter installation of traffic signs, intricate pathways of arrows intersect and intertwine, inviting contemplation on the multifaceted dynamics of our society. Numerous hands engage with these arrows, guiding, restraining, and accompanying their trajectory - a visual metaphor for the complex evolution of ideas and emotions. Through this monumental work, Hoeft encapsulates the paradoxical nature of contemporary existence, where order and disorder coalesce, mirroring the complex socio-economic landscape we seek to decipher and transform.

Art

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