Stairway to "Postcapitalism": Meeting the new Karl Marx

Here comes the new Karl Marx. Paul Mason approaches me with dynamic steps and takes his seat with a humble laughter. His mission is: fight capitalism and replace it until 2050 by "Postcapitalism". His aim: save the planet from the vicious neoliberal powers that destroy the planet and our democracies. But somehow - his book made me angry. And I tell him so. Because your vision, Paul, is just a fucking dream. 

Paul Mason, english economy journalist

"I come from a working class background. My father and grandfather were miners. We saw the destruction of a working class way of life that could not coexist with modern capitalism. I grew up in a society with working class solidarity. I know a society is possible where people collaborate."

So far, so true: With his british countrytown accent he sounds like a working class leader from Manchester capitalism. But Naomi Klein is wrong when she calls him a successor of Marx. He looks much more like a mixture of Thomas Mann and Walt Disney's Big Bad Wolf Zeke. And then - his hero is Ferdinand Lassalle. The godfather of social democracy, the ancestor of Willy Brandt und Helmut Schmidt.  

"I am revolutionary reformist, I call myself a social democrat but a radical one. This is the future. The german social democratic needs to understand this because it's not very radical. I started to ask myself: Is there a link between this rapid technological revolution we're going through and the stagnation of the economy. And that's the thesis of my book: Of course there is a link. The future economy doesnt have any value in the information technology."

Paul Mason believes in a Wikipedia socialism. Because today's capitalism is based on digital data and because all information in the digital world is everywhere and available for everyone, a new society is growing within the old system. The market system will crash from the inside, he says. German people give a great exemple by volunteering in the refugee crisis. 

"They will go and help the refugees in the morning or give food to a foodbank. For them it's just charity. Fine. But when you give time to write Wikipedia, it's like entering a gift economy. You give the gift and hope for a gift to come back. It is a non market sector which will grow and contribute wellbeing. This involves a discussion of who owns the information."

Mason Handyshot.jpg

Okay, Paul. Nice idea. But how do you want to convince Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg who earn billions of dollars with our data to give us the control? Why would the 1% that owns 40% of the world capital share their possession with everyone? Don't you tell us that the transition from capitalism to postcapitalism can succeed without violence.

"I don't say it can succeed without violence but I prefer without. My project is short term to dismantle neoliberalism which means redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor. In the long term it's easier to convince people. If we do it right, it's a win win situation for everybody. Life will be nicer even if you have a yacht in the carribean. There are a lot of unhappy people. Postcapitalismus will set the 1% free. I want to set them free as well."

Hahaha. I LOVE this point. What a vision. Let's free the superrich. Let's not just free the 99%. Let's free the 1% too. Postcapitalism rules.

Watch Paul Mason in my tv report on "titel thesen temperamente":