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Humanism or Racism. Pilot Project Europe at the Crossroads

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This policy paper combines a large number of acute contemporary problems in political economy and shows that it is possible to bring them under one broad common umbrella: The choice between humanism or racism. To do so more fine grained definitions of humanism and racism are put forward. From that theoretical perspective the possible policy options for further European Integration are discussed. It is argued that Europe could be a role model for global evolution if it is possible to overcome racism and to use diversity as a creative force. As a driving agent for such a development the emerging class of organic intellectuals is identified.
Munich Personal RePEc Archive
Humanism or Racism. Pilot Project
Europe at the Crossroads
Hardy Hanappi
30 June 2018
Online at
MPRA Paper No. 87658, posted 2 July 2018 04:22 UTC
Humanism or Racism
Pilot Project Europe at the Crossroads
Hardy Hanappi
VIPER Vienna Institute for Political Economy Research
Version 30-06-2018
This policy paper combines a large number of acute contemporary problems in political
economy and shows that it is possible to bring them under one broad common umbrella: The
choice between humanism or racism. To do so more fine grained definitions of humanism and
racism are put forward.
From that theoretical perspective the possible policy options for further European Integration
are discussed. It is argued that Europe could be a role model for global evolution if it is possible
to overcome racism and to use diversity as a creative force. As a driving agent for such a
development the emerging class of organic intellectuals is identified.
The state of the global political economy is producing an extremely dangerous dynamic. The
human species has conquered the planet, its productive forces are reaching ever more
sophisticated levels and are arranged in a global network that would be able to transform
growth of profits into growth of general welfare. But such a transformation needs a political
agent, which is powerful enough to defeat the forces, which currently exploit large parts of
the human population just to accumulate profits in the hands of some small, globally ruling
The essential characteristic of the human species is that its members are using internal mental
models to choose their actions. These models mostly are learned and shared by groups,
constituting what in political economy has been called class consciousness. The formation of
this consciousness partly takes place in local family and work contexts, partly it is shaped by
the global information sphere. The structure of classes thus today can only be understood by
taking the processing contradiction between local and global experiences serious. The
successes of Fascism leading to WW2 show that there are ways to interpret exploitation,
which can mobilize the population of nation states against an imagined group of enemies. This
strategy of a self-proclaimed new national ruling class to strengthen their new rule and the
accompanying exploitation regime is called Racism. It divides the human species into two
groups, a superior one (which has the right to exploit) and an inferior one (which in the long-
run is thought to fall back to the status of intelligent animals). Racist ideology is ‘rational’ as
far as it promises to keep class rule and exploitative force in the hands of the superior class.
To exert power two different possibilities can be combined: direct coercive force and
ideological power, i.e. manipulation by ideology. Being a member of this class or at least to
believe that one is a member of it it is evident that there is an immediate material and
psychological benefit of subscribing to racism.
Humanism, the ideology that ranks the welfare of the whole species first, denies that there is
a division between superior and inferior humans. Though it insists on the existence of classes
and class struggles it nevertheless also underlines that progress towards general human
welfare of all in the long-run is the lesson to be learned from history. Racist short-run
maximizations can be understood, but to suppress them in time is important: Destructive
military force as part of the general growth of productivity nowadays even in the short-run
easily can lead to the extinction of the whole species if races or nations go to war.
Humanism comes in different flavours. The simplest form takes a short-cut via religious rules
or morale sentiments. This axiomatic humanism does not refer to any further justification but
rather views itself as a self-evident, innate attitude. As a consequence, its carrier is the single
human individual. It thus remains deeply rooted in methodological individualism and is free
from being linked to any consideration of classes and exploitation. This independence from
any decisive political stance allows a wide-spread acceptance in different social strata. The
downside of this flexibility is the impotence of axiomatic humanism with respect to well-
defined social and political actions that go beyond a single individual’s morale or religious
judgement. Another type of humanism is evolutionary humanism. In short, it is based on a
deeper understanding of long-run social progress of the whole species that is, it represents
the full version of what axiomatic humanism often is the unconscious short-cut of
Evolutionary humanism necessarily needs to interpret history in its sequence of class struggles
- of emergence and demise of classes - to delineate long-run progress. Single individuals are
not the starting point of the explanation, their internal model-building and communication is
just one ingredient to better understand the upward leading oscillations that class struggles
produce. In between these two types of humanism it is easy to position mixtures, which
interpret the axiomatic version as the evolutionary outcome of unconscious historical
experience, or vice versa the evolutionary progress as an asymptotic approximation towards
optimal ethical behaviour.
Racism in turn, also appears in a variety of ways. Strict racism indeed builds on biological traits
of a ruling class. Be it the colour of the skin, the body height, or facial features just to name
some classics; it again is the individual member of a class that carries the insinuated
. To raise biological traits to the level of an enduring class phenomenon it is
necessary to regulate reproduction, e.g. regulations that in-class mating of nobility is
mandatory, or that leading positions in the ruling class are reserved for males. Apart from
strict racism some softer forms, which allow for non-biological traits are common:
National racism is built on the place of birth of individuals and thus shared cultural traits
acquired during childhood. Since nation building became a significant historical trend in
Europe in the last centuries, this type of racism is in the focus of the next section of this paper.
Preliminary short-cuts play a central role in the development of knowledge. Indeed, science itself can be
regarded as a project, which attempts to check short-cuts and to replace them by better knowledge, i.e. better
informed short-cuts.
Sexual racism clearly is just a special form of strict racism. Gender racism usually is just sexual racism in disguise.
National racism always is on the verge to condense to strict racism. The anti-Semitism of
Fascist regimes is a dramatic example.
Religious racism is built on the believe that some superior being, some God, has chosen the
religious community one belongs to as a superior part of society. Since this type of racism
works solely on the level of information processes, with no visible relation to the material
world, it is particularly hard to overcome once it has established itself in the internal models
of a religious community. It also has the competitive advantage relative to other forms of
racism that its perspective in principle is global, though its core carriers originally typically
come from well-defined global regions, e.g. Christianity, Islam, Judaism. If the implicit
messages of the respective religion include elements of axiomatic humanism, then a fall back
to strict racism is less likely. On the other hand, enlightenment processes will hardly take place
if religious racism is closely interwoven with an existing exploiter status, e.g. Christianity and
the European feudal class in the Middle Ages.
Note that the far-reaching definition of the concept of racism used in this paper extends the
use of it in everyday language.
Europe in the 19th century was the epicentre of conflicts between nation states. In this last
phase of feudalism internal national class structures of states were melted into ideologies of
national racism. In particular, the rivalry between France and Germany did breed fierce and
lasting emotions encapsulated in biased internal models interpreting events in large parts
of the population. Great Britain, the global hegemon, entertained a somewhat different type
of national racism; the proclaimed ‘splendid isolation’ expressed the superiority of a nation
chosen by history to lead the world. This propaganda successfully transpired into a typical
attitude of large parts of the British population, something in between haughtiness and British
humour. In many European countries the respective cultural and historical trajectory enriched
the process of nation formation, and in many of them an element of national racism was
With World War 1 the centre of the global political economy started to shift from Europe to
North America. From then onwards an atypical nation became the hegemon of the capitalist
world. It was a strange brew of military leaders (e.g. Washington), slave holders (e.g.
Jefferson), and businessmen (e.g. Vanderbilt) which substituted a shared historical ancestry
by a common conquered territory and an emphasis on individualistic self-determination, on
the freedom of the strongest. The emerging ideology indeed could turn into strict racism with
respect to ‘a lower race’, to everybody who was not a white Anglo-Saxon protestant, and at
the same time be flexible enough to exploit the creative potential of the diverse refugees that
left their repressive regimes in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. American fake identity
often worked better than the rigid tradition-loaded original national racism. The reason for
this phenomenon might be found in the reduction of ambivalence that a European youth
typically inherits when confronted with its own traditions that usually reach far back in
. US history is only short, but it reveals important secrets of ideological evolution.
Nevertheless, the most dramatic lesson learned in the 20th century was the emergence of
Fascism. Fascism showed the enormous force of a movement, which manages to turn national
racism into militarist strict racism. The latter is not just a singular event based on an unhappy
particular coincidence of an economic and political constellation, some charismatic but also
psychopathic leaders, and the availability of new mass media tools. The Fascist triumph in
Europe between the end of WW1 and the end of WW2 is a much more serious historical turn
in human evolution than is commonly understood. Militarist strict racism, to use a more
general term than the specific historical form called Fascism, has been an incentive compatible
form of social organisation for large parts of society: It provided substantial profits for several
war and surveillance industries
, it pushed certain scientific fields connected to these
industries, it promised employment opportunities as public employees, in particular as
soldiers, thus reducing unemployment, and it provided social identity and pride for those
belonging to the chosen superior race. The last point gains additional importance in recent
decades, since new information technologies allow for high-speed distribution of ideologies.
Today the hegemony of choice, way of perception and interpretation of events in the not
directly observed parts of our environment rests in the hands of global media networks, which
are not subject to any democratic control. Potential alienation, ingrained already in the global
division of labour and the ideological hegemony of the ruling classes, becomes manifest
alienation when larger parts of the population join strict militarist racism and treat the
remaining people like an alien, subordinated race. The European experience of Fascism shows
how to build racism on the foundation of nationalism, i.e. how to exploit fear from losing
economic welfare combined with wishes to retain a disappearing social identity both
necessary elements of advancing global capitalism to construct a new and radical superficial
identity that only needs followers of a magical leader in a hierarchical military system. Of
course, 80 years later these followers look as alien as the believe system they followed. But a
brief look at the organization forms of certain contemporary religious leaders, be it Islamic,
Hinduist, or Jewish systems
, shows that strict military racism is not dead.
Despite the fact that in particular the older generation in Europe still is influenced by elements
of religious believes, it is not religiously-rooted racism that is a menace for Europe. It rather is
a re-appearance of old blood and ground ideologies that one more time provide the basis of
racist propaganda in Europe.
The usual reference point for national racism is space, i.e. a certain geographical territory for
which the dominance of a racial elite is claimed. While in early hunting and gathering tribes
such a claim was directly connected to their biological reproduction, e.g. to their hunting
It is this distance to traditions, which made the American Way’ so attractive for the European youth after World
War 1.
Expected wars promise massive consumption of these products that does not run into the risk of insufficient
demand; it is the oppressive Fascist state itself, which finances the demand by using its monopoly of power.
The high tide of extreme Catholic racism has been in the Middle Ages. Since then the Christian Church has
developed an adorable mastery of flexibility with respect to the assimilation to prevailing ruling classes.
grounds, this link was less prominent in the times when the strong nationalist movements lead
to modern nation states. To become one nation, e.g. in Germany or Italy in the 19th century,
was promoted by political leaders not so much with economic arguments but was referring to
cultural elements, in particular language. Since political leadership remained feudal till WW1
it was implicitly clear that class structures were to be preserved in such a unification process.
Coalitions and alliances between nations thus were a matter of ties between the nobility of
different countries. When capitalism entered its new stage of integrated capitalism
WW1 political leadership of most European countries had changed dramatically. The
bourgeoisie, the new ruling class, had to devise a new faction of administrative personal,
which was able stabilize and to integrate the different economic and political strata within the
nation. Usually, big businessmen already had been involved in feudal systems as consultants
and financiers before, but political, military, and cultural command had still been in the hands
of the nobility. Nationalism and its tendency to become national racism were the preferred
instruments of the new administrative class faction to unite, to integrate the population of
Europe in the interwar period.
It is remarkable that the economic trajectory of European businesses pointed in an opposite
direction. With the first wave of globalisation starting at the end of the 19th century large scale
division of labour began to blur national borders. Within many European countries large firms
were establishing worldwide economic links and it can be plausibly argued that the Great
Depression of 1929 to 1934 was basically an outcome of the mismatch between the actions
of local (national) administrative factions of ruling classes and the intentions of the partly
globally acting businesses
. Fascism was just the new integrative movement, which after the
ideological confusion accompanying the Great Depression provided a country-wide
interpretation scheme by transforming national racism into strict biological racism. Germany
and Italy, where people due to older nationalism considered themselves as losers of WW1,
proved to be the most fertile grounds for Fascism. So it first appeared there.
The step from national racism to strict biological racism is a subtle one. As history showed,
once in state power Fascists first forced what they considered as members of the lower race
to emigrate, or they simply killed them. A smaller size of the lower race not only secures
national safety; it also contributes to the feeling of superiority and the social identity of the
ruling race. With respect to economics strict military racism clearly implies a return to a pre-
capitalist command economy. An enormous increase of government expenditures to expand
police control and military thereby reducing unemployment made a currency reform
unavoidable. It was also an immediate consequence that the survival of a Fascist regime with
its backward economic setting needed expansion, needed war. One of the most notable
features of the Fascist regimes was their ability to keep ideological control by the means of
the newly developed mass media of broadcasting. To clean the country from foreign, lower
race elements includes the exclusive maintenance of cultural artefacts of the superior race, of
‘home culture’.
Compare (Hanappi, 1986, 2018c) for a detailed treatment of the stages of capitalism.
Alfred Sohn-Rethel has provided an illuminating account of the economic processes accompanying the
takeover of the Fascists, see (Sohn-Rethel, 1978).
Nevertheless, the expansion in space by leading wars is not a very promising strategy in the
long-run. Moreover, the internal implosion of an economy founded on command structures
and unproductive war activities adds to this dilemma. But even in the rather short time of
their existence Fascist regimes probably lead the human species closer to its extinction than
any other type of threat in our history.
To discuss the rationale behind the emergence of racism - its conditional necessity as a
possible development stage to be overcome by evolutionary humanism - it is important to
take a closer look at the notion of time. Collective memory, similar to the memory of human
, is organised in short-term and long-term memory. Additionally, and rather
different to individual memory, it is characterized by massive self-amplifying cultural feedback
effects: If a group held together by a tight local communication structure develops a negative
attitude towards its own status vis-à-vis a local neighbour if it feels unduly suppressed, then a
slight stimulus easily can explode into a broad and general racist attitude of the whole group
only due to the amplification via internal communication. This then is the basis for the
outbreak of a sudden local wave of shared antipathy; nothing serious as long as direct
interaction between the groups can correct exaggerating prejudice
. The negative events are
stored in society’s short-term memory and can be purged as they are subsequently corrected.
But at this point political entrepreneurs organising public opinion can enter the scene. They
can use the amplified general mood of the group and make profit, i.e. redirect public tax and
expenditure streams accordingly, which they can influence when they are elected as political
leaders. A necessary ingredient to keep the distorted public opinion long enough alive to arrive
at state power is the careful maintenance of a generally acceptable scapegoat, an enemy to
be blamed for the informationally blown-up misery of the group. It is evident that modern
information technologies are making the emergence of such political entrepreneurs ever
more probable. Return now to the issue of memory. The task of the political entrepreneur is
to avoid corrections by direct empirically observable interaction, therefore an emphatically
distributed dream-world has to be produced, which turns the sporadic short-term stimuli into
a kind of hidden long-run memory. It is the “destiny”, the “fate” of the group (be it a so-called
Arian nation, a religious community, or any kind of sect), which gives back to the group what
has been their innate superiority that has been promised since eternal times. Hitler’s imagined
empire for 1000 years just projects into the future what a distorted collective memory of the
Arian race always knew. This explains the love of such political entrepreneurs for symbols of
a faraway past in their dream worlds. Such symbols are immune against the profane
contradictions of daily observable misery; the latter can be done away with by brutal state
interventions benefiting the superior race in their promised land.
But time is moving on, and as the calamities of expansive foreign policy, internal command
economy, and an over boarding police apparatus are cumulating, the system approaches its
See (Kahneman, 2011).
In Austrian villages with a greater share of migrants, there typically exists less xenophobia than in those with a
higher share. Direct interaction usually works against a publicly stirred hatred against foreigners.
collapse rather quickly. Thousand years of glory melted down to the seven years of the hell of
World War 2
Seen from a larger perspective, the sources for racism can be found in a multi-layered
structure of conflicts:
A conflict between the short-run power and money maximizing strategy of a small
group of political entrepreneurs and the long-run welfare-increasing goal of the human
A conflict between local perception of human individuals and an increasingly more
dominating influence of interpretations of global political economy dynamics, which
are provided by private media firms.
A conflict between an almost complete impotence of the single human individual as
part of ever larger economic units with respect to direct political influence and, on the
other hand their openness to mind manipulation, which yields a volatile mass of
manoeuvre for political entrepreneurs.
A conflict between an increasing loss of social identity of individuals in an age of
and the arbitrary possibilities to identify with symbolic artefacts that seem
to escape the relation to a vanishing world of realities.
Along these lines the emerging pathology of parts of the population in the richer parts of the
world, e.g. in Europe, is a latent danger that might develop into a manifest re-appearance of
fascist national and biological racism. Indeed, first signs of such a development are only too
Pilot Project Europe
The French Enlightenment by and large was the progressive political program envisaged to
overcome Feudalism and its religious ideological superstructure. It took several hundred years
to be successful enough to chase away political and military leadership of the feudal class.
After World War 1 a new phenomenon, the sweeping political success of national and
biological racism in Europe took hold. Under the lead of Germany and Italy an Arian European
unification by military action with the help of Japan even a global Arian unification was
started. As sketched in the previous paragraphs this unification was based on the opposite
premises of the tenets of Enlightenment, it is based on racism instead of humanism. Human
individuals are seen as fundamentally divided into races, superior races and inferior races,
each to be allocated in separate geographical areas, the inferior race doomed to be eliminated
rather sooner than later. Eventually, if needed, a few members of this race could be efficiently
selected to contribute to the glory of the superior race
The general structure of this process can be found in many more contemporary adventures of political
entrepreneurs. They range from the rise and fall of the Islamic State to its mirror images of Donald Trump and
Kim Jong Un. It might be only a question of time till Europe experiences the emergence of this type of ‘leader’
Compare (Hanappi and Hanappi-Egger, 2018) for a more detailed treatment of this point.
In the current debate on the immigration of African refugees to Europe the plan to have a new type of
concentration camps to select who should be allowed to enter Europe is in this spirit.
In this new era after World War 1 the old program of Enlightenment has dramatically failed.
While during Feudalism the spread of knowledge in the population was suppressed by keeping
education at a low level and always safeguarded by religious institutions and their
peacekeeping illusions, in the new setting knowledge more precisely relevant knowledge
is silenced by the untamed noise of the media machines of the new ruling classes. In such a
scenario Enlightenment is a powerless weapon. Even if the internet is not so easy to control
by political authorities and certainly will be the central nervous system of a future human
species its content is still too diverse in quality and relevant parts are hidden behind a fancy
wall of nonsense. In other words, the use of the internet for evolutionary humanism still waits
for an up to date proposal
. But the technical form a progressive initiative is currently learning
to use is only one side of the problem. Much more important is its content. Not the media is
the message, the content is what a message should transport by whatever media. So
proceed with content.
Europe is a mid-sized political entity, the European states are smaller than the continent and
the global political economy is larger. As a smaller entity it is prone to ‘continental racism’:
Are Europeans superior to Africans, Asians, Americans? Hundreds of years of colonialism have
cultivated this type of racism. It is one of the most pressing tasks to get rid of this type of
racism quickly. This cannot be done by changing the mind sets of European citizens by a media
campaign, enlightenment will not work. What is needed is to acknowledge the diversity of
continents by actively rearranging money flows and education structures
. Of course, the only
way to reduce the inequalities that are in the background of wars and migration flows is to
install large money transfers from the rich to the poor. And these flows are then not only to
be used for immediate consumption but also for an education program that secures a proper
place in the global division of labour between continents. The only alternative would be the
introduction of a strict military order governed by the superior continent, i.e. a modern type
of neo-colonialism. What national racists in Europe (already on their way to form a continental
racist platform of Europe) are speculating with is that the racist solution in the short-run might
cost European citizens less than a large financial support program for Africa. In the long-term,
even in the mid-term, neo-colonialism will have to collapse. But this is ignored by hit-and-run
political entrepreneurs. The punishment for the short-term maximisation can be expected to
be a heavy economic downturn accompanied by a ruining rivalry, including military conflicts,
between European nationalists. Despite these doom prospects it has to be doubted that the
progressive long-run perspective finds majority support among European citizens alone. The
media power is already too unequally distributed. Thus it is only in coalition with populations
of other continents that continental racism in Europe can be held back.
Looking at Europe as a larger political entity that contains smaller ones provides an additional
perspective. The diversity of the capacities of the human species in different continents is the
starting point for the global division of labour, e.g. for Europe a place as specialized knowledge
developer could be a possibility. Turning the diversity concept to the inside of the European
continent implies that what it needs is a strong enough political centre able to manage and
Empty chatrooms, islands of never visited blogs and endless mailing lists turning into spam are signaling that
the evolution of group and class consciousness has not really reached our technical capabilities yet.
This is the most important step from design to practice, which then produces a feedback from practice to
improvements of the theoretical design.
further develop this diversity. So far European integration already took important steps
towards that goal. The most important one was the introduction of the Euro. Money is a sign
system for social value
, so a common currency at least establishes that the carrier symbols
of social value are shared. But fiscal policy till today remains in the hands of national
governments, it is the stronghold of the respective national ruling classes and incorporates
the respective co-operations and conflicts it has institutionalized with other classes. No local
national government is ready to give away that power voluntarily. So to implement further
integration is also a question of the agent where is the strong social agent which can force
the different groups in Europe’s ruling classes into an alliance? The obvious candidate would
have been the German government, but the historical burden of its NAZI past severely
constrains acceptance of a German lead in the European unification process. The next best
guess could be a preliminary stronger alliance of the five big European nations: Germany,
France, Spain, Italy and UK. The governments in the first two countries in the moment are
representing some kind of social partnership solution, an institutionalised compromise
between ruling classes and their opponents. Once they come up with a common policy
program the other three have the chance to follow.
Spain belongs to the Mediterranean group EU South, which faces a different set of problems
than the rest, but now under a social democratic prime minister would probably be willing to
join Germany and France. Italy after its recent election is already strongly torn into two
opposing pieces left versus right, North versus South. Without a new election that produces
a centre left government it is unlikely to be a trustworthy ally. Finally, the UK after years of a
disastrous Tory government would be ripe for a takeover by labour, but only will vote in 2022;
too late to come to help for a renewed European social market economy. Thus, at best three
member countries will be remaining as the core for such a project. Even if they manage to
come up with a tentative solution for the migration problem this at best provides a transitory
state of affairs.
The major obstacle for the continuation of the European unification process is the takeover of
several Eastern European countries by parties subscribing to strong right-wing nationalism, to
national racism. In these countries the Stalinist period in the 20th century has produced a
dominance of the state administration faction of the ruling class that even after the
breakdown of Stalinism never was balanced by an emerging counterforce of progressive
members of the civil society. Representatives of the business world usually like in Russia
were oligarchs who quickly found arrangements with the leading bureaucratic elite that was
often inherited from Stalinist times. Even if this unhealthy mixture sometimes leads to
conflicts it nevertheless seems to be stable enough to hinder a successful political integration
of these countries with respect to sensitive EU policies, e.g. migration policy. This constellation
makes it plausible to group these countries under a particular header: EU East. Movements
opposing ruling autocrats and nationalists are emerging in EU East, but transnational links
between them are rare and scarcely systematic.
Contrary to EU East the governments of north-western and Scandinavian countries represent
a much more important part of the business faction of the ruling class, including not only just
big business but also representatives of the large sectors of medium-sized firms. For
The relation between money, credit, capital, and the state is thoroughly explained in (Hanappi, 2013).
convenience this group will be dubbed EU North. Due to the more deeply rooted competition
between these countries’ firms, coalitions between these states are more difficult to achieve
than, e.g. between the members of the Visegrád Group in EU East. It is also evident that the
heavier weight of economic interests in EU North governments has lead Germany to a more
open migration policy: In the end cheap labour input in a country with declining population is
a long-run economic imperative that outweighs short-run education cost of migrants. But
following the path of long-run profit maximization in EU North was disturbed by two major
political earthquakes: The Arab Spring and the war in Syria. They produced a wave of
in 2015 that was used by right wing nationalists to win elections by nationalist
racist propaganda. The reason for the strength of such groups in EU North can be found in the
fact that middle income groups in these countries are aware that it will be them who will have
to lose most if cheap foreign workers are substituting them. A considerable part of the welfare
of these middle income groups stems from the fruits of past peaceful class-struggle, e.g. social
transfers and an institutionalized social net. The racist nationalist interpretation of the danger
they face pretends that this part of welfare could be preserved if only the foreigners were kept
away. This argument has induced parts of the business community to support right-wing
parties, because a rewinding of the successes of the institutionalized struggle of the labour
movement is certainly advantageous for them. The rule is: First exclude foreign workers from
social benefits, then extend the measures to all employees. It is the support of a growing
number of firm owners that makes nationalist racism so dangerous in EU North. Additionally,
two other, smaller segments of the societies in EU North contribute to this development. First,
there is a remainder of academics with a mind-set still oriented by strong and militarized
hierarchical order
. They have been not too successful in the administrative top-level of
liberal states that promote economic flexibility and openness to change. This ‘elite that has
been benched’ is waiting for its return as authoritarian leaders. They often act as background
organizers of national racist parties. Second, there is a group of fierce and disappointed people
with little or no education, which in the search of an identity that enables them to be an
important part of the society grasp for that role by subscribing to nationalist and biological
racism. They are the infantry of right-wing extremism. There is not much of an economic policy
program behind this right-wing army, just a few short-run advantages for those firms who join
first. Nevertheless, the political challenge by this group is the most severe challenge for EU
The top positions in the European Union currently are in the hands of EU North. Southern
countries are economically in a worse position but it can be argued that there the political
development is already more developed than in the North. Further developed means that the
contradictions between a wealthy and powerful upper class and its ideologically unstable,
politically confused opposing class are sharper and are already having an impact on the
composition of governments
. In Greece, after a particularly corrupt sequence of
governments lead by conservative and social democratic leaders
, Syriza has seized the
See (Hanappi, 2016).
Compare Adorno’s ’authoritarian personality , see (Adorno, 1950).
In this respect the development in the UK resembles EU South, and it is this aspect which explains the special
role of the UK in EU North.
Compare (Hanappi, 2015) for an interpretation of the Greek crisis.
opportunity to steer the country between the Scylla of being ruined and suspended from the
EU by enormous interest payments and the Charybdis of losing the support of the Greek
population by making too many concessions to the creditors outside Greece. In Spain a similar
rise of Podemos, a movement left from the traditional social democratic party, has been
observed. Though the corrupt conservative government has been overthrown by a less
unpopular wing of Spanish social democrats recently, it is evident that the pressure from
below can hardly be channelled by the traditional policies of social democratic leaders.
Portugal has seen a less dramatic transition than Spain, a velvet revolution had ended the rule
of dictator Salazar, but like in all countries of EU South and despite a social democratic
government the exploding deterioration of income and wealth distribution points at a latent
potential of political instability. The most exciting case in EU South is Italy. There the Five Stars
Movement, M5S, actually already reached the majority of votes in the recent elections. The
confused programmatic foundation of this movement proved to be highly popular, mirroring
the confusion of its voters worked well, but now suddenly in state power the deficiencies
of a missing theoretical backbone surface rapidly. This process is speeded up by the decision
to form a coalition government with the openly right-wing and racist Lega Nord, which came
in second at the Italian elections in Spring 2018
. The latter follows the strict plan of all right-
wing nationalist parties of Europe to stop the ongoing European unification by replacing the
EU with a loose federation of authoritarian national racist leaders. The ready-made topic of
anti-migration issues was immediately seized the Lega Nord. Its leader, Matteo Salvini,
overnight became the most prominent member of the Italian government. Italy thus appears
to be deeply divided between a disoriented and scarcely organised majority of voters (in
particular in the south) and a determined right-wing movement (dominating the north) with
strong international links and the local media tycoon Berlusconi supporting it.
EU South thus shows clearly that European unification needs a new and attractive vision to be
supported by the population. And the people living in EU South probably are the ones that can
be addressed best by such a vision. The deep economic crisis there, very high unemployment
and vanishing prospects of welfare increase, has to be answered by a strong European
economic policy stance. Insisting on government debt reduction, i.e. austerity policy, and
waiting for the wonders of a suddenly re-emerging capitalist growth boom since ten years has
proven to be a disaster. Strong European economic policy is contrasted by the offer of the
extreme right to introduce strong local, i.e. national and racist, policies an offer that a
considerable share of voters accepts at least as long as it is the only game in town. But who
can provide such an offer and how can it be distributed among the electorate?
To connect some of the loose ends left by the previous paragraphs a brief recapitulation is
It seems to be adequate to consider the current state of Europe as consisting of three
parts: EU North, EU East, and EU South. This helps to understand how Europe’s inner
diversity has to be dealt with.
For each of the three parts a separate set of strong policies has to be proposed to keep
the unification process going. In the North special focus has to be given to prevent
The proposal of M5S to form a left of center government with the social democrats was rejected by Matteo
Renzi, the leader of PD.
business communities to support parties promoting nationalist racism and in particular
to regain participatory democratic control of the media sector. The latter proves more
and more to be pivotal to prevent racism. In EU East a disastrous development of an
authoritarian role model of the administrative faction of the ruling class is most
advanced. There the fight against corruption and a tough policy of cutting support for
states that do not align to central EU objectives is necessary. In particular, the groups
opposing authoritarian rulers from civil society organisations and workers to
innovative small business communities have to be supported. The policy action
needed in EU South concerns first of all a stop of austerity policy to support
employment policy, i.e. public employment, of southern governments. Interest
payments on (the stock variable of) government debt in these countries should be set
to zero
, implying a shake-up of Europe’s financial architecture. In the sequel the
successful introduction of the Euro two decades before can find its continuation by a
redesigned common fiscal policy, again a proposed shake-up for national ruling classes.
Such a management of the inner diversity of the three parts of Europe asks for a finely
designed set of measures that goes far beyond the scope of this paper. It is clear that
design needs an intellectual
, and in the end also a geographically organised centre.
The centre will have to propose mechanisms how to combine local with global decision
procedures, short-term with long-term goals, considering also the other
epiphenomena listed as sources of racism.
The embedding of Europe in the global political economy is not a side issue but is as
important as its inner diversity. It also has to follow the imperative that
complementarity of diverse parts including the solution of diverse, different
contradictions has to be treated as an advantage. It is in this sense that Europe can
and should be a pilot project. It can be an example to be followed. As part of the global
economy Europe’s contribution could be precisely to introduce the type of large scale
social innovation that on an even larger scale might be the global role model. An
evident precondition for this vision is to develop Europe as one of the global hubs of
scientific knowledge, in particular as a hub for all social sciences.
As a consequence, the carrier of such a vision of the pilot project Europe, in the end
also the stimulating agent for its implementation, can only be a global class of organic
. This class is able to use the globally available accumulated knowledge
of humanity as its central nervous system. Though each of its members necessarily
only commands a small and local share of this knowledge their ability to co-operate,
to cross transdisciplinary borderlines under the threat of global racism might be
enhanced far enough to master all difficulties and even to develop didactic skills to
reach a broader global audience
this hope is the reason for the adjective ‘organic’.
Compare (Hanappi, 2013) for a more detailed recommendation of 10 policy measures to overcome the 2008
global crisis.
There is, e.g. an enormous amount of knowledge slumbering in mathematical voting theory, in theories of
mechanism design, in game theory, in network theory, and many other specialized areas. A considerable part of
this mainly formal knowledge is waiting for its actual application in society. Note that the design of a law system
is then a derivative task. Institutions and jurisdiction are an epiphenomenon of political economy dynamics.
See also (Hanappi, 2018).
In (Hanappi, 2018c) the question of the enduring role of capital in such a future setting is posed.
The perspective on a possible continuation of the European unification process therefore
hinges crucially on the common effort of those who can produce a sound and feasible vision
of the welfare enhancing mechanisms that the human species needs. These mechanisms will
have to reconcile via social institutions several contradictions a number of them has been
specified in this paper and certainly will have to be implemented by overcoming the
resistance of many ruling classes worldwide.
Humanism or Racism
The alternative to this vision of evolutionary humanism is a short-term orientation that makes
a group believe in its superior race property ‘my race first’ would be an appropriate
paraphrasing of a well-known contemporary motto. The evolutionary idea of the survival of
the fittest, i.e. of the extinction of the unfit, is misinterpreted by racists as they propose the
elimination (or at least the subordination) of part of the species by their own racially ‘superior’
group. Already the biologist Charles Darwin had seen this selection process rather stemming
from the interaction of the species with its environment, in the end it is the long-run adaption
of traits of the species to its environment. Of course, a thriving species like the human species
will change its environment and these emerging - amplifying and non-linear - dynamics have
produced the particular capacity of the human species not only to shape its environment but
also to cope with surprises. 150 years after Darwin we know much more about this process of
evolutionary political economy, compare (Hanappi and Scholz-Wäckerle M., 2017). History
shows that the adaption process of the human species was a sequence of alternating periods
of slow change of a prevailing social structure and periods of faster change with a profounder
change of social structures. It is evident that in particular the breaks in human history that
reframed social structures, e.g. the turn to agricultural societies or industrialisation, have also
lead to changes in the typical traits of members of the species. But what has not changed is
the fact that it remained always the same, though developing, human species. The foundation
of the concept of humanism is the focus on the further progress of this species. If it is qualified
by the adjective evolutionary humanism, then this finer grained structuring of human
development is a central element of this focus.
Opposed to this view the core proposal of racism holds that within the human species
biological groups, i.e. races, are developing which follow a certain optimisation path: At any
point of time the superior race struggles to supersede and to eliminate the inferior race. By
attaching to this daring hypothesis the status of a natural law racist groups typically try to
legitimate their aggressive behaviour against human outsiders not belonging to their race.
Racism therefore does not emphasize the role of the interplay between the human species
and its environment but concentrates on conflict between humans. For its proponents,
progress thus degenerates to a victory over inferior races within the human species. As far as
the actual empirical record is taken into account it makes clear that the racist proposal is
completely unscientific. Instead of a long-run optimisation process of a certain race’s
properties, what can be observed rather is a wide variety of non-biological characteristics of
groups in different societies on earth. These characteristics are instead determined by the
dynamics of the political economy of the respective society and thus should be called (history
dependent) class characteristics. As the global economy became more and more interwoven,
local classes are slowly transformed into global classes
. It is the scientific study of processes
like this, which can provide an ever more scientific underpinning of evolutionary humanism.
Nevertheless, racism be it in its old disguise of national racism or in its new disguise of
seemingly continental racism (‘America first’) – evidently can manage to stir up larger groups
of individuals in our already emerging ‘age of general alienation’. The means of mass
destruction available today make it possible that the blind ally of racism, if it is successful
implies the end of the human species; which of course is the same as a complete failure of
evolutionary humanism. The contrast between humanism and racism therefore could not be
sharper than it already is today. To take sides in this conflict is the most urgent task, in
particular for scientists and all those subscribing to thousands of years of human progress.
Compare (Hanappi, 2018b).
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Hanappi H., 1986, The Stages of Industrial Capitalism, in: ‘Technological and Social Factors in
Long Term Fluctuations Springer Verlag 1989, editors: A.Vercelli DiMatteo M. and
Goodwin R. (download).
Hanappi H., 2013a, Money, Credit, Capital, and the State, On the evolution of money and
institutions, in: Buenstorf G. et al. (eds), 'The Two Sides of Innovation. Economic
Complexity and Evolution', Springer, pp. 255-282. Download MPRA Paper No. 47166.
Hanappi H., 2013b, Can Europe Survive? Ten Commandments for Europe’s Next Ten Years,
in: A. Balcerzak (ed.) 'Growth Perspectives in Europe', Polish Economic Society, Torun,
pp. 27-92. Also available as working paper: Papers for Evolutionary Political Economics
(PEPE), No 9 (2012) (download PEPE 9-2012).
Hanappi H., 2015, From Political Crisis to Europe’s Second Renaissance? An interpretation of
recent events and some ideas for the future, MPRA Paper No. 67922.
Hanappi H., 2016, Arab Spring - Islamic Winter - North-African Exodus, book chapter for the
book ' Islamic Radicalism ' that will appear with Routledge. Download MPRA paper No.
Hanappi H., 2018a, Metamorphosis in Political Economy. A new combination of three
disparate ideas, Journal of Self-Governance and Management Economics 6(2), pp. 92
112, ISSN 2329-4175, eISSN 2377-0996.
Hanappi H., 2018b, From National to Global Classes, INTECH publishers, UK.
Hanappi H., 2018c, Capital after Capitalism, World Review of Political Economy, vol. 9(1).
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Hanappi H. and Hanappi-Egger E., 2018, Social Identity and Class Consciousness, Forum for
Social Economics, vol. 47 (2018), Taylor & Francis.
Hanappi H. and Scholz-Wäckerle M., 2017, Evolutionary Political Economy: Content and
Methods, Journal for Social Economics, vol. 46 (2017).
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Full-text available
The capitalist mode of production has fulfilled a most astonishing “historical mission” for the human species. It enabled an explosion of labor productivity gains and the discovery of new utility dimensions. But this progress came at the price of an accompanying explosion of contradictions, of unequal benefits and burdens across global and local classes of humans. This article sets out to explore what will happen if capitalism is finally ending, if its mission collapses. Following the tradition of Hegel and Marx, it can be assumed that a large part of the capitalist algorithm simply will have to vanish. But as history shows there also always is a remainder of a mode of production that in an inverted form becomes part of the next progressive mode of production. To identify what “Capital after Capitalism” could be, what has to be abolished and what might survive in which form is a central prerequisite for a proper understanding of the coming revolution of the current mode of production. Since each step on the ladder of global social evolution is also a step in social human consciousness, this step in understanding implies a direct impact in guiding the actions to accomplish this turnover.
Full-text available
The current economic crisis proves how deep the contradictions inherent in contemporary capitalism really are. At the same time it is evident that the financial crisis goes hand in hand with a social crisis, since an increasing number of people lost trust in governments, trade unions and other representative institutions. A main reason why the European Left nevertheless faces severe challenges in attracting supporters seems to be an experienced loss of what has been called ‘working class identity’ in earlier times. This development has been fuelled by the continuing debate on “identity constructions” as proposed e.g. by post-modernist scholars referring to “fluid” and ambiguous concepts of identity and strictly denying any social categorization. So there is a gap between the loss of working class identity on one hand and the focus on merely social identities on the other hand. To bridge this gap the two trajectories have to be linked. Thus, it is proposed to reflect the whole discussion on “working class identity” in the light of exploitation referring to classical political economy, but additionally to integrate social identity constructions by reviving the concept of alienation.
Innovation in theory building usually follows the prescription of “normal science” as described by Thomas Kuhn in his account on the history of theoretical physics – see Kuhn (1962). What already had been postulated by Descartes (compare Descartes, 1637) as a signum of science, namely the systematic advance towards smaller, more specialized, partial problems that are easier to solve, this procedure still prevails in the social sciences till today. Contrary to this piecemeal engineering approach, Joseph Schumpeter made the character mask of the revolutionary entrepreneur to his hero of progress – at least as far as innovation in the production of commodities is concerned (Schumpeter, 1911). Of course, history shows that both forms of innovation are alternating: If the slow advance and broadening of a prevailing mainstream gets stuck and the contradictions it produces start to accumulate quickly, then it is time for a revolution – in the material world (compare Hanappi & Wäckerle, 2016) as well as in its scientific correlate. It is time for a metamorphosis. In which direction a theoretical innovation in times of metamorphosis shall point clearly has to remain an unanswered question. The best characterization of its general methodological form still seems to be Schumpeter’s dictum. It is a new combination of (existing) elements. The existing elements typically should concern burning problems of the troubled mainstream (compare Hanappi, 2016), and the adjective “new” means that they so far are not connected to each other in the stagnating mainstream approach. The global political economy as well as its theoretical reflection in mainstream theory undoubtedly currently is in a state that calls for a revolutionary metamorphosis. This paper therefore sets out to develop a new combination of three seemingly unconnected ideas, which each address a fundamental contradiction. The first idea concerns the contradiction between the rich and the poor parts of the global economy, the second idea concerns the driving force of progress of the human species and its impediments, and the third idea concerns the contradiction between syntax and semantics of the formal representation of the first two contradictions. Contrary to papers in “normal science,” which in a conclusion propose a solution for their research question, this paper avoids to pretend a finite horizon of its arguments. As is appropriate for a proposed theoretical innovation it just offers a new open-ended contribution to the rapidly evolving discourse in the middle of metamorphosis.
In this paper we present the major theoretical and methodological pillars of evolutionary political economy. We proceed in four steps. Aesthetics: In chapter 1 the immediate appeal of evolutionary political economy as a specific scientific activity is described. Content: Chapter 2 explores the object of investigation of evolutionary political economy. Power: The third chapter develops the interplay between politics and economics. Methods: Chapter 4 focuses on the evolution of methods necessary for evolutionary political economy.
The Authoritarian Personality
  • . W Adorno Th
Adorno Th. W., 1950, The Authoritarian Personality, Harper & Brothers, New York.
Technological and Social Factors in Long Term Fluctuations
  • H Hanappi
Hanappi H., 1986, The Stages of Industrial Capitalism, in: 'Technological and Social Factors in Long Term Fluctuations' Springer Verlag 1989, editors: A.Vercelli DiMatteo M. and Goodwin R. (download).
The Two Sides of Innovation. Economic Complexity and Evolution
  • H Hanappi
  • Money
  • Capital Credit
  • The State
Hanappi H., 2013a, Money, Credit, Capital, and the State, On the evolution of money and institutions, in: Buenstorf G. et al. (eds), 'The Two Sides of Innovation. Economic Complexity and Evolution', Springer, pp. 255-282. Download MPRA Paper No. 47166.
Can Europe Survive? Ten Commandments for Europe's Next Ten Years
  • H Hanappi
Hanappi H., 2013b, Can Europe Survive? Ten Commandments for Europe's Next Ten Years, in: A. Balcerzak (ed.) 'Growth Perspectives in Europe', Polish Economic Society, Torun, pp. 27-92. Also available as working paper: Papers for Evolutionary Political Economics (PEPE), No 9 (2012) (download PEPE 9-2012).
From Political Crisis to Europe's Second Renaissance? An interpretation of recent events and some ideas for the future
  • H Hanappi
Hanappi H., 2015, From Political Crisis to Europe's Second Renaissance? An interpretation of recent events and some ideas for the future, MPRA Paper No. 67922.