Bratislava, Slovakia—Since the current economic crisis worries almost everyone, UPF-Slovakia decided to hold two lectures titled “Does Capitalism Still Have a Future?”
Both were given by the Austrian philosopher Herbert Giller, author of the book What Comes after Capitalism? The event site was the UPF-Slovakia Peace Embassy located opposite the Palace of Justice.
The first presentation took place on April 24, 2023, and focused on the question: What is wrong with the current economic system?
“Nowhere is the dichotomy between absurdity and acceptance greater than in our economic system,” Mr. Giller said. “Most people do not see the contradictions and accept them as natural and unchangeable. Those who do see the absurdity despair.” Neither capitalism nor communism understood and erased the root of the troubles: greed and selfishness, he said.
The lecturer did an experiment with a homemade banknote which caused considerable hilarity. At the conclusion he said: “The rule of money is neither a law of nature nor an inevitable development of evolution. Money and the rule of money are manmade and therefore can be changed. The rule of money over the world must be broken and replaced by the dominion of humankind.” This appeal opened the ears and hearts of all.
After almost two hours and a 48-slide presentation, the audience of 28 had the chance to ask questions. A member of the Slovak Academy of Sciences commented that it was an “excellent presentation” and he would be glad to hear more.
The follow-up lecture took place on May 22, again in the Peace Embassy. Herbert Giller started by saying: “The aim of the second part is to fundamentally question your ideas about work, wages and property. It may change the foundations of your economic understanding.”
He made it plain to everyone that much of our economic reality either is based on myths or is artificial. Among other issues, he questioned the sanctitude of private property: The Latin word privare means “robbing,” he said, and therefore private property is related to stealing.
The philosopher explained his concept of a moral and solidaric economy. One principle would be: “No one may selfishly enrich oneself from the work of a fellow human. No one should claim for oneself alone things given by God or Mother Earth—they must be passed on to others for free.”
Herbert Giller promotes moneyless income and hopes that a culture of giving and sharing will be established. As a typical Viennese, he has a great sense of humor, which makes his talks so uplifting.
The 37 participants were enlightened by the provided insights. For both lectures UPF representative Miloš Klas served as moderator and translated from German into Slovak.
Recording of lectures: https://vimeo.com/upfslovakia