After Socialism, Capitalism Stumbles Over the Same Paradigms. A Case for a Third Way: Plea for Sustainable Economy and Open Democratic Societies

  • Abstract:

    What really caused the downfall of the Socialist States and the fall of the iron curtain, in view of opinions surfacing in public statements does not appear to be understood. However, as “Capitalism” is rooted in the same set of paradigms as “Socialism”, it appears not only worthwhile but overdue to analyse this in depth. Moreover, as also prevailing Economic Theory as well as Science appears to be based upon the same set of paradigms, critical analysis seems not only to be all the more overdue, but urgent, in order to save societies from collapse. The knowledge to be applied is only partly new. Rather, the present situation of the world makes more evident, what earlier could have been drawn into doubt and since has been neglected. New insights regarding economy add to the understanding of the nature and roots of the crisis and surprisingly find their confirmation in old books.
    Overcoming (not just “changing”, thus: substituting) Paradigms requires cognitive openness. What Thomas S. Kuhn described as a vital problem of the sciences persists and grows. Historian Barbara Tuchman described similar patterns, just outside of science: in politics and all areas of decision making, the “Peter Principle” ever since its first description has turned into an ubiquitous “Normality”; Competences in the hands of “Leaders” lacking necessary Competence. The problem of sciences paralysed by misleading paradigms has been described by Jakob von Uexküll and reiterated with additional insight by his son Thure, who advanced medicine. Taking his old texts on Natural Sciences, and replacing the term “Biology” by the word “Economy” leads to a surprise: the critical sentences remain correct in explaining, why reducing sciences to “Objectivity”, “Quantification” and “Reproducibility” hinders understanding of what really matters: Qualitative Information. Details and variations and their complex interrelation. Yet another critical viewpoint leads Karl Popper to trace the misleading paradigms back to “Hegel, Marx and the Consequences”. Yet, he – too – is unaware, (and here is a parallel to the importance of values, underestimated even by who urges their return) how much more important the “Open Society and its Defence against its Enemies” indeed is, in order to generate stable economy and prosperity providing the security needed to accept and enjoy diversity: Own unique Being – and that of others. Without structural crisis as a constantly building cycle of increasing frequency and amplitude – and ever bigger crashes. By entering with Adorno, Habermas et al. into a “Positivism-Dispute”, which rather should have been called “Negativism-Dispute”, Popper implicitly further illuminated the roots of the problems: Destructive Paradigms. Mass- and Brand-Psychologist Hans Domizlaff warned: Democracies in history never lasted long. With Hans Domizlaff’s skepticism in mind as a warning typically turning optimists into realists, the paper shows ways out of crisis and towards lasting democracies. In doing so, it explains the role of values and value diversity (as opposed to merely quantitative criteria) and the ability to sense, express and realise qualitative diversity as an important trait of sustainable society and its economy. With finance returning to its correct role at the service of economy and individual successes serving society.