Thursday, April 28, 2005

Anyone for a Kapitalismusdebatte?

Chairman Müntefering's Marxist anti-capitalist remarks are widely reported in Germany as initiating a "debate", rather than as a desperate election tactic to distract voters from the record levels of unemployment his government has presided over.

Quite so. One of his points, though, is about the impotence of national governments in the face of global movements of capital, economic migration and so on. It is surely true that if you want to have an effect on such things, you have to operate at a supra- or multinational level.

That being so, isn't it odd that Chairman Müntefering and his government are denying their citizens the opportunity to vote on the draft EU Constitution? A plebiscite on the constitution would be the best way of kicking off a true debate, and of shaping it in light of actionable issues and proposals which have a direct effect on everybody.

But no. The arid polemic the Chairman casts about him suggests that, in his mind, the debate is already over, and probably has been since Marx first published Das Kapital.

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