55. STRUGGLES BETWEEN FORCES, all of which have been established for the purpose of running the same socioeconomic system, are thus officially passed off as real antagonisms. In actuality these struggles partake of a real unity, and this on the world stage as well as within each nation.
Mr Lenihan and Mr Cowen both defended the decision in September 2008 to extend the guarantee to all Irish financial institutions, including Anglo Irish Bank. Mr Lenihan also rejected Fine Gael’s argument that Anglo should be wound down, asserting that such a move could expose the exchequer to up to €70 billion in commitments.
And while saying that recapitalisation issues were for the Financial Regulator, he indicated that his view was that the State would not have to take a majority stake in Bank of Ireland.
In response to questions about the bank guarantee, Mr Lenihan said that a guarantee had been the first response of the Swedish authorities when confronted with a similar crisis a decade ago.
He also said that calls to nationalise all the banks were not realistic. “If we were nationalise the system en bloc, we would not have been able to differentiate between the institutions. We would have said that all the banks have the same level of reckless lending when that is clearly not the case. Nama has allowed us to go in and see the exposure.”
Responding to criticism by Fine Gael deputy leader Richard Bruton that Anglo’s burden on the State had surpassed €40 billion, Mr Lenihan said that winding the bank down would cost more. “We heard in the [Dáil] that there are other options for Anglo. I am afraid to say, there are not,” he said.
THIS IS NOT TO SAY that the spectacle’s sham battles between competing versions of alienated power are not also real; they do express the system’s uneven and conflict-ridden development, as well as the relatively contradictory interests of those classes or fractions of classes that recognize the system and strive in this way to carve out a role for themselves in it. Just as the development of the most advanced economies involves clashes between different agendas, so totalitarian economic management by a state bureaucracy and the condition of those countries living under colonialism or semi-colonialism are likewise highly differentiated with respect to modes of production and power. By pointing up these great differences, while appealing to criteria of quite a different order, the spectacle is able to portray them as markers of radically distinct social systems. But from the standpoint of their actual reality as mere sectors, it is clear that the specificity of each is subsumed under a universal system as functions of a single tendency that has taken the planet for its field of operations. That tendency is capitalism.
The alternative is the old fashioned rules of capitalism, which reward success and punish failure.