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The economy is destroying the planet

Mr Serres, on the streets of France, the "gilets jaunes protest," since many weeks against from their perspective unsustainable conditions. In your new book you say that earlier everything was better.
I'm not saying that today everything is better. I will resist those who glorify the past fifty years ago, to criticize the present.

your own experience of life shows a clear trend upwards.
That's right. I know very well how the war was. I know what it's like to have no bread, or to live with the risk of dying of an infectious disease. These are things that are almost completely disappeared. But I agree with the "gilets jaunes", if you articulate the difficulties that certain regions and population relate to parts.

What do you mean?
There are in small villages with no Doctors, no schools or post offices. And the gap between the Rich and the poor is scandalous risen far. We are all familiar with this figure, that the 26 richest people in the world have more money than half of the entire humanity. These scissors arouses the impression, that we fall back into the Ancien Régime, so in the time before the French Revolution. As the rich nobles lived in castles and the common people in misery.

Where does the movement of the "gilets jaunes"?
we can't know. If the current President would be replaced, we would have only the choice between the extreme Left and the extreme Right. In both cases, very dangerous.

Are the "gilets jaunes" at all representative of the French people?
The number of protesters decreases. At the beginning of February, there were only 80'000, now the number has fallen to one-third. But even 80'000: The is not even a thousandth of the French population. Just because the media held a big spectacle, arouses the impression, the "gilets jaunes" be much more. One-thousandth – that's not good enough for a Congressman, a Senator or a Minister. In the French political system, the majority principle applies. But, of course, the protests are entitled to the "gilets jaunes". You bring exactly what I describe in my new book: We are in a historically unique Situation.

Why is it unique?
For over seventy years, Europe is at peace. Our life expectancy is very greatly increased. The population of the world has. in the course of the 20 Century quadrupled. But our institutions and political systems are from a time in which the world was not what it is today. Therefore, there is today in almost all countries, a complete break between the society and the institutions of the state. This leads to strange results: to Donald Trump, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Vladimir Putin, Brexit, the "gilets jaunes". Each country reacts to other way to this crisis. And it is not a new political System in sight that could overcome this break.

the institutions of The state and the policy must change.
Yes, but what we are experiencing is different from what it was previously to change. The French Revolution, enlightenment thinkers such as Rousseau or Voltaire, the pre-break intellectually. Today, such preparation is lacking. Our System is also not able to tackle the more serious problems: the climate, the environment, our Planet.

For this it needs a new system of government?
Our System is centered on people and not on the entire planet. Therefore, I have written nearly thirty years, the book "The natural contract" – analogous to Rousseau's social contract. Also, the environment should have rights as people, thus they can not be uncontrollably exploited. We need a new economic System, because it is the economy that is destroying the planet.

you want to replace capitalism by communism?
But no, the Communist Regimes – whether of the Stalinist or Leninist System have destroyed the planet in the same way as capitalism. I believe, rather, that there should be a new relationship between the economy and politics. But currently, the major economic enterprises such as Amazon, Apple or Google as powerful as any government in the world. I have lived a long time in Silicon Valley and saw how the Tech started the company. We were all enthusiasts of the Internet.

Now no longer?
We believed that the Internet had the possibility to change the policy in such a way that, thanks to these new technological possibilities, all the word can. But then we realized, what are the problems – by means of reproduction and rapid dissemination of bad news, of errors, of rumors, or conspiracy theories. This is the high price we have to pay for technological progress.

he Is too high?
in any case, so high, that today I am more pessimistic, am, with regard to the Internet. I think it is a new Juris does not need a table System, in order to be with slander and Fake News, I know how it should look. Sure, you may not solve the Problem of the police. China shows what this has for consequences: General Monitoring; this is a disaster.

A social contract against Fake News?
Yes, that would be something, but I have no solution. I think it just takes time until one finds. We not only live in a new time, but also in one with a new pace. All to say, we have no time. But to solve the real problems, we need time. And we need to take us.

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 01.04.2019, 17:55 PM

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