Jul 20, 2012

The "Salaryman's" Freedom

After the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ich nuclear power plants, I've been wondering if it is possible for a democratic government to effectively regulate something as complex as a nuclear power system which is concerned not only with the generation of nuclear power but also with the production of nuclear fuel and the appropriate method of waste disposal.

So I've been reading books about political philosophy, from those written by John Locke to Antonio Negri, from Edmund Burke to Karl Marx, from Carl Schmitt to Sakae Osugi.

Just now, I finished rereading "The Communist Manifesto".

I am a conservative, but I think that this book is definitely worth reading regardless of your political leaning even though the Soviet Union was, in the end, brought down. There is no ancient polis nowadays, but it's still worth reading Plato's "Politeia".

Karl Marx was one of the biggest philosophers in the 19th century, and this book is the essence of his thought.

I'd like to quote a passage from the "The Communist Manifesto".

The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world-market given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. To the great chagrin of Reactionists, it has drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood. All old-established industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed. They are dislodged by new industries, whose introduction becomes a life and death question for all civilized nations, by industries that no longer work up indigenous raw material, but raw material drawn from the remotest zones industries whose products are consumed, not only at home, but in every quarter of the globe. In place of the old wants, satisfied by productions of the country, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes. In place of the old local can national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal interdependence of nations. And as in material, so also in intellectual production. The intellectual creations of individual nations become common property. National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible, and from the numerous national and local literatures, there arises a world literature.

This was not written by a contemporary anti-globalization activist, but by a communist in the Victorian era. Globalization, as a phenomenon, is not recent. In fact, Marx - who was no anti-globalization activist but an international communist - accurately commented on its workings some 200 years previously, describing Capitalist society, as follows:

The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his "natural superiors," and has left remaining no longer nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous "cash payment." It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless and feasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom-- Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

To be honest, I like to live in this "icy water of egotistical calculation". It's tough for me, and maybe for everyone, to earn money to live in this icy water, but if I'm able to earn enough money, I could be free, then I can enjoy some freedoms.

I'm not an aristocrat from the Bourbon dynasty, a slave in Ancient Egypt, a bourgeoisie in the industrial revolution, and an executive in the modern Chinese Communist party. I haven't realized that I was a proletariat, yet. (Marx might point out that I am a proletariat.)

I don't want to be these people, because I couldn't be free. I'm just a "Salaryman", who is living in contemporary Tokyo. I have to work for a living, but I'm free outside the office.

I don't dominate anyone, and I'm not dominated by anyone. This is the "Salaryman's" Freedom.

I'd like to return to the first question, "Can a democratic government control such a huge system like a nuclear power system?"

I wrote in my entry "Is Japan Really a Democratic Country?" that Japan was formally a democratic country but it was practically an authoritarian system. The Japanese government failed to control Japanese nuclear power system because it failed to control special interest groups.

Now, the regime change from the Liberal Democratic Party to the Democratic Party of Japan has been making Japanese government more democratic, but at the same time it caused political chaos.

I will have to continue to search for an/the answer to my question.

No comments:

Post a Comment