Sergei Medvedev: whether Rights was Marx when he said that the basis of the economic foundations of society, productive forces and relations of production sooner or later changed the add-in? Looking at contemporary Russian society, begin to doubt it. Society for the most part is already in a new technological way, in the network society, is on the threshold of the fourth industrial revolution, and political relations — in a completely archaic and it seems more pushed back. Is it really so? This topic we will discuss is political scientist Catherine Shulman. This is one of the few experts, whom I am proud to be called a scientist, because in General this name is discredited.

Recently in the lecture hall “Direct speech” you had a very interesting lecture entitled “the Future of the family, private property and the state — paraphrasing Engels” — that’s where this Marxist theme in the beginning.

Ekaterina Shulman: I like Engels more than Marx: he, at least, lived off their money. The article itself — “the Origin of family, private property and the state” — has always seemed to me a very clear summary of what was happening with humanity at its dawn. With regard to base and superstructure, of course, vulgarized Marxism, remaining in the minds of the Soviet people, who are taught in middle and high school, is one of the greatest evils of our day.

We are not going to delve into claims Marx as such, but it is to this version (Soviet, remaining in the minds of people) a lot of claims, because it perceived some very linear things in the spirit of vulgar materialism. The thesis of base and superstructure is understood in the sense that money determines everything important economy, and everything else on it is built. The economy is not understood as a system of relations, which it is, and the primitive, purely as money. The concept of capitalism is also borrowed from some fragmentary quotations from the classics of Marxism-Leninism, such as “there is no crime that would not go to the capital for 300% profit”. In the minds of the former members of the Komsomol all of these ideas, unfortunately, they are in full bloom and give absolutely no the fruit, what I would like.

— I’m interested in how the economic changes will change the structure of the state, structure of state sovereignty, which we 350-400 years since the peace of Westphalia?

— What we perceive as reality and the only possible reality that emerged in specific historical conditions, and other specific historical conditions can create a completely different reality. We received per unit of the world centralized national state.

I want to remind you that it was not always so. The present national States, the heirs of the absolutist monarchies of Europe, which won the historic contest, won the historic competition and showed better results than various alternative models — here they are, in fact, inherited the land.

Our idea of what big is effective that centralization is more good than bad that long-term planning is also great and rightly so, the government is formed by the Nations, a nation is a political unit — not that I’m saying all this mistaken illusion or superstition, it’s just a certain historical stage.

We may gradually move into another historical stage. This can occur by two processes: firstly, globalization, which is the unit (nation-state) makes the outdated a number of parameters. Greater mobility — as human, and mobility of information and goods, in fact, can make unnecessary, too expensive and inefficient compared to the possibilities of the new mobility that is a shell of the national state: limits, tax system, financial system, national currency, national systems of legislation.


Part of this process — and what we call the information society, and that this mysterious postresource economy, which we must bring the fourth industrial revolution. It’s all still pretty vague things. They seem so vague, because people involved in science, do not understand very well what this new information and economic reality, and people engaged in information technology, first, can not clear way to explain what it is, and secondly, don’t think that thinking of social science. They can tell you about my bitcoin, about your blockchain, but they don’t understand what it means to society and the political system, for the balance of power. And for those who understand this, it is difficult to understand what is the Internet of things, how it differs from the Internet of vegetables, why it needs to radically change the world. We therefore, as expected in different branches of knowledge, touch an elephant, each from his end.

However, from the fact that now we can see a certain pattern emerges. We would like to warn that looming seems as contrary to current news reports, in which we day-to-day living. This is also a very Marxist explanation. As Marx said, if the company asks, then the answer is already found. If any political form especially actively manifests itself, then it may very well be that she is breathing because she is leaving.

These problems of the last century, yesterday’s problems flare up particularly bright flame. It may seem that now the most pressing issue in world politics is the question of sovereignty. This is the new religion of the new right in Europe, it is largely the religion of trump.

— Maybe this is a reaction to globalization, to the blockchain, the fourth industrial revolution, rates of “white collar”? There is a new wave of sovereignties, headed on the white horse comrade Putin, saying that we must take an oath.

Or comrade trump. It remains to be seen who the horse is whiter. Yes, I believe that this is a natural reaction. Moreover, I invite everyone to rejoice that in our era at such a steep bend historical changes this reaction has the form, that is, someone somewhere won the election — not one, and the other candidate.

We call it a shock, a shock, a revolution, a threat to liberal democracy, but in reality it’s all children’s stories compared to what happened in previous industrial revolutions, in the previous historical stages. Such changes are usually accompanied by massive bloodshed, world wars, very serious violent changes within the societies, countries. In past times it was much less peaceful. Thank God that now it’s just some political talk. But if this is the reaction if we, society, are right in their observations, it is the outgoing wave, which is necessary to give to prove myself, because people have a right to be dissatisfied with the pace of change: their way of life and way of life are under threat, and they have the right to manifest their protest thus, choosing the leaders and the parties that they think will help to delay the hour hand back.

We remember myself that it is impossible in principle, that is, apparently, impossible to radically change the course of history. Even I doubt that it is possible to slow it down. But it is possible to soften the sharpness of this turn. Maybe it’s for the best, maybe then, looking back, we can say that the role of the new conservatives and some supporters Brekzita in the UK was more positive than negative. That is, we can view them not as people who cling to the wheels of progress and not let him go: maybe they slightly inhibit the actually made this bend is not so dizzying and not so painful for the vestibular apparatus of peoples.

Now left and right-wing populism — as the fever vaccination.

— You can say so. Honestly, I don’t see from them is great and radical harm, I don’t especially sympathize with this total orasanu, because they do not see, what it is to be terrified. If we believe that the sovereignty of nation States will dissolve in strong acid of globalization (which, in fact, is already happening, and the reaction is explained by the fact that this is happening), it is possible that the organizational form of global order will be as it is now often said to be divided into two levels. At the top level is the system of inter-state unions like the EU, the new Empire of the Habsburgs, as they say conspiracy theorists, like those of the Pacific partnership, which Obama wound up, of which now comes its successor.

However, it is still Chinese, SCO, our Eurasian Union, this kind of the interstate Association is not the allies, not the Treaty of cordial friendship, it is primarily economic unions. Their goal was the simplification of the trade turnover, enhancing the mobility, which dissolves the shells of nation States, because of their calcium, making them strong.

The second floor is the level of cities and urban agglomerations. This is a very popular topic now in social Sciences. I’m not going to claim I understand everything about it, but the meaning is the following: the processes of urbanization continue, there are labor, financial, economic resources are indeed concentrated in cities and territories that serve the city.

The historian in me says that once we’ve done this before: in the late middle ages, when there were big independent cities, and at the same time there was the Holy Roman Empire, that is, the pre-state period, large cities and large multinational trading alliances.

— The Christian world or the great Golden Horde — that too was not a unified state in our understanding. Was a famous phrase that in the Empire of Genghis Khan, the girl with the Golden dish on her head could walk from Beijing almost to Bucharest, and which nobody touched. The meaning was also to provide a safe space for the movement of people and goods. Everything, ultimately, comes down to this. In General, very funny, what the number of the features already came and is coming a new time, our future is repeated on a new technical level of practice of the high middle ages. This is amazing! Want to know what will happen — look at what was until the seventeenth century.

— Sorokin about this and writes in “Telluride”.

Is, of course, rich material for dystopia, because for us the middle ages is the German film “Hard to be God”. Let’s not get hung up on the details, we already have antibiotics, water and sewer, so there we get down.

We perceive the period of absolutism as the period of the onset of progress. And a number of parameters concerning the same freedom of movement, about the possibility for man to escape from his sovereign and to live my life, maybe it was just step back into enslavement. Incidentally, this period brought to the world of serfdom to a new level, when the villeins and the serfs have long since forgotten, the people were free, and suddenly it is a big state and has recruited all the big army, large production and forced farm labor. So let’s not absolute, enlightened absolutism: was it good, was it and its bad.

Indeed, the practice of the high middle ages (from the Guild associations, which are self-regulatory organizations), the cult of manual labor, a new cult of the family, new role relationships, the atomization of the twentieth century are replaced by connectedness of all against all, but instead of his village and the settlement, which was the medieval man, we have a native social network, native Facebook and native Classmates. Here’s some other role of religion may be due to the fact that people have more free time, and they began to think about my spiritual life.

What else brought the last industrial revolution in the Central States people have much more to work with. Late medieval man, if he wasn’t a farmer, you did not go to work at nine in the morning, his life was much more freestyle, from our point of view.

Marx also wrote about it: they worked as much as they needed for natural reproduction and small.

— Here’s the life of a citizen with guaranteed civil income.

— Raises another question: what will happen to democracy in the era of the guaranteed minimum income? People cease to be taxpayers: you don’t work, and the government gives you money.

And taxes will pay for robotic manufacturing, creating, in turn, other robotic manufacturing.

— Tax will probably be only consumption.

— Now is hope that taxes will pay the owners of these automated productions that will be producing themselves, they will be the main objects of taxation. This question is directly to political science: how is political behavior, which will be representative democracy, is not there suddenly a new socialism, consisting of the state, feeding endless hordes of eternal pensioners.

We, the Russian Federation, maybe a little bit showed the world what it looks like, because in years of oil, we were a society of pseudogonatodes. In many ways, we remain they are now, because over the years the government fattened a huge class of government employees — not teachers and doctors, civil servants, officials, employees inspecting organisations, the endless crowds of security forces. We surpass all countries in the world with a very large overlap in two times more than in Germany, a third more than in China (percentage). Accordingly, we have a huge army of these people who do not produce anything, whose activity is conditional, they type “protect our safety”.

Again, the question of the high middle ages… Remember, Rabelais in “Gargantua and Pantagruel” is the argument that a soldier at war, the merchant sells the farmer plows, and the monk is doing what? And he prays for our sins. Here the law protects, guards our safety, praying for our sins, breaches of security, and we are all for it feed him. This is not very exciting socio-political picture of the relevant political behavior, is very well familiar to us, because it is clear how these people vote: either they do not vote do not object to their votes were assigned, or they vote for the power that is their landlord.

— I am very interested in this gap: how do current Russian pourheidari, a failed transit, apparently, partially failed or completely failed modernization combined with global modernization transition to the fourth industrial revolution, society of continuous unemployment, society of robots, the guaranteed minimum income, zero credit, blockchain, bitcoin, all of these innovations, which are we talking here? How does the current Putin’s regime combined with all this? Or is it somehow fit in the head German Gref?

— Herman Gref is one of the few senior people, who speaks about the future publicly, and that he needs to say thank you. What he says doesn’t always make sense, but at least it is impossible not to welcome the aspiration of thought forward. After all, what is called futurophobia, fear of the future is very common we have a disease, and the higher up the hierarchical pyramid, so it is widespread.

We all value the security and preservation of radically prevail over the values of progress and development. In this one-both the authorities and citizens: everyone is afraid of the future, all consider it in terms of threats and challenges. View on the context the word “future” you will see a number of “threats” and “challenges” and not “possibility”, “chance” or “improvement” that will bring us tomorrow. We can only be a return to yesterday and the day before, and in the future some solid threats popping up at us from under the bed. Accordingly, what you call archaic, there is an attempt to follow these values, savings, security, and preservation.

According to the world value survey, which make Inglehart and Norris, Russia is always in the spectrum, where values of survival are much higher values of self-expression.

— Absolutely, this is one of our basic troubles, because it combines extremely low level of confidence. With the level of confidence in recent years has become a little bit better the power of social networking and connections they provide. This immediately increases extremely optimistic mood, so much that even economic degradation can not kill the effect of euphoria, which is felt by a man who suddenly finds himself alone and associated with other people. Still, it’s a basic human need. Deprivation in this sense leads to everything from suicide to drug addiction. Any improvement in this area immediately gives you plus one hundred karma, as they say now, plus a hundred for your social well-being and even to your political optimism. Why is everyone so hooked on joint activities.

— How can Russia, with its futurophobia fits in this global scenario?

Whether you’re Futurepop or futurotic still time for you flows exactly the same as everyone else. It is impossible to dig a hole and say, Oh, you know, for me the day after tomorrow will not come, may there always be yesterday, always five o’clock and time for tea, as in “Alice in Wonderland”. But even there, as you remember, they moved around the table to every time have to clean the dishes. The question Alice: “What are you going to do when I do a full circle?” — The March hare nervously says, “Let’s talk about other topics”.

People who want to stop the time, very nervous relevant to the question: what will you do when you peramagli all the dishes and eat all your resources? Our Ministry of Finance, just like the March hare does not like when he asked this question: “when you pass the Foundation, what’s next?” — “Let’s talk about something else”. And there maybe will be something incredible, and the problem will resolve itself.

The future is coming for everyone. Moreover, since the future about which we speak, has as its basis the globalization, I think that the new phenomenon of this new century, humanity is still do not really see is that maybe lag, but not in isolation. All the previous centuries Laggards, underperforming pieces of land were isolated, that is, I sit at home with my palisade, I to anybody do not go, and to me nobody goes. I myself grow my turnips, eat it, have a good trading with neighbors hemp and sable skins, but not globalizers. What was the advantage of this way of life? That you may be living worse than the neighbor, but you do not know about. Do you think that there are people with dogs ‘ heads, some heathen, and we then all well and good, stratacaster covenants, and they have there who knows what.

Now isolation is impossible, the world is transparent, everyone can see everyone, not just by physical movement, but also through the exchange of information. And we are very close seeing how other people live. The gap is quite possible. Some areas are richer, others poorer, some ran along the path of technological progress, others did not run away, but all you see all. Of course, this is mind-blowing.

I think it’s one of springs, one of the propulsion mechanisms, including, and global terrorist activity. When young people of backward areas (to speak generally) see other young people live quite differently, and they believe in the wrong God, wrong behaving, way of dressing and living better is very much completely breaks the head. The only option that appears is “let’s blow them to hell, blow up the wrong world, because he’s sitting on my nose, I can’t go anywhere to hide from it. I did not mean that sitting quietly in the madrassas and pray — it’s all around me, this world of wrong, so let’s just destroy”.


This, with some amendments, and the picture of relations between Russia and the generalized Western world: we also see it, but it’s wrong, bad, so let’s vegetable gardens… vegetable Garden impossible. Let us convince ourselves that we are better, but it’s too hard. This is a very uncomfortable new situation.

But Putin’s regime, I think, very well integrated into the information world. The level of the digital culture, the digitalization of the relations in Moscow, I believe, one of the highest in the world. You can do well without money, without credit, will soon be everywhere, pay mobile. Putin’s regime has learned to cleverly manipulate the Internet. Many of us were optimistic illusion (I personally was 10-15 years ago) that finally Internet win TV, will bring us freedom, but he brought nothing.

— What are these successes?

At least, he created the illusion of a global Russian hackers, who are now looking under every bed.

— We extract from this any good? I often hear, including participating in all international conferences, about the outstanding achievements of Russian foreign policy, Russian foreign propaganda. And when I try to feel, what is success, they say: “But, you know, on the cover of the magazine had a picture of Putin”…

Inside, in social networks, in the end.

— We talk a lot and say some nasty things. We profit from all this? The information society is that it’s very much consists of talking. And when I try to feel, the foam goes between the toes. I don’t know what is for us the benefit of the reputation of Russian hackers. We’re for it cheap loans to buy more of our products?

— I agree with that. At least from the point of view of the regime, apparently, is all microsphere. But even from the perspective of information consumers, people who believe in the crucified boy in Slavyansk, as they believed, from the TV, so they believe in the Internet. In the Spanish Manager, who does not know that the downed “Boeing”…

Does this affect their political behavior? We see people who have watched in YouTube the movie about Dimona, took, and came to the rally, and people who watch Dmitry Kiselyov, don’t go anywhere unless they don’t charge to come from the housing Department or at the place of work.

In this regard, you remain theoptimist?

— I generally try to think in terms of progress.

— Are you generally an optimist is known to all.

I don’t know what my optimism. But I believe that humanity is gradually moving towards less violence and more prosperity — not to see it. We live in a time of peace and prosperity, if in the long run. Still never been so few wars, never in these wars there were so few casualties. It sounds terribly immoral, because, look, there is fighting and there is fighting in Syria someone killed, but humanity has always fought much more than now. And technological progress brought us the closest approach to freedom from hunger, has ever reached mankind. In this sense, we have grounds for optimism. The information society increases the level of happiness, because it binds people together, and people want to be connected.

This is a very common thing. If you specifically instead of happiness on the Internet get trolling and baiting, then you will increase the level of happiness, it can lead to suicide. Personally, you could lose your job from technical progress, and not buy it. Nevertheless, in General, we must welcome the movement of humanity towards progress.

— I will quote what was already said of Catherine: possible lag of one country, but not its isolation. I think we are now convinced of this more than ever.