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Fundación Santillana Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes

Books

The Funereal Capitalism

Vicente Verdú

 No one wanted it to be true but everyone was expecting it to happen. Few times in history have enjoyed such a lack of prestige as this one. The loss of value of hard work, the deterioration of education, the corruption of politicians, athletes and bankers, the trivialization of morality, the rise of injustice and inequality, the disdain for teachers and dissatisfaction with work, the freezing of salaries and the gross exploitation of the weakest, the destruction of the planet, the artistic pack of lies, the regular beating of seals. One after another. This list of radical characteristics of current affairs used to reflect a period of maximum decadence. Not only things were not as good as they were melancholically remembered to be, but it was generally unknown how far things would go, and above all, where we would end up.

Now, finally, a colossal phenomenon has intervened to stop this degeneration: the Crisis. At the beginning it was called a financial crisis, but in reality it means the collapse of an entire epoch: the decline of a culture and the fate of a system that reached its zenith of depravity. The crisis, after all, would not mean more than the resounding end of an era and the predictable beginning of another stage - perhaps a better one for the history of Humanity.

If, for a while, there had been a dream of ideal circumstances by means of which History would stop being a matter of fate and become a process governed by humans, no misfortune would be as appropriate as this. Globalization, television, and the constant universe of the Internet have all shown to us more than enough evidence of the ills and evil powers that are detrimental to the world in which we are at the same time audience, neighbours and militants. Simultaneously, however, even something as vile as consumerism has prepared us to be critical of things and images, and to be wary of appearances. Superficiality? Transparency? Euphemisms? The call for transparency is heard in board meetings, in city halls or in the publication of policies; in the end, it instructs us regarding the general system of confusion in fictional capitalism.

Why would one not want, therefore, the destruction of manipulation, and its junk bonds? Why not celebrating the breakdown of the system? Why not attributing a purifying function to the crisis? Faced with moral relativism, the discipline of the Bible would return; faced with extravagance, the charm of austerity would be seen. Today a great many victims, like oxen in primitive sacrifices, pay with their unemployment or economic devastation for the orgies of years gone by. Quite likely, it will return thus: the metaphor of the just God whose axis coincides with the apotheosis of the depression, the moral success of the crisis. Truth? Lies? Another capitalist fairy tale? The true funeral of an era? This entire book is devoted to examining and responding to these questions.

Translated by Alison-Jane Boyden

Book Details

Title:
El capitalismo funeral. La crisis o la Tercera Guerra Mundial (2009)
Author:
Vicente Verdú
Publisher:
Anagrama
ISBN:
978-84-339-6293-5

Authors > Vicente Verdú

Vicente Verdú
© © Álvaro García. El País

Vicente Verdú

(Elche, Spain, 1942). A writer and journalist, a large part of his professional career has been linked to El País, one of Spain 's leading newspapers, where he has been Editor of the opinion and cultural sections. He is also a regular collaborator of the journal Cuadernos para el diálogo. Since 1971, when his first book was published, he has authored over twenty titles, many on the field of Sociology. They include:  Noviazgo y matrimonio en la burguesía española (1974), Las solteronas (1978), Nuevos amores, nuevas familias (1992), El estilo del mundo: la vida en el capitalismo de ficción (2003), Noviazgo y matrimonio en la sociedad española: 1974-2004 (2004), La ciudad inquieta: el urbanismo contemporáneo entre la realidad y el deseo (2005). In 1997, he was awarded the Premio Anagrama de Ensayo, an essay literary award, for his book El Planeta Americano. His most recent book is El capitalismo funeral (2009).

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The Burden of Work

It could be said that the scarcity of work provoked by the crisis that cornered Western economic and financial systems at the end of the 21st century would make it difficult to complain about work. Or, in the words of Vicente Verdú , speaking badly of work would be a mortal sin. Yet the working life of the average worker implies a number of disappointments and discouraging events that do not encourage belief in a better future. The system of incentives and breaks seems to alleviate...

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