Decisions on all key matters promotes income equality and favours the collective, long-term interests, rather than individual short-term gain. These payments for work performed, basic pay and bonuses, are paid into their “Accumulation” component in their Central Bank Account. 

“ I can more easily imagine the extinction of life on our planet than the demise of capitalism.” 

Have you ever heard that spoken? I have and over the last decade or more it has occurred to me that we need a good supply of utopian ideas to stimulate our imaginations to anticipate the necessary end of capitalism. The above scepticism has to be challenged and overcome. 

The words of Arundhati Roy are apposite in this time of COVID19: 

“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world.” 

Greek-Australian citizen Yanis Varoufakis’ latest book “Another Now” - Dispatches from an Alternative Present, Penguin Random House, London 2020 fills the bill admirably. It deserves a wide readership and I hope to motivate you to take a walk through Yanis’ portal into our new world without capitalism. 

The story begins in July 2035 and we are taken back to reflect on the life experiences of three characters: Costa, a humanist computer engineer; Iris, a feminist anarchist; and Eva, a libertarian economist. They have been brought together over the previous 50 years but have had only rare and fitful contact until 2025 

Adopting the science fiction genre the plot depends on the “magic” of computer science and the existence of an Einstein-Rosen wormhole into another dimension provided by the genius of Costa. This allowed our three characters to contact their clones that exist in an alternative reality which diverged in 2008 at the moment of the “Great Financial Crash”. This was a pivotal moment in history when we could have acted to discipline finance capital. We failed. This book provides a description of what we lost. 

From the alternative reality, “Another Now” their clones Kosti, Siris, and Eve engage with Costa, Iris and Eva through the wormhole. This dialogue leads Costa, Iris and Eva to question their own ideas and values and to come to a realisation that the world we inhabit in the “Now” of 21st Century capitalism has been dramatically re-configured in the “Another Now”. Market relations exist but in a fairer, more stable society. 

Varoufakis has provided a useful fictional device to describe the possible transition mechanisms and outcomes that were achieved in “Another Now”.  

For example in “Another Now” there are no bosses; no private banks, no stock exchanges and all this was achieved in the 17 years between 2008 and 2025. There is skepticism and argument from our disbelieving “This Now” denizens Costa, Iris and Eva.  

Their clones Kosti, Siris and Eve explain to them that in “Another Now” every employee holds one share only in a company and therefore hold only one vote regardless of the job they do. If you leave you lose the share/vote.  

Company income is allocated with 5% of all revenues going to the Government; 95% is divided into four parts:  

  1. fixed costs eg rent 
  1. R & D. 
  1. equal basic pay.  
  1. bonuses. 

All to be voted on by the staff by single share voting in all-member ballots. 

Decisions on all key matters promotes income equality and favours the collective, long-term interests, rather than individual short-term gain. These payments for work performed, basic pay and bonuses, are paid into their “Accumulation” component in their Central Bank Account. 

At birth the Central Bank provides every child $100,000 into a “Legacy” trust fund to be accessed when they reach adulthood. 

The third component of a person’s Central Bank Account is the “Dividend” component which is a monthly sum paid from corporate revenues paid to the Government [the 5% paid by all Companies]. This is familiar to us as a form of universal basic income. 

As Varoufakis points out, Wittgenstein observed that there was no private language possible. It can only be produced collectively. He points out the same is true of wealth which like language can only  be produced collectively. The above payments: Accumulation, Legacy, and Dividend maximizes the equitability of the distribution of wealth, while recognising its “collective” nature.  

Progressively Costa, Iris and Eva shed their prejudices and doubts. Of course there is much more explanation and detail available in Varoufakis’ book. Enough to enable the libertarian banker Eva to imagine a market society without private banks or share markets. And sufficient to allay any doubts you may have had that better alternatives are available and possible in Australia today. 

Both commercial banks and stock exchanges are a curse on society, akin to casinos and poker machines. 

If we had any doubts about the wisdom of the creation of money out of thin air, otherwise colloquially known as ‘quantitative easing” [printing more money] then the response of Government via Job Seeker and Job Keeper in response to COVID19 should dispel those doubts. Also there is much talk of the need to adopt a Universal Income Payment [UIP] as a social right. That genie is now out of the bottle in a number of countries.  

Social policy is a matter of political will and strategy. If it needs to be done, do it and do it equitably. 

I hope I have piqued your interest in Varoufakis’ book. He has revealed to us “Another Now’ that we could adopt. I found it informative, entertaining and liberating. It has given me the confidence to engage in discussion and promotion of an urgent strategy to rid our society of the brutality and corruption of capitalism. It is the enemy of Nature and Humanity and must be replaced as a matter of urgency. 

Lastly, get on to Youtube and see Varoufakis on DIEM25 [“Democracy In Europe Movement”2025] you will join fine comrades organising to develop an international anti-capitalist movement. You will remember Varoufakis was Finance minister in 2014/15 when Greece was being bullied by the EU into adopting austerity policies to pay the rapacious demands of the German private banks. He resigned when the Syriza Government capitulated contrary to the wishes of the Greek people. 

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.