Navigation – Plan du site

AccueilDossiers52In memoriam Bernard MarisReflecting on the Legacy of Econo...

In memoriam Bernard Maris

Reflecting on the Legacy of Economist Bernard Maris: A Call to Action

Réflexion sur l’héritage de l’économiste Bernard Maris : un appel à l’action
Karim Errouaki

Texte intégral

1I was shocked to learn that Bernard Maris had been murdered at a meeting of the editors of Charlie Hebdo in Paris on 7 January 2015. He died at his desk; killed by the fanaticism that he regularly denounced.

  • 1  Noam Chomsky pointed out that shortly after the Paris attack French Prime Minister Manuel Valls de (...)
  • 2  Since the 9-11 Attack, it’s become common to build a link between Islam and terrorism, insisting “ (...)

2Can we prevent potential Charlie Hebdo Paris 7-1-like attacks? For France and its people, and even the whole world, there seems to be no other answers to this question: 7-1-like attacks must be prevented. One might say: We will remove terrorists by taking actions against terrorism1, like the war on Afghanistan. Furthermore, even if we could capture or kill most (definitely not all) of the terrorists, this does not necessarily mean that we can eliminate terrorism. If the economic, social, cultural, and psychological root causes of terrorism still exist, new generations of terrorists will surely arise. Even if we eliminate every known terrorist and terrorist ‘cell,’ we could not eliminate all terrorism. It is now obvious that, while “Islamic Terrorists”2 cannot defeat their powerful enemies like the US on a regular military basis, they will probably continue their irregular hostile approach because they see actions as an obligation within a spiritual struggle.

3Like French thinker and philosopher Baudrillard (2001)3 has long argued:

4Terror against terror — this is no longer an ideological notion. We have gone well beyond ideology and politics. The energy that nourishes terror, no ideology, no cause, not even an Islamic one, can explain. The terrorists are not aiming simply to transform the world. Like the heretics of previous times, they aim to radicalize the world through sacrifice, whereas the system aims to convert it into money through force.

5Terrorists, like viruses, are everywhere. There is no longer a boundary that can hem terrorism in; it is at the heart of the very culture it's fighting with, and the visible fracture (and the hatred) that pits the exploited and underdeveloped nations of the world against the West masks the dominant system's internal fractures. It is as if every means of domination secreted its own antidote. Against this almost automatic form of resistance to its power, the system can do nothing. Terrorism is the shock wave of this silent resistance.

  • 4 For further details on the spirit of terrorism see his Baudrillard (2002).

6What Baudrillard calls the 'spirit of terrorism' is the waking nightmare of fantasy become reality, which means that in the West, we are all, whether of the right or left, now engaged in a murderous game, the rules of which are constantly being changed, not according to the globalized strategies of the western powers, but according to the inscrutable, ultimately unknowable, demands of 'the enemy’.4

7Furthermore, American thinker and MIT linguist Noam Chomsky (2015)5 has pointed out that:

  • 6  In the same vein, French thinker and philosopher Alain Badiou (2015) has argued that “people say t (...)

8… one would naturally ask how France upholds freedom of expression and the sacred principles of fraternity, freedom, solidarity. For example, is it through the Gayssot Law, repeatedly implemented, which effectively grants the state the right to determine Historical Truth and punish deviation from its edicts? By expelling miserable descendants of Holocaust survivors (Roma) to bitter persecution in Eastern Europe? By the deplorable treatment of North African immigrants in the banlieues of Paris where the Charlie Hebdo terrorists became jihadis? When the courageous journal Charlie Hebdo fired the cartoonist Siné on grounds that a comment of his was deemed to have anti-Semitic connotations? Many more questions quickly arise.6

9Former Director General of UNESCO Federico Mayor Zaragoza has long argued that respecting freedom of expression without limitations is not incompatible with comprehending and even sharing the indignation prompted by certain imprudent forms of manifesting that freedom. When freedom of expression is not accompanied by an appropriate dose of sensitivity to others and self-contention, there is a risk that the reactions of the aggrieved may be disproportionate and enraged. The solution never lies in censorship, but rather in cool-headed dialogue and, when warranted, the intervention of the courts of justice. But now it is imperative that all countries, on both sides, make an urgent call for dialogue and conciliation.

10Let’s put things in perspective. Since 9/11 the “War on Terror” has filled the headlines. America, together with the international community, has launched 'Operation Enduring Freedom’ as a result of what happened on 9/11. A system based on most sophisticated technology was beaten by low-level technology - i.e., small knives, human muscle power, and converting a commercial plane into a bomb of nuclear dimensions. Iraq was invaded as part of the effort to combat terror; the Patriot Act was passed to deal with domestic threats and subversion; the Department of Homeland Security was created in response to terrorist threats (real or potential); Israel is praised because it leads the way in showing how to take strong action against terrorists. The US has issued an ultimatum: states that sponsor or harbor terrorism will be dealt with as if they were terrorists themselves. The foreign policy is clear; US resolve firm. In his Second Inaugural Address, President Bush asserted that the “force of human freedom” is the answer to terrorism, and the US will lead the expansion of freedom across the whole world, by military force if necessary (Chomsky, 2011; 2013; Nell and Errouaki, 2004).

11However, it is likely that every one of these moves was a mistake. Chomsky has long argued that the US program was based on a misunderstanding of the threat and a failure to see what has been happening in the Islamic world. Islamic fundamentalism has been sweeping the Muslim world. It is what everyone talks about - even those who oppose the religious fanatics. The influence of fundamentalism is everywhere, not only in religion, but also in politics and social behavior. It reflects anger and resentment at what it sees as the humiliation of the Islamic world by the West, and this anger has congealed into a clandestine movement, not for reform, but nothing less than overthrowing the organization and government of the world as we know it. This movement has no state power, little authoritative backing of any kind, no bureaucracy; it has no discernible organization. It does, however, exercise enormous influence, and has attacked the symbols and institutions of what it regards as corrupt power in dozens of countries all over the world. It aims to destroy and replace virtually all existing secular or weakly Islamic governments, and it aims to destroy moderate or modernized Islam. And of course, it utterly opposes the secular West (Nell and Errouaki, 2004).

  • 7  For an account see my article coauthored with Enrique Baron and Edward Nell on “The Roots of Funda (...)

12Let’s take the case of the relationship between the “Islamic Fundamentalists” and the rest of the world. This relationship is fraught with publicity, misunderstanding, and violence. Focussing on these protagonists does not imply that Islamic fundamentalists are more pertinent to this discussion than any other group. The violent behaviour that everybody feels so outraged by came about in a historical context that included conquest by the Egyptian and Roman Empires, the spread of the latter's state religion (Christianity), crusades and centuries of religious prejudice, European colonialism and the drawing of political boundaries which suited the needs of the victors in WWI and WWII, followed by a prolonged ideological conflict between two superpowers that obliged Muslim peoples to choose (or be chosen by) either one side or the other, but suffer the consequences of both! Neither of the superpowers' value systems harmonised with the traditional Islamic one, which favours pious religious practice, and a distinctly non-consumerist vision of the future. But the rich countries' growing demand for cheap oil – and thus for political influence throughout the Arab world – resulted in the establishment of puppet governments set up, funded, and militarily equipped by the West. These governments serve the demands of their ruling élites and their western masters, but not the basic human needs of their own people. The resulting authoritarianism, poverty, corruption, human rights violations and inequity fuels the fires of fundamentalist resentment. What the West sees as "Islamic Fundamentalism" is the backlash to our own economic and political violence.7

  • 8  Noam Chomsky (2015)’ Paris attacks show hypocrisy of West's outrage’. See below the web site: http (...)

13Have we been reduced, to use Huntington’s expression, to the 'clash of civilizations' where, in the name of security, a state of emergency forces all to close ranks in a staged, imaginary conflict where all possibility of dissent is erased? Chomsky observed that “the New York Times described the Charlie Hebdo attack as a clash of civilizations, but was corrected by Times columnist Anand Giridharadas, who tweeted that it was ‘Not & never a war of civilizations or between them. But a war FOR civilization against groups on the other side of that line’.”8

14Like Chomsky, Baudrillard (2001)9 has long argued that:

15It is a mistake, then, to characterize this as a clash of civilizations or of religions. It goes well beyond Islam and America, on which one might be tempted to concentrate in order to create the illusion of a confrontation resolvable by force. There is a fundamental antagonism at work, but it transcends the phantom of America (which is perhaps the epicenter, though not the incarnation of globalization) as well as the phantom of Islam (which likewise is not the incarnation of terrorism). This is the clash of triumphant globalization at war with itself.

  • 10 There are fundamentalist Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, each of whom is certain that their relig (...)

16This is not a clash of civilizations – it is a clash between fundamentalist religion and modern civilization. Yet in spite of the fact that “Islamic Fundamentalism” is the basis of this clash, fundamentalism has no inherent or unique connection to Islam. To understand what is at stake, we have to examine fundamentalism as a way of thinking, on its own. It is a mind-set that can arise in many different contexts. There are fundamentalist Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, each of whom is certain that their religion, and their particular interpretation of it, is absolutely correct. Outside religion altogether we have fundamentalist Marxists, who have unlocked the secret to the march of History. Nor are they alone in the world of social studies: there are “market fundamentalists” among economists, who have found the true and final key to prosperity in unleashing the forces of competition. Even more unexpectedly, there are “fundamentalist scientists”, who hold that science can give us not necessarily absolute truth, but certainly the best truth available.10

17Federico Mayor Zaragoza has long argued that all of our different cultures, beliefs and identities are our wealth. Uniting in universal values is our strength. Only through dispassionate dialogue, interaction, and reciprocal knowledge will we be able to live harmoniously in peace. We must promote a great mobilization in civil society to achieve the eradication of the causes of extremism and violence, to enable us to make the transition from a culture of imposition to a culture of dialogue and conciliation. Building peace each day and establishing alliances by means of the word is our immense and urgent mission.

Tribute to Economist Bernard Maris

18Bernard Maris, born in Toulouse, was 68 years old. He was the son of Spanish Republicans who emigrated to France and a typical product of this ‘republican elitism’ which some beautiful souls are presently deriding. After graduating from Sciences Po Toulouse in 1968, Bernard Maris earned a doctorate in economics at the University of Toulouse I in 1975 with a thesis entitled La distribution personnelle des revenus: une approche théorique dans le cadre de la croissance équilibrée (The personal distribution of income: A theoretical approach to balanced growth), prepared under the direction of professor Jean Vincens. In September 1994 he earned his Full Professorship at Sciences Po Toulouse.

19Bernard Maris was an economist and a member of the governing board of the Bank of France (Banque de France), professor at the Institute of European studies of the University of Paris-VIII, a former University of Iowa professor, and journalist for the publication Charlie Hebdo, where he wrote a weekly column, under the pseudonym of ‘Uncle Bernard’ - a column in which he explained the mysteries of finance. In a profile of victims published Wednesday evening, the Los Angeles Times reported Bernard Maris was a “noted Keynesian and political maverick,” who was widely read and appeared frequently on French television and radio to debate economics and politics. The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported that Bernard Maris had a “wonderful talent for explaining complex notions in simple language.” “In his newspaper, television and radio work, he argued for a world that was more just,” according to the OECD. “Like his friends and colleagues, Bernard Maris fought against inequality, injustice and oppression. The world is a sadder place without the mockery of brave, clever, funny, people like them.” The governor of the Bank of France Christian Noyer observed that “it is a cowardly and barbaric attack against the freedom of the press and those who stand for it. People with convictions including our friend and colleague Bernard Maris were killed in it. Bernard Maris was a man of heart, culture and great tolerance. He will be sorely missed.”

20Bernard was a delightful man of great dignity, culture, and tolerance. He was an old-style French intellectual, a scholar of Keynes, and a public figure. He had been active in Attac France and was a friend of Michel Houellebecq, the French writer whose new controversial novel called “Submission” imagines a Muslim president for France in 2022. Bernard admired Houellebecq, even paying tribute to the author in a book called “Houellebecq Economist” (2014, Flammarion). He clashed regularly with mainstream, French business journalists. He worked to denounce the ‘fury of capitalism.’ Similarly, in the Islamic world - in the Middle East as in Europe - the key conflict he saw as an internal one - the clash between opposing ideas on society and politics, even more than on religion.

21He was the author of the remarkable Antimanuel d’économie (Antimanual of Economics published by Bréal in 2 volumes, 2003, 2006) and of an important collective work showing his interest in social sciences, Gouverner par la Peur (To Govern through Fear, in 2007). He was awarded the Prize of ‘best economist’ of 1995 given by Le Nouvel Économiste, and published important books like Ah Dieu ! Que la guerre économique est jolie ! (God, what a PrettyEconomicWar !- in 1998), Lettre ouverte aux gourous de l'économie qui nous prennent pour des imbéciles (An Open letter to Economic Gurus who take us for Imbeciles, in1999). He also coauthored two books (Capitalisme et pulsion de mort, 2009 [Capitalism and impulse of death] and Marx, ô Marx, pourquoi m'as-tu abandonné?, 2010 [Marx, o Marx, why have you forsaken me?]).

22The extent of Bernard Maris’s knowledge was not limited to economics. His grasp of history, and his insights into various social sciences struck anybody who read him. Bernard took Adam Smith’s lead in viewing economics as a ‘moral science’ with close ties to the full span of social sciences. Nothing was more foreign to him than the mystery of Walras' pure economics that somehow inspired a whole tradition of economists who shine as much by their formalized reasoning as by their unrealistic deductions. Bernard Maris was waiting impatiently for a transformation in economic thought, distanced from the private playground of self-styled mathematicians disguised as economists.

23Appointed in 2011 to the General Counsel of the Bank of France (Banque de France), Bernard Maris had already clearly expressed his doubts concerning the survival of the Eurozone. In early 2014 he explained why he was forthwith favorable to a dissolution of the Eurozone and to a return to national currencies. He argued that there will be a new financial crisis, that the Eurozone will burst, that Europe will balkanize – it is already balkanized. Nevertheless a number of events that arose during the last ten years were not predictable. The financial crisis: could it really have been foreseen? The Twin Towers? As one can imagine, his position about this subject has evolved with time. Many are convinced that his positions concerning the coming Greek crisis would have been important.

24His influence on generations of students has been considerable. He was, and will remain, a model of a citizen economist, like Keynes, who was his great inspiration. He shared with other prominent economists an impatience for mainstream ideas and an antipathy for power.

25May the spirit and ambitions of Bernard Maris live on through our actions. It is now up to us to be true to his vision of a more peaceful, knowledgeable, humane, and a tolerant world. To be true to his legacy, we have a lot of work to do!

From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace

26Italian economist Mario Pianta Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Urbino and coauthor of a recent book (Sbilanciamo l’economia. Una via d’uscita dalla crisi, Laterza, 2013) (Off balance. A way out of the crisis), raised an important question related to the unexpected death of Bernard Maris by asking: “in what kind of convulsion of history do Islamic extremists at war with western power manage to kill Bernard Maris, one of the voices who denounced western power?” Which ideological blindness prevents them from understanding the internal conflicts of capitalism? Obviously, for those who want to erase freedom of expression, there are no differences that matter between western 'infidels.' Likewise, for the new European fascism, all Muslim citizens and immigrants are potential terrorists. We must put ourselves in the shoes –that’s what tolerance is all about– of the millions of human beings, all equal in dignity, who live in inhuman conditions. Promises to improve their lives, made by the more prosperous countries, have almost always been unfulfilled. Years of neglect, exclusion, humiliation, and abandonment by the rest of the world, have fostered feelings of frustration, hostility, resentment, and radicalization that rise to the point where there seems to be no possible solution. It is then that violent reactions sometimes explode.

27Violence can never be justified. But as Federico Mayor Zaragoza put it, it should be studied in order to identify its origins and thus help us to make advances in avoiding it; in preventing it. Violence has two principal roots: poverty and fear. The senseless death of Bernard Maris brings us back to our duty to oppose injustice, and first and foremost, those produced by our countries; our power; our consumption. His death brings us back to a commitment to political debate and may help us to look ahead as he did. He thought that the future was beyond markets and commodities, in a sharing economy with meaningful jobs, cultural commons, and social solidarity. Instead of a ‘market economy’ or a ‘war economy,’ we need an economy that would enable us to implement the Millennium Objectives.

28Federico Mayor Zaragoza has long argued that in order to address the great challenges of our era we must rely on a strengthened United Nations, endowed with the necessary human and financial resources, and with the authority required to prevent the arbitrary and discretionary decisions that have allowed a plutocracy and even a dominant power to marginalize the United Nations that President Franklin Roosevelt envisioned. Inspired by the dawning of a new century and millennium, the Heads of State and Governments, gathered at the United Nations in September 2000, “solemnly committed themselves to comply with the Millennium Objectives: I. Values and Principles; II. Peace, security and disarmament; III. Development and the eradication of poverty; IV. Protecting our common environment; V. Human rights, democracy and good governance; VI. Protecting the vulnerable; VII. Meeting the special needs of Africa; and VIII. Strengthening the United Nations” (Federico Mayor Zaragoza, 2000).

29However, as observed recently Federico Mayor Zaragoza, it will soon be fifteen years since this solemn declaration. Again, unfulfilled commitments. Again a culture of might, imposition, and violence prevails over a culture of dialogue, understanding, listening and peace. But as he argued some things have changed: society, non-governmental organizations, the peoples of the world are not going to remain silent and impassive as they did in the past. The communications media, which distract, daze and often degrade us... may now help not only to educate us and raise our awareness, but also to manifest our dissent and our conformity, our applause and our condemnation. Through modern technology the media may become the best means for expressing solidarity and for making the voice of the people heard at a global level. Civil society, in its undeniable leading role in humanitarian aid, now has the possibility not only to make itself heard, but to ensure that others actually listen.

30It was at the end of a particularly horrible World War, characterized by repulsive acts of killing, genocide and by the number of victims and the depth of the suffering, that the Charter of the United Nations, sent to the world from San Francisco in 1945, conveyed a great message of hope: "We, the peoples of the United Nations have resolved to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” It constitutes a preventive decision, adopted by all and having as a point of reference the commitment to future generations. As Former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali defended the argument, to achieve the deepest wish of people since the beginning of time it is necessary to look ahead, to build the bastions of peace, to transit from a secular culture of imposition, dominion, force, and violence to a culture of dialogue, conciliation and peace (Boutros Boutros Ghali, 2003).

31Learning to live together, with all our differences, but united by the same principles, ‘in brotherhood,’ as described in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The immense majority of citizens of all cultures, beliefs, and ideologies demand the right to live in peace, and it is incumbent upon all of us to exercise our rights and duties to make this a reality. As Federico Mayor Zaragoza observed correctly, we must make an urgent effort towards dialogue and conciliation; towards alliance rather than confrontation. Identifying what unites us and evaluating what separates us; to forge our inevitably common destiny.

  • 11  Certainly there are plenty of studies of globalization, but there are also plenty of problems stem (...)

32Nell, Errouaki and Federico Mayor Zaragoza (2015) argued in a recent book on “Reinventing Globalization after the Crash” that it is urgent to humanize globalization, to reduce drastically existing inequalities, and to ensure that migration is a choice - not simply the last resort of the alienated.11 Putting people first, without exception, was UNESCO’s primary objective. We should all work together to counter authoritarian regimes that are writing laws that restrict rights and ignore legal procedures that protect prisoners from torture and mistreatment. There are too many who either consent or look the other way. In the words of Federico Mayor Zaragoza, “security cannot be guaranteed at the cost of human rights.” Adding correctly that, “The security of peace, yes! The peace of security, never! That is, peace without freedom; the peace of distrust and fear.” Furthermore, Boutros Boutros Ghali (2003) has observed correctly that globalization doesn’t give thought to working conditions, political machinery, or human rights. Through takeovers and megamergers, the global picture has become tenser through increasing inequalities, but what is worse is that those who exercise governmental powers in the name of their citizens have ceased to be accountable. Not only economic and social conditions, but also environmental deterioration, cultural uniformity, and the loss of moral references now depend to a considerable extent on the ‘faceless power’ of large multinational enterprises that do as they please with total impunity.

33We can no longer wait in resignation. Federico Mayor Zaragoza put it, ‘’the time to peacefully but firmly call for a human rescue has come. We need new leaders for new times, with great transitions. From the force of power to the power of the word. From a culture of violence and war to a culture of dialogue, conciliation, and peace. Great crises, great opportunities… So that the generations who are one step behind us cannot accuse us of silence when our voice is so necessary: together in peace, tireless in our resistance in favor of authentic democracy. So that no one can ever say, ‘We listened for your voice, but it was never heard’. Silence can become a crime’’ (Federico Mayor Zaragoza, 2011).

34During his 12 years as Director General of UNESCO (1987-1999) Federico Mayor Zaragoza gave new life to the organization’s mission to build a “bastion of peace in the minds of all people”, putting the institution at the service of peace, tolerance, human rights and peaceful coexistence, working within the scope of its powers and remaining faithful to its original goals. Under Mayor Zaragoza’s guidance UNESCO created the “Culture of Peace Programme”, whose objectives revolve around four main themes: education for peace; human rights and democracy; the fight against isolation and poverty; the defense of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue; and conflict prevention and the consolidation of peace (Federico Mayor Zaragoza, 1996).

35Furthermore, global peace, development and democracy can be said to be the principles that animated the career of Boutros Boutros-Ghali during his tenure as UN Secretary-General, and they are developed in the Agendas. Each of these is a program to make the world a better place; each lays out a masterly survey of the problems in its area, followed by a comprehensive analysis of relevant policies, and ends with specific proposals (Boutros Boutros Ghali, 1999).

36A culture of peace, as an ethical and political model, can resolve the present dichotomy that separates and divides, in inhuman levels, the world’s rich and poor. In opposition to the reactionaries, we must find or invent new formulas. Chomsky has observed recently that “there are excellent and careful scholarly studies of US ‘democracy promotion’ by their most prominent advocates, who concede, reluctantly, that the government supports democracy if and only if it conforms to economic and strategic interests – just as any rational person would expect.” 12 In the Federico Mayor Zaragoza’s words, we must completely renew the concept of democracy: the principal subject of democracy is the citizen, not the State. The people. Will the 21st century be the century of people? To achieve this it is essential to refuse to remain silent, to participate. The voice of the people. And the scientific and academic communities, the intellectuals and creators must particularly make themselves heard and they can no longer remain silent! (Federico Mayor Zaragoza, 1999).

What is to be done?

37Like Bernard Maris, I too recognize that it is necessary to understand the nature of reality if one wishes to transform it. It is urgent for France in Europe, and Europe in the world, to realize that “doing well at home” cannot be achieved at the expense of the many inhabitants of the rest of the world. It is useless to shut the doors and batten down the hatches. And even less so to transform them into projectors of an image of complacency. As Federico Mayor wrote, “it is time to take responsibility; to transcend force with dialogue; to authenticate real democracy. It is time to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah and “beat our swords into plowshares.” Europe, united in its diversity, can become the watch tower so badly needed at this turbulent beginning of the twenty-first century. With its immense creative capacity could be, before long, at the forefront of the intellectual and moral solidarity.” Just as we each need time to think, to talk with others, and especially with those around us, the moment has come to pause and reflect, so that we all can understand that the majority will benefit from a transformation; a transformation from our current stagnation must take place; the status quo is not an option. Surely Bernard Maris recognized the reality of these turbulent times and through his lucid descriptions plotted a journey that we can follow to make this world a better place for everyone.

38As Federico Mayor Zaragoza sustains the argument, there is also great wisdom at the core of many religious and spiritual traditions, and a growing interfaith dialogue. Bringing together influential people from the worlds of science, spirituality and fundamentalism for in-depth discussion really could help heal the dysfunctional relationship between the fundamentalists and their opponents. Federico Mayor Zaragoza reminded us that to those who say it can't be done, consider the case of the end of Apartheid in South Africa. After centuries of bitter suffering and bloodshed, this has led to a peace process which, for the first time, brought both parties to govern together and well-deserved Nobel Peace Prizes for Willem de Klerk, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Nobel Peace Prize 1993 was awarded jointly to Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk "for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa".

  • 13  In Morocco, however, the old government has remained in power, and the Islamists have succeeded as (...)

39As Federico Mayor Zaragoza has long argued, if it can happen there, it can happen elsewhere! Let’s recall here the Arab Spring. In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, the Moroccan “spring” provided a “model” for other countries in transition to follow, especially in terms of achieving a gradual change or reform without much bloodshed or instability. The King of Morocco Mohammed VI has made major political reforms, including a new constitution that eliminated many of the entitlements and privileges he previously enjoyed. By doing so King Mohammed VI has laid the foundations for new democratic Morocco. During the November 2011 elections, the Islamists came to power, yet unlike developments in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, the rise of the Islamists in Morocco did not bring turmoil. Although it may still be premature to judge the outcome of Morocco’s Spring, there are a few clear lessons from the way that the country has conducted its transition into what is promised to be a more representative government that follows democratic principles. One can argued that Morocco’s smooth transition can be best explained by the monarchy’s willingness to allow moderate Islamists to function as a legitimate political party. Morocco’s Islamists, for their part, have also shown maturity by accepting a measured, step-by-step reform process, instead of calling for a total change of the regime, as was the case in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.13

40Police action can protect people to some extent from terrorism. But as Nell and Errouaki (2004) argued, serious protection would almost certainly require curbing democratic rights. Moreover, if terrorists are caught and cells broken up, new ones will emerge to take their place. Police work is necessary in the short term, but it cannot provide a satisfactory long-term solution. Instead, we need to correct the conditions that give rise to fundamentalism. The problem, then, is the formation of a mass of displaced and dispossessed families and individuals, as a result of the creative destruction inherent in economic development. These people will suffer from economic, social and personal insecurity; but they have not been able to help themselves economically or to express themselves politically. They are angry and resentful, reasonably enough for they have been injured and no one has helped them or compensated them. They are therefore ripe for fundamentalism, a tinder box waiting to be set alight. Economic forces have provided the kindling; today’s politics can be counted on to set it aflame.


41Federico Mayor Zaragoza proposed in his book The World Ahead, published in 2000, that the “war economy” must give way to a great “global contract for development.” And let no one say that this is impossible! If anyone thinks so or tries to convince others that it is true, let them read John F. Kennedy’s speech, ‘The Strategy for Peace,’ given at American University in Washington, D.C. on June 10, 1963: “Too many of us think that [peace] is impossible. (…) …that we are gripped by forces we cannot control. (…) Our problems are Man-made. Therefore, they can be solved by Man. (…) No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.”

42In the introduction to one of the most inspiring documents of our time, the Constitution of UNESCO, created in London in 1945, "to construct peace in the minds of men", it is said " That a peace based exclusively upon the political and economic arrangements of governments would not be a peace which could secure the unanimous, lasting and sincere support of the peoples of the world, and that the peace must therefore be founded, if it is not to fail, upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind”. Up to now, if we look back carefully, we note that people have never been the focus. We have been submissive; ploughing other people's furrows, fighting for causes frequently opposed to our own. Now the moment has arrived to get involved, to be taken into account and to be full citizens.

43It is clear that civil society will progressively acquire the mechanisms to quickly identify the lies, excuses, and efforts to demonstrate, amid much publicity, the undemonstratable. Extremism of any nature is destructive. We must be aware of the reality of the ‘teachings’ of beliefs that promptly convert people into individuals. Religious sentiments that isolate; that fill converts with fear and superstition. On the one hand, they seek to convert us into mere spectators of what is happening around us, and on the other, compound efforts to proselytize and oppress rather than liberate. “It is through fraternity that liberty is saved,” wrote Victor Hugo several centuries ago. It is through that sentiment that we cease to be individuals and become people; citizens capable of persuading all others that knowledge of reality, anticipation, the evolution of rules and criteria are fundamental elements if we are to sail to other ports and change our present course.

Haut de page


Baudrillard, J (2002) De l’Esprit du Terrorisme. Paris : Galilée

Boutros-Ghali, B. (1999) Unvanquished: A U.S.-U.N. Saga. New York: Random House.

Boutros-Ghali, B. (2003) Democratizar la Globalización. Universidad del Valle. Artes Graficas del Valle Ltda, Cali.

Chomsky, N. (2011) 9-11: Was there an Alternative? (New Edition), New York: Seven Stories Press.

Chomsky, N and Vltchek, A (2013) On Western Terrorism: From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare. London: Pluto Press.

Mayor Zaragoza, F. (1996) UNESCO: Un Idéal en Action, UNESCO Publishing.

Mayor Zaragoza, F. (1999) Los Nudos Gordianos, Galaxia Gutenberg.

Mayor Zaragoza, F. (2000) The World Ahead: Our Future in the Making, Zed Books.

Mayor Zaragoza, F. (2008) Tiempo de Acción, Universidad de Granada, Editorial Anfora Nova.

Mayor Zaragoza, F. (2011) The Crime of Silence.

Nell, E.J and K. Errouaki (2004) “On the economic causes of Fundamentalism and Terrorism”, UM, the Foundation for the Culture of Peace.

Nell, E.J, K. Errouaki and Mayor Zaragoza, F. (2015) Reinventing Globalization after the Crash. Forthcoming.

Haut de page


1  Noam Chomsky pointed out that shortly after the Paris attack French Prime Minister Manuel Valls declared: “a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity”. See

2  Since the 9-11 Attack, it’s become common to build a link between Islam and terrorism, insisting “Islam [has been] a breeding ground for terrorism and war.” This is indicated by the coined term “Islamic Terrorism.” No religion in the world, much less Islam, teaches terrorism or inspires any one to kill innocent people. The Koran clearly says that killing any person without a just cause amounts to killing the whole of humanity and saving one person’s life amounts to saving the entirety of humanity. Islam, like most major religions in the world, is essentially a religion of peace. Therefore, though this essay uses the term “Islamic Terrorism,” it does not follow that I agree with the commonsense claim that Islam is pro-terrorism. For an account see my article coauthored with Enrique Baron and Edward Nell on “The Roots of Fundamentalism and Terrorism Reconsidered” (forthcoming in 2015 in the journal Constellations).

3  See

4 For further details on the spirit of terrorism see his Baudrillard (2002).

5  See

6  In the same vein, French thinker and philosopher Alain Badiou (2015) has argued that “people say that Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons aren’t attacking Muslims as such, but rather the fundamentalists’ terrorist activity. That is objectively false. So is the Muslim faithful’s Prophet, a constant target for such stupidity, a contemporary terrorist? No, that’s not any kind of politics. It’s got nothing to do with the solemn defence of ‘freedom of expression’. It is a ridiculous, provocative obscenity targeting Islam itself – and that’s all. And it’s nothing more than third-rate cultural racism, a ‘joke’ to amuse the local pissed-up Front National supporter. It may be amusing for the comfortably-off, but it is an indulgent ‘Western’ provocation against not only vast popular masses in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, but also a very large section of the working population in France itself: the people who empty our bins, wash our plates, man our pneumatic drills, hurriedly clean luxury hotel rooms and clean the big banks’ windows at 4 a.m”. See

7  For an account see my article coauthored with Enrique Baron and Edward Nell on “The Roots of Fundamentalism and Terrorism Reconsidered” (forthcoming in 2015 in the journal Constellations).

8  Noam Chomsky (2015)’ Paris attacks show hypocrisy of West's outrage’. See below the web site:

9  See

10 There are fundamentalist Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, each of whom is certain that their religion, and their particular interpretation of it, is absolutely correct. Outside religion altogether we have fundamentalist Marxists, who have unlocked the secret to the march of History. Nor are they alone in the world of social studies: there are “market fundamentalists” among economists, who have found the true and final key to prosperity in unleashing the forces of competition. Even more unexpectedly, there are “fundamentalist scientists”, who hold that science can give us not necessarily absolute truth, but certainly the best truth available. For an account see my article coauthored with Enrique Baron and Edward Nell on “The Roots of Fundamentalism and Terrorism Reconsidered” (forthcoming in 2015 in the journal Constellations).

11  Certainly there are plenty of studies of globalization, but there are also plenty of problems stemming from globalization, and very few of them have been solved to everyone’s satisfaction. But this book is not an effort to identify and solve another problem or to show that one or another approach is defective or stronger than it appears. Rather it seeks to tie together a number of apparently diverse strands in the discussion, weaving them into theoretical fabric that will encompass and make coherent what now seems a Babel of clashing and discordant voices. The aim is provide both a theoretical framework and a practical, empirical instrument, which can be brought together to suggest effective policies. The proposal of this book, which is embodied in our title, is to re-invent globalization in a way that will ensure that globalization is not only profitable and sustainable –the subject of many studies – but that it will result in human development. We want to suggest ways to recreate the global economy so as to humanize it. The main thesis here is that globalization always brings about creative destruction; that was evident before the Crash. But globalization can also bring pure destruction, as we saw in the Crash itself. Good, sound businesses have failed all over the world. Countries running well-planned and well-designed policies have been brought to the brink, through no fault of their own. All over the world productive workers have been fired or laid off, and their families are struggling to survive, because some supposedly brilliant financial geniuses speculated on a bridge too far, or levered up a little too much risk – and brought down the house of cards.

12  Noam Chomsky (2013), The Arab Spring three years on. See the web site below:

13  In Morocco, however, the old government has remained in power, and the Islamists have succeeded as well. The PJD in Morocco, while always recognized as an opposition party, did not play a role in previous Moroccan governments, which may be why it was so successful in elections. Voters did not view the party as “corrupt” or as “collaborators” with the regime. Another factor that may have played to the advantage of the PJD relates to the way it responded to protestors’ demands in 2011. The PJD pursued a measured approach with how it pushed the king for reforms; it did not cause instability or invite a harsh response from the regime. In Tunisia and Egypt, in contrast, protestors demanded a total regime change. In Libya, the demands were the same, and eventually the protests evolved into a full-fledged war. Yet in Morocco, the PJD showed a willingness to meet the king half-way by accepting his concessions despite some protestors’ demands for total regime change. It is not clear how much power the king was initially willing to concede, but the king and his advisers may have realized that their reforms had to be deep if they wanted to avoid developments in neighboring Egypt and Tunisia, where both governments were completely toppled. It is also important to highlight that the king’s other advantage was that the country’s more extreme Islamist group—the Justice and Charity Movement (JCM)—that was banned, didn’t engage itself in any form of violence against the regime despite its strict position on the “illegality” of the monarch as the “leader of the faithful.” Furthermore, the JCM was also opposed to the monarchy as a system of government. The movement engaged in demonstrations as part of the 20th February youth movement, but it refused to adopt violence—contrary to what occurred in Tunisia and Egypt, and then later Libya. The Justice and Charity movement was unhappy with the scope of reforms included in the new constitution, but its call for a boycott of the referendum to approve the amendments was not heeded by Moroccans; instead, they voted overwhelmingly to approve it. That setback was the start of the break-up of the 20th February movement; the Justice and Charity faction withdrew from the coalition, depriving the movement from the thousands of Islamists who made the bulk of the protestors calling for regime change. Today, the Justice and Charity movement seems to be contemplating applying to become a legally recognized political party. This would allow it to push for its objectives through the ballot box instead of through street protests, as has been the case for decades.

Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence électronique

Karim Errouaki, « Reflecting on the Legacy of Economist Bernard Maris: A Call to Action »Revue Interventions économiques [En ligne], 52 | 2015, mis en ligne le 01 mars 2015, consulté le 29 janvier 2022. URL : ; DOI :

Haut de page


Karim Errouaki

Senior Research Fellow, Foundation for the Culture of Peace, Autonomous University of Madrid and Special Advisor to Director General of CAFRAD, Pan-African Intergovernmental Organization.

Articles du même auteur

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur

Licence Creative Commons
Les contenus de la revue Interventions économiques sont mis à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International.

Haut de page
  • Logo Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)
  • Logo Université TELUQ
  • Logo Centre d'études sur l'intégration et la mondialisation (CEIM)
  • Logo La revue est reconnue et financée par le programme de soutien aux revues savantes du Conseil de recherches en sciences humaines du Canada (CRSH)
  • Logo Centre de recherche sur les innovations sociales (CRISES)
  • Logo Alliance de recherche université communauté sur la « gestion des âges et des temps sociaux » (ARUC-GATS)
  • Logo Faculté de science politique et de droit | UQAM
  • Logo Association d’Économie Politique
  • DOAJ - Directory of Open Access Journals
  • OpenEdition Journals
Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search