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No Capitalism Without Nationalism

Zlatko Had�idedic

Academicus International Scientific Journal, 2021, issue 24, 60-77

Abstract: Most theories of nationalism labelled as �modernist� tend to overlook the fact that the phenomenon to which they vaguely refer as �Modernity� is defined by a single, very precise and consistent socio-economic system, that of capitalism. However, this fact makes nationalism and capitalism, rather than nationalism and �Modernity�, practically congruent. From this perspective, the essential question that arises is whether the emergence of these two was a spontaneous but compatible and useful coincidence, or nationalism was capitalism�s deliberate invention? In the capitalist era, society has become merely a resource whose existence enables functioning of the market. Such a society must destroy all traditional communal ties on which the maintenance of traditional society was based, so that the principles of reciprocity and solidarity be replaced by the procedures of asymmetric economic exchange. Once the procedures of asymmetric economic exchange become the central principle of human relations, society stops functioning as a whole and becomes sharply divided into two parts � a well-organised and tightly-structured network of self-interested individuals permanently striving for perpetual economic gain and a shapeless mob of socially dislodged labour permanently striving for mere survival. The incessant widening of the gap between the two strata makes capitalism�s essential principle of endless accumulation of capital socially unsustainable. For, rapidly urbanised masses, forced into selling their labour below the minimal price, contain a permanently present insurrectionary potential that might threaten stability of the entire system. So, bridging that gap without actually changing the structure of society becomes the paramount task for the system trying to preserve its mechanism of incessant exploitation of labour and limitless accumulation of capital. Therefore, the system has to introduce a social glue that is tailored to conceal, but also to cement, the actual polarisation of society. At the same time, this glue is designed to compensate the uprooted masses for the loss of their authentic identities by replacing these with a single artificial one. This multi-purpose invention is an abstract concept of absolute social unity, named �the nation�, based on the assumption that those who are located on both sides of the gap, no matter whether they are on the exploiting or exploited side, automatically share the same equal rights, same common interests, and same identity.

Keywords: nationalism; capitalism; liberalism; neoliberalism; globalisation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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