"I have tried to be a great mortified, so that, if I mortify, they will not accuse me...". I hope that these lyrics by Silvio Rodríguez accompany me, with their melody, until the end of the delivery of "Thinking in depth" that I present today. begin to look inside is not always an easy task. But here we go, again, to the battle of ideas.
Achieving «inclusion» and «development» appears, today, as the main banner that the peoples and governments of the global Souths have for the processes of social transformation; an objective that, by the way, is aligned with the political guidelines defined by multilateral organizations. It seems that we all want to be "developed": it is as if we do not want to be left out of a world-system in which "quality of life" is positioned as an objective and as a horizon of meaning. But what are the foundations of the discourse of "inclusion" and "development"? What are the ethical implications and consequences of this worldview on the economies, politics, and ways of life in our territories?
The first thing to review is what we mean by “inclusion”. "Inclusion" is expressed in a system of socially shared mental constructions (representations, imaginaries), which function as a kind of common matrix on the supposed step that must be taken to access the "benefits" generated by the order (understood: disorder) world hegemonic. These representations and these social imaginaries have a practical meaning: not to be left out of the quantitative development of a society of capitalist progress, consumption and accumulation.
The "excluded" is thought outside, although this positioning is only a fallacy: the "excluded" is also constitutive of that unequal world-system, which considers some superior beings and other inferior beings or, worse still, without the condition of subjects; a world in which the "development" of some means the misery and exploitation of others. «The discourse of inclusion, as a regime of representation, implies —in the words of the Venezuelan anthropologist José Romero Losacco— selling the dream that the privileges of a few are extensible to the whole. Consequently, inclusion, as a horizon, is problematic when formulating alternative proposals». in his book The invention of exclusion: individual, development and inclusion, Losacco describes that this rhetoric contains an imperial-colonial look that leads us to want to incorporate ourselves into the glossy face of the way of life that oppresses us (we must say that no civilizing system has caused so much exploitation, so much misery, so much poverty, so much destruction, both emptying and modernity); and there the phrase is lapidary: «We are not excluded: we are exploited».
The seriousness of the "inclusion" discourse is that, without much discussion, revolutionary political projects and programs assume this narrative as a banner of struggle, without problematizing what ideal model is behind it and what are the contradictions it brings with it.
The discourse of "inclusion" supposes selling as the most humane, the most just and the most rational (even, as if it were the only one) a world-system that threatens life, and that is the cause of the miserable person who suffers, traumatically , oppression, in its corporeality. The underlying question would be: why are there people who are "excluded" from the objective wealth of the modern/capitalist system? The answer that we have to give to the question must allow us to think about the configuration of community relations that make the reproduction of life possible.
This invention, with which modernity covers up the fact that the Western capitalist way of life is a bourgeois project —which supposes the domination and exploitation of the human being and of non-human nature—, also intersects with the myth of capitalist development. . From this perspective, the quality of life is measured by the quantity of goods and services. In this system, the realization of an "included" person, that is, an individual (an "I"), is only possible the more he consumes and accumulates more merchandise. The quality of life, in this way of seeing reality, is reduced to a relationship of possession and ownership, that is, to a desire to turn everyone and everything into property, including ourselves. Here "inclusion" is a being inside, which entails a break with being and being in community, and assuming an individual being, whose constitution generates perpetual dissatisfaction and existential loneliness (since, at its foundation, there is no human community or the Earth). This destruction of the community bond leads us to consume and consume... until consumption consumes us. In other words: we reason the meaning of our existence in relation to an insatiable consumption.
"Development" is nothing more than a permanent reinvention of artifacts that claim to satisfy supposed needs, but that only sustain a voracious market economy. The concept of "development" (whatever its surname: social, human, sustainable, sustainable, endogenous), offered to us by capitalism, has shown, in recent times, why this is not the way to protect life; Rather, "development" is the model that today threatens the conditions that make life on the planet possible. History has shown that the countries with the greatest economic and scientific-technological development are the countries with the greatest ecological footprint. We do not say it: the modern scientific community itself shouts it!
Performance is equal to progress y progress is equal to crecimiento, which is unfeasible on a finite planet. Now, the other question is: why, then, are we determined to follow a model that has life in check? Or is more than 500 years of "inclusion" not enough?
Historically, the political proposals that arise, even within the left of our continent, address the problems of overcoming poverty, misery, dependency, from the modern civilizing project, which is based on indicators linked to income, without think about indicators conceived from a civilizing project of living well, which strengthens community life. Within the modern civilizing project, the exercise of building conditions of dignity is guided by a purely quantitative approach, where the model as such is not questioned, even when it has been the "development" model itself that has caused the current crises.
The myth of development is so powerful and concealing that it has colonized even our expectations and wishes for life. The philosopher Juan José Bautista would say: Furthermore, when the Latin American left thinks about overcoming misery and poverty, it does so from the image that modern Europe projects on them. If in the past the miserable Amerindian appeared, in the future they see a modern and western Latin America.
It is urgent to remove the issue of dignity from the framework of colonial interpretation, to prepare ourselves for the construction of truly human and community relationships, which lead to the satisfaction of real needs and solidarity between peoples, from a being-being-with others , that starts from sharing, giving, living well. If we don't do this exercise, we will always fall back on what we criticize and want to overcome.
We have the challenge of identifying the modern-capitalist schemes and dispositions internalized in our bodies. We cannot forget that the capitalist mode of production is not only a commodity production system, but rather a mode of cultural production and reproduction; that is to say: it produces objects, but also subjects; produces the merchandise and its consumer, to guarantee the reproduction of the system as such.
Moving from the myth of inclusion and development implies a decolonization of imaginaries from perspectives of living well in the community, which embrace the "we" and the ethics of life.
Any revolutionary political project must start —we see it with Franz Hinkelammert and Henry Mora Jiménez, in their book towards an economy for life— of an ethic of the common good, which allows human life to be integrated into the natural circuit of life. Let's see how they put it: «The problem of the reproduction of life is displaced —if not, eliminated— from economic reflection; but this is, in fact, the fundamental problem of human praxis and the starting point of an economy for life. [...] Regardless of what the tastes of a person or a community are, its feasibility is based on respect for the framework of satisfying needs. The satisfaction of needs makes life possible, the satisfaction of preferences can make it more or less pleasant. But, in order to be pleasant, life "before" has to be possible.
Committing to the historical responsibility of caring for life implies stopping imitating and pursuing the European or North American way of life (which is death), whose (ir)rationality has no answers to get out of today's crises. It is time to start thinking about what is happening on our side and, beyond that, value and assume the horizon of living well in community not only among humans, but also with the Earth. We are already late in this discussion!