Anti-capitalist concept and AK Party
Poet and thinker Nuri Pakdil, while he was receiving an award from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said, “Dear friends, I salute you with all my anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, anti-fascist and anti-pharaohist feelings.”
Of course everybody can have their own “anti” list. What struck my attention was that President Erdoğan also repeated this sentence containing “anti-capitalism” in it and approved it. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and anti-capitalism; very interesting, isn’t it?
Islamist Pakdil is a much respected, top notch figure in the literary circle. I also respect and read him. In Pakdil’s literary art, rebellion is important, thus, his expressing his feelings with such an “anti” list. One may ask what the philosophic content of the “rebellion” concept is against an Islamic political authority.
In my world view, important concepts are reform, law and practical rationalism concepts not rebellion, revolution, rising, radicalism concepts.
Capitalism should definitely be criticized but what does anti-capitalism mean?
But which capitalism?
I personally do not like the concept of anti-capitalism because it is a vague concept that could easily contain opposition to market economy. There are several types of capitalism. There are significant differences present between the market economy that prioritizes saving and production that creates miracles in the Far East and the market economy prioritizing consumption that the AK Party practices.
In an iftar (fast-breaking) dinner Erdoğan attended on June 29, he expressed his priority for consumption with these words: “There should be consumption so that there will be production.” It is an indicator of this that our saving rate has dropped from 18 percent to 13 percent in the past 10 years.
Now, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan have adopted a new direction they have formulated as “constructing the demand and supply balance by increasing production.”
No matter which one it is, the anti-capitalist concept does not fit the center right in Turkey that started with Menderes and went all the way to Özal, and the AKP for the past 12 years. It would not even fit the Atatürk etatism that complains of “How many millionaires do we have?”
There is no anti-capitalist success story in the world either.
Capitalism and the palace
The fundamental mentality of the market economy is “economic rationalism.” Nobody can deny the AK Party government’s successful policies in this direction, but encouraging consumption and building a Presidential Palace for 1 billion odd Turkish Liras have nothing to do with economic rationalism.
A rational market economy would have spent this money on technology, education, modernization of infrastructure or occupational safety that would elevate added value, not on a palace.
Egyptian economy historian Charles Issawi explained that while the Far East prioritized production techniques in its modernization, the Middle East prioritized luxury consumption in its modernization.
Whatever you say about capitalism or market economy, its accuracy depends on your definition. But, in any event, in this country of scarce resources we do need a very keen “economic rationalism.”