FEATURED: INTERVIEW WITH JO M. SEKIMONYO AUTHOR OF "ETHOSISM"
Jukebox Time got a chance to interview a theorist, human rights activist, political economist, and social philosopher Jo M. Sekimonyo. We got insights into his book Ethosism: Self-Enslavement Abolitionist Manifesto, Capital in 21st century, his upcoming projects and much more!
Q. Welcome to Jukebox Time. How was 2021 for you?
Jo M. Sekimonyo: I spent half of last year in my home country in DR Congo trying to elevate the national dialogue on relevant social and economic themes and to launch a TV channel focused on economic, tech news, and culture analysis. On one hand, I made progress but stalled in other ways.
While away I was impressed and envious of Western nations using the drama of COVID-19 to cheat on their balance sheets to preserve their way of life. When I returned to the U.S., my publisher and publicist disputed the necessity of my travels abroad and considered it a waste of time and I should seize the opportunity to steer my efforts on debating about wages and capitalism that I consider passé as it doesn’t reflect the 21s century reality especially at a time like this.
Long story short, 2021 for me, I was a witness to seeing the richest continue to accumulate vast amounts of wealth, to see inequality grow and the poorest still living in extreme poverty, while developed countries cooked their books.
Q. In your book, Ethosism: Self-Enslavement Abolitionist Manifesto are you offering an alternative to capitalism? Please tell us more about it.
Jo M. Sekimonyo: With the first wave of capitalists and captains of industry desperately trying to escape their responsibilities, white working-class men were encouraged to acquire an enhanced means of engagement first in a factory and then in a business. Somehow, everyone else also found their way through the golden age of self-enslavement. With access to quality education given to most, gave way to factories becoming mechanized.
Ordinary mortals who are not rocketing to space, are acquiring and possessing their means of engagement, participation, or involvement in an enterprise and it has become a global culture. Unfortunately, the psychological contract between the laboring class and the captains of industry has remained the same rule of distribution of wealth and power for centuries, even though the premise has long lost its validity. Hence, the concept of wage as we know it, should be obsolete. As we have all become efficient slaves, economic crises occur more frequently on the distribution of profit. This book evaluates in depth the gains and pitfalls of both the capitalist and socialist models.
As I put it in the book, diagnosing how we are grappling with issues in the 21st century– wealth inequality, climate change, and societies reckoning with civil rights, resulting from essentially a major paradigm shift reveals we need to arrive at a new moral consensus that I offer, which is Ethosism.
Q. According to you what is Capital in the 21st century?
Jo M. Sekimonyo: For the wrong reasons, Capital is still defined as the part of wealth, which was devoted to obtaining further wealth, as Alfred Marshall stated.
As the twenty-first century is driven by enterprises instead of businesses, Capital is that means which is interlocked to obtain wealth through interaction with others, ergo, instead of the average number of hours of work, the quality of the means tied up in an enterprise to produce a commodity or provide a service, establishes relative prices.
Q. You also talk about ways to erase more than half of the global debt. Kindly share some insights on that.
Jo M. Sekimonyo: I’ll use the most current example as western nations fight against economic disruption caused by COVID-19, western governments are racking up debt to provide financial support to individual households and businesses. What about the third world who doesn’t know how to cheat that good? Even the allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) is a big joke when one looks at who gets what.
The consensus is that all debt must be paid for eventually, and if it is not paid for today, it will be paid for by future generations. The most indebted countries kick the can down the road, and it’s politically unpleasant, whether you are in a democracy or not. The IMF’s Global Debt Database shows that total global debt, public plus private, has already crossed the $200 trillion mark. The irony is that poor countries are the least indebted, while the most advanced economies have staggering national debt and they do not genuinely plan on going towards austerity anytime soon.
I put forward a better way to erase more than half of the global debt while making the gain of the triumph inclusive. A debt relief program for Highly Indebted Nations (HIN) would see each national account credited with $ 1 trillion. Assuming the balance is positive, 25% should be spent on infrastructure, 25% on social programs, and the rest on subsidizing the increase in the universal minimum wage to $ 2 an hour. The World Bank and the IMF could be the ones watching everyone, their new raison d’être.
The most obvious social and economic result for the most indebted countries, it will decrease the pressure to reduce their social programs or increase the taxes of their citizens.
As nations that will end up with a heap of liquidity will also be the least developed, under the term of surplus spending, they would logically seek rapid modernization rather than industrialization. Then again, individuals in advanced economies are those who have the means to participate, engage, or be involved in modern enterprise or dialogue. Intermingling the two aspects would generate new prospects for individuals and businesses from developed nations, while competition between them would present a range of quality choices for developing countries.
And so, the advanced economies, which are also the most indebted and cannot get out of their efficiency trap, will experience a sustainable increase in industrial production, investment, and consumer spending. Even if the leaders of poor countries waste all the financial manna on shady deals and projects with the help of financial vultures and mercenaries, their citizens overall standard of living will be less atrocious. In doing so, it would halt the migration of the poor toward what is seen as the land of milk and honey.
The bottom line is that humanity would ameliorate the state of universal poverty, which is currently horrific and primitive.
Q. What’s next? What are your upcoming projects in 2022?
Jo M. Sekimonyo: Let’s see…My publicist is still working on a way to line up a book tour in the safest way around the US. Ethosism’s translation into Japanese and Chinese is ready. I will be traveling to that part of the world for the book launch. I should respond to the invitations to Russia and Latin America because the Russian and Spanish translation of the book came out last year and people have been speculating over there about the concept.
I’m crossing my fingers that my television channel in the DRC will be launched this year after more than two years of dealings with bureaucrats and shady promises. While doing all that, I will be refining my latest book which comes out in 2024 called “don’t have sex with an activist”.
Anyway, I’m going to be super busy!
Jo M. Sekimonyo is a theorist, human rights activist, political economist, and social philosopher. He is a Congolese-born, American fermented, and globally bottled Merchant of Ideas. Much of his writing has been concerned with economic injustice, poverty, and egalitarianism. Sekimonyo argues that the ability of individuals to understand the world and creatively respond to challenges that confront humanity is key to alleviating poverty. He facilitates several workshops and seminars every year throughout the developing world geared towards stimulating debates around global social issues and mainstream economic theories.
About the book: In the global environment of trade and commerce, humankind appears to have given up its natural journey of progression to improve the social order, and universally accepted capitalism. But, whilst the richest continue to accumulate vast amounts of wealth, inequality grows and the poorest still live in extreme poverty. This passionate, academic study will go on to present that socialism is just another means of enslaving society under the capitalist model. So, is there a third way?
Written by a former student of finance, economics, philosophy and politics, this book evaluates in depth both the capitalist and socialist models, from the point of view of one who grew up in the extreme poverty of a third-world country. It opens with a metaphorical parable about the author’s persecution for defying the social norms with socialist views, portraying the belief that any whose proposed model differs from the capitalist social construct is cast as radical.