When power is addressed from below, it assumes different masks. It can be benevolent and friendly, open and transparent, mighty and cruel. Economic power presents itself as the power of science, rationality and efficiency.
For two weeks now we have been trying to open a discussion with international institutions that try to regulate finance in the name of society. Supposedly they protect the consumer and safeguard the resilience of the system of payments, the solvency of the commercial banks and the privacy of transactions. All of this in the interest of us, the society that they say they serve. For two weeks we have been trying to talk to these institutions and to the people that work in them, using our voices and the words of the people that try to talk through us, the visitors of the 6th Athens Biennale, ANTI, as well as the words of people that are formulating questions on our website.
Regulatory institutions and their employees respond using the words of economic science; positive, independent, non-partisan, rational, measured. Many words that say a lot and nothing, dancing around our questions without taking a position, technical words that pretend to be accurate and impartial. All this effort for what? To realize the obvious yet again? That power, economic, political or cultural, always presents itself as rational, justified, moral? That when challenged power refers to the discourse that it created to legitimize itself as science?
Economic science especially manifests an immense flexibility of a normalizing, homogenizing rhetoric of inequality. It asserts its superiority over anyone or any place that resists the maximizing, rationalizing mechanisms of industrial production and the manipulations of financial capitalism. Well, we already know that. But we will continue to question the power of science, the power of authority, the power of institutions. Using our voices and the words of the public, some of whom feel excluded from the debate, others who have seen their jobs lost, their houses foreclosed, their salaries and pensions cut, not because they do not understand the laws of economic science, but because the laws of economic science are there to legitimize the exclusion, the looting, and the cheating on the people.