When we met the last time in person – if I remember correctly, it had been at the place du Colonel Fabien in Paris, Paul, arriving with Catherine, welcomed me by saying something like:
I am so glad that we can meet, I only just recovered …, can you imagine; I could not speak for about three days … – he his fatherly and still young laugh marked his face as it did so often. Can you imagine, me, not being able to speak a single word.
We all laughed …, nobody could really imagine … and after a short while we took up our work. And despite the ease of the discussion, it had been real work, requiring full attention.
And as much as he was talking he was also so well able to listen – to the large lines and the details of arguments. It may there was one exception to all this, or I should say: one condition: newness, commitment going hand in hand with ambition, the desperate endeavour to move things forward. It was about working for improvement – the work of understanding and interpreting and all that for the political change.
My first encounter with his work is many years back, reading about his ideas of state-monopolist capitalism – it was a long time before we met. And it was surely one of the works that inspired a new thinking for me: bringing economic and political thinking not only together, but doing so in the best tradition of developing a new integrated approach, understanding ‘building on tradition’ not least as the need to move on, developing things further in order to understand today’s reality and to elaborate concepts for the reality of the future – reform and revolution, it included for him also the revolution within the existing capitalist system.
At least three off his later works have to be mentioned, not least for the reason that we discussed often the related topics:
And our cooperation – in detail and the presentations and debates in the large conference venue at the place du Colonel Fabien – was something that tightened a deep felt friendship.
Two volumes followed, exploring the
Théories sur les crises, la suraccumulation et la dévalorisation du capital
In this context we talked also about the various economic theories, the shift around the large waves and the different interpretation of the work of Kondratieff, also taking about the new technological challenges – danger and opportunities – and also the need to work towards an integrated approach that employed his thinking over the last years, feeding into the recent book, ambitiously analysing
Indeed, he ended this publication
with the words
Ce que je fais est follement prétentieux, et pourtant, même si on le fait mal, il faut le faire. C’est en le faisant mal qu’on le fera mieux un jour
What I do is insanely pretentious, and yet, even if you do it wrong, you have to do it. It’s by hurting him that we’ll ever do it better.
I remember the one day, already a few years ago – we walked somewhere in Paris, he passed and looked at me:
There are so many notes I made, there are so many ideas … . It is your turn soon to gather it, and to move things on.
Sunday the 26th of November his voice ceased for ever to speak, that day his ears stopped to listen – and I hope and I know there are enough who listened over the years and who will now take up what he cannot say anymore.
A tiny beginning can be already found in a small and very modest volume I edited in 2011, titled