What do you believe about the European Union? Many people think it has no future.
My outlook is positive. I was born in 1930, I am 85 years old and to me Europe is a great invention that preserves the peace among nations which used to fight one another in the past. We must keep Europe, if only to preserve peace among ourselves. The younger generations, my children and grandchildren, do not see foreign people as enemies. On the contrary, they love to travel in England, Spain, Italy, Germany, and so on. And they have friends all over Europe. This is excellent, precious. The extraordinary thing about Europe is the peace we have enjoyed in the last sixty years.
I agree with you, but now, with the economy in crisis, could we say that capitalism has been sawing the branch it is sitting on?
Yes, yes, we are agreed on that. Like you, I have learnt from history books that most wars were sparked off by an economic crisis. Today we are experiencing perhaps the second or third crisis since World War II, yet there has been no war among us. And this, of course, we owe to united Europe and the European institutions.
Yet we have the politicians on one side and the economists on the other.
Yes, there is a bad balance between the power of politicians and economists. The power of the markets is rising and the power of politicians is dwindling. That’s where we need to ensure that the power of markets is for everyone, and in particular to tackle the issue of world debt. I am in favour of debt forgiveness. For Greece, too, which I love, I believe the debt should be forgiven.
Michel Serres is seen as one of the most talented and original thinkers of contemporary France. His latest work, Petite Poucette (Editions Le Pommier), is a small, 84-page book written as a love letter to the networked generation. At 85 he remains a gifted and original thinker. A conversation with him is like fresh air coming suddenly through an open window. (NOMAS, Transit, p.28)