PAUL RICOEUR: If we are to discuss the kind of society we live in and what kind of society we wish to promote, then we must agree on a common description. That is why it seems necessary to clarify the vocabulary that you yourself have used repeatedly in your speeches. All the more so because the “springtime of peoples” in the East has convinced even the most recalcitrant that it is within our democracies—and democracy constitutes our definitive horizon—that we must build the most just future possible.
The failure of the administered economics in the East actually leaves a whole series of questions for the West. New light is being thrown on notions like “moderated capitalism,” “social democracy,” and “market econ- omy.” These are terms to which you have resorted on occasion; but are they really equivalents? And if not, how can they be distinguished? Plainly, references to the market are obligatory. Some say that economic mod- ernization, of which you are a leading proponent, has unleashed the market in the most brutal form. Too much talk of the market quickly becomes advocacy of the naked logic of the marketplace and of the capitalist as chief economic actor; one becomes enslaved to a conception of society solely as a function of the capitalist organization of market goods....
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