Random Thoughts

Two Sides of a Bogus Coin

There is now prevalent a philosophy of triumphant capitalism, that ends up subsidizing the haves by further impoverishment of the have-nots. Books like 'Perfectly Legal' and 'The Two-income trap ' lucidly document the reverse Robin Hood regimes. This legal stealing is prevalent in developed nations as well as developing nations like India. America understates true inflation by keeping irrelevant items in its indices and thus debasing the savings of the middle class, while India persists recklessly in massive deficit spending and keeping interest rates below inflation yielding negative rates of return. This often compels the elderly to risk their scarce capital in the casino stock markets, where insiders unload their holdings by keeping their stock price by shady accounting practices with the connivance of the regulators and auditors. This explains the reluctance to expense stock options and utilizing of loopholes in FASB, Sarbanes-Oxley and other acts.

The race to the bottom wages by manufacturing and now services is devastating the middle class in America by forcing the workers to accept lower paying jobs. India does increase its middle class, but the prosperity does not trickle to the masses and the arm-twisting by the WTO, IMF and World Bank leads to farmer suicides and migrant populations in India and Mexico, even as the US and EU heavily subsidize their farmers and livestock raisers, while denying the new EU entrants the same levels of subsidy. The bulk of the jobholders in America are pacified by cheap imports and become unknowing collaborators of the powerful in this scam. Venezuela and Argentina stand out as rebellious countries and thus the coup, referendum and recalls in the former. Labor leaders like Lula in Brazil get elected on a reformist platform, but are unable to carry out promised policies because of the sloshing free movement of capital that threatens to leave the country, the moment its policies are perceived to be risky or unacceptable by the rich. What is needed is free movement of people and not capital.

This new paradigm differs from the earlier enlightened attitude of the rich by providing a safety net to the poor masses to prevent revolutions like those in France or Czarist Russia. It is a fallback to the medieval practice of fortifying themselves in castles with moats. Now it is gated communities. The New Bush Doctrine and the Project for the New American Century make no bones about coercion and pre-emptive use of force to maintain perpetual hegemony. The recent debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan have tempered the aggressive approach, but the shoving under the rug of the exploitation of the natural resources of Islamic countries and much of Africa is the real cause of increased terrorism. Unjustifiable though it is, it is the only weapon for the desperate powerless.

Chomsky has repeatedly emphasized the misuse of state terror by the powerful nations, and history reveals numerous examples of tragic results of this ideology including the Peloponnesian War. The miseries caused by Communism, Nazism, Fascism and Capitalism are countless. Unjust oppression is the new gravitational force of Imperial Powers that warps the fabric of space-time and channels the oppressed into a captive orbit of history. America is rich and yet has high under-employed numbers, unacceptable infant mortality rates and near 15% without health insurance. Europe, Japan and America have promised pension and social security benefits that are fiscally undeliverable. Poor India has rampant malnutrition, unemployment and these lead to stunting of mental and physical growth of children. Communist China bans unions for the proletariat and subjects large segments of its population to slave labor. Someday these cups of deprivation will overflow beyond the brim of civic accord and the cycles of history will be inexorably repeated at grave cost in blood, sweat and tears.


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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