Capitalism with a Human Face
I have written since years about this subject. It is especially valid again now, since the Revolutions of Tunisia and Egypt, and especially since the type of capitalism which has been prevalent in both those countries has been rapacious. The benefactors of that kind of capitalism have now effectively declared a Capital Strike – ‘We have enough money and the terms you offer us to conduct business are not so good as we used to have therefore we won’t run our factories anymore and you will be unemployed, poor and possibly starving – swallow that!’
The Americans of course are pathologically petrified of any political stance which is less than 100 yards to the right of Ghengis Khan. The pathetic World Bank, IMF and UN follow the Yanks to the letter. The Brits are no better.
Conventional wisdom tells us that there are only the two extremes – State-run socialism with its corruption, inertia, lack of dynamism, selfishness and grinding poverty. Or rampant and rapacious capitalism with its ultra-rich, its total lack of unions which have teeth, its legislation which keeps the power firmly in the hands of the rich and ensures that employees and the poor suffer a steadily falling standard of living, just as the rich suffer a steadily increasing standard of living and quite simply have more and more problems to adequately spend the masses of money which is accruing to them….
There is something else. And those who say that privatization always results in efficient enterprises – please take a short and not even hard look at Britain – where we find that in fact inefficiency is endemic in society, and that privatization just makes everything more expensive and services worse (but it does make a lot of money for a few cronies of NuLabour and NuTories).
This also ties in with the philosophical and psychological models – we see from TV’s Dragon’s Den, Weakest Link, Big Brother and a bunch of other ultra-cheap, ultra-nasty and ultra-profitable programs that in our Modern World, the efficient and the rich are very unpleasant and very un-christian, very un-Islamic and very uncharitable people. We already suspected that do-gooders are a bunch of woolly-jerseyed soggy thinkers with earnest expressions but not much brains, common sense, street sense or even money.
What is missing is the concept that people who are hard headed, efficient, incisive and fast can also be kind-hearted and generous. This is the kind of attitude which we need to condone, promote and encourage in our world, before we not only shoot ourselves in both feet, but before we destroy the fabric of everything which we depend on for survival (including a global society where there are limits to income and lifestyle disparities, and where there is tolerance by the poorer elements of the richer elements).
It is time for the World to get back to some reality and some common-sense. Tunisia and Egypt need the people with money to restart the economy, to accept that the crazy days of obscene profits at the expense of the poor are over (and were only ever possible because of a repressive political environment). They have to realize that in fact they are the very brothers and sisters of these poor people whom they have exploited for so many years, and upon whose labour they have grown obscenely rich and obscenely selfish.
Those who REALLY amassed the wealth – i.e. Ben Ali and Mubarak – have to have their wealth confiscated – there is NO ALTERNATIVE . The Yanks and Brits will cry foul and threaten this and that, but it has to be done.
There are several ways to handle those ill-gotten gains (once they have been sequestered, which is a whole document in itself):
– Put in a trust fund administered by Price Waterhouse Coopers or any of that ilk who can actually be trusted not to fulfil the will of the White House, the Pentagon and Foggy Bottom. The monies can be paid against request/instruction by the Finance Ministry after some due examination of the Payment Lists submitted, and argument/discussion/refusal to pay certain items which are dubious
– Set up an industrial development authority (IDA), which will be run on private sector principals, and whose assets are held for the People
– Similar to the IDA, but with shares distributed across the population, regardless of income
– Other ideas…. – economists – step forward, if you have any brain left after the lobotomy which you had to receive in order to absorb Modern Economic Thinking and get your Degree.
Just to wrap up this document, as I wrote elsewhere about Capitalism with a Human Face or Capitalism 20-80, the objective must be to get 80% of the value added into the hands of the workers as wages, with only 20% going to the managers, and only a reasonable percentage going to the holders of the Capital Owners. Note that at present throughout the Third World, the workers are lucky if they get 20% of the value-added (or even 5% or even 0,5%!).
There are and will be addenda and modifications to this discussion, since we are at the moment as a planet hell-bent on achieving crazier and crazier income distribution, as every year passes. Now is the time for this Leader-Sanctioned insanity to stop. And the Leaders of the Great Religions must stop collaborating with the Status Quo. IMF and FIFA are both foolish and corrupt. Time to realise that the rot does not stop with those 2, but permeates throughout the structure of our Present World Order and our Global Institutions (hell – who could have imagined in 1949 that in 2011 the UN would be such a farce and have such a pathetic puppet as Ban Ki Moon!). Even the superbly oratorical Barack Obama is in fact an Intellectual Pygmy when compared with the Unseemly and Improper Economic Reality which confronts us all (rich, poor and in the middle) in our Global Society.
I Rest my Case
Alex Weir, Gaborone, Botswana, Afrika.
Friday 3 June 2011