United States’ finely tuned images of ‘land of opportunity’, ‘land of the free’ and ‘home of the brave’ – all have in recent time received a major jolt with protestors pouring in from all over the country in thousands. It is probably the biggest protest since anti-Vietnam-war demonstrations in the 70s! Finally their police are finding it tough to control their own people. This time they are failing to smoke them out, because the enemy lies in every other house. I wrote about the coming end of capitalism – the way we know it – in 2008 itself as an aftermath of the latest recession that has hit the world due to its blind belief in free market profiteering and was surprised why (despite people around the world, from countries in the Middle East to a laid back country like India, showing a tendency to come out on the streets to press for their rights) people in the western world were delaying coming out in the streets to press for what was their right – the right to stable and dignified living. But finally the streets in the western world are slowly starting to look like streets of Egypt, with thousands out on the streets, protesting against the shameless profiteering of the Wall Street – the symbol of capitalism at its greediest best. It is a movement of the working class – which forms overwhelming majority of the American population – being deprived, ignored and cheated by the greedy corporations, which forms the top one per cent of the population. The growing protests that have spread its tentacles all across the nation indicate a serious problem in the financial districts of the American cities. The conservatism that has put unchecked and deep crony capitalism to almost heavenly pedestal is the root cause for such economic injustice, which has literally forced thousands to come out on the streets to protest. No wonder, the gradual transition of American capitalism to crony capitalism is a result of inherent shortcomings that the financial system and capitalism on the whole has been experiencing since decades.
For the last 30 years, the United States is suffering from erosion of jobs and corporate big shots renouncing the values and spirit that once made America as great as it is perceived today because of short term profits – a classic case of uncontrolled deregulation practised in this crony capitalist system. This system has made a class of minuscule super rich even richer, driven by the Wall Street, but has marginalised the vast majority who faced the albatross of dead end jobs, lay-offs, lack of future and other destruction of the very tenets of any functional democracy!
One of the reasons that led to this out-cry is irresponsible lending by the banks and very high consumer debt. It has eroded the purchasing power of the common man. Lack of consumer demand is halting new investments and preventing new job creation. Obama’s steps to steer the economy to safer ground – mortgage refinancing, healthcare overhaul, student’s loan minimisation programmes – have not seen any breakthrough so far. The reasons are Republican’s opposition and consequent blocking of government’s intervention in the economy.
- 21 October 2010 |
- Arindam on Indian Economy