A WORLD largely in the developed parts of the globe this time accusing bankers and politicians of wrecking their economies’ it’s time, perhaps’ to cast a closer and more meticulous look at some of the basic premises of the corporate mantras so effortlessly ingrained into our collective conscience.
While the global protests may — or may not — have been galvanized by the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US, the fact is that it has been moving in all direc- tions so far — Auckland, Rome, Sydney, Tokyo, Manila, Taipei, Taiwan, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, Frankfurt, Vien- na, Sweden, Helsinki…
It perhaps was no sheer coincidence that the erup- tion of the global protests had coincided with the Group of 20 meeting in Paris, where ﬁnance ministers and central bankers from the major economies were hold- ing crisis talks.
In fact, one of the questions uppermost on the minds of people in these rather extraordinary times is when London would see its very own ‘Occupy the London Stock Exchange’ as well!
More than anything else, the current wave looks driv- en by a deﬁcit of trust; increasingly, people around the world seem to be losing their faith in the political and corporate classes and even fewer seem to be counting on their political elites to help them wriggle out of the crises after crises.
Austerity cuts are a reality all across the world and it may not be about just a handful of countries. “What is happening (debt-driven ﬁnancial melt- down) in Greece now is the nightmare awaiting other countries in the future. Solidarity is the people’s weap- on,” the Real Democracy, a Greek group was recently quoted as saying sometime back.
The problem is that for far too long the bankers and ﬁnancial mandarins were given a free hand to run the affairs the way they liked to while they continued to run riot with the public money, the economies started to bleed.
However, it’s the growing disparities among peoples across nations that have acted as the real multiplier of woes digging the hiatus deeper and deeper in these times of global recession.
The invisible hand of the market no longer has the unquestioned support and trust of the people the suf- fering of the people all around is just too plain visible to give a short shrift to.
Exposed and bare, and no longer seem to be the desired and highly cherished values.
A recent Facebook post posted by a journalist friend said a lot. “One man died (Apple founder Steve Jobs) and a million cried, a million died (in Somalia) and not one cried!” There clearly seems to a subtle anger against the premises that the proﬁt motive of the corporates is the most desirable thing for the mankind; that everything else can, and should, wait.
The point here is that while a visionary like Jobs continues to inspire one and all, a large number of peo- ple are now questioning the ethos where the invisible market forces are supposed to take care of the teeming millions, a very substantial chunk of which goes to the bed hungry not knowing where the next meal will come from. So long as the global economy was working ﬁne, few questioned the status quo. Just transport yourself — for a moment — to an era just half a decade back and try imagine an anti-corpo- rate demonstration in the streets of Greece! What? Not possible! Just plain unimaginable…isn’t it?
Times have changed. As a large part of the developed world gets entangled deep into the debt morass, the fears that we might be standing on the thresholds of yet another bout of global recession, is writ large on count- less faces all across the continents.
We are indeed living in extraordinary times these. It’s time the political and corporate class does a serious re- think on the ‘proﬁt-is-supreme’ motto.
It’s time to seriously ponder the future of the future generations. The corporate leitmotif is leading us no- where close to a solution to the global ﬁnancial crisis. Leaving the masses sans social security to fend for themselves and to continue supporting the corporate goals without any remorse is anything but a value asso- ciated with what we call a welfare state.
In fact, besides the politics, the economics of the wars of the recent times needs to be scrutinised too, because some indeed trace the winds of the global recession to those illegal wars.
Not much serious academic work has been done to study the economics of the wars of the past decade — how much of the global economic quagmire the man- kind faces today owes to the rushed and rash decisions of some of the most well known leaders of our times? These questions are crying out for attention now.
(This article first appeared on the Edit Page in the Times of Oman newspaper on October 25, 2011. Below please find the page)