WHAT’S IN A NAME?
With all the problems we’re facing throughout the world (the havoc wreaked by neoliberalism, global warming and climate change, food insecurity, poverty, terrorism, corruption etc.), we try to figure out what should be done. Some rightwing friends seem to think that neoliberalism will eventually solve all problems and lead to a happy world. Some leftwing friends prefer to think that the great socialist revolutionary dawn is drawing near. Left of centre friends are wary of old concepts and terms and prefer to chart new courses and the term ‘PROGRESSIVE’ is very much preferred.
What do I think? At 76 with health problems, I can’t afford long term dreams and plans. I’m forced to be pragmatic. I believe that NEOLIBERALISM, the dogma of free marketeers who believe that the economy should be based on a free market and that business should not be controlled by the government, is a road to world catastrophe. Old political terms (like socialism or social democracy) have become corrupt and unusable.
Besides ‘progressive’, a term once used in the 60’s and 70’s, seems to have new adherents. It is ‘CAPITALISM WITH A HUMAN FACE’. A word of warning! In his book, ‘THE WEALTH OF NATIONS’ Adam Smith, the founding father of Economics, known earlier as Political Economy, warns us that the system known as Capitalism, initially a progressive movement liberating productive forces, is fuelled by TWO negative impulses: SELFISHNESS AND CUPIDITY. Because of this, it is not accidental that the drift into neoliberalism has taken place.
The ideology of Milton Friedman, Margaret Thatcher or Ronald Reagan has penetrated all nooks and corners of the planet (including India, China, Russia) transforming the economic world to feather the beds of a few and generalizing corruption. Unable to stand the onslaught, many are now yearning for a more humane way of living and hence the wish for capitalism with a human face is back.
What does this mean for us in the Maritime Republic of Mauritius? It means, inter alia:
1. Control the appetite of the super-rich;
2. Assist middle and small enterprises;
3. Ensure workers’ participation in management, share-holding and profit;
4. Promote cooperative activities in production and consumption.
All progressives should join forces to checkmate the neoliberals, the infinitely few who control everything. The way ahead is the democratization of the economy. This can be achieved if judiciously planned.