Sunday, September 28, 2008

Today's Capitalism Has Run Its Course
By Bashir Goth

As the free market economy makes a free fall, all kinds of prescriptions will come to mind, including socialism. A Somali proverb says: "Nin buka boql u talisay" (a sick man gets 100 advisers). Socialist-minded gurus and those who feel left behind by capitalism's unprecedented generation of wealth may need to shout "gotcha," but one thing that could be unanimously agreed by at least uninitiated armchair observers like me is that capitalism in its current free reign and globalized fit for all structure has run its course. Just like we need and preach biodiversity in the field of ecology we need eco-diversity in the economic world.

The Scandinavian countries have for many years practiced a blend of popular socialism and capitalism and as a result they have attained educational excellence, economic prosperity and guaranteed government healthcare for every citizen. In many of the developing economies and the Third World, the public sector played a major role in cushioning the poor sectors from economic hardships. But since the explosion of information technology, the emergence of the Internet, the dot.com bubble trading, the behemoth multinational companies that swallow everything in their path, the hurricane of speculative market that pops up money like pop corn machine, every country in the world was hard pressed to toe the line and accept global standards of American free trade including the privatization of public institutions that provided a semblance of security to the local masses and enabled governments to maintain some sort of peace and stability.

Globalization demanded uniformity in free markets and exported the concepts of ultra-modern Wild West banking systems, hedge funds, dubious corporate debt rating companies, putative mortgage systems and layers above layers of "Apr├Ęs moi le deluge" mobile companies have taken over the world.

Newsweek/Washington Post/Postglobal.