Capitalism hasn’t delivered
Has no one noticed that the EU’s banks and institutions are still failing or threatening to fail, that the economies of a quarter of Europe are on life support, and that the UK, facing a “triple dip” recession, is once again debating withdrawal from the union. The gee-whiz era of free trade is over. The vision which privileges corporations over people and international trade over local development and diversification turns out to be no vision at all.
Folks who are quick to point out that socialism “doesn’t work” seem not to have noticed that capitalism doesn’t deliver as advertised either and never has. In its current configuration as the dominant ideology across the planet enforced by the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO, it has increased inequality, traded off civil liberties for imaginary security, and robbed a generation or more of jobs with medical benefits, pensions or indeed any security at all. It appears unable to afford universal health care, has failed in its promise of home ownership for all and turned food banks into growth industries.
NAFTA has left Canada even more dependent on the US — for both imports and exports — than ever before. So we wait for the American president to tell us what we need to know about bailing out the auto industry, whether or not transactions like the Nexen deal are consonant with American “national security,” and really which fighter plane to buy and where to send our troops next.
If you believe we have escaped the Great Recession, you might take a little tour of the vacant commercial spaces here in Nelson and pause for special reflection on the old Daily News building.
What we need are fresh approaches to globalization, not nostalgia for the old country or mindless loyalty to discredited ideologies and zombie institutions we fancy are “too big to fail.” George Manuel’s Fourth world would be one place to start; buying local, another protectionism?
Congratulations to city councillor Candace Batycki for trying to protect our community. If that isn’t the proper role of government, what is?