Capitalism's `Unacceptable' Aspects

By De Borchgrave, Arnaud | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 23, 2001 | Go to article overview

Capitalism's `Unacceptable' Aspects

De Borchgrave, Arnaud, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)

Byline: Arnaud De Borchgrave

The post-Cold War mantra holds that democracy has triumphed and with it market economics. Marxism is dead and buried, socialism is moribund and so forth. A couple of exceptions like Cuba and North Korea prove the rule. Even China has given up Marxism, though not yet Leninism. The benefits of globalization, argue free market theologians, would soon reach the impoverished masses of the developing world. The digital revolution would narrow the gap between rich and poor, both within and between nations, in the blink of a historic eye. To point out that the Internet had done no such thing makes one the skunk at the garden party.

A neo-Marxist revival in parts of Latin America was a temporary aberration, according to Washington's conventional wisdom. Besides, democratically elected governments had replaced authoritarian regimes. NAFTA, Mercosur, hemispheric free trade, all had drowned out anti-Yankee imperialist slogans.

But the anti-globalization protest riots in Seattle, Davos, Prague, Nice, Stockholm and Genoa have now spawned a global leftist movement, albeit inchoate, that has garnered the support of AFL-CIO. America's principal labor unions have even sponsored the Global Justice Week of Action to train the agitators who are planning another happening for next month's meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington.

The global left is coalescing again around the Mobilization for Global Justice, the umbrella organization planning the Washington protests. Some 100,000 anti-globalists are expected to descend on the nation's capital from North America and Europe.

The Washington left-wing think tank Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is also back in action. IPS was a major conduit for major Soviet disinformation themes throughout the Cold War and spent most of the past decade licking its wounds and biding its time pending the next global anti-capitalist opportunity. It is now at hand.

What Britain's former Prime Minister Ted Heath once called "the unacceptable face of capitalism" has once again reared its ugly head. First there was the easy-dot-com-easy-dot-go rip-off that made a few people very rich and impoverished millions of others. Next came tens of thousands of layoffs - most of them in overseas operations - while top corporate executives went on paying themselves obscene amounts of money, even in companies whose stock had plummeted. Those who didn't make the cut still received lavish settlements. Richard McGinn, who presided over Lucent during its nosedive, received $13 million.

Ronald Reagan was once accused of presiding over the Age of Greed. Bill Clinton's eight years was the Age of Gluttony.

The same phenomenon was taking place all over the newly democratic countries of Latin America. Democratic capitalism bred more corruption while making the rich richer and the poor poorer. In Russia, the majority of the country's dwindling population with its shrinking life span is worse off under capitalism than under communism.

This set the stage for the comeback of a man consigned to the trash heap of Marxist history at the end of the Cold War. Daniel Ortega, the 55-year-old former Sandinista president, is now leading the polls to win back the Nicaraguan presidency in November.

Celebrating the 22nd anniversary of the Sandinista revolution, which the Reagan and the first Bush administrations spent the decade of the 1980s defeating, Mr. Ortega is once again being hailed as a liberator of the poor campesinos. Wearing his trademark red-and-black bandanna, Mr. Ortega appealed to over half of all Nicaraguans subsisting on less than $1 a day "who are nothing more than slaves and servants of the rich."

Nicaragua is back to Square One, when the Sandinista revolutionaries overthrew the hated Somoza dictatorship in 1979. With the pell-mell collapse of the Soviet empire and its colonies, Mr. …

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