Let us concentrate for ten minutes on the daily grind we all face as we get up and prepare for work, safe from the horrors being experienced around the globe by innocent victims, most frequently the result of western intrusion into the affairs of their sovereign states. Let us ask the question whether this system works.
Sit down and look at a map of the world. There are many maps and your country is not necessarily on the left or on the right or in the middle, where Europe usually places itself. Find the Korean Peninsula. Go to the northern part of it, where the DPR Korea is applying the four-letter lesson called Iraq, namely if you disarm the USA and its Chihuahuas invade you, destroy the State, create cycles of endemic unemployment, then rebuild your infrastructures, which they destroyed, and retrain your police and troops in exchange for hefty dollar contract$ doled out to buddies and cronies, often without tender.
You can apply the same lesson by picking other countries in different continents, from Africa to Latin America and virtually all the hotspots have their tail caught in the front door of Western European powers or their horrific abortion, the United States of America, the super-brat which veered out of control.
So much for foreign policy, now let us turn to the e-word, economics. Go to virtually any capital city, anywhere on the globe, and you will find a shopping mall. This shopping mall is an exercise in globalized schmuck, a glitzy, brassy, flashy and dazzling monstrosity complete with disturbing lighting, things flashing on windows, including at Christmas time a pulsating Christ on the Cross in reds and oranges and purples and greens. In plastic. Huge supermarkets with impulse buys positioned at the exits and objects arranged strategically to appeal to children of every age, positioned to call the attention to other objects even more strategically placed, to the tune of "happy" music whose rhythm is monitored to control the movement of the shoppers and even aromas to lead them to comfort zones and $pend, $pend, $pend as they feel homely with the freshly baked bread or feel fresh, clean and lemony.
The third floor will have an eatery - one of those snazzy, garish, kitschy hives of activity, with kids screaming up and down the aisles, food all over the tables, an elbow stuck in your ribs, a backside hovering near your face, papers on the floor, a nauseating stench of French fries, a kaleidoscope of chemical-based sauces in their bright reds and yellows and a panoply of GM-based food whose nutrients have been cleverly removed and replaced with chemicals or fat or sweeteners, to create addictions. Then this cardboard crap is served with fizzy drinks which should have health warnings stamped on their labels and place their manufacturers in prison for attempted murder. They aren't of course.
If this shopping mall is an example of globalized trade and commercial values, it is a sorry statement on the collective creativity of humankind, whose media outlets have refused to acknowledge Russia's bold move to ban GM goods and go green, concentrating on biological production. Watch the cancer rates in the Russian Federation over the forthcoming decades and compare them with the GM Chihuahuas wagging their tails all the way to the grave.
If that is the best our wonderful market-oriented free trade system can produce, it is pretty pathetic, is it not? And after two thousand years BP (Before the Present, let us all admit that using Before Christ and Anno Domini is imperialistically applauding Western values and ignoring the fact that globally, Christianity is in the minority), after how many leaders and governors and ministers and Presidents and Prime Ministers and Kings and Queens, what have our societies produced? You would have thought that somebody by now would have managed to create a social model that works.
Russia was a pioneer in the social model, which turned a backward society into a bastion of development, of discussion of ideas for social progress not just at home but across the globe, which brought a medieval society forward into the vanguard of social, economic, scientific and industrial development in just one or two generations, paving the way for space exploration, defeating the xenophobic, bigoted and racist ideals of Fascism, freeing hundreds of millions of people from the yoke of imperialist tyranny and importantly, setting up public services, creating social mobility and placing the State as provider.
That model was tried successfully in dozens of countries and many are those who yearn for the good old days when values existed, when education, healthcare, including dental care and policing were free and effective, when streets were not crawling with drug addicts, when housing was a birthright and free, when higher education was a question of working hard and choosing where to study, where employment was guaranteed. Citizens were made welcome in society, they were nurtured, educated, fed, cared for, housed and given free time activities for their leisure and cultural development.
But in a globalized world, how do you manage to keep afloat when you are assailed by tsunamis of aggressive and militant social terrorist policies which include economic strangulation and financial sabotage, intrusion, subversion, terrorism, exclusion from markets and a pitch with moving goal-posts and an uneven playing field? You are forced to increase your internal security then they accuse you of being a police State, they up the stakes of military intervention and create permanent threats which force you to divert social resources elsewhere and in the end you stand alone protecting half the world against a monster which attacks from all sides at the same time. When leaders with some spine and steel cease to appear, you end up with someone who gives up and tries the forbidden and poisoned fruit.
And the social model is reduced to a handful of nations which resist. What do the rest of us have? Do we have the right to a free education? No, that has gone, it is a business from day one and gets increasingly more expensive as you dare to educate yourself. Does the education system prepare us for the work market? No, thousands of students are belched forth from Universities every year and are unable to find a job. Is employment guaranteed? No, there are millions of people unable to find work, shadow-citizens unable to contribute to society and struggling to live as full members of society. Workers' rights are chipped away almost daily, the work ethic of eight hours has gone and today slave labor is a reality across the globe in one form or another. The right to a home? No, you have to fight for it and fight harder to keep it. Homelessness is a reality for countless millions of people who have lost the houses they fought for, and these days if you do not have thousands to put down a deposit you cannot even think of buying the first house. Public utilities are more and more expensive, the Internet is still paid for in most places (how ridiculous) as is water (the basic element of life, even more ridiculous). Food is regarded as a commodity which is gambled on the futures markets, food security does not exist. Then at the end of it all the insurance companies regard you as a piece of trash after you have reached the magic age of sixty-five and refuse to insure you just when you need it.
They speak about freedom and rights. What freedom? What rights? We have less and fewer now than we ever had! Is this the best they can do after so many years of "development"? Design or incompetence?
*Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, partner and owner of printed and online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. A Vegan, he is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights. He is Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru.
By Ende Gelände 2016 Creative Commons - Ende Gelände Flickr Stream, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49098489