"Rights cannot be substituted by credit. Rights need to be recognized as rights and collective rights to the common wealth of this planet—the atmosphere, the water, the seeds, the biodiversity. That needs a rights solution. Credit can come after that rights solution has been offered." Vandana Shiva
" Poverty is created by the system. The system includes everything, the institution, the concept, the policies and everything.. .."
".I am saying that the conceptual framework of capitalism itself is at fault. That’s what created all the problems. So we have to address that also."
Muhammad Yunus is the first Nobel Peace Prize winner from Bangladesh. He has just come out with a new book called Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism.
How can we look at Capitalism as our economic model when it is anti the majority of the world? Is it a good system which is broken or is it a bad system which needs to be replaced ? Why blame Capitalism when greed and exploitation are second nature to humans? What weight should we give to social responsibility over self interest?
Right wing philosophy has always been that Poverty is the fault of the poor. They are poor because they are lazy. Left wing ideals are less judgemental and more sympathetic to the poor and believe in providing minimum social services for the poor.
Yunus and Shiva are socialists, who want to both reduce and if possible eliminate poverty. Capitialism is closest to the right wing ideology which dominates the business world but as Yunus points out Capitalism is a system which is seriously flawed. He is saying that Capitalism creates poverty.
Our understanding that Capitalism creates riches is in fact totally erroneous. In fact is does create riches but only for a small minority and for these people it creates riches beyond imagination. If 1% of the world has 80% of the worlds riches and controls 80% of the worlds resources then surely there is something seriously wrong with the worlds economic order. In fact so powerful is the role of money today that Capitalists control Democracy, the Media, Banks, Governments.
The fact that whether the country is the US, Europe, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, Public opinion is not represented in the Government. Governments everywhere are in conflict with public opinion and in sync with business interests.
Money has become god and the final arbiter of values because God has been driven out of the affairs of men. Secularism and Democracy have become agents in the service of Capitalism. If we think we live in a troubled world and can't make sense of it, part of the problem is our inability to challenge the Capitalist spin that we are subjected to all the time. Part of the problem is that we measure our values in terms of money.
Capitalism is a two headed monster that with one head believes in free markets and with other tries to control free markets to its ends. It is a system based on greed and exploitatoin and I have often wondered at it's claims of success and in moments of weakness looked at it with admiration. The subprime crises came out of Capitalism's desire to exploit the poor ( in their language people with poor credit). I say Capitalism advisedly because it was not the Banks alone. It was the Banks, the Insurance Companies, the Rating Agencies,the Retirement Funds, the Accounting Profession and the Regulatory Authorities acting in concert to cook the books and defraud not just the poor but also the Investor in the stock Market.
We have been here before when the "System" tried to manipulate silver ( 1980), the debts of Third World Countries ( 1983). the currencies of third world countries ( 1996), Enron ( 2001), Worldcom. Colonisations have all exploited the colonised, whether it was by the Ottomans, the British, The French, The Belgians, the Spaniards, the Dutch or the Americans. The colonisation of the American Indian or of Black Africa or of India never benefitted the colonised but enriched the coloniser beyond all reason.
The enslavement of one human being by another is a piece of our History and we have arrived here by those means. This does not mean that we are destined to follow that pattern. How can we as enlightened human beings continue with systems which we know to have serious detriments to fellow humans ( in fact the majority of them) and have serious detriment to our environment and future generations?
The progress that we have made is that the Chinese and the Indians are exploiting their own poor rather than before when the Americans had exploited the African by enslaving them. In Bagladesh, Yunus is promoting self sufficiency and entrepreneurship amongst the poor. Where no one is doing anything is the Islamic countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Indonesia and Nigeria and it is guaranteed that the future terrorists will come from here. The poorer or more devastated the country, the more it will be ripe for angry and frustrated people. It is strangely in the interest of the Capitalist to not exploit people any more otherwise the backlash will destroy exploiter and exploited.
Yunus and Vandana Shiva are in the forefront of people looking at alternatives from the point of view of the poor. They deserve our respect and attention. In fact Vandana Shiva's approach is even much more grass roots than Yunus . The rights of people to water are as fundamental as the rights to air. Today Capitalism is making a lot of money selling water and in due course will make a lot of money selling air, aftere polluting it.