Sunday, March 6, 2011

Has Capitalism Always On The Wrong Side of History?

From the fall of the Roman Empire to the Revolution 2011 now spreading across the less-than-democratic Gulf and North African states, has capitalism always been on the wrong side of history?

By: Ringo Bones

Ever since mine and my friends’ “pet theory” has been further reassured by world-famous investor, hedge fund manager and philanthropist George Soros during a recent BBC interview on the apparent truism that capitalism in general has always been on the wrong side of history, I now start to wonder whether anti-capitalist anarchist – no matter how fiscally unsound their pet theories are – are right? But has this apparent truism proven time and time again?

As George Soros mused on how crude oil extraction companies that has been established in the Gulf Region and North Africa for over 40 years has been to an extent guilty of underwriting the operation of regional despots had never done anything to make the crude oil wealth trickle down to the common people of the less-than-democratic Arab and North African states. Thus, paving way for the inevitability of the Jasmine Revolution to spread from Tunisia, to Egypt and now to Libya and several other less-than-democratic Arab regions. Worse still, crude oil companies use the flimsiest of justifications to jack up crude oil prices, even the King of Saudi Arabia waking up on the wrong side of the bed is now a justified reason to jack up petrol prices.

The fact is, governments that were recently toppled were pro-Western despots and the exemplars of Western capitalism – i.e. multi-national oil companies - entrenched in these regions for over 40 years had been since recently been too busy propping them up for decades, thus the crude oil prices rising to the flimsiest sign of political instability. Worse still, in Libya in particular, the people primarily involved in the running of wheels of the Libyan national economy are now fleeing to neighbouring states as war refugees. Looks like the truism of capitalism always being on the wrong side of history might be proven yet again after all.