In search of optimism

So, when did Capitalism win its decisive victory? Well, if my weekly trash rag have to be believed, it happened some time between Ronald Reagan getting too old for B movies and George Bush deciding to spread democracy in Middle East.

This weekly rag is The Economist. I read this for last ten years - first because I loved its tone and optimism, then because it made me angry, and now because I have become an optimist by infection and waiting to see when the pundit editors of The Economist see reason.

Because, capitalism is not winning. Well, I dont want to appear a scarecrow, frustrated about life and bitter about everything. I want to believe in a glorious future of continuous prosperity. I am a believer, of man's ability to dream, create and deliver. As my boss - an house-owner and therefore an optimist - was recounting that doomsday predictions from the 1970s did not materialise, and people are indeed better off, I wanted to believe him.

However, capitalism is not winning. It is a great system for a world of plenty, for a growing world. But, it has very few answers for a maturing civilisation. One with limited resources. And, resources, whatever The Economist may preach, are not monetary. In a maturing civilisation, they are basic - water, air, food etc.

Capitalism is not losing the war in the fields of Iraq. It is just a symptom, a malady that will go away. The Economist seems to believe that the french are the last men standing against it, so they are devoting their cover stories to make the Frech voters see reason. They will. So, will millions of people in China, India and Africa - all will integrate themselves in the capitalist system.

But capitalism is losing the war here, in my room, on the street, over and underground. As civilisation matures, the strain on resources become unbearable. The system provide no controlled way of distribution. The biggest folly of the system is that it is selfish, it is short term. It has no solutions for a world where growth is no longer an option.

And, here is a proof that I am no socialist. I always believed Marx was a failed prophet, he was immature, he had this capitalist disease of being short term. I feel more like the French emperor, who knew the disaster will come, but his time would pass.


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