Voice from the Back
It is not often that Bill Clinton tells the truth, so when such a rare event occurs it is only right that we record it. “The former American President addressing a packed hall at the World Economic Forum, pleaded for much more to be done urgently to ensure that the globalisation process benefitted all the world’s population, rich and poor . . . Emphasising that the gains of globalisation must be spread more widely across the globe to defuse opposition, Mr Clinton noted that one billion people went to bed hungry every night, 1.5 billion had no clean water and half the world’s population lived on less than $2 (£1.09) a day . . . But he protested ‘We do not have the system the world needs to respond to the self-evident problems in a comprehensive, organised way’” Times (22 January). Of course we don’t. The only system to deal with these problems is world socialism – capitalism, by its very nature cannot.
Capitalism is a very wasteful society. It destroys food, to keep up prices whilst people starve. It spends vast amounts of effort in devising new and more efficient ways to destroy property and people in wars. It also stops millions of people producing wealth as these figures show. “The number of jobless people worldwide has reached a record of almost 186 million, while hundreds of millions more are employed but make so little money they can barely survive, according to the United Nations labor agency . . . The number of people out of work in 2003 reached 185.9 million, or 6.2 percent of the total labor force. In 2002 the figure was 185.4 million, although this represented 6.3 percent because the world’s population was smaller. In 2001 the number was 160 million, or 5.9 percent” Tampa Bay Tribune (23 January). Just another load of statistics perhaps but it represents the reality of capitalism, a system that stops men and women from producing wealth. Think of what kind of society we are going to have when these 186 million are allowed to start producing. The potential of a socialist society is enormous.
Heavenly help lines
Capitalism is a system that produces global problems. It also produces so-called answers to these problems on a world-wide basis. From Nashville, New Orleans and Hong Kong come the latest examples of spiritual answers to material problems – all at a price of course. “Concierge or credit card company can’t assist? Try divine intervention. Nashville: ‘Everybody has an angel,’ says Noelle Rose, who claims she can put you in touch with yours. Her clients range from the terminally ill to folks just searching for answers. Sessions in person or over the phone start from $60. New Orleans: Sally Ann Glassman, the city’’s best known voodoo high priestess, says she cured herself of breast cancer last month. She promises to heal you of your discomforts – spiritual, physical, psychological and social – startimg at $100 a treatment. Hong Kong: A favourite of local celebrities and socialites, ponytailed Peter So Man-Fung is a fengshui master who has a propensity to appear in local movies and at hip nightclubs. He’ll arrange your furniture for about $320 a session” Time (26 January). Socialists don’t have the answer to psychological problems but we do have a lot of ideas about social problems. If you contact us by phone or email we will try our best to deal with your questions. It will cost you nothing. After all we want a world without money.
Growing old disgracefully
“More than 2.5 million pensioners are going back to work because they cannot survive on their retirement income, new research has revealed . . . Many pensioners contemplate desperate measures to boost their income in retirement. Nearly a quarter of a million said they would commit or consider committing a crime – twice as many as the year before” Times (5 February). What a society we live in – it’s turning Gran and Grandad into Bonnie and Clyde!
A normal family
“Zara Phillips, daughter of Princess Ann, told Reuters on Wednesday that her best friends were her horses and rejected the media portrayal of her as the wild child of the House of Windsor. ‘My family is probably just like your family, but everybody makes it into something different. They have a dream of what we are,’ Zara, 22, said in an interview . . . ‘I play polo and most people in my family ride, but it is not like ‘Right, let’s all go out for a hack then, gang,` she said” Yahoo News (11 February). How normal a life you lead when your grandmother is the richest woman in Britain is debatable, but one thing is sure, her Gran won’t be contemplating doing a bank job.
Beggar and billionaires
According to a recent UN report India is “home to more hungry people than anywhere in the world”. But this hunger does not apply to the Indian capitalist class as the following news from Lucknow shows. “The world has never seen anything like it. A billionaire lavished £30 million on the wedding of his two sons – and still had the change to pay for the nuptials of 101 other couples in one of the grandest Valentine’s Day gestures ever seen. As befits a latter-day maharajah, Subrata Roy also dipped into his family’s £3.7 billion fortune to feed 140,000 beggars all over India” Sunday Times (15 February).