By Paul Chong Sunday, 29 November 2009
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (b. 1813, d. 1855), philosopher, theologian & psychologist, was a profound and prolific writer in the Danish “golden age” of intellectual and artistic activity. He said: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Thus, if not for any other reasons, this fact alone is sufficient for us to dwell on history in order to understand the present & serves as a guide towards the future.
Until about 400 years ago, Western Europe was largely a feudal society – one that valued service & chivalry. The turning point in history arrived with the discovery of a new hierarchy of values. Feudalism was then replaced by capitalism – an economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market. Wealth became the measure of success, and everyone was set in a frenzy for cash. The cult of money replaced all other values, including religious.
Capitalism turned the western world topsy-turvy. Making money was the be all and end all of objectives. This system turned out to be extremely efficient in terms of production of goods, services, and comfort. America benefited from the system the most, and decided that the rest of the world has to adopt it as well. Underdeveloped countries, if unable to appreciate the benefits of capitalism, would even be forced to do so.
However, after all the glories & excesses of high living, America is now facing the collapse of the illusion – the illusion of power & might, of conquest & dominance, of grandeur & sheer luxuries. In a word the collapse of capitalism.
We are either fortunate or unfortunate to be living in an era witnessing the unfolding of the old & the making of new history. We are on the threshold in time to see an unprecedented event that will transform the global geopolitical landscape.
This transformation will be in transition – slowly, steadily & most certainly. Philosophers & economic analysts maintain that capitalism is driven mainly by the striving for hard cold cash & the consumption of these goods. It’s this obsession that breeds greed, avarice & the inherent covetous nature of man that is the root of all the present day problems.
There is a lack of spirit in the power mind of the capitalist. There is no soul. A society that was built on the premise of “In God We Trust” is now doing away with God, throwing Him out of the schools, institutions & public places – forbidding the preaching & practice of anything religious.
With moral degradation setting in, a near collapse & breakdown in its economy, an unemployment of the highest in excess of 10%, a dollar currency that’s steadily losing its value & hallmark, America is now further faced with the dilemma of the emerging power in the East.
American’s values are exhibiting flaws, and the appeal to adopt them would be madness considering that the system is in crisis. Pragmatic Americans will soon realise they are no longer “boss” of the world to continue to impose its will upon billions of other nationalities, where traditional values & spirit are held in high esteem.
Globally, people are amazed by the economic miracles & achievements of China. Nations are flocking to learn of its wonders & adopting its system of development.
Signs are everywhere that Obama & his administration is shifting in the US policies bringing about changes that are possibly hard to believe:
From confrontation to negotiation & mitigation in its approaches to Iran & North Korea
- Obama’s decision not to build the Missile Defence System in Poland & the Czech republic
- Obama’s acceptance of his controversial Nobel Prize Peace Award as a “call to action”
- Obama’s bowing gesture to the Saudi King & Emperor Akihito of Japan.
Has America, the bulwark of capitalism, grown tired of imposing its rules on others? Is America feeling the importance of friendship with other nations – rich or poor? Does it need to dominate to subjugate? Perhaps, as evidenced by the above actions, America is finally convinced that there are more to pursue than just power & money. If this be the case, we will soon be witnessing another turning point in world history with US embracing more elements of socialism.
“Capitalism creates a rational frame of mind which, having destroyed the moral authority of so many other institutions, in the end turns against its own.” – Joseph A. Schumpeter