Thanks to the revolutions in the ICT industry, today, with the simple application of Photoshop, Memes, Anachronistic Satires and “Inspiring” Quotes we could easily portray how “the grass is greener on the other side” or else on both sides of the line. A rough reading on the web could provide us with ample evidence of “fast-growing economies” (bear in mind that the photo used as an illustration of sorts has fake sunset, flares and hues), cities suitable to live in like Taipei, Tokyo, Addis Ababa, Singapore City, the overabundance of infrastructural facilities like potable water, health posts, primary schools with gleeing children…..
And almost all those absurd posts contain quotes from the previous speeches of the “Heroes Behind the Unprecedented Dev’t” whether it’s General Park of South Korea, Erdogan of Turkey, Kagame of Rwanda….with a special reference to their monumental “leadership roles in the fight against poverty.”
I’ve no problem with them fighting against poverty, the question I’ve here’s whose poverty are they trying to exorcise, the poor’s or the foreign investors’? With the hypocritical reports of the United Nations Human Development Reports, the World Bank and the IMF, there’s something symptomatic of the return of what I could label, Capitalist Socialism. The old premise and promise of such “popular struggles against poverty – the enemy of all” was primarily about helping the poor (the filthy, the hungry, the sickly) out of the mud and as the “pundits” say, “the vicious cycles of poverty.”
With the Fall of the Berlin (if that events marks a really meaningful episode in the future of humanity at all) and the boastful yet ignorant declaration of the “End of Socialism and the Triumph of Capitalism” and the nightmarish apparitions of Fukuyama that “Behold, it’s the End of History, everybody is going to the Capitalist Camp, with adoption of Free Market Economy and Liberal Democracy”, there emerged (in an unexpectedly sublime manner) a new kind of Socialism out of the ashes of old socialism. The new socialism defends the rich instead of the poor. If banks go bankrupt as in the 2008 Global Financial Meltdown, the government intervenes to compensate the rich with the money from the poor tax payers. If a certain Saudi or Turkish investor in Ethiopia is accused of contaminating our culture or desecrating our livelihood, the government intervenes to explain on his behalf. Going further, the government could even order to shut us up all or else we would all be ordained to go to the Gulag for the Developmentally Insane.
The point I’m trying make here, to save your time and unnecessary anecdotes, at the time being is, even though we’ve been baptized in the holy waters of capitalism and imbibed with the gospels of liberal democracy or we’re taken as Third Wave converts to the Religion of Civilization and Progress, what I may paradoxically call, Ambivalent Capitalism (the most important question, with whose values should we adopt it? still remains unanswered) or our “miraculous” achievements in the arena of development are drawn in a rosy manner in the annual reports of those organizations that claim “their exclusive mastery of the concept of development” like the Bretton Woods Institutions, we’ve been living to paraphrase Slavoj Zizek, in An Era of Dreaming Dangerously.
Notwithstanding the everyday contradictions in our politico-economic policies, as in our unquestionable and unflinching adherence and loyalty to what some Leftist Critics call, Capitalism with Asian values, the government’s in power present us with a simulacra of brightness of our living standards in the near future to come. To note, Capitalism with Asian values has nothing to do with the cultural and religious edifices of Asia rather it’s a satirical depiction of what the Asian Tigers did to the Fukuyamaist dream, they effectively and of course, once for all, I dare say, divorced free market from its supposed natural twin, liberal democracy. By doing so, they enhanced the manifold and overall efficiency of the Capitalist System – they perfected it after they painstakingly and meticulously debugged it, by performing a strange kind of amputation.
In fine, despite our indisputable place (yet in an insulting manner) on the covers of Time, The Economist, Wall Street Journal or else the Human Development Report, almost every year, we live lives that’re completely different. We live in squatters as squalor but we’ve to tell the world that we’re very excited and happy to live in a such magnificent, fabulous villas. We’ve nothing to eat but should go on liking the fan pages of McDonalds, the KFC, Starbucks and Domino’s Pizza as a demonstration of our “development-generated customership” to their fast-foods. We have nothing to put on our choiceless nudity, but we should tell our contradictory selves, our all believing friends and the anonymous world out there on the World Wide Web, that we’re an all-time consumers of world-famous brands like Adidas, Dolce and Gabbana, Christian Dior, Hugo Boss, Denim, Nike…
The conclusive question I’ve is, how long do we go on evading our dire brutish living conditions and deprive our lives of the basic conditions of survival, in the guise of committing ourselves to the train of development theory that emanates from the unhappiest nations like South Korea (leading in the number of suicides out of development-generated depression), Taiwan (a country that killed tens of thousands of dissidents much more than mainland China itself, in the name of transition development)? How long will it take us to reclaim our awakening and redress the wounds of our harrowing history? These questions should be thought of now or never.