From Mumbai To Las Vegas, Capitalism Sinks Deeper Into Crisis

By Dr. Sawraj Singh

In the past week, we saw two tragedies: one in Mumbai and the other in Las Vegas. One happened in a developing country and the other occurred in a developed country. What is common in these two tragedies? I feel both are showing that capitalism is failing us in developed countries as well as in developing countries. In the developing countries, it is failing physically, and in the developed countries it is failing mentally.

In the developing countries, we have a second-rated, inefficient capitalism which has led to chaotic and anarchic cities which are ready to break at their seams. The infrastructure is heavily taxed, unable to support unbridled growth in their population. The infrastructure just cannot keep up with the growing demands. The result is that it is ready to collapse. This may happen sooner than what we can imagine.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

In the developed countries, capitalism has taken a very heavy toll on people’s minds. People are unable to cope with the stress generated by the fast pace of life. Together with disintegration of family and resulting lack of family support, this is making people mentally unstable and even sick. In countries like America, at any given time, about 15% of the population is suffering from serious mental problems. We do not know of any time in history where 1 in every 6 people was suffering from serious mental problems at any given time. Is this the biggest achievement of capitalism?

America and India can be considered the two most advanced capitalist countries in the world (in developed and developing countries). However, both countries, while leading in the field of GDP and total wealth in their categories, lack miserably in the field of human development, when we compare them to other countries in their category. Compared to other developed countries, America is at the bottom in both healthcare and basic education (science and mathematics in the school-going children).

Similarly, India is doing very poorly in terms of human development. India has one of the highest rates of Infant Mortality in the world. Infant Mortality is one of the most accurate indices of state of health in a country. Many developing countries are doing much better than India in this field. Some of the developing countries like Cuba can compete not only with the developed countries, but are doing better than some of them.

Even in a field like education, in which India always had an edge, India has fallen behind. India is the country where the first universities were established in the world. Today, none of the Indian universities made it into the top one hundred universities in the world. Quite a few Chinese universities made it to the top.

The western media is so biased when comparing India to China that their prejudice and ulterior motives become very obvious. They want to promote India as an example of success of the western capitalist model for the developing countries. They also want India and China to remain in a perpetual state of confrontation so that western domination and hegemony can remain unchallenged. The tragedy is that many Indians, including some at the highest levels, are buying this false propaganda and are giving credence to western myth and lies.

However, evidence that the western capitalist model is not working for the vast majority of India is so overwhelming that anybody who rises above prejudice and bias will have great difficulty in accepting that this model has worked for the majority of ordinary Indian people who have to live and work in overpopulated, congested, polluted, chaotic and anarchic big cities with constantly expanding population, putting more burden on the resources which are already overtaxed.

Whenever, a disaster such as collapse of the Elphinstone station bridge in Mumbai, resulting in one of the worst stampedes, occurs, then we ponder about the miserable conditions in our big cities. However, we quickly slip back into our apathetic state of believing western media that the  western capitalist model is working very well in India. Of course, it is working very well for the elite, like the Ambanis, who have a ten billion dollar house in Mumbai and whose wealth has multiplied many folds in the last few years.

However, for the many people who lost their lives or were injured, it is not working that well. Their only fault was that they were forced to cross the bridge in numbers which were five times higher than the bridge was intended to carry across. This the real face of the western capitalist model in India.

An equally ugly face of capitalism emerges in America, where a person who is neither physically deprived nor has to face any discrimination based upon race, color, ethnicity or national origin, ends up killing or injuring so many innocent people with whom he has no personal grudge. We can only conclude that he had a disturbed mind. The bigger tragedy is that this is not an isolated incidence. We hear almost every day of innocent people falling victims to disturbed minds.

You may or may not agree with me, but I will continue to think that these unfortunate incidents are signs and symptoms of decline and the impending collapse of capitalism. I feel that globalization, which is considered the highest state of capitalism, actually represents the global failure of capitalism. I also feel that the western capitalist system is going to completely collapse before the middle of the century (2050). Let us seriously start looking for a pro-people and pro-nature alternative for this system.

I feel that Sri Guru Granth Sahib is one such source. It is not just a holy book for the Sikhs, but is a great source of universal human values and has an alternative pro-people and pro-nature model of development. The Sikhs should focus more on universal interpretation of their philosophy.

Dr. Sawraj Singh, MD F.I.C.S. is the Chairman of the Washington State Network for Human Rights and Chairman of the Central Washington Coalition for Social Justice. He can be reached at sawrajsingh@hotmail.com.


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