Friday, December 29, 2006

About 2006 : A Season of Realizations

As I sat down - I am having a long christmas holiday like everyone - and started thinking what I learnt in 2006, both from public events and my private life, I realised it has been an unique year. Many things I realized, not just because they happened now - most probably because I came face to face with reality now.

Things like:

Monetarism: Milton Friedman died, therefore focusing minds on his legacy and thoughts. Also, interestingly, the house price led boom continued in UK, though it slowed a bit in US. But Bank of England's refusal to raise interest rates significantly pointed a potential danger in the way things are working now, post-Friedman. Alan Greenspan allowed the dotcom bubble to form and bust - causing misery for common men. The current czars also taking the same route, this time with house prices fueled by easy credit, and if and when it bursts and interest rates goes up to a rational level, lots of people will get hurt. and, then comes the eye opener, globalisation and monetarist thinking may result in this economic pain being spread worldwide, american consumer's lack of forward thinking may make a lot of people in Thailand [or elsewhere] go bankrupt, as the decision makers will be able to shift a large part of the problem on other countries.

Nationalism: The biggest enemy of human freedom and progress during last two centuries have been - yes, not communism as conventional wisdom has dictated - but Nationalism. This psuedo classification of human beings has caused untold miseries, created situations conducive to war or led to war, justified exploitation of men by men, limited the scope and reach of scientific progress and allowed evil men to prosper. This is the doctrine which allowed a set of people to think that they are better than others, be it the americans now, or the british in the 19th and 20th century, or the ethiopeans in somalia. Without nationalist blindness, the whole business of war may not be sustainable. Without the excuse of nationalism, the whole structure of economic exploitation will stand exposed, and appear to be what it is - economic exploitation. Without nationalism, democracies will be fairer, and markets, more efficient. So, if the human civilisation has to progress from where it is today, if this is not the end of history, nationalism should be rooted out from the civilisation. Globalisation, sadly, isn't the answer - being a first generation traveller in the global world, I know this personally. Nationalism is licensed to prosper, continually prepped up by media, taught in schools, and ingrained in culture. It wont go away unless and until a superior value system starts getting propagated. However, do have hope - human beings are capable of superior thinking.

Unilateralism: A military solution isn't enough for iraq, that's the end of year realisation of american experts. This sublimely contradicts the neo-con notion of the role, responsibility and power of america in the post-cold war world. America is an over-rated power, measured solely in terms of its power to destroy. Unfortunately, leadership does not come solely from the power to destroy and punish. To be the sole superpower and control the destiny of the whole world needs to come from a moral power, the ability to lead, create and give. On those terms, America can not operate alone, nor does it have the resources or abilities for the job. Death to unilateralism may have to wait a few more years, when the micro-nuclear powers will emerge, but this is an interesting turning point.

I am sleepy. More later.

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