Monday, 8 December 2014

Is Free-market a guarantee for free-society ?





Ack: ://woodgatesvi, from Google image pages

Dec 6, 2014
 ( Or) Can the basics of human freedom and FREE-MARKET concepts one and the same thing? )




(The following link leads to a very inspiring speech by a teen-age girl at a UN conference, giving simple directions as to what the political, social and intellectual institutions of the world should adopt to usher a better world !:  https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=852988084731533)

Also recommend to readers, an article by 'The Guardian' writer George Monbiot: http://www.monbiot.com/2015/06/03/3769/

Pope Francis, in his now famous 191 page Encyclical issued in June,2015, appealed not only to Catholics but also to men of every-faith,and even 'no-faith', to undergo a new awakening to save God's creation:
Some of his now popular quotes from the text are:

=>He called for a ' bold cultural revolution' to correct the ' structurally perverse' economic-system in which the rich exploits the poor;turning earth into an 'immense pile of filth'

=> 'Nobody is suggesting a return to the stone-age,but we do need to slow-down and look at reality in a different fashion'

=> 'We need to recover the values and the goals swept-away by our unrestricted delusions of grandeur'

=> It is not enough to balance in the medium term...halfway measures simply delay the inevitable disaster.Put simply, it is a matter of redefining our notion of PROGRESS' 

=> Everything is related,and we human-beings are united as brothers and sisters on a pilgrimage,woven together by Love of God'


Blog starts: 

We, the freedom crazy men of contemporary world, would never imagine that the very concept of human-freedom also can have fake models !

It seems that for the Western world, basic concept of 'human freedom' is almost one and the same with Free-market concept !
It is a very deep and serious philosophical issue today, especially when the very institution that is supposed to 'represent' people, ( democratic governments) is dangerously conflated with the 'free-market' forces. This situation marks the virtual absence of a 'conscience', or a rational center in the modern world.
This writer encountered the stark reality of the above, from an encounter with a reputed 'freedom' organization recently, and this is an attempt to throw light on this serious issue, for the serious attention of every one who cares, and uphold the pure concept of human-freedom !
He ( the writer of this post) used to be in the mailing list of a reputed West-based, international freedom organization for quite sometime. They recently announced a formal membership drive, for the sake of like minded men and organizations to join them, for sharing innovative freedom ideas. When our organization was filling-up the on-line questionnaire for registration, the first item baffled us:
' What attracted you to the FREE-MARKET idea ?'

Suddenly, this author realized the truth of what Dr.Susan George had written about the elaborate scheming the propagators of Neo-liberal ideas in the world:

"Starting from a tiny embryo at the University of Chicago with the philosopher-economist Friedrich von Hayek and his students like Milton Friedman at its nucleus, the neo-liberals and their funders have created a huge international network of foundations, institutes, research centers, publications, scholars, writers and public relations hacks to develop, package and push their ideas and doctrine relentlessly" 
( part of her paper presented at Bangkok, in 1999)
Was the base concept of human-freedom nothing but the 'free-market' ideology for them? Free-market in the sense that, the freedom of the entrepreneurs class to do business under the legendary 'laissez-faire' policy of governments
Our organization was, in-principle, against the modern tendency of world's more than 55% of the wealth and resources getting increasingly accumulated in the hands of, as few as 70 or 80 rich business families and corporate-entities, as recently found by reputed research bodies such as Zurich University and Oxfam. So, we were not attracted to the unconditional 'free-market' idea. Therefore, after filling-up the form for membership with the above stand, nothing was heard about our membership !
For a typical westerner, any reference against 'free-market' is judged as a leftist, or socialist or pure communist bent of mind. Or in other words, an enemy of the freedom of individual. There is no other model, unfortunately, is alive or known today in the contemporary world, wherein basic freedom and dignity of individual citizens are treated separately from the free-market concept.
Now the crucial question is; would a society bent-upon 'free-market notions, simultaneously be a society that seriously care for human-freedom in its traditional and philosophical sense too ? Or, at least the way it was most profoundly expressed in the Declaration of American independence; " that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness " ?
Ayn-Rand was very sharp to detect this subtle, but very specific difference between the two kinds of freedom models. She states that there was a very specific shift from the original political rights to economic rights, in the later years of American democratic development. In her words;
" the gimmick" was the switch of the concept of rights from the political to the economic realm....the democratic party platform of 1960 summarizes the switch boldly and explicitly; ' will reaffirm the economic bill of rights ( such as right to job,income, home, health, education etc.) which Franklin Roosevelt wrote into our national conscience sixteen years ago' ( her book, ' Capitalism, an unknown ideal')

Ayn Rand, though she was radical capitalist, and wrote all the above in her frustration and great anger against 'state-control', her anguish against pure rights and freedom of citizens ( including that of entrepreneurs !) must be taken in the right spirit. She took every citizen as a model entrepreneur !
The real 'globalization' of industry started with its real reign over the political freedom of common man happened after her death in early 1980,s. So, she was probably not aware of the usual perils of the excessive influence of the industry in the later-stage world, wherein every government collaborating with it, for maximum so called 'development' of the world.
Erich Fromm, though her contemporary, was more aware of the perils of the excessively aggressive industry, over the rights and freedom of ordinary men. He writes;
" ..while the canalizing of all human energy into work and the striving for success was one of the indispensable conditions of the enormous achievements of modern capitalism,a stage has been reached where the problem of production has been virtually solved and where the problem of the organization of social life has become the paramount task of mankind' ( his essay ' selfishness, self-love and self-interest')
Probably because of the intensity of the 'cold-war experience, the West seem to have developed a kind of 'paranoia' about protecting entrepreneural freedom, out of her fear for state control over the free-market model.
Today, being those who talk about the world in first-person are the industry in the contemporary world through the media that they predominantly own and run, theFREEDOM they talk about is exclusively their freedom, the freedom of the entrepreneurs, and the market, their own realm selling their finished products and services !
They virtually are the world; its exclusive activity, and the content in the modern day ! Everything rest in the world is the 'means' for their primary existence, and for their professional activity ! Concept of human race outside their institutional perspective is an illusion, and a great void ! World in its essence, is a great market-place , and human life is a matter of unending needs, and their professional activity of meeting these needs.
Any talk of individual freedom etc. outside the perspective of the above realm of economic activity is sheer blasphemy for the above contemporary owners of modern world! That is why every institution that stands for FREEDOM in modern world is organizations that stand for free-market, founded, funded, and run by and for them !
Leading industrial nations boycott other nations when the latter do not participate in thefree-market operations, Grave issues of abuse of human rights and freedom of such nations are matters of secondary concern. As far as markets are open, such political entities are considered free and open ! Matters of right and freedom abuse would be considered as their 'internal' concern !
As a result of the above narrated free-market obsession of modern world, grave abuses of individual dignity, rights and freedom by political regimes are routine and rampant. Rights and freedom of Individual citizens are either grossly neglected and despised by the totalitarian political regimes, or by the so called 'democratic-capitalistic regimes. While in the first model above, if the citizens are mere passive commodity for the primary existence and relevance of the state, in the second model, they are same kind of commodity for the flourishment of the free-market based industrial activities. While China is the prime example of the first model, USA and other advanced industrial nations are examples of the 2nd model.

Though USA champions itself as the role model of human freedom in the entire world, its disturbing features such as her having the maximum number of prisoners in the world, and frequent human-rights violation incidents ( like the recent shooting of a black-teen by police, and the 'choke-holding' and killing of another black-citizen) dampen the authenticity of such claims. The recent 'OCCUPY wall-street' type agitations in US, wherein the citizens raised spirited slogans that, 99% of the population is under the reign of 1% elites, she exemplified the reality of the 2nd model above. It is the reign of the 'free-market', and not the reign of the kind of freedom the founding fathers of USA had envisioned.
In countries like India, who scramble to claim the rank of a fast developing economic super-power, citizens' grievances and genuine representations never reach their destination in various government offices and ministries ! They are despised and ignored at the corridors of power, and their representations routinely find their place in rubbish-bins. Their so called political freedom is confined only to their right of having routine work-strikes, and the mass-protest assembling in cities and villages, seeking various rights and privileges, giving the impression to the world that, citizens are free and empowered! An unattached single citizen is the most helpless and powerless entity in modern democratic-capitalistic society, thus leaving the very concept of FREEDOM a myth! Then, what to talk about the freedom of him in the so called 'free-market' economies?
India's present central government is all set to launch a massive 'development' agenda for the country, without first attending to the primary need of providing ordinary citizens his deserving dignity in the street, at home and at various citizen-government meeting points. Most of the democratic constitutions in the world has specific directives to ensure 'DIGNITY OF INDIVIDUAL' ( fraternity clause in the Indian constitution) in the governance delivery system.
Without first strictly adhering to the above central and primary guideline of country constitutions, simply collaborating with the industry for 'development' will only damage the very fabric of human freedom, dignity of individual and the progress of human civilization. The quality of life of individuals will not ever naturally improve merely with his quality of life in the quantitative sense, ie. making available abundant supply of life-amenities in the market ! The ever-present profit motive in the free-market system will contribute to making these life-amenities ( even quality food and homes !) increasingly un-affordable to large section of the population, thus leading to serious social unrest. So, there is an urgent need to understand and treat 'freedom' and 'free-market' concepts differently and separately.

Susan George, a fiery activist against new-liberalism said:

"Business and the market have their place, but this place cannot occupy the entire sphere of human existence" ( In her paper presented at 'Conference on Economic Sovereignty in a Globalising World'
Bangkok, 24-26 March 1999,see link: file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Father/Desktop/A%20Short%20History%20of%20Neo-liberalism%20%20%20Global%20Exchange.html)

Authored by : Abraham J.Palakudy
An independent Philoosphy,mind, Reason,spirituality and polity seeker,researcher&writer
Contact at :ajoseph1@rediffmail.com
Twitter: Voice of philosophy@jopan1
Blogger link:https://www.blogger.com/profile/14249415589712707293