Opinion » Columnists

60 years after WW2 – What have we achieved?

On the surface, we have come a long way since 1945 but have we really addressed the roots of our problems?

 

Six decades after World War Two, mankind finds itself on the threshold of the third millennium with a lot of promises to strive towards progress on a worldwide scale but a lack of action on a practical level.

 

While there have been improvements (life expectancy has increased in large areas of the globe, the wars we have are nothing compared to the devastation of WWII and great scientific progress has been made across the board) we still find ourselves in a world in which the rule of law is not respected, opportunities are not equal, a substantial proportion of our population lives in deplorable conditions and the gap between the haves and the have nots increases by the day.

 

Iraq was a classic example of where mankind can go wrong, where diplomacy collapsed, where the UNO was derided and surpassed as insignificant and impotent an organism as the League of Nations had been a century earlier and where the callousness and cruelty of those with power to wield was blatantly evident.

 

The Millennium Development Goals are a good example of the direction Mankind should be taking, setting targets and through a process of dialogue, working together to improve the lot of those who have less, providing a framework for policies of sustainable development to flourish.

 

Another encouraging example was the Commission for Africa, set up by British Prime Minister Tony Blair. This Commission had as broad a base as possible and drew up a report, released this March, on the problems faced by Africa, presenting solutions. These will be discussed at the forthcoming G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, in July.

 

It is here where the crux of the matter lies – agreement at the very top, where real power is wielded. However much good work is done by technicians at a lower level, however much good will there is in public opinion, we have not yet managed to find a way for this to count when it matters most.

 

At the top political level, where politics and business are mixed and where the invisible barons hold as much power, or more, as those who are democratically elected, ideals, policy and business plans become intermingled.

 

This is the great wrong our world has to set right, namely the culmination of the capitalist model into a monetaristic, liberal system where the bottom line means all and human life becomes redundant, where those who control wealth hold absolute power and those who do not control wealth are condemned to a situation in which the value of life is worth less than the bank note.

 

In this model, competition, supposedly a healthy ideal which stimulates progress, takes on a more perverse facet, leading to destruction and death, human values become extinct and the greed of ever-richer corporate elitists dictates policy on a non-Clausewitzian level perhaps for the first time in recent history.

 

The alternative route, followed by Marx, Engels, Lenin and others, creating a system in which policy was dictated by the people, creating societies in which peace and bread were guaranteed in a secure state, which provided free housing, free and excellent education and healthcare, a guaranteed pension, job and food was aggressively attacked by the forefathers and builders of this inhumane and inhuman capitalistic model.

 

If the Communist system disappeared perhaps because it was never given a chance to survive (although its principal objectives were reached) and because there lacked an important element – rewarding human endeavour – then certainly what exists in its place is far worse.

 

Whereas the Communist system achieved something, the right-wing, monetaristic, liberal capitalist model has failed to produce anything. It is time to take half a step back and to find a way to allow the ideals of Communism to work. All that is needed is good will.  Maybe then the demonology which goaded people into fighting against the ideal without realizing what it was can be surpassed and Mankind can live together like brothers.

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