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US messed it up; can India help the world?

By M R Venkatesh
September 26, 2008 17:17 IST
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Political observers in the seventies and eighties repeatedly predicted the fall of the Soviet empire. Stating that communism was an artificial construct and suffered from significant internal contradictions, scholars went on to analyse why Communism would never succeed.

Yet when the Communist regimes collapsed the world over, it took even those very experts by surprise.

Likewise many observers have been pointing out to the un-sustainability of the United States' economic model for the past several years. Yet, when the current crisis hit the global financial sector, these experts were surprised by its scale and magnitude.

Scholars have been repeatedly pointing out to the similarities between free market capitalism -- as it has been practiced in the US -- and communism -- as it was practiced in the erstwhile USSR.

Barring ownership issues, perhaps, there is hardly any crucial difference between the two.

American writer and political thinker Noam Chomsky captured the issue at hand rather brilliantly when he pointed out that capitalism would have a Chernobyl-like disaster only for a profit, while communism could afford it at any cost. The thin line between free market capitalism and communism was never as blurred as it is now.

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M R Venkatesh

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