20 years after the fall of communism , American style capitalism has also fallen. But the downfall was silent, without any visible walls toppling or crumbling. The 9/11 like collapse of the financial firms of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers left no piles of rubble or slabs of fractured concrete on the ground, just lots of laid off traders and deal makers. But the brokerage and investment banks’ end signalled the death knell of market capitalism as we knew it; another misbegotten ideology born out of the musings of Adam Smith, Ricardo and Milton Friedman was laid to rest unceremoniously. The troika which presumed that man’s most bestial instincts can be curbed in the pursuit of profit and happiness were wrong. Unfortunately these great men just like Marx, Engles and Lenin underestimated man’s penchant for larceny and venality. In theory, the quest for individual gain — i.e., greed — should trickle down to the less fortunate and serve the greater common good. As we now see with the “banksters” in pin striped suits, this is not the case. The craven financiers who recklessly gambled away the hard earned saving of pensioners and members of the now defunct middle class continue to “roll in dough”.
That is thanks to the cash handouts generously given out to them by the Goldman Sachs run administration in Washington. The Wall Street regime continues to make monetary policy over the heads of the electorate, devaluing the dollar purposely (in the name of ‘carry trade’ transactions) while bringing the erstwhile American economic powerhouse to its knees. An ailing economy, whose financial system has imploded like the twin towers, is now headed for an Argentinean style default and/or Weimar like hyper inflation. Casino not entrepreneurial capitalism still rules over us but the ideology is morally bankrupt. So gentlemen place your bets “rien n’est va plus” as the croupiers would say on Wall Street.
1989-2009: From the dislocation of Soviet Empire to today’s American decline
What brought down the Soviet Union was economic morass and industrial paralysis. Along with colonial adventurism in places like Angola and Afghanistan which drained the national treasury. A bloated bureaucracy and an inefficient gargantuan military industrial complex which also bled the federation’s resources. America today is in a symmetrical situation to the Soviet Union’s predicament in the late 1980s. Hence, 2009 maybe to the U.S what 1989 was to the late and somewhat great U.S.S.R. The U.S is entangled in two endless war of occupation one in the Middle East the other in central Asia.
These costly conflicts at a time of great economic distress which recalls the deprivations of the great depression era, have led to historic budget deficits. During the Bush neo con years ( the neocons being a ruthless clique driving foreign policy in the White House equivalent to the KGB apparatchiks who were influencing the Kremlin’s actions abroad) the federal government’s spent like there was no tomorrow and big government grew to monstrous proportions. Huge increases in the military spending added to this horrid fiscal nightmare. Barack Obama, the man of the moment or the “Gorbi” of our times, like the last Soviet leader, has inherited a huge mess which requires Herculean, if not superhuman capacity to clean up. And like the last leader of the Soviet empire, Obama enjoys huge popularity aboard, while being practically loathed, ridiculed and derided at home (especially on the radio airwaves). And now after the recent electoral gains of the Republicans in some key states, he’s wounded (perhaps fatally) politically.
Obama: The post modern “sun king” and absolutism American style
Obama’s pseudo or simulated “Glasnost” or the apparent policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions has led ironically to many Americans placing an absolute blind trust in the man who embodies “change”. There is an abdication of reason in the name of “yes we can”. A kind of collective hypnosis hangs over the nation. Meanwhile, there are some “hard core” pockets of dissent, made up of tea party patriots, who are denouncing his “socialist style” health care project. For its part, the zombie like mass media appears to be either asleep at the wheel to all this, or is willingly (in an insidious and complicit manner) allowing a Soviet style personality cult to take shape-mold the minds of millions and enthrall the masses.
The Obama Factor
The president’s inverted version of “perestroika” (that is the restructuring or retooling of the economy) has been fine tuned to meet the need of the oligarchs and corporate barons who support him and prompt him behind the curtains. Obama and his czar –commissars (and his adoring minions of PR spin operatives) have deftly in a brilliant slight of hand in one swift jest, effectively expropriating the entire financial and industrial sectors in America by means of massive taxpayer funded “bail outs”. These ploys have turned the essence of capitalism upside down, by rewarding cronyism and criminal behavior to the point where “crime pays” very handsomely indeed, and enables billionaires, fraudsters and financiers to obtain great gain almost without almost any pain or punishment. These perverse policies are likely to fail. In the end, Gorbachev’s policies although ostensibly well meaning, actually hastened the demise of the Soviet state. This later led to its fragmentation and disintegration of the communist superpower and its Eastern Empire. America’s current plight may lead to a similar outcome.