1/11/2006

Democracy and Capitalism are not synonyms

The Republic of China is growing increasingly apprehensive about the massive debt associated with the U.S. dollar, so it is reportedly shopping around for a new currency such as the Euro or Yen.

It doesn't take an economist to figure out that the consequences of this in the U.S. would be immense. Cheap Chinese products now line the shelves of department stores, convenience stores and gift shops all over the country, so if the government imposes tariffs on Chinese imports -- as it has threatened -- then prices will rise and the economy will suffer greatly.

China is mastering capitalism, but it remains a repressive society that does not practice democracy. When Chinese students began a pro-democracy movement at Tiananmen Square, the government acted quickly to squelch it. The famous photograph of the man in front of a tank is a worthy symbol of the pro-democracy movement, but the government arrests people who speak out and thus maintains its power and control by fear and repression. At the same time, business is booming, thanks largely to low paid workers and child and prison labor.

In the U.S., capitalism has propelled the nation to the largest economy in the world and its Constitution and Bill of Rights has long served as a beacon for immigrants. But democracy and capitalism are not synonyms. Hitler understood capitalism well and envisioned a worldwide corporate oligarchy in which the individual exists to serve the state.

Although Hitler is dead, his concept of capitalism is not. George W. Bush -- whose grandfather, the late Senator Prescott Bush, supported Hitler financially through business dealings -- also understands capitalism and has, through tax cuts for the rich and a war in Iraq, created massive debt that has been absorbed largely by China and Saudi Arabia. In so doing, Bush has taken billions of dollars out of the public sector and put it in the private sector and the result is a lower standard of living for the middle class. Forget the poor.

Corporations, emboldened by Bush policies, are cutting health benefits and pension plans for workers, yet they are making record profits. In civil society, illegal wiretaps are being used to spy on Americans. Repressive tactics are on the rise and are slowly, almost imperceptively, replacing democratic principles while citizens are being entertained and distracted by the corporate media.

President Bush has obtained a level of presidential power that usurps Congress and is appointing pro-business judges to control the Judicial Branch. Capitalism is working well for the rich, but they are not satisfied with being rich; they want to be richer.

Ever since 9/11/01, Bush has used the "war on terror" as an excuse to erode civil liberties and constitutional protections for individuals. He has authorized intelligence organizations to capture "enemy combatants," deny them access to representation, and to torture them without regard for the Geneva Convention. He has also authorized a policy of "extraordinary rendition" to hold prisoners in other nations so they will not be subject to humane protection under U.S. law.

Bush is making up rules as he goes along and his supporters join in lock-step. But there is no way to win a war on terror because terrorism is a tactic, not a nation. The war is being used hypocritically to impose Bush's will on other nations as he hopes to propel the United States toward unbridled world dominance. Dissent will not be tolerated, even if that means using nuclear weapons. Bush is a danger to humanity. Hitler would be proud.

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