Don Pablo Edronkin

A Brief Reflection On Market Forces And Greed.

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If you believe that market forces are the best way to run an economy and shape the destiny of a nation, you'd better have some pretty good law systems working there, for if you don't, then those market forces you like to speak of will turn into a poison called greed, and destroy your dreams of a better society, and ultimately, they will poison you too.

Despite some common beliefs, true capitalism and a market economy needs ethics as much as any religion does, for in the long run all ideas get to be seen differently and what today is considered to be a good thing, tomorrow may be not, and then, supporters of such an idea would not even have the excuse of a different historical context.

Commerce is not bad, despite the sayings of many. Money is not bad. Relentless greed kills as many of those opposed to a market economy as of those who support it. You should mind not market forces, but your own mind. Educate yourself; we commit too much to money and too little to other things, leaving us in a truly startling spiritual imbalance.

We should avoid being [mis]guided by a recurrent set of double standards that pervades our society every day, everywhere; this is part of our human nature indeed, but not the best one and we should try hard to improve a little bit because if not, what we think it is the best way of living in the history of the world would eventually turn up into some sort of tyranny, as Plato suggested.

If you don't believe me on that, just read 'The Republic', written by this famous philosopher, and then we will talk again.

We talk about free commerce yet impose trade barriers to other countries; these barriers exist because some sectors of our economy are not competitive and we want to protect them from competitors that not necessarily are un-loyal, or un-ethical.

Since money is something created to be accummulated, some will always gather more than others; so from a doctrine of money you can't get fairness and justice, because these are in contradiction.

Money may help you live better, but the fact that you live better or you like how you live does not mean that others will live better or will like how you live; moreover, it does not guarantee that your way of life is the best one, even if you are a millionaire.

We like to talk about world peace and the United Nations, yet we ignore such institutions, tell everyone that they are 'irrelevant' whenever we don't like what they say, yet go crying for help after we mess up some country somewhere precisely because we didn't pay any attention to what they were saying.

We talk about democracy yet go on for years and years with embargoes against countries like Cuba, allegedly because they have a 'dictatorship', yet we ignore their history, and how for decades such countries have been - literally - occupied and exploited directly by European or U.S. forces and then, they get rid of dictators which are as bad as what we want to believe that their rulers are now, and we don't like it.

Precisely the case of Cuba and Iraq are perfect examples of what mental poison can do; these countries have not been gifted with a wonderful living standard, an exemplary government or whatever, but we outsiders managed to make things much worse, by judging about what we don't know or we pretend not to know.

Are you a U.S. citizen who does not like Mr. Fidel Castro? Have you asked yourself why is he still where he is and remains as a hero for many Cubans and people around the world?

What did the United States do to Cuba in order to have now Castro's government for nearly half a century? Just look at your preferred history books: the un-provoked war with Spain and the occupation of Cuba, the constant meddling with the island's internal affairs (remember the Platt Amendment?), the mafia and the casinos and Mr. Fulgencio Batista. And this is not to pass judgement on Mr. Castro's government, just a mention of the facts.

And what about Iraq? On all accounts, U.S. and British soldiers are not quite well welcomed there, to say the least, but what you would expect after having bombed them for twelve years? Don't fool yourself: there may be pockets of resistance, left-overs from the old regime and etceteras, but the truth is that the bombs fell everywhere and there is a lot of hot steam there ready to burn foreigner's faces.

In other words, it may be more satisfying to think that what is currently going on there is the work of some hardcore Hussein's killers or Al-Qaida terrorists, but it sound more like a widespread guerrilla war perfectly capable of defeating the biggest army in the world, and that cannot be the work of some 'left-overs', but the result of a very well prepared strategy based of the support of Iraqi citizens who want foreigners out of their country.

Al-Qaida and Mr. Hussein may profit from that status, but the situation has been there for a long time. The bombings, the ruthless and andless sanctions and the obvious greed for oil manifested by the U.S. and British governments motivated so much those folks that now they are capable of turning what was believed to be the best army in the world into a tragic laughingstock, a mockery of what it was.

We have too much thinking about money and too little about justice, real justice based on not passing so much judgmement to others, but on self-critique and self-discipline.

So if we don't like something in the world, instead of 'giving them hell' again, let's try to make something more productive and with a little more introspection, because those who are given hell can shoot back, or haven't you noticed?

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