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Capitalism Gone Mad


By Shaun Ajamu Hutchinson

Tuesday, December 15, 2015.


Scarborough, Tobago 

The Mighty Sparrow pointed out in his classic 1983 calypso that “Capitalism gone mad”. Prophetic words from the Calypso King of the World. The validity of the Birdie’s lyrics has been demonstrated here over the last few days as controversy has grown over two related pronouncements. Firstly, that Trinidad and Tobago (T & T) is officially in recession and, secondly, regarding statements attributed to Jawala Rambarran the Governor of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago regarding consumption of Foreign Exchange - and by whom [mostly corporations and financial elites]. Commentators, politicians and columnists have all joined in the debate.


Because the views, opinions and domination of the media space is predominantly in the hands of the financial elites [their press, their commentators, their philosophers, their experts] promoting a capital centred [1] outlook I shall not rehearse their ideas here. Instead let us ventilate an intriguing people centred [2] viewpoint which has been published on the website of the National Workers Union under the by-line of Eugene A. Reynald.


The issues alluded to in Reynald’s article are important to consider.

The writer points out that the money/forex under discussion is derived from T & T’s crucial energy sector. In that sense then it is only right that the Workers of that sector should have their opinions discussed and shared throughout the society, because it is those workers who actually create the wealth derived from the energy industry. The monopolies Reynald alludes to also monopolise opinion forming through their domination of the media and press. As a counterbalance and in the interests of fairness the writer embodies the notion that Workers’ views should be expressed widely and debated given that they and their leaders and union representatives are in a perfect position to know and understand and offer solutions to the problems of the economy.


Although, as the NWU website points out, the reasons why and for what motive the revelations of the Central Bank Governor were made are important, in the end the result is to put the creators of wealth i.e the workers in a strictly passive, or defensive position. Reynald’s article is crucial then because it gives oxygen to the important principle that the Workers should lead society and present their views on how the economy and society can and should move forward in a pro-social [3] direction. The financial elites and the commentators and press and media have come to expect that the Workers will wait for someone to talk for them or to express an opinion on their behalf. The NWU article demonstrates however, that the Workers should and must be included in and also deciding and controlling the direction of the economy, instead of being called upon to agree or disagree with whichever spokesperson of the elite pontificates at a given time.


The Workers organised in their unions, are an important cohort in the society and a collective which is qualified and capable of formulating their own views and agenda for a way forward. The Workers have the brains and experience in a socialized economy to propose with a pro-social direction, and the strength, numbers and motivation to bring it into being. The Workers can then inform the society of their views, as the article published on the NWU website does, and can also contribute to strengthening public opinion to coalesce around a new direction. Such an endeavour would impel the political and financial elites to respond to a pro-social agenda and not the other way around.


The NWU article also refers to the public right to know. Although the writer omits any reference to the current monopoly right [rather privilege] which is what seems to exist and which usually trumps the public right to know, the NWU article exemplifies such a demand for what is usually contextualised within calls for transparency and good governance. Be that as it may - equally important is the question of who decides the direction of the society and the economy which fortifies it.


As the article illustrates Workers are more than capable of analysing and proposing pro-social solutions and presenting an agenda to be followed that can create a workable solution to T&T’s economic problems.

Birdie gave a diagnosis, let us now discuss and provide an effective cure.


Shaun Ajamu Hutchinson is the New Black Magazine’s Deputy [and Art’s] Editor.


 [1] Capital centred – the outlook and philosophy that the world inevitably revolves around the domination of the exploitation of humans by humans and e exploitation of the natural world and the environment by the economically most powerful oligarchs and monopoly capitalists organised in economic and financial cartels and trading blocs, with a military and political system to buttress it.

[2]  People centred – putting human beings at the centre of all social, cultural, economic and political concerns based on the human factor/social consciousness – that humans have inviolable and inalienable rights [and which are] based on our humanity - to life, shelter, education, food, dignity etc. and which must be guaranteed at the highest level possible according to the level of development and technological advance attained in a given society] because we are humans born to a society which human beings have established and have been perfecting over millennia, and that it is incumbent on the society we have created to defend these rights as we defend and perfect the society in which we live and thrive. 


Capitalism Gone Mad

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