Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Socialism | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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There has been a powerful return to studying the books and ideas of Karl Marx, the founder of socialist/communist theory, following the economic downturn taking place around the world, which has forced major industrialized countries to directly and immediately intervene regarding the ownership and management of enterprises in the industrial, financial, and service sectors, to save them from imminent bankruptcy and collapse.

There is a strong, clear return to Karl Marx’s ideas that deal with the economic community and the fundamental problems within it, at a time when the gap between the rich and the poor is widening. Senior executives of major economic institutions are receiving higher compensation, whilst there is an alarming deterioration in salaries and minimum wage, which are not commensurate with the requirements for living especially with price increases.

The preliminary results of the great economic downturn resulting from the crises affecting the world today reveal that countries, which have a modicum of socialism in their political system, such as France, Sweden, and others, are less vulnerable to the problems and side effects of the financial crisis, and are not affected by it as much as others.

There is a great desire sweeping the academic and economic communities regarding the need for the return of government intervention [in the economy], and the strengthening of monitoring and legislation for the financial market rather than leaving it as it is. This is what allowed it to become extremely excessive and which resulted in the wasting of resources, the squandering of opportunities, and the loss of jobs. Such talk is met with objection and criticism, as there are those who reject this idea and consider it the burial of capitalism and the free market, believing instead in the need for the economy to maintain its independence.

The return of state intervention in the administration of the economy is risky, as it is an explicit return to corruption and government mismanagement, which has caused many tragedies and the stalling of growth and development. It also led to the transformation of many state organs into hotbeds of favouritism, allowing opportunities for illegal gain, as it allowed governments and government agencies to adopt policies of appointing jobs based on connections, rather than suitability, and this practice is rife in the developing world.

The international economy is facing a large and unprecedented challenge to development from a fierce economic crisis, the scope and length of which is still unknown. Not a day goes by without more victims and negative consequences being brought to light. With the scale of damage that it has caused, the techniques necessary to treat it are even more painful and acute.

During the reign of [President Gamal Abdul] Nasser in Egypt, the famous Egyptian singer Abdul Halim Hafez sang a song entitled, ‘The Orchard of Socialism’ [Bustan Al-Ishtirakia] in praise of the revolution and as part of the “brainwashing” process that was required at the time. But it seems that there are other countries around the world that sing the praises [of socialism] in the same melody and using the same lyrics, but for entirely different reasons.

Therefore [government] overview will remain an outcome of the economic aftershocks of the global crisis especially this year.