Thursday, August 04, 2005

Socialism is great in theory, but not practical for Guyana

This week, the PPP announced their plan to continue with “business as usual” – as George Bush would say (see Stabroek News article PPP rolls out new Guyana programme-says it remains true to socialism for more information). The obvious feeling is that everything is just fine with the country and nothing needs to change. According to Guyana's leaders, we just need to “stay the course” - another ridiculous Bush euphemism.

I am no capitalist by any stretch of the imagination. However, I am very much a realist and the reality is that socialism is not working for Guyana. I am also an activist, and when I see something that is broken, my first instinct is to attempt to fix the problem, which is why I cannot understand why Guyana 's leaders will not even make the slightest attempt at changing a failing system.

I am a strong believer in the core ideals of socialism. Marx's famous axiom, “From each according to his ability and to each according to his need” is a value I hold dear to my heart, and try to demonstrate each day of my life.

I am a supporter of the foundational thought of socialism, in that it puts the need of the community before the need of the one.

There is so much good that comes from this ideology that it is hard to see why it does not work in even a small country. The answer to the $10 million question is implementation. The reason socialism does not work for Guyana (and for many other countries) is because mere humans implement it.

Humans have this nasty little tendency to lust after power and money. Even the best of us can get swept away when a heady power surge is plugged into our feeble system. It makes us feel immortal.

Some get addicted to power and seek the highest seat in even the most humbling of circumstances. The love of money, we know, is the root of all evil. Yet we cannot live without it and, therefore, are constantly driven to find more and more every single day.

In the implementation process of socialism, humans sometime decide to keep the power and money all for themselves. Therefore, people become mere pawns in their whimsical power struggle game and the lofty principles of socialism are trampled underfoot. The good of the many is forgotten in a fight for power. In the meantime, the country keeps trudging along in poverty.

Where do we draw the line? Where should we relinquish power and refuse money for the sake of our conscience? Some would say never. They are wrong – and probably a capitalist. So how does a good socialist find his way into office just to turn into a money grubbing, power-hungry politician? Like I said, we are all human.

I do not believe socialism in its full glory is the answer for Guyana's woes at this point in time. Despite the lofty values, socialism meets its end every time a human touches it. And such is the case with Guyana. It has not brought the desired results and the country is no better off economically than it was ten years ago.

For example, the PPP just announced that it wants to build a strong modern economy and strive for financial independence. How is this going to happen?

They are going to focus on encouraging investment in the productive sector of the economy, which is abundantly clear by the way they just recently chased off a substantial investor in this sector.

The focus will be on the sugar, rice and mining markets. However, this is where the focus has been for years and it has not brought about the desired results.

The system is broke. Is it not apparent to anyone in the PPP that to be competitive on the world stage today there needs to be a focus on technology? Rice and sugar alone will not make the country financially independent. If the PPP wants a modern economy, the most logical step is to begin modernising our thought process.

The PPP's attempt at hoping no one will notice the sad state of the country if they pretend it is economically sound is embarrassing.

Do they really think the people are so naïve that they can't look around and see just how bad things really are? Staying the course is not doing the job. Change is what the PPP should have given Guyana this week, not business as usual.

- Stella Ramsaroop

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