Capitalism’s disaster decade
At the start of the millennium it appeared that capitalism was unassailable: western states dominated international politics and global economics while their militaries established global reach deep into the southern hemisphere.
With the domino demolition of communism it appeared that everyone was screaming out for freedom and democracy. Soft power was often quoted as the means by which the west got its way. However, in particular, America’s hegemony appeared supreme in much the same way as the British in the nineteenth century.
How the world order has changed a mere decade later, as we just saw the end of 2009 CE. Unilateralism, pre-emptive action and colonisation aka imperialism is now the overriding visible attribute of American and British foreign policy militarily shored up by outright invasion and occupation. Freedom and democracy have been found wanting while capitalist economics has been found out. Today a litany of crises face the world – financial, food and the environmental: a clear indictment of capitalism.
At the turn of the millennium, America’s definition of a New World Order characterised international politics with the collapse of the communist Soviet Union and the rapid spread of US influence in former communist states. The Cold War effectively ended with capitalism, led by the US, as outright winners. America, the foremost super power could now straddle the globe asserting its might and ideology uncontested.
The fall of communism was seen as an emphatic victory for freedom and democracy. Communism had failed as an ideology and system and was visibly rejected by the people as the ‘colour revolutions’ spread like wildfire across Eastern European states. Liberal democracy became exhortations on the lips of even staunch former communists.
In economics, capitalism and the Washington Consensus dominated as western multinational corporations used free markets and free trade to acquire assets, raw materials and markets from around the globe fuelling apparently endless consumption and driving economic growth in the US and Europe. The dollar dominated and the rest of the world could never dare teach the west how to do economics. They had to accept the Washington Consensus and open their economies or face isolation or worse.
War on terror
However, America’s imperialism was exposed soon after the turn of the millennium when out of retribution the world’s super power invaded and occupied Afghanistan. Through indiscriminate collective punishment democratic America pulverised a country, among the least developed countries in the world, even though 9 in 10 of its inhabitant would in all likelihood have never heard of the Twin Towers before 9/11.
More murderous pre-emptive action soon followed with the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 by a narrow western coalition led by the US and Britain. According to some estimates, over a million Iraqis were killed though the western coalition did not feel it needed to count Iraqi deaths. This obscene fact and the systemic rape, torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib, Bagram and Guantanamo together with wide spread extraordinary rendition exposed the truth of the democratic west’s professed reverence of freedom and human rights.
The west then duly installed puppet leaders in both Afghanistan and Iraq under the facade of so-called democratic rule.
Democratic Israel followed the examples of her cousins in the West to destroy, invade and occupy foreign lands firstly by a devastating bombardment of Lebanon in 2006 and then by slaughtering hungry innocent women and children imprisoned in Gaza in 2009.
Financial and food crisis
In economics, globalisation caused and exacerbated a food crisis leading to riots and deaths across the developing world. Market speculation and switching land to produce bio-fuels in the US and Europe that dominate world grain exports resulted in a two-fold hike in international grain prices. Developing countries, which have adopted free trade and open markets, saw hikes in staple food prices forcing the poor to drastically scale back already meagre diets. The World Bank, which encourages open markets in the developing world, estimated that at least 100 million additional people went into poverty due to the food crisis in 2007/08.
The western financial crisis in 2008 brought the capitalist financial system to the edge to collapse. Fictitious financial assets collapsed in value forcing a credit crunch culminating in bank bankruptcies. The capitalist banking system was bailed out by widespread socialist bank nationalisations and huge debt stimuluses. The knock on economic effects have been one of the worst world recessions for 70 years with tens of millions unemployed.
Commitments and actions to avert an environmental crisis brought about by capitalism’s focus on wanton consumption failed in Copenhagen in November 2009. The developed capitalist economies in the West and the newly developing capitalist economies in the East including China and India are now even more determined to force a destructive race to the bottom with potentially the future of the globe on the brink of environmental meltdown.
With such an incriminating charge sheet this decade has been disastrous for capitalism. The world sorely needs an alternative ideology and system to rescue it from further ravages. Islam provides the alternative ideology and the Khilafah system. Islam and the Khilafah is the proven alternative which dominated for a millennium before capitalism and brought peace, security, prosperity and justice to all peoples that lived under its banner irrespective of colour and faith. The Khilafah is the need of our time and the example the Muslim world must re-establish, insha Allah.