Friday, April 11, 2008

A writer from Dickensian England, or India as it's known today

Chan Akya has it right when it comes to the U.S. losing its vice grip over the world because its economic power is waning. But this numbnuts, like a lot of Indians, is a victim of the collective Stockholm Syndrome. Britain invades your country, destroys your textile industry which was the best in the world at the time, forces your country's economy to be Britain's export market for manufactures, dope factory and farm, causing the deaths of tens of millions by starvation which no one knows about (but everyone thinks Mao was a mass murderer) and of course does the traditional raping, slaughtering and pillaging. Then the victims of all this think: ah, the British - what fine chaps!

Akya certainly thinks so, at least insofar as Anglo Saxon economics is concerned. He desires a world dessicated no longer by U.S./European capitalists - but by Asian capitalists instead. You may call him a dreamer, but he's not the only one.

[Figure at left: the best thing the Romans ever did to the Hebrews, according to the Prisoner with collective Stockholm Syndrome in Monty Python's The Life of Brian: "If we didn't have crucifixion, this country'd be in a right bloody mess... Terrific race, the Romans! Terrific!" Mr. Akya thinks that neoliberal economics is the best thing the British, another terrific race, did to India.]

I think I am finally beginning to appreciate the particular genius of Mr. Chan Akya, columnist at Asia Times Online. His slapstick explanations of cause and effect are a pleasure to behold, for the sheer perfection of their absurdity.

Stand-out example: what is responsible for "the low birth rates across the continent [of Europe], which have pushed most countries (eg [sic] Italy, Spain, Germany as well as all the Scandinavian countries) into [sic] sub-replacement demographic trend"? Is it the enlightenment of a people who realize that bringing children into the world their parents have created would be depraved? No, it is "in equal part [due] to the stupidly high tax rates and low economic dynamism" in Europe. This results in humans throughout the world, including Europeans, shunning the idea of living there. "[N]o one really wants to live in Europe," writes Mr. Akya, and therefore the birth rate is low. But how does that work? Because sperm and ova, before forming a zygote, look out across the European economic landscape and see too many taxes and not enough dynamism, and so go their separate ways? This must be how the desire to avoid living in Europe due to insufficiently neoliberal economic policies causes low birth rates.

But Mr. Akya also deserves kudos [Asia must rally behind China, Apr 10] for calling for Asia to flex its muscles and throw off modern US/European imperialism. Sadly, Mr Akya's ideas about economics are the same as those dominant in the US and Europe, and a shift of power to Asia as he imagines would keep these same ideas in power. Such a power shift from neo-liberal West to neo-liberal East would be one merely of bodies, not minds. Unless, of course, what Asia does with the world's economic reins in its hands is markedly different from what Western capitalists have been doing. Otherwise, if the cat catches mice the same way, what does its color matter?

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