To wake up from a dream about Russian dictator, Joseph Stalin will be a bad dream. Imagine you now fall into an inception stage and in another span, you find yourself chuckling with Adolf Hitler, it gets more bizarre. Both Hitler and Stalin take a dishonored prize for the most brutal dictators of all time with the Holocaust (killed over 6 million Jews) and Great Purge (almost 700,000 Russians). Stalin effective force in World War Two later banished Hitler populist rally after a Germany’s economic free-fall and mounting War debts.
Lenin, Stalin boss and proponent of Marxism, had a view of the Communist society with a popular slogan – from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. Lenin roundly believed peasants or poor farmers were being exploited by a growing nucleus of capitalists fuelled the speedy engines of Industrial Revolution. Farming was moved in a larger scale with peasant farmers turning to industry wagemen and land becoming a prized commodity of few men. Lenin also balked at colonialism – the lure of Western powers to annex unmarked territories of Africa in the search for resources to fuel its industries. It was Russia state of crumbling living conditions after World War 1 that made a hero out of Lenin, who called for class harmony instead of class struggle. Inequality was brewing in the society and a rising belief that few rich people using banks and government protection could coordinate their interests into syndicates, cartels and monopoly. The incidence of haves and have-nots was the glaring excuse why Lenin believed capitalism needed to be stopped.
Lenin’s Communism in its infancy was planned to be marked by dictatorship. Communism, a belief that only the State through its workforce could organize economic resource took hold in 1918. After the likes of Stalin took a firm grip of the state, it was riddled with needless dictatorship, brutal murders and effective suppression. It has proved to be an unwanted type of government that chokes creative spirit of man and hurls power at the feet of a few men. The success of West Germany over the Eastern part, South Korea over North Korea proved that if resources are left in the hands of individuals, it can more efficiently utilized for the societal good.
The trouble with capitalism is forever going to be the narrative of the Lenin in his treatises on the Russian capitalist economy. It has to do more with equity and more recently ethics. That man is selfish by default and will seize to maximize his wealth in an unguarded space. If such quest for a larger pie is not communally guided, it is like a herd of people driven by a drunk driver. Of such rationale is the fact that presently only 10.9m people are classified as rich (owning over $1m) in this world and just 1210 billionaires are recognized by Forbes’ Magazine. At the bottom of the spectrum are billions of people mired in poverty swamp inching for a pinch of wealth. India, with more poor people compared those of Africa, has 55 billionaires and the daughter of a multi-billion Indian dynasty spent $78m on a week-long wedding. Such is the widening gulf a capitalist society will breed where a few hardworking, smart, ingenuous or corrupt can amass more wealth than needed and lavish without a concern for a fellow human.
It comes to a belief of mine that markets can never regulate itself and that left too few men, the society will be worse off as animal spirits of greed can’t easily be tamed. We will always need the right amount of government regulation that boxes unethical capitalists who use levers of free natural resources, cheap finance, tax breaks and government favours to acquire huge wealth.
I am never against propelling the free spirit of enterprise but such capital accumulation needs to be propelled with social justice for the have-nots. A policy from the convergence of state and private interests that the poor of this world should be provided support not only in begging bowls and vouchers but a leveled opportunity in terms of expertise and structure to reach the corridors of success. The new aim of capitalistic society with a privileged few should be to reach out to the many that are left behind either through sustainable jobs or boost infrastructure (especially education and microfinance) that empowers their mind. It is by then many in anger who are locked in dream of Stalin communist economy where we all look like North Korean Soldiers on parade of Kim Sung II, would wake up to the brass rings at their reach. It’s the evangelism that wealth is not of fenced circle but a free pass for everyone we should preach and enable either in the favelas of Kibera, Orangi, Dharavi or Ajegunle.