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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Capitalism meets Socialism - Here in US

Desperate times need desperate measures. Guess, the Feds and Congress started to realize that and have scurried over the past couple of years to bring Mahatma Gandhi's idea back to help their swindling economy and unemployment under control.

Once a free market, US now has started resembling a state which seems to recognize its irreversible dependency on its trading nations for everything from a needle to planes being imported. So in name of job creation, the free market advocate is trying to bring a new wave of protectionist measure which it so vehemently opposed and opposes in other global markets such as China.

The “Buy America” or the “Made in America” resembles the result of the Satyagraha which Mahatma Gandhi undertook reduce Indian dependence on cloth and other commodities imported from overseas, this not only led to business in Britain taking a hit, but also bolstered the local industry in India empowering them to be more assertive and strengthen the growing need to be independent from British in rule and economy.

Now, how does it help US is something which has been debated on both sides. The current generation of americans never had the dire need to fight for a job until recently, with close to 6 million jobs that have vanished, the government seems searching for answer. The cause, somebody in the well running private economy machinery fooled the system so bad, that the spokes of the economic wheel nearly collapsed.

Take an example of how well the money flows in a daily situation :

Healthcare for example : You sign up for insurance and pay X dollars for premium. When you visit a medical provider, the insurance pays part of your high bill to the hospital, the insurance also pays for your costly medicines to the pharmaceutical companies, the pharmaceutical companies use part of this money to lobby at the Capitol Hill for research subsidies and keep the market in flow by pushing for higher insurance costs, which being mandatory doesn’t leave much choice for the common man. Get the drift ??

With the money rotation gone, the grim reality that dawned was that most of the money which was being rotated now either had ended in bad investment or gone overseas. Apart from printing more money, which obviously has not done any good, the government now wants to do the thing which they should have done a long long time back, maintain basic economic independence.

The new acts represent a step in that direction, but what they also are doing is, going against the principles of free trade by disallowing certain segments of the markets to be closed to outsiders, which cannot be justified in terms of quality or cost issues. After all, outsourcing and local manufacturing strategies were meant to enhance quality and reduce cost.

Rather than going globally competitive, which is what had been their advantage during after WWII, the administration was doing “if it aint broke, don't fix it” approach. Now when it really broke, the fix attempts are nowhere a quick fix affair due to various situations like, long wars being fought at an exorbitant cost which never actually helped the US economy, poor education levels in the populations, rise of high skilled resources and and shipping out of low cost jobs to other developing countries.

Indulging in a bit of Socialism seems to be their bandage solution, until couple of the above issues are addressed, which will take years of planning and commitment from the businesses and the government.

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