We are spoon-fed an unorthodox view of economic success and apocalyptic visions on a daily basis.
Vicente Morin Aguado
HAVANA TIMES — As I recall, one of the important issues addressed during the exchanges between Humberto Eco and Cardinal Martini was that of the apocalyptic vision of the world, a vision shared by many old-school communist leaders, not too dissimilar, in its function, to the fear of God we would instill in children decades ago, when the Catholic Church still reigned in many parts of the globe.
The Catholics, having grown tired of repeating their dark admonitions, have forgotten the whole affair, but the Marxists have not, invoking the global economic crisis, the “hard times” that Spain is going through and, most insistently, the dangers of climate change.
Though the State’s and society’s responsibility for environmental problems cannot be denied, we mustn’t forget that global warming and cooling processes were taking place on earth millions of years before human civilization even emerged.
Let us now focus on Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (the BRICS), a short list of countries that could include others and would present around half of the world’s population as engaged in authentic and sustained development, a group of countries that would represent one fourth of the globe’s energy resources, the same portion of the earth’s surface and a bit more of its total, yearly production.
In Cuba, the BRICS are presented to us as an alternative to the hegemony of the United States and its Western European allies. While this may well be a valid contrast, we must look behind such apparently simple remarks, for they point to the fact that half of humanity has undertaken a form of development that was in no way foreseen by the communists who steered the educational system and ideology in my country for many years.
If we were to take official Cuban textbooks at their word, we would have to conclude that Russia is in dire straits today, that the market economy is a devastating attack on Che Guevara’s socialist ideas and that representative democracy is an inadmissible compromise, even for Cuba’s current leadership.
I need not remind readers that those are the developmental principles of the BRICS, and of other, economically less significant countries that maintain relations with them.
This begs the question: Are we approaching the end of the world, or do we have other options? If half of the world’s population is experiencing a rapid pace of development on the basis of center-Left policies that preserve State control over a nation’s primary resources, then it looks as though such policies are a true alternative to the old, failed Communist model, without going the neo-liberal route.
Russia emerged from History’s first triumphal socialist revolution, betrayed in both form and content by Stalin. China put Mao’s radical adventures behind it. India has a constitution which respectfully includes the word “socialism”. South Africa did away with the opprobrious apartheid regime. Brazil has put long years of a typical Latin American dictatorship behind it.
We can add Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, Egypt, South Korea, Taiwan and others to the list. The length of the list tells us that there are other roads to development that do not necessarily throw social justice out the window.
The world isn’t coming to an end. If it does end, it won’t be because of today’s capitalism, much less because of frustrated socialists who announce the Apocalypse, having never truly understood the biblical message.
The BRICS demonstrate that there are other ways open to us, revealing how blinkered some, perhaps too many, old-school communists are. It’s a question of “changing everything that ought to be changed.”
Vicente Morín Aguado: [email protected]