Capitalism and human misery a 2003 report card

Opinion

We are living in an era of highly developed means of production, high-speed communication technology and sophisticated transportation systems.

Thanks to the accelerating progress in science and technology and in spite of the hindering effects of capitalism, we as human beings are able to afford a safe and secure life for all the people around the world. But, this has not happened. War, killing fields, disease, famine, hunger, poverty, corruption, injustice, environmental destruction and other horrors make life hard and even intolerable for the majority of the world’s people.

The discrepancy between our extraordinary accomplishments in science and technology and our awful way of life is illogical, irrational and, of course, harmful. There is no doubt that the base of this madness is the ruling economic system, capitalism, which uses all our human achievements for the purpose of grabbing more and more profit at the expense of more and more human misery.

Today, if we look back at the year that just ended, 2003, we get a quick look at what is happening around our fascinating planet. Besides profit-driven wars and killing fields that took the lives of hundreds of thousands in only this one year, 3 million people died from AIDS, a dramatic increase over the year before. This preventable disease is also the main cause of death among young African American women in the U.S.

About 700,000 children died of measles in 2003. Measles is easily avoidable by vaccination.

Each year around 1 million people die of malaria, according to the World Health Organization. Malaria is preventable and curable, and was supposed to have been eradicated many years ago.

About 12 million children (34,000 per day) die of starvation every year, the United Nations reports. They have nothing to eat, not even grass or insects.

Now let’s talk about poverty. I am not even hinting at the plight of the people of less developed “backward” countries, but just looking at the poverty that can be witnessed in the everyday life of developed metropolitan areas like the ones in the United States and Canada.

In the U.S., 47 million people live below or near the poverty line. About 1.2 million were added to this number in 2003.

Canada’s child poverty rate has increased constantly in recent decades. Presently, more than 1 million children are living in poverty there.

There was a 19 percent increase in the rate of homelessness in the U.S. in 2003, and apparently this trend is continuing.

Finally, about 1 million young girls are sold in the sex industry around the world each year. Trafficking of children has become easier than trafficking drugs, says UNICEF. There is an open market in Bucharest, Romania, in which young girls are being sold. There, BBC News reported in November, when a young girl is sold for about $400, she kisses her new owner and begs him not to beat her.

So, before everywhere turns into a Bucharest slave market, we need to dump capitalism!



H. Salari is a doctor and a member of the Communist Party of Canada (Quebec). He can be reached at pww@pww.org.