Saturday, May 1, 2010

The freedom to shop (without the freedom to say the government is wrong)

A reoccurring argument is that under-developed countries [such as China] do not need democracy. According to this argument, an authoritarian regime will promote the economy of a poor country, imposing a discipline …not hampered by the legal niceties of democratic states where there is respect for rights and freedoms.” [CÉSAR ARJONA writing in El Periodico de Catalunya.]

The article actually begins with: “Millions of people have escaped poverty in China – a country where there are no freedoms…

Except of course, the freedom to go shopping…if you have the ‘economic freedom’ to do so.

The question must be asked: “Is it progress when millions have become wealthier, (creating a new middle class) and at the same time countless other millions have been plunged into deep poverty at the same time?

I don’t call that progress.

And it is a false version of progress when it does not come with the right to criticise a dictatorial regime that makes new wealth only for some of its citizens, while the ranks of the unemployed and the exploited grow like tropical bamboo plants.

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