Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, September 2013
The Fate of the World Decided by Israeli-Led Governments
By Henry D'Souza
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, September 30, 2013
The fate of the world is still decided by the Big Five imperialist members of the UNSC. Three of them, US, France and Britain, all had, and still have deep interests in the Middle East and all three are led by the Israeli lobby.
Good Government: A concept
When scrutinizing the world’s political hot spots, “corruption and bad government” always seems to creep up in conversation and writings. The natural question that emerges is what is good government? The concept would vary with individuals and nations. One must, however, have a measuring device in order to evaluate the performances of bad governments.
We can start with the treatment of the poor as its size weakens the body politic.
The Human Development Project report1 has these statistics to offer:
Total % of global population living on less than $2.50 a day 50%
Total number, global population living on less than $2.50 a day 3b
Total % of global population living on less than $10.00 a day 80%
Total number of children who die each day due to poverty 22,000
Number of global children living in poverty 1b
Source: statisticbrain.com, August 23, 2012.
Although these statistics may be inaccurate, as Chandy and Kharas2 rightly claim, they can be a guide to the size of the problem facing the world. Chandy and Kharas challenge these statistics. They claim that there was no thorough household survey, that there were discrepancies between survey and data, and that there were problems with the Purchasing Power Parity when measuring wealth.
Every government should have Right to Work laws which produce zero unemployment. The Right to Work Law passed by the 1947 US Taft Hartley Act was intended primarily to end the “closed shop” regulation that prevailed. After this act, it became illegal to fire an employee that did not want to join a union. In 2012, there were 26 US states that had Right to Work laws.
But the Right to Work Law being suggested is widely different. It would make it obligatory for a nation to see that the working force is fully and gainfully employed, at least at a living wage. As the Center has the right to call up any citizen to defend his country, the citizen, in return, demands the right to a job during his lifetime. Theoretically, the business world maintains that the consumer is the king. Governments should also work on the premise that the citizen is the king. When this is done, interests of government, business and citizenship coincide.
A government would be duty bound to pick up the slack of unemployment by embarking on a national 200-year scheme that is implemented in stages. The living wage would include free basic health, including dental health, education, a pension scheme, and modern conveniences in a home. The poor could be enticed, with a fee, to have solar panels that would contribute energy to the national grid. Engineers will have to work out a system that makes this reversal of the norm a reality.
There are many advantages of having a high standard for a living wage. Healthy workers are an asset for development. Citizens should be in a position to pay taxes, so as to acquire the right to participate in government in one form or another. The main principle is that a household should have the right to control its own destiny. When subsidies are involved there is a great deal of leakage in the system. Most people feel good when they are contributing to society. And, a free market system runs on consumerism so that this base, which is usually the largest of the social pyramid, should be in a position to spend and make the middle classes even larger. Obviously, there would be a problem of affordability, which will be discussed later.
As some locals tend to build up a local ‘Mafia’ there should be a speedy and effective local justice system administered by the locals. The decisions by these informal district “courts” should be plugged into the judicial system, which should allow for appeals. A local mafia should not be allowed to raise its head with impunity else the whole system of government ends in failure, as when mafia lords control certain states and countries. An independent and fair judiciary plays a vital role in efficient government. In countries where sharia law operates, streets are safe but some laws, like stoning, are primitive to say the least. There is a need to update sharia law, as with any other law.
As economies vary with each nation, the living wages adjusted for inflation, would vary. A government would benefit if its media propagated its policies and progress or lack of it, to the public. Transparency would generate a lot of local discussion for improvements.
If district or state governments fail to meet standards set by the Centre, local officials should be replaced until the next elections if the reasons for failure are unsatisfactory. A national employment policy obviously needs Big Government working in the background by setting the rules and goals.
The millionaires and billionaires, the super-rich, do not need Big Government. They have the managerial skills to run large enterprises, some of which have larger budgets than nations. In fact, government needs them. Communist China would not have accumulated a large foreign currency reserve, had it not been for this cohort’s acumen in the Special Economic Zones at the Coast. In addition, state enterprises had to show a profit. The Chinese experience shows that there has to be a mix of Marxism/Socialism and Capitalism. Each country would find its own combination of the two economic philosophies.
Small Government is needed at this super-rich level to facilitate trade and exports. But Government intervention is expected when the super-rich use hoodlums to intimidate rivals, when civic leaders are bribed to gain contracts, and when big money is used to pollute the political process. Bonuses and hidden rewards should be banned as they are distributed unevenly. The CEOs decide on the compensation scheme when shareholders should be doing this. The reward system is heavily weighted in favor of the men at the top. The legal system would be expected to hold the super-rich accountable for any breaches of the law.
The Government, the super-rich, and the self-employed enlarge the middle class. There is one change that is taking place in this social sector. In most developed countries today, the middle class cannot be assured of a lifetime job. Training and re-training are essential for a smooth transition from employment to unemployment to employment. One country has seen community colleges as a solution to this problem.
Some checks are needed to control corruption at the Centre. Some see corruption as inevitable as parliamentarians have to spend a lot to get elected, so that they need to re-coup their losses. Becoming a politician to enrich himself should stop, as the ideal is service for the country not for self-aggrandizement.
A potential parliamentarian should meet certain qualifications: free from convictions, a minimum educational standard, and a payment of a minimum tax for the last five years. The Government media should then allow debates among the contestants at tax-payer expense. There should be no other forms of campaigning or campaign funds. The economic reason given for corruption would not hold. Foreign banks must be held accountable for public funds that have been siphoned out of the country.
A potential parliamentarian should declare his assets before and after his election and would be accountable even after he left office. This would stop parliamentarians from taking unfair advantage from inside information, gained while in office. Parliamentarians should not fix their own salaries which should be pegged to the median wage of all tax-payers. The travel allowance should be set by provincial legislators, who incidentally should take the role of the Upper House since we have the technology to make this change.
In some countries, parliamentarians try to make a career in politics by moving from parliament to consultants and lobbyists. This should be stopped and the duration of holding a parliamentary seat should be limited to five years. A shorter term means that theoretically there is less time to build a network to exploit the system for personal gain.
The practice of the leading party holding all cabinet positions should be abandoned in a democracy. Some posts should be given to the second leading party, and some of the second tier of civil service headships should go to minority candidates. In this way a national government will be in power and it should be more effective than the dictatorship of a one-party state.
The nation’s progressive tax rate should be such that will allow for the living wage for all, plus an annual saving of ten percent of the national revenue. Some economists argue that a small debt is beneficial, but a nation should always be in the black as there is less chance of a devaluation of the nation’s currency.
The Center should also control population growth as China did with a one-child policy, or India did with a two-child per family policy, where countries see large population growth and a low standard of living. Such controls have their own problems like an imbalance in sexual ratios. But if poor nations don’t have these controls, their economic goals will be relatively more difficult to attain.
The Center should also see that peasants are compensated for loss of farming land taken for development by large companies and government. This seems to be a major source of complaint in developing countries.
Medium-sized countries could do with one or two Cray computers for collecting all kinds of data for military and civilian purposes. They should be kept in secret, secure places and used to gain business abroad. For example, any nation that could conduct an election using electronic devices and declaring results within a day or less, could make huge profits.
If it is any comfort to developing countries, it should be noted that poverty prevails in the richest and most advanced country on earth. Slotberg3 notes that the US has 49 million “food insecure” households, that is, those homes that do not have enough food all the year round. Congress spends $80 billion a year to feed 48 million people with Food Stamps. Slotberg points out, too, that one Republican senator, who has a large farm, has been able to obtain $3.5 million in farm subsidies for himself between 1995 and 2012, yet voted against including Food Stamps in the Farm Bill. This senator’s attitude is symbolic of the super-rich legislating for personal benefit rather than for the country. Slotberg emphasizes in this case that a beneficiary of Food Stamps earns only $350 a month.
Poorer nations should tap the expertise that foreign international institutions provide. The Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the UN Secretariat, for instance, coordinates activities in three inter-related areas: it provides and analyses economic and environmental data; it facilitates negotiations among member states; it advises on the translation of policy to action.
The efforts of voluntary organizations should also be tapped and recognized. The Bill and Melinda Foundation have invested $26.1 billion in health and education since inception. Doctors without Borders offer invaluable service too. Professor Jeffrey Sachs has started a pilot project, the Millennium Villages Project.
As Malaysia’s ex-president Mahathir Mohamad said, there is no single type of government that leads to success; all that matters is that the economic standards of citizens should rise. Communist China used capitalism in Special Economic Zones along the coast. Socialist Sweden has reduced Big Government to Smart Government, which needs laborers for its expansion. In the US the need is for Small Government at the top and Big Government for the less well-off.
One notable historian has said that Obama is not transformational. He is not quite right. Obama is transformational in several ways, one of which is Obamacare, which Republicans say is Socialism. The economic interventions by the Fed were all based on Socialist policies. The Australians found Obama transformational and they are adopting his team’s election policies: “Both the ALP and the Coalition are adopting techniques that have been successful in the US, especially in the campaign victories of Barack Obama.”4
Obama has not been transformational in his foreign policy, in that he was not allowed to break from the vice of his advisers. He did not close Guantanomo Bay; he did not stop renditions; he did not change Middle East policies for the better. One could argue, though, that Obama has been transformational in a negative way in the Middle East, with the attack on Libya and the Arab Spring objectives.
At a higher plane, the UN needs to be reformed. A case was made in World War III or Islamic Liberation? (p. 58), where it was mentioned that the UN was an imperialist tool and had to change. Take just one case. Many feel that only the UNSC can declare war legally on a sovereign state. But the permanent members of UNSC are all imperialists: US, China, Russia, France and Britain, which means that the fate of the world is still decided by the Big Five imperialists. Three of them, US, France and Britain, all had, and still have deep interests in the Middle East and all three are led by the Israeli lobby. For a more representative body, these three cultures should have parity in the UNSC: European, Afrabian and Asian. The rules that were established in 1947 for the UN have to be adjusted to suit the twenty-first century.
Most governments have shown tremendous improvement in improving the lot of their citizens. But when youth talk about corruption, they mean the tendency of leaders to treat public funds and jobs as their personal wealth and fief. Since many governments do not meet all the criteria for good government, there is an urgent need for a finishing school for politicians.
1. “Global Issues, The Human Development Report, statisticbrain.com, August 23, 2012.
2. Lawrence Chandy & Homi Kharas, “The Contradictions in Global Poverty Numbers,” brookings.edu, March 6, 2012.
3. Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “On the edge of poverty, at the center of a debate on Food Stamps,” iht.com, September 4, 2013.
4. Nick O’ Malley & Chris Johnson, Obama transformational? How Barack Obama is changing the face of Australian political campaign,” smh.com.au, August 4, 2013.
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