Socialist utopia

first_imgGuyana has just finished celebrating the 50th Jubilee Anniversary of its independence and quite a number of citizens, while appreciating the symbols of national sovereignty, seriously questioned what was there to “celebrate” about the experience. At a minimum, they were perturbed by the aenemic material progress achieved in those 50 years in the face of the converse promised by the “independence leaders”.While there can be no monocausal explanation for any social phenomena, much less one so complex as “economic development”, the economic model chosen by the leaders have to be given great weight. If for no other reason that such models are based on fundamental premises of human “nature”, behaviours and motivations while launching institutions based on those premises to deliver the good life on a foundation of economic security.At the time of our independence, there were two competing macro models of development in front of our leaders – capitalism and socialism, in the parlance of the times. There were several variances of these models that purported to address critiques of the ideological and particular implementation contradictions. In Guyana, Cheddi Jagan was enamoured of the socialist model exemplified by the Soviet Union, and as a matter of fact, this was the proximate cause for his removal from office by the US. The latter promoted the capitalist model, as exemplified by WW Rostow’s “Stages of Economic Growth”.While Forbes Burnham, tactically accepted the latter path, this was quickly seen and a tactical feint on his part so as to gain American help to oust the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government. In 1974, in his “Declaration of Sophia”, Burnham announced that he and the People’s National Congress (PNC) had always been, and remained, “socialist” and that henceforth the model of development would be “cooperative socialism”. Within a decade, the country had become an economic and social disaster plummeting by all UN indicators of development to just above Haiti in this hemisphere.While the economy imploded, the PPP insisted that the particular model of socialism of the PNC, not socialism itself, was responsible for the disaster and offered “critical support” to the PNC in several of its socialist thrust including nationalisation of “the commanding heights (80 per cent) of the economy”. This defence of the failure of socialism (“it’s the application of the ideology, not the ideology itself that is at fault”) has been a constant feature of leftist hagiography even though it has been totally rejected by the empirical evidence from each of the five continents.So it was somewhat disconcerting that as the socialist experiment in Venezuela, launched by Hugo Chávez and continued by his successor Nicolás Maduro, collapsing in a remarkable resemblance to the PNC’s version of three decades earlier here, the argument would be regurgitated in Guyana. Until recently, Hydar Ally was an Executive of the PPP and the Permanent Secretary to the public service. Responding to a criticism in the press of the failure of socialist model as exemplified by Venezuela, he had this to say:“There is a fundamental difference between capitalism and socialism as models of economic development. Capitalism is essentially based on the exploitation of the majority for the benefit of the few. By contrast, socialism, as a theoretical construct, is a system of production and distribution in which the fruits of human labour are intended to be distributed in a fair and equitable manner and where there is no exploitation of man by man. It is clear from the above that socialism as a mode of production and distribution is inherently superior to that of capitalism, or for that matter any other socio-economic system which existed hitherto.”Note the disingenuousness of Ally in describing capitalism categorically, but “socialism, as a theoretical construct.” While he is not a PPP Executive any longer, it might be useful in the lead up to their Congress scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year, for other PPP leaders to give their take on their model for Guyana’s economic growth.last_img read more

Arsenal, Liverpool and Man United can forget about winning the title this season, says Burley

first_imgEx-Chelsea midfielder Craig Burley joined The Sports Bar to look ahead to the new Premier League season.Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United fans may think differently, but Burley believes it will be a straight fight for the title between his former club Chelsea and Manchester City.The ex-Scotland international said: “Arsenal won’t win the league, unless he [Arsene Wenger] goes out and buys more players. They will be strong again, but I don’t think they will win it.“It will clearly be between Manchester City and Chelsea. Liverpool have spent well but you can’t quantify the loss of Luis Suarez.“When you are in the tunnel and see Suarez, you know he is capable of winning the game out of nothing. They have lost that. They are going to have a good season, Liverpool, but it is a building process for them.“Manchester United need five, six, or even seven new players. There will have to be some sort of movement before now and the close of the window. The best United can hope for is top four, unless something dramatic happens.”last_img read more

This definitely wasn’t in Mourinho’s plan – Chelsea held at the Bridge

first_img Thibaut Courtois is sent off against Swansea Swansea twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on the opening day of the season.Thibaut Courtois was sent off in a thrilling match where both teams did not stop attacking until referee Michael Oliver blew for full-time.Chelsea were boosted ahead of the game when Diego Costa started, but it was Swansea striker Befetimbi Gomis who made the bigger impression, scoring the club’s second after a debut goal from Andre Ayew.Oscar opened the scoring and the Blues had a huge slice of luck when Willian’s cross deflected in off Federico Fernandez, but Swansea will feel unlucky not to have gone ahead.Gomis’ header in the first ten minutes tested Courtois and he was threatening again shortly afterwards but John Terry was there to block the Frenchman’s shot.Moments later Ki Sung-yueng’s shot from the edge of the area was saved and Chelsea immediately broke and were appealing for a penalty when Costa was tackled by Federico Fernandez, but replays showed it was a finely timed challenge.However, it was Chelsea who struck first, courtesy of Oscar on 22 minutes as his free-kick on the right hand side of the penalty area flew past everyone and beat Lukasz Fabianski in the visitors’ goal.Swansea hit back when Ayew pounced to score on his debut after Courtois kept Gomis’ powerful header out, but 90 seconds later, the Blues were back in front thanks to Fernandez’s own goal.And it took Swansea just ten minutes of the second half to drag themselves level again and this time Gomis finally got his goal when he beat Asmir Begovic from the spot.Controlling Jonjo Shelvey’s fantastic pass, he was then brought down by the onrushing Courtois.It was a rash challenge and Michael Oliver deemed it worthy of a red card, though the Chelsea players did not agree, with captain John Terry arguing he was able to cover Courtois if Gomis had broken clear.The striker was finally allowed to take his spot-kick after Begovic had replaced Oscar and Terry booked for fiercely protesting his team-mates’ sending off.Chelsea were forced to defend for their lives as Swansea mounted an onslaught and Gomis actually had the ball in the back of the net, but was ruled out for offside.Then Jose Mourinho decided to throw Radamel Falcao on in the final five minutes bringing cheers from the home support, but the Colombian could not break Swansea’s defence.It was a point well earned and Garry Monk’s men can count themselves unlucky not to win and the players rightly took the acclaim of their travelling fans at the end. 1last_img read more