“NDP couldn’t run a coffee shop,” Letters, May 29,
Roger Pratt can bad mouth socialism all he wants, but what he cannot do is deny that socialism has bettered the lives of the working classes, especially in Canada.
If Pratt and those of his persuasion had been running Canada from day-one there would be no universal health care, safety net, quality education, health and workplace safety, and little environmental protection through regulations for the working Canadian and the country from the overclass.
Pratt gives as his example his contrarian facts on the successes in Venezuela since the “left” took office. That Venezuelans now enjoy universal health care and education, something the puppet regimes controlled by the capitalists were never prepared to provide the general population is a fact. Rather than bat “facts” back and forth I urge the reader to Google “Global Research” and type in “Venezuela – Economic and social performance under Hugo Chavez.” The facts are presented by the Venezuela Central Bank and show the countries performance before and after Chavez took office.
Basically Mr. Pratt is wrong in his overall assumptions about Venezuela with his cherry picking of facts. Does Pratt really think the polluting of Lake Maracaibo is the sole responsibility of the Chavez government’s policies or was there something happening before under the “free market” oil capitalists that ran the country? See Ecuador’s law suit against Exxon for the will full devastation in that country, left for her peoples to clean up
But for comparison sake let us take a look at that bastion of capitalism, the US of A. This is where unfettered capitalism blows the top off of one Appalachian mountain after the other to get at that “wonderful” source of energy, coal.
No rehabilitation occurs, vast lakes of coal slurry containing multiple poisonous heavy metals and other carcinogens sit waiting behind dams of dubious integrity. The human health costs, borne by society at large and not the coal extractors, is horrendous. Whole towns have had their gall bladders removed. Children pack their inhalers (coal dust) with them everywhere they go. For brevity I won’t describe the environmental destruction, especially of the lakes, rivers and tap water. West Virginia is a sacrifice zone to the bottom line. Why? Because what little regulation they have is not enforced on the politically powerful coal lobby.
Why has Canada faired relatively better under capitalism than the US? I would point to the fact that Canada still has viable political enfranchisement of its working classes. By the mere existence of such social entities such as the NDP there comes a counter balancing of governmental policies to the mega international corporations that seek unrestricted empowerment over nations and their peoples in the name of profiting as much as they can. That is what corporations are supposed to do and that is why we regulate them (for now in Canada). See the Trans Pacific Partnership deal. Actually you can’t. Only corporations are allowed to view the text, but be assured the “deal” has little to do with trade but a whole lot with conferring sovereign rights on corporations to be able to trump governmental regulations if they hinder profits.
Finally we get to “Pratt’s choice” of where we would like to live. Now if his example were actually between a socialized country and a capitalist country with equal political systems etcetera, we could consider his challenge to choose. But that is not what we get. Instead we get a de facto dictatorship and a quasi democracy. Myself, I’d not choose either.
But let us play this choice game and take it a little further, an apple to apple choice. Your choice, a capitalist republican democracy (barely) and a capitalist parliamentary democracy (still) but with a social constituency mellowing the capitalism. The first, the US, the second Canada. You get one minute to choose if you need all that time.
I’ve tried to be as brief as possible in this debate, and so Mr. Pratt can have the last word because really most of us know by now that the current form, climax capitalism, cannot deliver what humanity needs on this finite planet and is fast becoming an obsolete system that needs to be replaced so that our species and all those we share this world with can survive in dignity.