Common Sense Prevailing?

Garen Yegparian

The news is good again from South America. Evo Morales has won Bolivia’s presidential election. Just a few weeks ago–supporters of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez swept legislative elections there after the US-supported (controlled/dominated?) opposition boycotted the election in "protest" upon realizing they stood no chance.

This makes a handful of South American countries now led by people of the left. These populists tend to reject the West’s–primarily the US’s–prescription of neo-liberal economics and its attendant race-to-the-bottom in quality of life. Yet such policies are touted as "good for the economy." But who cares about the economy if the vast majority of people have to work more for less reward–are hungry–are forced to live in polluted–unhealthful environmen’s–and generally feel less secure?

What’s really being said when you hear the phrase "it’s good for the economy" is "it’s good for large business interests." Mom’n’pop shops suffer at the hands Walmart. Small and family farmers the world-over suffer at the hands of Archer-Daniels-Midland (a huge agribusiness concern). We all breathe and suffer the meteorological consequences of Exxon-Mobil’s "there’s no such thing as global warming" campaign. Yet these and other industrial/business behemoths continue to rake in the profits.

It’s good to see populism returning to a continent so manipulated and negatively impacted by the US– be that through outright CIA meddling in the ’70s or IMF policy peddling in the ’80s and ’90s. People there seem to be taking a stand for their self-interest. Who knows–things may even take a positive turn in Mexico’s upcoming election. With Europe arguably resistant to US pressures (Spain went the right way but Germany just barely the wrong way)–maybe we will see a shift in the political-economic policy winds.

Can American dominance withstand two continents’ pressure for more sensible–human-need based policies? Can it do so while fighting the chickens-coming-home-to-roost effect of Asia’s unbridled polluting–ecosystem destroying–sweatshop labor inducing–human rights violating–overproducing–trade imbalance generating economies?

And all this will also be better for Armenia–its needs and interests–and her citizens. Why? The pressure for economic deform (no–that’s not a typo!) will be reduced.

I know I’m going to get a lot of flak for the last several sentences. Those who bother to actually tell me what they think are likely to describe them as confusing. In this case–it may be true–but unavoidable–since each item in those lists refers to what could be and is covered by many articles and analyses. I can’t do that here. That’s your homework.

Maybe citizens of the "world’s leading democracy" will catch on. Maybe we’ll realize how badly we’ve been duped by those currently in power (this applies almost as much to Democrats as to Republicans–since they too have been advocates of the foolhardy policies referred to above). Maybe a true wave of populism will sweep the country–not one in which devoutly religious folk are duped through the manipulation of their faith into supporting the most immoral–inhumane–and corrupt administration to ever rule the land. Maybe the lying loudmouths of talk radio will start being challenged for being fast and loose with the facts. Maybe those who sincerely espouse–advocate–and implement policies that improve life for everyone–not just the mega-rich will actually get organized and stuff their hyper-individualistic egos in a sack for a while. Heck–Morales’ promise to ease up on cocoa farmers my even prod the US into adopting more sensible drug policy.

It’s good to dream of these things. It’s better still to hope for them. It’s best to get out and make them come true through our commitment to a better future here–in Armenia–and the world-over.


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