26 April, 2004

IMF meetings/ruminations on anti-capitalism

The IMF meetings happened this weekend. I didn't go, although I was planning on it, because I had too much work to do. By most accounts it was boisterous but sparsely attended, between 2,000 and 3,000 people. The Wash Post wrote a crowing editorial cautiously cheering the death of the antiglobalization movement (but warning us to continue "worrying" because anti-capitalists continue to lurk in the wings).

In the doldrums I am often led to question my beliefs and wonder whether the movement is enervated simply because it is wrong. And in fact oftentimes I think I lose sight of the beautiful aspects of the capitalist system, simply because my eye is so often drawn to all that is wrong and ugly about it; so when I am forced to consider what is right about that system, it seems all the more striking and my assessments all the more wrong.

What disturbs me is Margaret Thatcher's idea: There Is No Alternative. And there really isn't. No one has laid out a coherent vision of a qualitatively better non-capitalist society, one that could provide the level of wealth that capitalism does and at the same time assure a more equitable distribution and show greater ecological responsibility. Actually, it only makes sense to critique a system if you have something reasonable to replace it with. Of course, the first step is to admit you have a problem...

So, though I'll continue to throw pie in the face of smarmy defenders of capitalism who pretend that all is jolly, I pine for a vision of where to go from here.

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