Yes, “In Communism, you’d threaten a dog into compliance, while in capitalism obedience is obtained through bribes.” This is how Adam Johnson describes the world of a dog, the personification of mankind in two extreme economic systems that exist in the world, Capitalism and Communism.
Straddling somewhere in between is India, the biggest diplomatic democracy, where submission to the gods and politicians is how we end our day.
I discovered them through three books, works of fiction. But in everything that seems to be a figment of imagination; in reality carries the foundation of truth.
Turning through the pages of the ‘Orphan Master’s Son’ by Adam Johnson, I learnt that perhaps, North Korea is the worse place on Earth to be fully human. Forget about public display of affection for your friends and family, even the confines of walls sends a shrill down your spine for confessing your heart to yourself. It can indeed get you in trouble.
It was through fiction that I did learn about this most secretively guarded nation of the world to only discover that by choice this country remains disconnected even through the internet. The radio and TV play only one national channel that praises Kim II Sung, the undisputed, almost immortal leader of the country ( of course now his sons have taken over, but his hand is always there).
Time and again the country has been accused of systematic human rights violation, and is believed to have 2,00,000 political prisoners. Reports of mass torture, public execution and salve labor in prison camps describes the way of life.
Why would anyone want to live in such darkness? The Question is so disturbing that your mind wants to drift from this subject.
It’s the only thing that makes you believe that there is something called destiny, and it’s not all in your hands.
Another connecting line that tells us it’s not all in your hands comes from the next book, Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie. The story of boy born precisely at midnight on the Independence Day of India, 15th August, 1947, describes how his destiny runs parallel to that of the country.
India, the largest democracy and second largest populous country in the world, is described through the book as the land of ‘Mighty Fantasies.’
Our people worship over lakhs of deities, and almost each one of us turns pious even before we’re born. We grow up holding Gita, Quran and Bible in our hands and this is from where we inherit stories that carry us for the rest of our lives.
People, especially of the Hindus-Muslims, live more in conflict than harmony. Communal, caste, and regional tensions still define the political setup of the nation, often disturbing the secular and democratic character.
We are guaranteed freedom of speech. However, in practice, the limits are drawn by the degree of political righteousness there is to what one may say; going beyond can have anyone one of us banished, even in these modern times (the case of painter MF Hussain having to live out his last day in exile speaks volumes about India as a free country).
Rushdie might have been popular as an Indian novelist, but now he’s a ‘British Indian novelist, British coming first.
Here again there’s a connecting thread that brings us to last author, Ayn Rand. Russian by birth, Alisa Zinivievna Rosenbaun, I wonder if she would have become world renowned, if not for America.
The Queen of Objectivism, her book ‘Atlas Shrugged’ is as much relevant today as it was, when first published in 1957.
America, the world’s biggest economic power, is the country that promises freedom and prosperity. The system denounces man’s submission to the evils of slavery to any setup, whether social, political or economical.
It’s the land of abundance, not because people sacrificed, but because every man is given the freedom to pursue his personal interest.
When every individual is motivated to achieve his or her personal goals, they automatically get translated into the nation’s character.
The country has braved the great depression as well as the global economic crises of the recent times. It’s elected an African American President, twice in a row, despite the fact that racism still defines the Blacks as niggers and outcasts.
In conclusion, I can say that Americans chose the wiser way for compliance. It’s not force unlike North Korea, and it’s not blind faith like India, it is rational. It’s a moral society, where people are bribed ethically, and for the good of all.
So, yes, this is in fact a linear linkage in the order in which economic systems define the welfare of mankind. It’s about the existence of a world out there, one which is better than ours and the other which is worse.