Thursday, January 25, 2007

Woe is Us

Two troubling developments of late:
Ryszard Kapuscinski, who gets my vote as the greatest journalist of the 20th century, passed away yesterday at age 74. Among his books, The Emperor, Imperium, The Soccer War, and Imperium, are to my mind the finest representations of the Third World, life behind the Iron Curtain, and colonial and postcolonial societies. He wrote with detail and compassion, forging a moral conscience through his observations about life and politics in, among other places, Poland, Ethipia, various African countries, and Latin America. A true master is gone.

The other troubling development is a trend of reading observed in New York City and New Jersey: financiers, stock analysts, power brokers, all those for whom capitalism is a fetish and a weapon, reading Confessions of an Economic Hitman. The author describes how he regretfully exploited Third World countries, ripping off some and imposing austerity measures on others for loans. Are these people reading this tome to see the cruelty of capitalism, how globalization makes most of the world suffer at the hands of the West? I cannot imagine this to be the case. I suspect the money folks are getting ideas how to acquire, loan, demand, desire, and deliver cash cows for their privatizing pastures of greed.