Disneyland and thenReal Worldnby Thomas MolnarnCapitalism and the NewnWorld OrdernDuring a recent lecture tour I hadnoccasion to reacquaint myselfnwith the Pacific Northwest, where Inused to teach some thirty years ago.nThe region offers lessons in the differencenbetween American conditions andneconomic management and most of thenrest of the worid, to which the NewnWorld Order promises paradise: democracy,ncapitalism, human rights. Ofnthe two states I visited, Washington isnthe more prosperous, although its timbernindustry has been cut down to sizendue to ecological considerations. This isnalso true of Oregon, but this state doesnnot have Boeing and its auxiliary industriesnthat make Seattle a boomtownncompared to Portland. Yet what is strikingnin both states is the relatively smoothnadjustment to vast changes, which resultsnfrom a highly developed infrastructurenthat benefits new ventures. Thisninfrastructure is coupled with a ready,nmobile population, in southern Oregonnin particular, where Californians havenbeen relocating to escape high taxes andnreal estate prices. Similarly, many Ore-nVITAL SIGNSngonians move to Washington.nSuch a situation, which is valid fornthe entire country with few exceptions,nhas a detrimental effect on our thinkingnabout the rest of the world. We are sonhypnotized by the American model thatnwe commit the frivolous act of imaginingnit is workable elsewhere, when innreality there are absolutely no terms ofncomparison. Those now in intellectualnpower, from George Bush to FrancisnFukuyama, have persuaded themselvesnthat the latest American success story isnalso valid “out there,” and that a richnand victorious West can automaticallynbring improvements to South America,nEastern Europe, India, and the MiddlenEast. The illusion is not only American.nI well remember the first meeting ofnUNCTAD, a U.N.-sponsored organizationnto help decolonized Africa. Fabulousnpercentages of aid were committednby the developed nations, up to 3npercent of their annual GNP. Throughnvarious stages of decrease, UNCTAD’sncontribution is now down to 0.1 percent—withnthe overall picture havingnbecome far worse and the population ofnthis area having grown by hundreds ofnmillions of people. In the I960’s threensage men — Willy Brandt, PietronNenni, and Pierre Mendes-France —nproposed similarly fabulous investmentsnin underdeveloped areas (baptized “developingncountries”) and taxing Westernnnations for the benefit of Africa andnAsia. Yet, a generation later, the U.N.nProgram for Development reports thatnin 1990, 93 percent of all births tooknplace in underdeveloped countries.nGeneral summary: “Future internationalnmigrations will go beyond the numbersnwhich populated originally thenUnited States, Canada, and Australia.”nThis means, according to the report,nsome 200 million migrating people innthe coming decade.nSuggesting that capitalism will solventhese on-going and developing tragediesnis nothing less than obscene, and worse,ninfantile. The statement is correct in thenPacific Northwest where infrastructure,ntradition, and cooperation between thenstate and an economically articulatencitizenry are taken for granted. Tempo­nrary setbacks are remedied. But carrynthe message and the method to thenpreviously mentioned areas, and younsee that they bring even more misery,ncorruption, inequality, and more wealthngoing to the already wealthy. Is it, as thenslogan has it, that these areas and mentalitiesnare infected by “socialism” andnlurking agents of Moscow and Beijing?nThis is the comfortable view that ignoresnlocal realities and mentalitiesnthousands of years old. It also ignoresnthe fundamental difference betweenncapitalism and the free market, becausenit assumes that the former is a merenfurther-development of the latter, anfalse vision. The free market is as old asnmankind, its origin is the marketplace allnover the worid. It is also the basis ofnpapal thinking in successive encyclicals,nthe last one being no exception. Capitalism,non the other hand, is more thanna quantum-leap beyond the free marketnin matters of human transactions; itnpresents itself as a changed and reorganizednway of life with profit at its centernand with a leviathan-like organization ofnpublicity, mechanization of the humannnexus, impersonal and obsessive propaganda,nand the tearing to shreds ofnprivate life, education, and culture.nWhen huge economic and politicalnpowers preach capitalism to small andnfragile countries with primitive econom-nUP IS DOWNnnnLIBERAL ARTSnThe Pittsburgh Press reported last Julynthat $20 million in bonuses were paid ton97 percent of the Postal Service executivesneligible for them in the 1988,n1989, and 1990 fiscal years. The bonusesnaveraged more than $5,000 each.nIn this period, the Postal Service reportedna total deficit of $1.4 billion. PostmasternGeneral Anthony Frank defendednthe policy, saying, “We’re not beingnprofligate with the public’s money,”nand added, “I am recommending thatnwe go to 30 cents because if we get 30ncents, we would need to bother thenAmerican people but once more with anrate increase in this decade.”nOCTOBER 1991/47n