Global banana republic

Global banana republic 1Most countries on the American continent are considered banana republics, with the exception of the United States and Canada. And it’s a sad development, where we see formerly rich countries like Brazil, for example, turning into corrupt and unmanageable societies.

Even Argentina might have become a more successful society if it were not haunted by constant currency and financial crises. Nowadays Brazil, Chile and several other countries are on the rise, but we find it hard to forget the lawlessness and instability that followed them throughout the 20th century. We still associate South America with guerrillas, coups d’état, generalissimos and, above all, poverty.

Is the US heading for similar stagnation?

Many an American traveller notes broken infrastructure, poor roads, outdated airports, and closed industries. As well as homelessness, filth, graffiti and disorder in the big cities. The American dream and the orderly society of the 1950s are increasingly hard to find. The country is divided, with the richer classes living in select areas, while crime and disorder reign in the growing outlying areas. Not unlike the situation in the broken countries of South America.

In 20 years’ time, will we be wondering what went so terribly wrong in the US? And how it was that the country took such a remarkable turn, from superpower to banana republic?

There are, of course, all sorts of explanations for why this is happening in the old European colonies. One explanation is that the old elites are being competed out as the ideal of equality grows stronger, and demands for greater representation of different social groups. Often this is achieved by quotas, levelling and sometimes power grabs or outright revolution. This is in contrast to a more meritocratic system, where knowledge and achievements play a greater role than skin colour, gender, orientation, party affiliation, etc., and where security, stability and sustainability are valued.

The West’s drive for equality has shifted to rewarding deviants and minorities while actual knowledge is belittled. The original idea of equity was about giving everyone the right to education regardless of physical preferences. The focus was on knowledge, not all the rest. Today this may be seen as an elitist approach, but perhaps a well-functioning society is an elite project? All the cogs in the machine have to work. And it is clearly not something that can be created at random.

We see a similar development on other continents, for example in South Africa, a country that not long ago developed its own nuclear weapons, but has now also been reduced to a banana republic. There is also a fear that a similar balkanisation will befall Europe.

The sad thing about this kind of development is that it affects everyone, including the communities that should be saved or given more rights. Poverty and broken social structures affect the already vulnerable above all. An example of when goodness and the struggle for justice go wrong and undermine their own continued existence.