Over the years, I’ve been asked a number of times: “Is it worth me doing an MBA?” I haven’t been involved in teaching MBA for very many years now, even so, I’m beginning to have my doubts, and that’s apart from my growing scepticism of academic qualifications generally.
Once upon a time we taught students to understand supposedly free markets, spot opportunities, create competitive advantage, strategic management and so on – all of the traditional business skills. I’m beginning to wonder just how relevant these skills are in a world of vast amounts of printed money, government bail-outs and a ‘too big to fail’ mentality?
Some years ago, I was talking to the daughter of a friend of mine in Sao Paulo, Brazil, she had emigrated legally to the United States. I asked her why she’d decided to emigrate. She replied: “In Brazil, if you’re born poor, you stay poor; in the US, I’ve studied, built a small but successful business and I have a nice home.”
This was quite a revelation to me. I’d always thought that I understood the difference between the first and third world, namely: polarisation. Although the difference between the haves and have nots is particularly pronounced in the third world, we here in the west are increasingly becoming more polarised.
I’ve always thought though, that there have been beggars since or before biblical times and if I could be reborn in a thousand years, there would still be the poor and beggars in the streets. It’s just the way life is; we don’t live in an ideal world.
Brazil has a varied and tumultuous political history but in recent years this has been dominated by socialism under the leadership of the likes of Lula da Silva (now in prison for corruption), later his protegé Dilma Rousseff (now impeached).
These people threw crumbs to the poor and the poor loved (and still do) them for it. They are however still to be found by the millions, sleeping in the streets and gutters in extreme poverty. After decades of socialism, little has changed in Brazil and they show no signs of doing so.
The one thing the poor will never have is opportunity. Promises are easily made and soon forgotten by politicians hungry for power. Time will tell what newly-elected President Bolsonaro brings, but if ultimately he’s any different, he has a very steep hill to climb.
Millions of illegal immigrants are constantly assaulting the southern US border. I suppose a great many of them are just after an opportunity to better their lives, an opportunity that they will never have in the third world. They are hungry for an opportunity that will only ever be afforded to them by a capitalist system.
As western politics have moved steadily to the left and increasingly towards socialism on both sides of the Atlantic, our cities have come to resemble third world slums. One of the biggest revelations to me since the 2008 financial crisis, is the realisation that we just don’t live in a free market economy.
Along with socialism has also come big governments that meddle in business and markets. It is this melding of politics, banking and business that I find particularly disturbing. After much thought, I’ve decided to call it Fascism; this may not be correct and so you can call it what you like.
By the time of the financial crisis, trillions in currencies had been printed worldwide – the numbers are getting beyond comprehension – all to bail out banks and businesses that were considered too big to fail. We the people are left to pay the interest on the debt and in the end there’ll be massive inflation, we’ll pay for this in many ways over the years but the elderly and most vulnerable in our society will be the first to suffer.
What we have in the form of socialism is a highly efficient mechanism to transfer wealth from us ordinary people to the select few. It is a system that will always deny us opportunity. This is true wherever socialism has been practised, whether it be South or Central America (Venezuela is of particular note at the moment), Africa, Asia or Europe. There is always extreme poverty that goes along with socialism. If it were so great, why are people always so desperate to escape from socialist countries?
Traditionally, under a capitalist system, businesses are like aircraft, if they’re poorly designed and constructed, they just don’t fly, but of course the socialists just can’t accept this. I’ve travelled to most of the places I’ve mentioned in the world and recognise, when I look at overcrowded cities of uneducated people and exploding populations that socialism is a lie, it can never work and it never has.
In a world of winners and losers capitalism, for all of its faults, is a much fairer way of deciding who wins and who loses, simply because we all get to play the game. We all, more than in any other system, have some opportunity. In a capitalist world, it is up to each individual whether to take the opportunities offered; not everybody will, the choice is yours.
I don’t keep in touch with my ex-students any more. After spending a few years in the academic world, I wanted to move on. Sometimes though, I look them up on the Internet, just to check up. Many of them are doing extremely well and I quietly smile. When I compare this to the times that I’ve walked through the streets of poor socialist countries, the difference is stark.
When I look into the eyes of a beggar as he stares helplessly into the middle distance I see a broken man, no hope, no opportunity, he’s long since learned to accept his lot in his socialist world and even love its leaders for his misery.
The socialist world is what we voted to leave when we voted for Brexit. This is the European Union, the United Nations and its Agenda 21/2030; this is the world that Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are trying to keep us tied to: we need Brexit.