Friday, May 1, 2009

May day reflections: Rethinking Socialism?

It’s first of May, traditionally celebrated as May Day* in many parts of the world, with a notable exception of North America where it is more subdued and not even a statutory holiday.
As a beneficiary of globalization and capitalism – I have spent most of my working life globetrotting, selling my skills in technology to employers and clients – I can’t really claim to have much affinity for socialism. However, growing up in India, I was exposed to the democratic, semi-capitalistic version of socialism (re WSJ article: India's Socialist Constitution). Growing up, May day was yet another holiday though coming during the peak of summer, schools were already enjoying summer break.

On may day, one couldn’t escape the ubiquitous rendering of “We shall over come” over and over in English, Hindi and even in other regional languages, played on All India Radio, TV channels and even blaring from the odd street corners, especially if one happened to live near industrial areas.
May day this year is perhaps a bit different from the ones in the recent past: the world is going through the most severe recession since the great depression. This is perhaps making the thought leaders, intelligentsia, economists and political leaders rethink their unquestioning support for capitalism. What this means to free-trade and globalization as we know it and where this will lead us is anyone’s guess.

*May Day: Not to be confused with distresss codeword Mayday

Interesting Posts Links on May Day