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The writer is a freelance journalist.

It is widely accepted that a thorough knowledge of the past is the key to understanding the present. Perhaps this is the reason why the history of scientific ideas is taught across the world. It helps scientists understand the evolution of this crucial source of modern development.

The same is true for various social science disciplines. However, it has been observed that economists and financial experts do not learn the history of capitalism objectively – or perhaps they choose to turn a blind eye to the greed of the system.

For the Western ruling elite – like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher – and intellectual giants – like Friedrich Hayek, John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman, it makes perfect sense to ignore history because their pasts don’t just expose the looting of the countries of the South in the hands of the advanced capitalist countries, but I also put a big question mark on the big assertions of the Western leaders that an impoverished and overpopulated continent of the past has managed to make enormous progress in various areas of life because of the hard efforts and hard work of their politics. and economic classes. Modern research proves these claims to be utter nonsense.

But how could the ruling elite of the South and the intellectual minds of the developing countries ignore the ruthless exploitation of Asian, African and Latin American countries by the Western colonial powers who have helped them to develop and progress? ? It is unfortunate that from former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to staunch supporters of the free market economy in Africa and Latin America, all prominent political leaders have been fascinated by this system historically based on injustice, oppression and outright pillage.

They blindly applied laissez-faire principles to their own continents, wreaking havoc in the lives of millions of people in addition to damaging their ecological systems. In Pakistan, almost all of the leaders – whether military dictator General Zia or committed Democrat Benazir Bhutto or messiah for the people Nawaz Sharif and his rival General Musharraf or PTI leader Imran Khan – have accepted that the rule private capital is the key. to solve the countless problems of Pakistan.

It is because of this erroneous approach that, despite serious differences on other issues, our leaders agree with each other on the policies of economic liberalism. Our economic minds and financial giants also give the impression that our salvation is in the hands of free markets. Their arguments in favor of the market economy give the impression that it is the only system that could help the Islamic Republic to achieve progress and prosperity.

But the question is, if the free market is the key to success, why are only a handful of countries prospering? Why hasn’t the goddess of wealth poured out her blessings on more than 120 states around the world that have followed pro-market policies for decades? Why has this much-vaunted miraculous system forced more than three billion people around the world to live on less than five dollars a day?

It should be debated that if the advanced capitalist world is relatively wealthy today, it is not because of the hard work of their merchant classes; this opulence is rooted in the ruthless plundering by the Western colonial powers and other imperialist powers. For example, if we research, in chronological order, which colonial countries became prosperous, we will find that in Europe, Portugal and Spain were the first two to get richer. Before the 14th century these two countries were poor, but after Portugal began to venture and Spain began sending its explorers to the Americas, in the 15th century the wealth of both countries began to grow with the two emerging powers bringing tons of gold, silver and other war gains to Europe.

Such loot would be shipped to Europe. It is interesting to note that some of these ships are said to be stolen by French, English, Dutch and other European pirates. One of these pirates, Francis Drake, was also knighted by the English ruling elite. So it was not only Spain and Portugal that benefited from the plundering of Central and South America, but other Western powers also claimed their pound of flesh from this large-scale theft.

With this theft and theft, Portugal and Spain became the major European powers in the 16th century. When the Netherlands, France and the UK increased their share of looting, they also increased to exert immense influence in European affairs. It is claimed that before the Industrial Revolution, more than 35 percent of the world was already under the control of Western colonial powers, and by the end of World War II that control had grown to almost 85 percent.

So, if the United Kingdom is one of the richest countries on the planet, it is not because of the principles of the market economy. In reality, it was outright theft that was said to be one of the most important factors contributing to its wealth and prosperity. It is estimated that the former colonial power embezzled an estimated $ 45 trillion from India over the decades. Its economic policies have ruined the emerging Indian industry which is believed to contribute more than 25% of global GDP. In addition, British policies resulted in terrible famines in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, wiping out around 35 million people.

It is true that America, the bastion of the free market, is the richest country in the world, but history students will never forget that it was founded on the corpses of more than two million blacks and millions of ‘native. The key to its prosperity was cotton production which used slaves and contract labor. Its agriculture in the south and its industries in the north thrived on bare exploitation. Planting sugar cane was another way of exploiting the workers who were helping not only North America but Europe as well. Some historians claim that there would have been no industrialization in Europe and North America if there had been no plantation, and that there would not have been a plantation without slavery.

It is also claimed that the free movement of goods and capital has helped these countries to progress. The reality is that the United States and the United Kingdom were the most protectionist countries in the world during the early stages of industrialization. Likewise, the economic prosperity of French society could not be understood without making any reference to their barbaric policies in Indochina and several other French colonies where Paris used brutal tactics to perpetuate its dominance and gain economic benefits.

The Japanese atrocities in Manchuria cannot be ignored when examining the early stages of that country’s industrialization. The United States, France, the United Kingdom and other Western colonial powers collectively humiliated the Chinese who would contribute more than 25% of global GDP before the century of humiliation. Belgium, which is today one of the most prosperous countries, has cut off the hands and feet of millions of unfortunate people in the Belgian Congo.

It is quite unfortunate that when we talk about the economic prosperity of the advanced capitalist world, we think it is because of the rules of supply and demand or other principles of the market economy, but the reality is diametrically opposed to what our economic minds want us to believe. Therefore, it is important that economists and financial giants read history and Western greed before declaring the free market a panacea.

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Margarita W. Wilson

The author Margarita W. Wilson