Social democracy is about curbing the all-pervasive culture of capitalism from completely colonising societies. Philanthropy is a great idea, but it is not the panacea for a more equitable society.
Crime is a great scourge in capitalist societies. This is the result of wealth inequality. And at the source of crime is poverty and social inequality. Wealth, on the other hand, is power. However, when wealth becomes a god and rules the roost, it tends to become a slave driver, and places a society in the bondage of immorality, anarchy and even misery.
This reality is clear from purely capitalist societies. Crime is greater in vastly unequal societies. Purely capitalist societies without strong regulation and government intervention become unequal swiftly, as in the Russian example after communism and totalitarianism. They become violent and ruthless.
The creed “the survival of the fittest” is never a good place for the vast majority of the population of any country or territory. Hence the attractiveness of socialism and social democracy.
That is why this writer is a strong advocate for democratic socialism. Bottom-up is always better than trickle-down. Why? Because trickle-down is a fairy tale.
Trickle-down economies work well — to the benefit of the wealthy. The rich get richer, because that is how capitalism works. Profit is boss, and everyone must bow to the ubiquitous balance sheet. Gravity in the capitalist world favours the one percent who control global capital.
Now, no one is advocating socialism for these Virgin Islands. However, greater equity and equality is always a better place for a country or territory. And greed at the top drives crime down below.
The VI Party is supposedly the party of the grassroots — the bottom-up warriors engineering social change for the benefit of the regular guy by boosting spending on the social and physical infrastructure for the benefit of the “small man.” However, in recent times, can one honestly state that is the case? I leave that for Joe Public to decide.
Furthermore, it is sheer hypocrisy to be alarmed at the need for a Commission of Inquiry to investigate government. We all know that this investigation is appropriate and timely, even long overdue.
The fact is crime in the Virgin Islands is a systemic issue. It is more than the actual criminal activities: drug busts, gun crime, robbery, murder, sexual assault, public corruption and fraud.
Crime is a problem of culture, morality, and social behaviour that sits in the social DNA. Crime is a systemic beast. It is about the behaviours of residents as a whole, not just criminals who are caught red-handed.
This is a highly religious society by church attendance, church building, and personal beliefs. But religion has done nothing to improve social morals and family values.
And even in the church, criminals are glorified as long as they are rich and powerful: That is the accepted reality. The youth look to drug barons and greedy officials as role models.
Understand that anarchy rules when respect for the rule of law disappears, and residents can no longer tell the difference between right and wrong and good and bad.
That is what has happened in today’s VI.
Twenty-five years ago, we could leave our homes and cars unlocked without any concern whatsoever. People could leave valuables on a bench in Road Town and return to find their belongings untouched.
That could not happen today, even with the explosion in church buildings and church attendance.
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