I am starting this new series, “Justice Imprisoned” which will unveil the colossal failure of the modern international judicial system in maintaining law and order and establishing justice and peace. It will expose the hidden motives behind the modern philosophy of law and justice and its devastating impact on humanity.
To begin with, I would like to revisit my theory of “Economic Fundamentalism”, which is central to all the modern developments in scientific as well as social and political arena. Let us trace its origin.
It was a wonderful Garden raised above from the land—lush green, spreading and fructiferous. The environment was pure; pollution was conspicuous by its absence. Flowers, trees, stems, buds, leaves and fruits — all were living merrily. The harmony was absolute all around. The flowers never withered there; their purifying fragrance rode the prancing wind with the grace of a knight. The leaves incessantly danced to the whistling of the wind. The grass spread like a carpet to welcome one and all. Peace was ubiquitous embracing the whole of the Garden without a semblance of partisanship. Among its residents were also Adam and Eve whose innocent love knew no bounds. They enjoyed every bit of their life together. Together they roamed in the Garden, together they ate and drank, and together they rested under the long dark shadows of trees. The whole of the Garden had been summoned to fulfil their wishes, with the exception of one Tree that they were not permitted to approach. They believed in their hearts that the peace of the Garden would be eternal for them.
But it was destined not to be. From somewhere in the darkness of the bushes, the Devil surfaced. Jealous of the harmonious creation of God and envious of man, whom He had chosen as His viceroy in preference to the Devil, he planned a mischief. He whispered to Adam and Eve that the Prohibited Tree was forbidden for no great purpose; if they touched it, the bliss they were living in would become eternal and they would lord over the Garden forever. Innocent and ingenuous as they were, not mindful of the art of treachery, ingeniousness and deception that the Devil mastered, they took him at his word. The result was what the Devil anticipated. And as soon as they trespassed, their anatomy became public. The Devil had perhaps also hoped they would be ecstatic at this display of their hidden treasures. And this would help him to preside over the devastation of the harmony that the Garden boasted of. He dreamt of victory over God. But God would not let the Garden be dismantled. Adam and Eve soon realised their folly in succumbing to the temptation.
Instead of following the course the Devil had chosen for them, they sought forgiveness from their Lord and pleaded Him to guide them to the Divine Course. God saved them from total disgrace but asked them to prove their credentials as His true servants once again in a new environment. This time they would not have the privilege of entering a Garden readied for their welcome but would have to cultivate one through their own efforts. God promised them all kinds of assistance but also sounded a caveat. He warned them in categorical terms that the Devil would leave no stone unturned in surfacing again in a big way to challenge them. Adam and Eve started the work and those that followed their footsteps continued to laboriously cultivate the garden. Despite many of their fellow beings acquiescing to the dictates of the Devil, they sustained their efforts. A garden was ready again. Nice and beautiful. But not as wonderful as the first one was. Its flowers had hardly begun to spread their fragrance that the Devil resurfaced. He chose the lascivious among the inmates as his viceroys just as the God had chosen Adam and other Prophets. He used their brains to show others the dreams of a garden that would be far more luxurious, attractive and blissful than what it was at that moment.
And this time the Devil seems to have hit the jackpot. He has succeeded in dismantling the garden in a unique way. The uniqueness about his success is that the inner destruction of the garden has been enveloped in a superficial prosperity. Superficial beauty is for everyone to see but only a few has the eyes to see what lies in.
This advent of the Devil has been in the form of what I call ‘economic fundamentalism’.
During the last few decades, “fundamentalism” has perhaps been one of the most frequently used terms in the world media, having been generally used in relation to religion usually referred to as religious fundamentalism. The term seems to have been first used in 1920s in the US to describe the ideological proclivities of a group of churches that claimed to defend the premises of orthodox Christianity. Interestingly, the opposing groups were referred to as liberals or modernists. The modernists severely criticised the church for wrapping itself in an outworn theology and ignoring modern developments. The roots of Christian fundamentalism are to be found in the Millennium Movement of 1830s when the Christians of the United States had grown in excitement over the expectation of reappearance of Jesus Christ. They believed that the Second Advent of Christ would be the beginning of one thousand years of total peace. Then in 1950s, the term “modern fundamentalism” came into usage in relation to the anti-Communist movement.
In the recent past, “religious fundamentalism” has been used by West for Islamic revivalists in West Asia who have been engaged in popular campaigns against Western influences in the region. Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, Yasser Arafat of Palestine, Col. Ghaddafi of Libya, Gen. Zia of Pakistan, Taliban in Afghanistan, the Islamic political parties in Algeria and Turkey, the pro-Islamic elements in Egypt – all have been spurned time and again as ‘Islamic fundamentalists.’ In India, it has been used to describe all those movements and campaigns that have been inspired by religious beliefs or communal sentiments. These include “Sikh Extremists” and “Hindutva Brigade”.
In terms of purely literal connotations, “fundamentalism” denotes nothing more than strict adherence to and endeavours to propagate, often by undesirable means, a specific set of ideas; those who follow the ideology are called “fundamentalists”. It follows that it would be uniquely unfair to limit this term to the ‘fundamentalism’ in the field of religion. Fundamentalism can be found without any difficulty in several other fields, especially politics and economics. The politicians who pursue their political aims through fair or unfair and moral or immoral means, and tend to misuse every single opportunity for their own elevation, irrespective of the adverse effects of their actions on others, may be called political fundamentalists. Needless to say that political fundamentalism pervades the current world. Similarly, the persons or organisations with the solitary aim to garner economic benefits by adopting all fair and unfair means may be called ‘economic fundamentalists’ and their ideology ‘Economic fundamentalism’.
Wealth has a central position in economics. But economic fundamentalism tends to regard it as the most, not just one of the most essential requirements of life. The business community has throughout the world and for ages always cared little for anything but its own economic interests. But the businessmen of the past made only individual efforts in that direction and they had little influence over the happenings in their surroundings. They were cranes that would use their cunning eyes to capture the prey when it came close to them and not leopards that would roar their way through the forest in search of their prey. They did not have any say in political and administrative affairs; the law of the land safeguarded the interests of the common people, or the interests of rulers. During the last few centuries, especially in the wake of Industrial Revolution, businessmen have organised themselves into an aggressive, domineering, dextrous, ingenious and inexorable class. It has, wrongfully or rightfully but successfully, mastered all the new information, techniques and opportunities available to it for the protection and expansion of its interests. This is where economic fundamentalism begins to emerge. Now, unlike in the past, businessmen are no more weak and submissive. They are not the cranes any more but the leopards that want to rule and roar. They have not only learned to assert themselves but have perfected the skill to push their plans defying all the obstacles that may come in their way. Not any longer are they the bootlickers of the rulers they used to be; they have now mastered the art of manoeuvring them into submission. From the sycophants they used to be they have now positioned themselves in a way that the rulers and administrators often become their sycophants. Not any more are they the silent followers of the rule of law; they have become articulate votaries of such modifications in the political, social and the legal systems as better suit their interests. They have ceased to be introverts seeking comfort in solitude; they now socialise in a way that gives them a plateau of eminence in society and, most important of course, the economic monopoly. Still, they sacrifice moles for gaining mountains in return. It is this assertive, aggressive, cunning, provident and ruthlessly selfish approach towards economics, which breeds what I have termed Economic Fundamentalism.
Economics is surely one of the essential constituents of human life. Without money, one cannot survive. We need coins for food, drinks, clothes, house, treatment, entertainment, marriage, bringing up of children, their education; even for funeral. But the problems arise when money is assumed to be the only essential of life. Economics is the stomach that supplies food for the body. It cannot and must not become the heart and the brain. For a wholesome living, good relations among the members of family and society, proper spiritual and moral development and proper environment are also needed. Love for money is nice till it does not disturb mental, family and social peace. But as soon as it transforms into lust encroaching upon others’ spheres in terms of its impact, it becomes a curse. When the lust for making money becomes organised, its effects on society are bound to be devastating. And when this organisation turns global using highly advanced information and technology available to it, mankind faces imminent ruin.
It can be seen that economic fundamentalism is becoming increasingly aggressive with every passing day. What has facilitated its stupendous growth is the outstanding ability of its generals to deal with the hurdles coming in their way. The truth is that they have been marching towards their ultimate destination without facing any appreciable resistance. They studied and recognised all the possible sources of obstruction well in advance, and prepared a meticulous plan to thwart them. All the possible weapons were and are being employed for this purpose: persuasion, advertising, misinformation, defamation, bribing, manoeuvring and use of power. The ballistic missiles of their money-power have proved to be too destructive for the resistant elements to withstand. Through persuasion or threats, they are either overpowered or purchased. The opposing forces have failed owing not only to the lack of resources but also to the glaring deficiency of will and spirit. What has further paralysed them is innumerable divisions in their ranks, based on religion, region, race, ideology and language. The economic fundamentalists have used this lassitude to gain on them; they are now, virtually, the rulers of the world. Their trumpet blows everywhere — from the north to the south and from the west to the east. There is little evidence in sight to foretell that their dominion will shrink to any remarkable extent in the foreseeable future. Whatever few areas or fields have till now remained beyond their reach, will soon be ransacked by their visible or invisible forces. How long they will be able to retain their hold, only time will tell. But presently, no signs of the emergence of a messiah or mahdi are visible.
In short, from historical standards, the rise and growth of economic fundamentalism has been quite rapid taking hardly a few centuries. The think-tank of the world of economic fundamentalism has taken innumerable steps to strengthen their hold. They have sacrificed the goddess of justice before the eyes of the Statue of Liberty. They have transformed through political manoeuvres the state into their estate. They have incessantly and relentlessly been trying to organise a grand farewell for religion. They have captivated the people’s imagination through the media. They have got the attire of society redesigned so that it looks gorgeous and inviting to their eyes. They have industrialised sex, in which they have discovered the hen which always lays golden eggs. They have relocated the entire educational set-up on the Wall Street. They have monopolised the tree of economy. Its fruits and shadows are only theirs; others can only admire its beauty from a safe distance. They have taken science and technology as their mistresses, ever keen to offer their glorious best to them. They have nipped all the challenges in the buds by masterminding the popular movements. They have lynched the ‘civilisation’, which has been given a new incarnation; and now Bohemians are called civilised. Last but not the least, they have been busy colonising the good earth in the name of globalisation.
This does not mean however that whatever the economic fundamentalists sought to do or undo was all misplaced. Nor does it mean that the economic fundamentalists are solely responsible for all the wrongs perpetrated on the mankind. What is true nevertheless is that they have always striven to support the ideas and movements which would become uranium for their commercial nukes. Sometimes, they would themselves spearhead a particular campaign. More often, they would financially back such activities as suited their strategies. At other times, consequent on the popularisation of certain ideas or customs, they would make overt or covert efforts to contain, dilute or minimise the damages to their interests. Many a time they might have pursued or backed a good cause; but they have invariably been selective in their support, calculating its positive or negative impact on their business prospects. It is this preferential and partisan attitude which has to be denounced and renounced if the world has to be saved from the impending doom.
Dr Javed Jamil is India based thinker and writer and Head of Chair in Islamic Studies & research, Yenepoya University, Mangalore, with over a dozen books including his latest, “Muslim Vision of Secular India: Destination & Road-map” and “Qur’anic Paradigms of Sciences & Society” (First Vol: Health), “Muslims Most Civilised, Yet Not Enough” and Other works include “The Devil of Economic Fundamentalism”, “The Essence of the Divine Verses”, “The Killer Sex”, “Islam means Peace” and “Rediscovering the Universe”. Read more about him at http://www.worldmuslimpedia.com/dr-javed-jamil. Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/javedjamil2015; alsohttp://javedjamil.blogspot.in/. He can be contacted at doctorforu123”yahoo.com.