Capitalism or Socialism ? Democratic Socialism ? Which is the best way for the world ? No economist or social scientist has been able to analyse this. Russia was a super power with its Communist government calling the shots for all things concerned with life for Russians. In Russia, people used to say “You can’t dream in Russia”. On the other hand, US was strictly a capitalist economy. The great American Dream enriched the life of millions of Americans. However, today an average American lives with a sense of financial insecurity. The rich and wealthy in US have become richer and wealthier while a common man in US struggles to maintain his family expenses in spite of working 12 hours a day. Meanwhile European nations are facing challenges related to rising number of immigrants and radicalism along with financial instability.
Capitalism thrives on private ownership and maximum profitability while Communism emphasizes the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. On the other hand Democratic Socialism advocates that production are socially and collectively owned or controlled, alongside a democratic political system of government. (Denmark has more or less Democratic Socialism.)
In spite of major scientific advancements and technology and massive industrialization, millions of people in world are still struggling with poverty and hunger. What has failed or what has really worked ? What is the current situation of the world ? What will happen to world in future ? What is the best way of governing a nation ?
All this has been wonderfully analysed in the documentary “The Pursuit” released in 2019 on Netflix. Essentially, in this documentary, the famous social scientist Arthur Brooks, takes us through different countries and meets various people from different economic sections. With some great inputs from them and adding his own analysis, Arthur Brooks helps to see a world which is gradually unfolding to a being of optimism and evolution. Arthur Brooks (born May 21, 1964) is an American social scientist, musician, and contributing opinion writer for The Washington Post. As of July 2019, he joined the faculty of the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School. Brooks has researched the junctions between culture, economics, and politics.
The documentary begins with Brooks’ visit in Dharavi, a slum colony in Mumbai, India. Although Dharavi is shown as a symbol of poverty and misery to the world, in reality, it is a commercial thriving place always buzz with activity. Every inch of space in Dharavi is utilized profitably by small units and individuals to produce commodities that have takers in foreign markets too ! Brooks describes how in last 5 decades around 2 billion of world population have come out of poverty. Simultaneously, US is seeing disturbance within, especially among below 30 age group population, who believes that America’s Capitalist system has failed to take care of American people and it should take to Democratic Socialism. Brooks takes us to Denmark where everything seems to be perfect. Ironically Brooks’ own ancestors had migrated centuries ago from Denmark to US for a better life. Denmark faces the problem of rising number of immigrants who refuse to integrate with Denmark’s culture and rather impose their own way of life on the very country that gave them refuge. Brooks also visits India and meets the Holy Dalai Lama in Dharamshala, India who tells him what are the 4 things required for anyone to be happy.
The documentary leaves the viewer with ample food for thought. It makes sense to people belonging to all nations and generations. It was released recently in 2019 on Netflix. Do watch it and try to see what it has to say to you !