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Will the US Become a Banana Republic?

Stored under Caption This!GamesMiscellaneousNewsRecipesRelated EBay AuctionsReviewsVideosVisual Stimulation on December 28, 2006

Thomas Friedman expressed the view that if the Republicans had remained in control of the House and the Senate, the US would have become a banana republic. But a banana republic isn't characterised only by a rotten political system, ruled by a small, wealthy, and corrupt clique usually put in power or supported by foreign interests (in the 20th century, in the case of several Central and Latin American countries, by the US), but also by huge wealth and income inequities, poor infrastructure, backwardness in many sectors of the economy, low capital spending, a reliance on foreign capital, money printing and budget deficits, and of course a weakening currency.

A banana republic is also characterised by a ruling class that curtails people's personal freedoms and is moving towards a heavyhanded military dictatorship under the excuse of fighting guerrilla (or terrorist) opposition groups or enemies. Moreover, the fact that the ruling class or the elite comes from different political parties isn't a relevant factor in classifying a country as a banana republic; what is relevant is the determination of the elite, irrespective of which party its members belong to, to shift wealth from the majority of the people (the masses) to themselves, usually through simply printing money and incurring chronic budget deficits, and frequently also through senseless warfare.

Now, I am not insinuating that the US is already a banana republic, but the trend is undoubtedly there. The physical infrastructure is more often than not totally insufficient. Not a single flight I took in the US was on time, with one arriving 10 hours late, another 12 hours late, while two were cancelled altogether, resulting in delays of more than 4 hours. In Philadelphia, my US Air flight was delayed by three hours. The plane was on the ground in front of us, the pilots were all present, as well as one flight attendant (air hostess). But because a second flight attendant was unavailable in Philadelphia, one had to be flown in from Washington, so delaying my flight. Since there was no service provided on the flight, I wondered what purpose the additional attendant might have served.

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