How are we, the educated, democratized, open & liberal society different from the dictatorial hell that North Korea is?
The often cited difference is freedom. To keep things simple, lets say freedom comprises of the following elements: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of choice & freedom of thought. Supposedly, in North Korea, you have neither. You can’t speak your mind, or you risk being shot. You can practise the religion of your liking, or you get shot. You don’t have a choice(or a say) in anything that goes around you, you can’t choose where you live, what you do etc etc. And you are forced to believe(or indoctrinated) towards a certain line of thought.
But are we any better? As a society, we don’t have freedom of speech anymore. Most in the civilized world can’t even criticize companies/individuals who take their money but don’t provide the products or services that they took money for. Ever tried to criticize your government? Sure, you won’t be put in jail but there may be consequences, you might just be quietly put on a no-fly list without you even knowing about it.
Freedom of religion exists, as far as the religion you practise happens to be the one practised by majority of people in your country, you’re screwed. Better be hush hush about all those festivals and don’t do anything to offend the religious sensibilities of the masses, otherwise you will be crushed.
Freedom of choice? Really? When did you last buy a product that you never saw an ad for? When did you last make your opinion based on informed data and rational thinking, and not just rhetoric that you heard over one or the other news channels? When did you genuinely question all those researches cited, and all that shiny marketing thrust at you? The same reasoning can apply to freedom of thought, your thoughts aren’t free anymore. You think what will be liked most by your friends on facebook, you want to be completely conformant and be a part of the crowd.
We don’t have any freedom anymore. What we have is an illusion of freedom. An illusion created by institutions who get benefitted most by your compliance. The pillars of all democracies around the world, legislature(i.e. parliaments), judiciary and bureaucracy are mutually self-serving(or circle-jerking). And then there is the fourth pillar, corporates.
Corporations aren’t bad, you say. They create jobs. They make economies moving, keep lives running. Sure, so does the political machinery in North Korea. But what do the NKs do when they don’t like someone, or the work they do, or if their boss takes a personal dislike and lies about them to the top brass. They get shot. What happens when your corporation thinks you are a pain in its bottom line? You get fired. Good luck feeding those children you have.
The reason corporations exist is to make money, for a select few. For a large number of others, they spread some petty change around. Name a country where the percentage of tax paid by individuals is lower that the percentage of tax for corporates. This used to be true about tax calculation percentages but now it is slowly becoming true about tax collection percentages. Trillions of dollars/pounds/euros/rupees/<insert currency here> earned but only a tiny fraction paid as tax. Where does the rest of the money go? Profits. Who benefits most from these profits? Its not the ordinary shareholder, it is the “preferred shareholder”.
You think so what? At least I have the luxury of due process before anything is done to me? Think again. Most countries have laws where your “due process” can be trampled on the flimsiest of backgrounds. They can arrest you and jail you for months without you ever seeing the process, if they think you are a terrorist. No proof required! But what if you do get a lawyer? Apart from a few rare exceptions, the best lawyers cost a lot of money. Haven’t you seen all those millionaires who get into trouble with the law but easily walk out? The law is for sale, it is for sale by those who make it. It is for sale by those who protect it. It is for sale by those who enforce it.
So, what would you rather? A dictatorship where one man controls your destiny? Or a bunch of corporations and rich people who control your destiny? Like it or not, we all live in dictatorships. The only difference is that we are under the grand illusion that we do not.