Stories about capitalism

“A Moses without manifestation, a Christ without a cross”: Karl Marx as remembered by Wamiq Jaunpuri

“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.” – Karl Marx Europe in the 19th century gave birth to two thinkers who changed everything about how we see the world. One was Charles Darwin. The other was Karl Marx, who was born 201 years ago today. Darwin discovered the law of evolution of plants and animals (the law of natural selection and survival of the fittest), while Marx sought the law of evolution of human history. Darwin’s discoveries sparked a revolution in the scientific world, while Marx’s discoveries illuminated the pathways to ...

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When clothing brands profit from your grief

In this capitalist world, everything is for sale. Every season, every holiday, every occasion can be commercialised. Christmas Day sales, Black Friday, Thanksgiving sales, Diwali discounts, Eid collections; you name anything and there will always be a person making money off of it. In Pakistan, Eid and Ramazan are probably the most celebrated occasions, no surprises there since this country is the Islamic Republic after all. As soon as the month of Ramazan closes in, prices of food elevate to another level. From your fruit vendor to your butcher, everyone demands more money. And then there are of course those gazillion iftar ...

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Money Heist: You just cannot stop watching it until it actually ends

Show me a person who claims he is not fond of a heist thriller, and I will show you a liar. For a genre that has extensively been covered on cinema, it somehow manages to keep attracting even the most hardened of viewers back to itself. I guess it’s our inherent love for easy money, and these heist-capers are the perfect visual manifestation of that particular fantasy. Spanish thriller La Casa de Papel is the latest player to enter this particular cinematic arena. It literally translates as the house of paper in Spanish, but for some inexplicable reason, Netflix decided to unimaginatively ...

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Why is PML-N being so secretive about CPEC’s investment plan?

If the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) wasn’t already an enigma, the recent debates regarding its pros and cons have muddled this into an even bigger mess. On one hand, there are the knockers who didn’t shy away from labelling it as the future East India Company (EIC), and on the other, we have the blind patriots – the ones that hold CPEC at the highest level of sanctity, that merely questioning the transparency regarding CPEC’s projects amounts to treason for them. Undoubtedly, these directionless debates have a lot to do with the suspicion and political sensitivity created by the government around the CPEC framework. However, to me, ...

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Capitalism, the disease that breeds social injustice

A while back, a story went viral on the internet about a young girl, who worked as a house maid. Long story cut short, she asked her employer for an advance because her mother was extremely ill, but her employer refused. A few hours later, the very same employer showed the house maid the brand new lipstick she had just bought – a MAC product worth more than her salary. The house maid was naturally furious and disappointed: What happened then? Did the house maid’s mother survive? I doubt it. She didn’t have enough money for the treatment and her employer had refused to give her ...

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Making sense of terror attacks anthropologically

On the evening of November 13, 2015, Paris suffered the worst terrorist attack in modern European history, killing over 120 people. The scale and sheer barbarity of the attacks is unprecedented. The French society is in trauma. The world is in shock. Paris, still reeling from the aftermath of the deadly Charlie Hebdo attack earlier this year, will no longer be the same city. From holding vigils to changing Facebook display pictures in French flag colours, the attacks have prompted an exceptional display of solidarity with the victims by the global community. The western leaders have been quick in showing support for Paris, calling it ...

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Does Lahore really need its own Disneyland?

Lahore will have its own ‘Disneyland’ – a recent news item that does not carry significance as far as headlines are concerned, but does carry a ton of significance otherwise. As things stand currently, only a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Punjab government and the Chinese company. While a MoU has no legal value, it does point a finger towards Shahbaz Sharif’s priorities. Coming from an industrialist background, his focus towards capitalism is unquestionable. From investing in infrastructure to handing out laptops, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government is a big proponent of liberal economic policies, despite being a conservative party otherwise. But ...

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Is Vladimir Putin responsible for Boris Nemtsov’s death?

A western media headline reads, “Nemtsov, a harsh critic of Putin, murdered” This was soon after Boris Nemtsov’s, former deputy prime minister during Yeltsin’s government, dead body was found on a bridge in front of Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. According to reports, 55-year-old Nemtsov was shot multiple times by an unknown assailant while he was walking with his Ukrainian girlfriend on the Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge near the Red Square. A mass gathering, that was initially aimed as a rally against Putin turned into an act of mourning for Nemtsov. Thousands of Russians have gathered in Moscow to pay tribute to a leader who was considered “a hope” for change in the current ...

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Raise against capital

Watch the waves, Rumble as they crash, Crash into the world, Of your bourgeois trash.   Feel the ground, Shake you to your knees, Knees that tremble, Like a million plastic leaves.   Taste the blood, For they all bleed, Bleed from day to night, The fruit of your greed.   Witness the bruise, Cutting through their skin, The skin of hurt and pain, Puncturing further within.   Celebrate your gain, Bringing you profit and joy, The joy of the one per cent, Over 99% of your toys.   Gather your green, You exploit and you oppress, Oppress no more, For every no is now a yes.   Smell the fear, Of a billion strong rise, Rising up against you, Tearing apart all your lies.   Hear the sound, Chants of food, shelter and wage, Wage that promises ...

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The confused case of a ‘liberal’ Pakistani

As the claws of fanaticism have dug deeper in our skin during the last one decade, a parallel phenomenon has taken place among some sections of Pakistan’s urban youth – a shift towards liberalism. In the simplest of terms, the components of liberalism fly the flag of equality and freedom. The whole concept revolves around civil liberties and rights. To a huge chunk sick of conservatism, liberals provide a platform that enables social change and political reform. Not a bad idea looking at the current state of bomb-wrapped, blood-spluttering affairs in Pakistan. What is the problem then? The problem is the foundation of ...

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