The Capitalist Holocaust

The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression is a book which purports to describe a history of repression by Communist states, including genocides, extrajudicial executions, deportations, and artificial famines. The book was originally published in 1997 in France under the title, Le Livre noir du communisme: Crimes, terreur, répression. In the United States it is published by Harvard University Press. The book was authored by several European academics and edited by Stéphane Courtois. The introduction, by editor Stéphane Courtois, asserts that "...Communist regimes...turned mass crime into a full-blown system of government". He cites a death toll which totals 94 million, a figure which includes both victims of deliberate violence and victims of famines caused by communist economic policies. The breakdown of the number of deaths given by Courtois is as follows: • 65 million in the People's Republic of China • 20 million in the Soviet Union • 2 million in Cambodia • 2 million in North Korea • 1.7 million in Africa • 1.5 million in Afghanistan • 1 million in the Communist states of Eastern Europe • 1 million in Vietnam • 150,000 in Latin America • 10,000 deaths "resulting from actions of the international communist movement and communist parties not in power.” Many historians would consider these figures to be wildly exaggerated. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that they are correct. What happens if we apply the same methodology to the competing (and now triumphant) economic system? What kind of death toll has capitalism racked up in since the Communists seized power in Russia in 1917? Let’s begin by looking at just one non-communist country, India. Between its founding in 1947 and 1997 (the year the Black Book was published) and estimated 100 million Indians died as a result of poverty, malnutrition and lack of access to adequate health care. So, in just one country, the capitalist system killed more people in 50 years than the communists killed worldwide in 80 years. Some may respond by claiming that India was not a “pure” capitalist country during most of the years between 1947 and 1997. That is true. While not a communist country, from 1947 to 1991, India followed social democratic economic policies characterized by extensive regulation, protectionism and public ownership of some key industries. Beginning in 1991, however, India entered a period of market-based economic “liberalization.” What was the result? The plight of the Indian people has worsened. The level of inequality has risen to extraordinary levels, while hunger in India has reached its highest level in decades. The economic “reforms” initiated in the early 1990s are responsible for the collapse of rural economies and the agrarian crisis currently underway. The human cost of the "liberalization" has been very high. Between 1997 and 2007, an estimated 199,132 farmers committed suicide due to debt and crop failures, according to official statistics compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau.

What about deaths caused by war? U.S. military forces were directly responsible for about 10 to 15 million deaths during the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the two Iraq Wars. This estimate includes Chinese deaths during the Korean War and deaths in Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam War. U.S. “proxy” wars (in which the U.S. provided money, weapons and training to local forces) since 1946 led to between 9 million and 14 million deaths in Afghanistan, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Guatemala, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sudan. A reasonable estimate of the number of people killed in U.S. military interventions around the world since 1946 would be at least 30 million people, with about ten times that number injured. To be continued ...

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