Of course, when banks stop lending and a fast-food company in the United States can't borrow, that firm may have to put on hold a promotional drive and its order to a toy factory in the third world will be cancelled and many people might lose their jobs. Like it or not, you may say, it's a situation we can't avoid. The point is, we could have easily prevented it if we had stuck with the "four-necessities" philosophy.
The whole world has become interdependent on "excesses" rather than necessities. After we triumphed in fulfilling our basic needs, we veered off course. What is "important" is no longer about making sure food reaches all mouths on the planet, but about keeping those "figures" in the other universe at certain high levels so that certain people will have enough money to buy food for themselves for the next billion years.
That's why all the "excesses" were created and made to look like necessities. Agriculture has been complicated by commercial papers belonging to those who have nothing to do with farming, and by computer data that seem more crucial to fertilisers and produce than rain and harvest. Before we knew it, we were enslaved by demand for these "excesses" and we would live or die if something happened to them.
Call it whatever you like, but we are just experiencing a crisis of "excesses surplus". There are never too many homes, but simply too many financial monsters related to the real estate industry, which was distorted by false demands leading to the construction of houses when people didn't really need them. And there would never have been a food surplus but for people gambling on the prices of rice or tomatoes two years from now.
As it has turned out, the world has come to belong to the people responsible for the fake demands rather than the farmers, textile producers, constructors and doctors. It's not that they are no longer important; it's that capitalism has seen to it that our ultimate goal should not be planting rice, but making sure we don't miss the gravy train if, one day, jasmine rice produced in Vietnam becomes a hit. We have come to learn that, despite our zero knowledge of textile production, if we buy some papers we might just be able to dictate the industry. And who wants to be a doctor when it's easier to own a hospital if you are a politician?
Capitalism taught us about demands and supplies, only to forget what it preached. And come to think of it, how bad would it have been if we had ignored the "market rules" and engulfed the world with the four basic necessities instead of ruining it with all the fake demands? The worst that could have happened is that we could have had too much food to eat, enough clothes to keep the entire globe warm, enough medicine for everyone in Africa, and homes for everybody.
That would have been an okay world, although probably at the expense of a mobile phone that can give us Barack Obama real-time. Sad thing is, while we were more capable than ever before of making that world come true, we may have missed a great chance to get there. Capitalism set high goals for everyone, only to make us become too dependent on that fast-food chain in the United States and Wall Street gamblers who could make or break our fortunes. And yes, we remain very much dependent on them despite the fact that there is still plenty of food on our table, enough clothes to last 10 years, reasonable access to medicine and a nice bed to sleep in.