Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Response to "A Dark Side to Capitalism"


     Assalamu 'Alaikum

    When the Europeans sacked the Church from government in the 16th, 17th century they created a new religion called Secularism. In this new religion introduced by the likes of European intellectuals such as John Calvin and Martin Luther life must be totally devoid of religion. Religion is something people are encouraged to do only on an individual basis every Sunday morning. This was also the period where the subjects taught at Universities today are borned. All these subjects Economics, Business Administration,Accountancy, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, Law, Medicine are screened meticulously to ensure that God and religion plays no part in it. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that its legacy is to have fields of subject devoid of human values. Thus it is perfectly legitimate to have a leveraged buy out exercise as you described below to be accorded accollades by the industry while at the same it delivers collateral damage to human hopes, lives and values.

    We have a movement called the Islamisation of Knowledge led by towering Muslim intellectuals like Prof Naguib AlAtas, the late Ismail Farouqi and even our own brother Anwar in less controversial days, to rewrite University subjects acknowledging the role of Allah swt in lives of humans.

    The British brought Secularism to our own shores and changed our entire destiny. Instead of us being Vice Regent of Allah with Quranic values in our hearts we became Vice Regent of Allah with alien values in our soul, apologists for our religion and traitors to its sacrosanct values. We do not even recognise the alien we have become.

    Allow me to repost a piece I wrote, inadequate as it may be, to paint a message that must be heeded.


    Monday, April 5, 2010

    School's out

    Assalamu ‘Alaikum,

    School’s out

    It’s been a long while since I had the happy ‘after the exams feeling’. That’s how it was Sunday noon when we dropped pens after the last semester finals paper. We were a motley bunch including Islamic bankers, former Islamic bankers, freshie grads, those who returned to U after a while in the real world, former newspaper journalists, young Sharia scholars and a bunch of practicing lawyers. It had been a tough semester for us this time with no easy ride subjects; all core topics in the development of the Islamic worldview. We learnt about the late Ismail Faruqi and the Islamisation of Knowledge; and our own home grown Professor AlAttas reminding the ummah of the rape and theft of our religion and beliefs by the Western colonial powers. And in true science fiction form how we swallowed the spiel and transformed into champions of Western beliefs through an education system loaded and coded with Western ideals. How we looked down on our own original religious schools and ignored the pleas of our early scholars who were not able to articulate on the abyss we are about to fall in, about which they foresaw but about which we did not. And how we still does not see the alien we have become.

    We learnt about how the West sacked their scholars in the late seventeenth century and divorced religion from their life in toto and invented the new religion called secularism. And how they came and preached and imposed this new religion in our lands. And again how we swallowed the spiel and transformed ourselves into champions of secularism with deeds far exceeding the expectations of our Western gurus. We learnt about how usury was also banned by the religion of Christianity and Judaism, and how they connived in Venice a century later to legitimise and give birth to the practice of riba banking. The Western colonialists brought this vile practice to our shores and again we swallowed the spiel and transformed ourselves into champions of riba banking far exceeding the expectations of our Western gurus.

    We also learnt about the denudation of Islam from knowledge where every single subject in school and universities today was bred in the West, teach western ideals and carry western ideas and beliefs, devoid of Islamic worldviews. We have Economic textbooks that legitimise riba in the building up of theories. We have Accounting textbooks with postulates and principles that goes against the tenets of Islam. We have Law textbooks that degrade Shariah to a laughable matter. How do we then uphold our covenant with our Creator as the Viceregent and Abd’ of Allah on this Earth when we uphold alien beliefs in our soul?

    Yesterday I lost a dear friend who succumbed after a long fight with cancer. He was a true friend to me and to many. He was also an intellectual, a thinker undiscovered, a talent unused. He probably shared many of the views I expounded above. He knew, but like me then, probably also not able to articulate. I pray that Allah rewards him as he aptly deserves to be rewarded.

    The MSc Islamic Banking & Finance gang had a little farewell teh tarik before we part till the next semester. Many of the foreign students are inviting their parents over for a short holiday. The Palestinians will either spend their holidays here or visit countries where their brothers and sisters are living. They cannot go home to visit their ailing parents in Gaza for fear the Israelis may not let them through again when its time for them to return to university. And here we still, sing and dance.
    '72 S

    Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2012 23:45:08 +0800
    Subject: [MCOBA:139457] A Dark Side to Capitalism

    Wednesday, August 15, 2012 - 18:11
    by Bloomberg News

    IS there any fairness in a system where a group of people can borrow a bunch of
    money to buy a company and pay themselves millions of dollars in dividends and
    fees, while the company itself ends up bankrupt and its employees lose their
    jobs, health insurance and pensions?
    Can you imagine the owners then being celebrated in fancy society while the
    unfortunate workers are left to fend for themselves as the collateral damage of
    the system?
    Welcome to Mitt Romney’s America. This is the true story of how in October 1993
    buyout firm Bain Capital, which Romney founded and ran from 1984 to (roughly)
    1999, and its partners bought a steel mill in Kansas City from Armco Steel for
    US$75 million (RM232.5 million), merged it with other steel companies, loaded it
    with too much debt, paid themselves big dividends and ran the company into the
    ground. Bain’s behaviour was all perfectly legal, of course, and many argue that
    this is an essential part of the creative destruction that is capitalism (except
    when there are huge bailouts).
    In many ZIP codes around Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San
    Francisco, Bain and its partners are celebrated and admired. Many graduates of
    our finest colleges, universities and graduate schools would almost kill to get
    a job at Bain. And now one of them may well end up in the White House.
    But there’s a darker side to this fairy tale, and the Armco deal is a perfect
    illustration. For its US$8 million (RM24.8 million) in cash, largely taken from
    its outside investors, Bain Capital received a majority stake in the steel
    company, renamed GS Technologies. The minority investors were GE Capital, a
    division of General Electric that provided the new company with a line of
    credit; Leggett & Platt, a large customer of the steel plant; and a group of
    former and existing managers. The new company paid Bain an annual US$900,000
    (RM2.79 million) fee for “professional services,” a standard private-equity
    trick to begin sucking fees out of an acquired company. Three Bain executives —
    Bob White, Paul Edgerley and John O’Malley — went on the board of the company.
    (White remains a close Romney adviser.)
    In short order, Bain did to GS Technologies what it has done to any number of
    other companies that it purchased with other people’s money — among them
    American Pad & Paper and Dade International, which both went bankrupt. In August
    1994, 10 months after the sale was completed, GS Technologies issued US$125
    million (RM387.5 million) of 12 per cent senior notes.
    Some US$55 million (RM170.5 million) of the proceeds went to repay existing
    debt, while US$65 million (RM201.5 million) went out as a dividend to
    In October 1995, Bain arranged for the company to merge with Georgetown Steel, a
    steel-rod manufacturer in South Carolina. As part of the acquisition, the merged
    company issued another US$125 million (RM387.5 million) in senior notes and
    refinanced the existing credit facility.
    The merged company, renamed GS Industries, was to have annual revenue of $941
    million (RM2,917.1 million), net income of US$13 million (RM40.3 million) and
    3,800 employees. It also had about US$370 million (RM11,147 million) in
    long-term debt — eight times its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation
    and amortisation — and about US$180 million (RM558 million) of additional
    long-term liabilities such as future health-care and pension payments.
    GSI didn’t work out as planned for many reasons — tough competition from abroad,
    a highcost structure, too much debt related to the acquisitions, and the cost of
    the dividends paid to Bain and GE Capital. The company filed for bankruptcy on
    Feb. 7, 2001. It closed the Kansas City plant and fired 750 workers. Many of the
    employees’ benefits were eliminated, including long-term health-care coverage,
    life insurance and parts of pensions.
    Asked what happened at GSI, a Bain spokesman told Reuters: “Over US$100 million
    (RM310 million) and many thousands of hours were invested in GSI to upgrade its
    facilities and make the company more competitive during a seven-year period when
    the industry came under enormous pressure and 44 US steel companies went into
    bankruptcy.” After pointing out that another steel company Bain owned, Steel
    Dynamics, is a successful US$6 billion (RM18.6 billion) business, the spokesman
    said Bain’s focus “remains on building great companies and improving their
    The GSI debacle has been in the news lately because of a campaign ad made by a
    group supporting President Obama. It features Joe Soptic, who worked at the
    Kansas City plant for 28 years and lost his job when the company filed for
    Soptic lost a significant part of his monthly pension and his health-care
    benefits. He eventually found a new job as a school janitor paying him
    US$24,000, (RM74,400), about two-thirds less than what he had been paid as a
    steelworker at GSI.
    Soptic’s wife, Ranae, was no longer covered by her husband’s health-care plan.
    Then she got sick with pneumonia.
    It was too late by the time she went to the hospital: She had advanced lung
    cancer and died two weeks later. Soptic wiped out his US$12,000 (RM37,200) of
    savings to pay the hospital bills; the hospital wrote off the balance he owed.
    Romney supporters point out that this was years after the bankruptcy and that
    Ranae Soptic had quit a job that provided health insurance, which is true but
    irrelevant. If the old Armco plant hadn’t been run into the ground and her
    husband had kept his job, she would have had coverage. Soptics’ story is a
    sidebar. The real point is how a man who wants to be “CEO of America” left a
    trail of destroyed lives when he was only chief executive officer of a single
    private-equity firm.
    Romney is a wealthy man, worth at least US$250 million (RM775 million). His
    partners, including White, are wealthy, too. They got rich at Bain Capital doing
    the things they did at GSI.
    The inequity of it all just seems unworthy of a great nation.

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