Politics & International Studies

US gun ownership, violence are the result of an economy aimed at maximising self-interest

US gun ownership, violence are the result of an economy aimed at maximising self-interest

As a result of the unfettered market-oriented thrust for the production and sale of guns across the United States with little regulation, combined with years of lobbying by the National Rifle Association, the United States is a situation where there are no safe spaces left for anyone.


Deepanshu Mohan, Associate Professor of Economics and Director, Centre for New Economics Studies, Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.


“To allow the market mechanism to be sole director of the fate of human beings and their natural environment… would result in the demolition of society,” warned political economist Karl Polanyi in his book The Great Transformation, published in 1944.

Had Polanyi been alive today, his statement would have found prophetic validation in the condition of society in the United States, one of the world’s most dominant economies.

For most of the late 20th century, the economy of the United States was built around an industrialised, mass-scaling model of weaponising itself and other nations while designing tools of finance to profit from war. That same economy is now in a situation where its gun industry, guided by the compulsions of less- regulated market forces, is wrecking its own society.

On May 24, a mass shooting at a school in Uvalde in Texas, killed 19 students, two teachers and left 17 others wounded. The killings, carried out by 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, are just one instance in the rapid proliferation of mass shootings across the United States.

In terms of gun ownership and violence, other nations have long been wary of the US situation. During the initial months of the Covid-19 lockdown, US gun lobbyists wanted gun stores to be counted among essential businesses, like food shops and pharmacies. A number of states readily complied with this, as did the US Department of Homeland Security.

The rise in the sale of guns during the pandemic made some observers nervous about America’s growing obsession with sophisticated weaponry and the US gun industry’s role in promoting such behavior.

Published in: Scroll.in

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