Monday, February 25, 2008

When Corporations rule the world

Nuke Hindutva, digital divide and globalisation
When Corporations Rule the World – a book by the American leftist David C Korten – is a searing indictment of an unjust international economic order that we are facing today.
He writes: Most everyone is aware that we live in an unequal world. Few realize, however, just how extreme the inequality has become or how fast the gap between the poor and the super rich is growing. Forbes tells us the world now has 358 billionaires. Their combined net worth exceeds the combined net worth of the world's poorest 2½ billion people. This is but one manifestation of the extreme economic and social distortions created by the globalized free market economy idealized by business publications such as Forbes and Business Week.
Korten's laser-like analysis exposes the way global corporations dominate people and their governments. The situation is no different in India.
After the Cold War ended, the US promoted globalisation in a big way. It opened its markets, cut tariffs and promoted cheap imports. The US Federal Reserve also cut rates and printed more dollars. It thus promoted a global financial architecture by which an unwritten ‘safety rule’ has been enforced on central banks of other nations to hold their reserves in US securities.
Ever since the Indian Government adopted LPG (Liberalisation, Privatization and Globaliastion) after the failure of Nehruvian model of socialism in 1991, the global corporations have upped the ante on their presence in India. Now they are entering sectors never before eyed by large corporations in India like the retail sector and farming. Their entry is sure to make life difficult for the common Indian who is normally at ease in the unorganized sector. That many of their schemes are implemented by greasing palms was poignantly portrayed in journalist Chitra Subramaniam’s book – India is for sale.
It is the Swadeshi Jagran Manch – an affiliate of the Sangh Parivar – which is opposing market globalisation in India. Dattopant Thengadi – the RSS idealogue – was the founder of SJM who decided to launch this movement as he felt that it was needed to thwart the free run of the Corporations in the age of LPG.
When the now Prime Minister and then Finance Minister Manmohan Singh went about selling LPG, he was of the view that the trickle down effects of FDI (Foreign Direct Investments) would lead to equitable growth.
However, the trickle down effect has not taken place and what has taken place is an inequitable growth. Of course, Indian Multinationals like the Tatas and Reliance have benefited. There are more Indian billionaires in the Forbest list and India is now in the Trillionaire Club of Forex Reserves. Those in the rural areas – especially the farmers are bearing the brunt of globalization. Thousands of farmers are said to have committed suicide in rural India due to unsustainability .
India is facing what can be called a digital divide. On the one hand, technology is booming in cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad – which are reaping the benefits of globalisation. On the other hand, there are scenes of deprivations.
The Money Game: Now that India’s forex reserves have crossed a trillion dollars, it is best to analyse the money game – which is not as glittering as it seem. Korten points out that the world's most powerful instrument of governance is not a government. Nor is it a global corporation. Rather it is a global financial system that is running dangerously out of control.
“Each day half a million to a million people--primarily Western Europeans, North Americans, and Japanese--arise as dawn reaches their part of the world, turn on their computers, and leave the real world of people, things, and nature to immerse themselves in playing the world's most lucrative computer game: the money game. As their computers come on line, they enter a world of cyberspace constructed of numbers that represent money and complex rules by which those numbers can be converted into a seemingly infinite variety of financial instruments, each with its own distinctive risks and reproductive qualities. Through their interactions, the players engage in competitive transactions aimed at acquiring for their own accounts the money that other players hold.”
He further says that the Corporations are influencing us in more ways than we think
The world's most powerful corporations are also active in shaping public policy in ways that virtually forces us into a pattern of overconsumption that yields large profits to themselves at the expense of our quality of living. Evidence is mounting that to make our societies sustainable we will have to restructure our systems of production and consumption to largely eliminate:
Dependence on personal automobiles;
Long distance movement of goods and people;
The use of chemicals in agriculture; and
The generation of garbage that we cannot immediately recycle.
Though Korten is a leftist, his message is true enough for the entire world. The Saffron idealogue S Gurumurthy is also in agreement about the precarious position when he says that the US is spending while the rest of the nations are saving in US dollars. It is as if the other nations are saving for the US expenditure.
When Americans spend beyond their means: So far Americans have borrowed through credit cards $2.46 trillion; through sub-prime mortgages $1.3 trillion; and through other mortgages not regarded as prime another $1.5 trillion — all aggregating to $5.26 trillion. By mid-May 2007, the US National Debt stood at approximately at mind-boggling $8.85 trillion -- i.e. approximately $28,000 for every American. The current account deficit of the United States for 2006 is estimated to be in excess of $850 billion. This approximates to 7% of its GDP. Surely, even for the US, this is unsustainable.
As S Gurumurthy says: The US Fed, which is the de facto central bank of the world, is an enigmatic institution whose origins are shrouded in mystery. Its shareholding pattern remains a secret. The US Government has only marginal control over it. Given the Fed’s influence on the world economy, it is imperative to have a global watch on its policies and actions.
The validity of the dollar is also under threat from the rising Euro. Today, though it is the Gulf regions which produces oil, crudes can be purchased only through the medium of dollars through two exchanges at New York at London.
As M R Venkatesh says in his column in Late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was fully aware of this paradigm. Seeking to exploit the inherent weakness of the US dollar, Saddam wanted to trade his crude in Euros, which would have lead to a lower demand for the US Dollar and thereby triggered a dollar collapse. And those were his 'weapons of mass destruction -- WMD.' And if some analysts are to be believed, Venezuela and Iran too possess the very same WMD. Naturally, it requires some specious arguments and military intervention to protect the US dollar. Never in the history of mankind has a national army protected the national currency so vigorously as the US Army has done is the past decade or so.
The need for an international Hindu lobby: In this age of globalisation, Hindus are badly missing an international lobby sans ideological baggages which can safeguard its interests. The white race guards its race very carefully all the while avoiding the slur of racism, petro-dollars are at the service of Islam anyway. It is the Hindu who is left to defend himself all alone while he is oppressed in various parts of the world like Nepal, Malaysia, Fiji, Europe and US. The creation of an international Hindu lobby is quite feasible given the list of the Hindu Super Rich in Forbes.


Holla said...

A good article. But, I didd not understand how Hindu lobby helps here. What do you mean by hindu lobby? I agree that Hindu philosophy of 'sarve bhavantu sukhinah' 'ma vidvishava hai' and such things are to be taught to the world today. Do you mean this as Hinud lobby? Or do you mean in terms of global economy. Or do you mean to say that we should follow Saddam? That is a valid point.


I mean it in an overall sense. Look how Christians and Muslims and Left and Corporates infiltrate the rank and files of politics, academics and the media. Hindus don't do it. This infiltration should take place and the Hindu interests shoudl be protected in a wide range of issues.