India and the American Way
We don’t hear much about what is going on in India – in contrast to all the stuff we get about China. This is strange, because India and the West have always been closely linked. Half of the engineers in Silicon Valley are from India – and its religious influence is strong also. I had a yoga teacher there whose husband was a successful engineer in the Valley – and that was not uncommon at all.
But as India becomes more like America, America is ignoring this important development – while giving enormous attention (and money) to Pakistan and Afghanistan. American foreign policy makes no sense.
From the article:
I’ll start in the early 1990s, not long after capitalism won its war against Soviet Communism in the bleak mountains of Afghanistan. The Indian government, which was for many years one of the leaders of the nonaligned movement, suddenly became a completely aligned country and began to call itself the natural ally of the U.S. and Israel. It opened up its protected markets to global capital.
American businessmen should be positively ecstatic about this! But instead, they play it down in the American Media, which weakens India’s economic position and keeps it subservient to America’s.
Arundhati Roy is a flaming liberal, frequently appearing with our own Noam Chomsky, but what they say is often worth hearing. For example:
In India, every institution, whether it’s the courts, or the parliament, or the press—has been hollowed out and harnessed to the free market. There are empty rituals to mask what actually happens, which is that India continues to militarize, it continues to become a police state. In the last twenty years, after we embraced the free market, two hundred and fifty thousand farmers have committed suicide, because they have been driven into debt. This has never happened in human history before. Yet, obviously when the establishment has a choice between suicide farmers and suicide bombers, you know which ones they are going to encourage. They don’t mind that statistic, because it helps them; they feel sorry, they make a few noises, but they keep doing what they are doing.
Today, India has more people than all the poorest countries of Africa put together. It has 80 percent of its population living on less than twenty rupees a day, which is less than fifty cents a day. That is the atmosphere in which the resistance movements are operating.
Of course, it has a media—I don’t know any other country with so many news channels, all of them sponsored or directly owned by corporations, including mining corporations and infrastructure corporations. The vast majority of all news is funded by corporate advertising, so you can imagine what’s going on with that. The prime minister of the world’s largest democracy, Manmohan Singh, who was more or less installed by the IMF, has never won an election in his life. He stood for one election and lost, but after that he was just placed there. He’s the person who, when he was finance minister, actually dismantled all the laws and allowed global capital into India.
“What are infrastructure corporations?” I asked. So I looked up infrastructure on Wikipedia, which has a general discussion of the subject. Construction Week is more specific for India – these are construction companies, pure and simple. And for them, business is good!
All over the world, the effects of Globalization are becoming clearer and clearer – the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Her description of the Maoist Corridor is the kind of writing that makes respectable Indians furious with her. But I suspect there is much truth in what she says – that terrorism is the result of the rich discriminating against the poor – and anyone else who is different.
My favorite whipping boy has been the Computer, something Arundhati Roy, and people like her, never consider. They never stop to think what is behind all this, pulling all the strings. They just look at the puppets, and scream at them. Unless you look at the Big Picture (how everything is tied together) you cannot see anything.
We could use the computer to do this, since it can deal with enormous quantities of data – but we would have to decide to do this – to make the computer serve us.