Morning Star, November 19, 2013
Big business is attempting to exert its influence in the run-up to India's elections, writes COLIN TODHUNTER
In India, the race for the 2014 national elections is heating up. The country faces many problems and, with 17 per cent of the global population, how it resolves them could have a large bearing on the future direction of humanity, or could even be an inspiration for it.
India is where modernity is meeting tradition head on. But it is a specific form of "modernity," one which has been defined by powerful transnational corporations.
It goes under the guise of "globalisation," which is too often confused with genuine mutual interdependence between nation states.
Based on this misrepresentation by corporations, politicians and the mainstream media, we are encouraged to regard globalisation as a positive thing.
And yet the ratio between the top and bottom 10 per cents of wage distribution has doubled since the early 1990s, when India opened up its economy.
Moreover, social and cultural traditions dating back thousands of years are being uprooted thanks to a redefining of the individual in relation to the collective, of how people should live and what they should aspire to, ably assisted by an all-pervasive advertising industry.
This is the cultural impact of globalisation - an acceptance that gross inequalities are necessary and beneficial and that tradition must be swept aside in the name of progress.
But this warped culture of globalisation merely reflects the ideas and ultimately the practices of the powerful, the extremely wealthy of the world.
These are the people setting the globalisation agenda at the G8, G20, Nato, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation.
They are from the highest levels of finance capital and transnational corporations. These billionaires comprise a transnational capitalist class which dictates global economic policies.
In his book The Global Power Elite and The World They are Making, David Rothkopf puts their number at around 6,500 individuals globally.
They are increasingly internationalised and regard nations not as sovereign entities but as little more than population-holding locations to be plundered.
In many instances their corporations have more wealth than nation states.
Small wonder then that there is an ongoing war in the "tribal belt" and other violent conflicts elsewhere in the country. They are a means to an end. And that end is to facilitate corporate takeovers of food, agriculture, resources, land, public infrastructure and water.
Powerful foreign and Indian corporations with the full military backing of "their" politicians - the ex-bankers, the Western-educated elite politicians that they helped put in place to do their bidding - have been facilitating land grabs for various industries, such as nuclear, property development and resource extraction.
Successive governments have signed secretive "memorandums of understanding" with corporations and have then proceeded to target some of the poorest people in the country who resist.
But these are the types of things that happen when powerful corporations and their stooges prise open a nation's economy with promises, lobbying, bribes, threats or lop-sided trade deals.
And they have the media and their bought-and-paid-for politicians to deceive populations that this represents progress and development.
People are encouraged to sit back and watch Indian society get hollowed out because it is "good for the country" or in the "national interest."
It's not unique to India. It has already happened in the US and Britain, with governments having facilitated the free flow of capital around the globe leading to the offshoring of their manufacturing bases to cheap labour economies for ever greater profit.
In India successive governments have already placed part of agriculture in the hands of powerful Western agribusiness. The effects include biopiracy, patenting and seed monopolies, increasing levels of cancer, the destruction of localised rural economies, farmer suicides, water run-offs from depleted soil leading to climate change and severe water resource depletion and chemical contamination.
Traditional agricultural practices are being destroyed by Western agribusiness interests, which work hand in glove with the petrochemical industry and its chemical inputs.
From how land is used and food is produced to the quality of what ends up on the plate, both food sovereignty and the health of the nation are under threat.
Part of the structural adjustment of Indian agriculture has led to a shift from the production of bio-diverse food crops for local consumption to commodities for exports.
The corporate-driven EU-India Free Trade Agreement being hammered out beyond the public's gaze could well entail India's finance sector and food retail/processing sectors and investment rules being restructured in favour of transnational corporations.
Meanwhile, industrial developments built with public money and strategic assets, such as energy sources, ports, airports and seeds and infrastructure support for agriculture, are already being sold off.
The impact of globalisation is stark. It's based on the con-trick of neoliberal, fast-track "development."
A promised land of lavish living, but which is ultimately only available to the trickster elite who attained it years ago via cartels, force and duplicity masquerading as the "free" market.
A global market rigged, bought and paid for by the likes of the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, Warburgs and other billionaire fraudsters decades ago.
As the race for parliament builds, the electorate would do well to consider from whose pockets certain protagonists crawl out of.
Despite nationalistic rhetoric, you can be sure that certain party leaders are jockeying for position to do the bidding of their influential corporate cronies and backers at home and abroad.
For them, the cynical manipulation of public sentiment is fine, but it just wouldn't do to let the fate of the nation rest with the common folk, would it?