Un-Tibet

March 16, 2008 at 11:25 pm | Posted in annexation, British meddling, Burma, chimpanzee, CIA, civilian massacre, colonization, communism, Dalai Lama, democracy, dictator, discrimination, displaced persons, dissidence, dissidents, equality, ethnic cleansing, exile, forcible deportation, freedom of speech, global evils, government, human rights, Indian foreign policy, individual freedom, individual rights, intolerance, justice, liberty, man's inhumanity to man, Myanmar, peace, poverty, race, racial profiling, racism, self determination, Tibet | Leave a comment
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three chimps see no

None in the International community of nations, seems to be ready to bell the Chinese cat on Tibet. The policy of silence is loudest in Tibet’s closest neighbour – India.

It seems a shame that commercial interests combined with India’s real fear of confrontation with China on the disputed area of the borders in Arunachal Pradesh state, should be sufficient to cow down such an erstwhile champion of human rights as India. Still, the sad truth is that though the Dalai Lama is our guest in exile, in toto, that too is just for publicity’s sake and has little other than symbolic value.

Reading through Tibet’s long and tortuous history, we must again conclude that the death blows to Tibetan independence were finally dealt by the British in the early years of the 20th century, closely followed by a botched CIA operation during the 1950s.Like any unfortunate country that is lacking great enticements (like oil or mineral wealth), no other nation is willing to stick their necks out against the Chinese behemoth for the sake of a few million poor and exploited Tibetans. Europe is happy to support the right of Kosovans to self determination but won’t even whimper at the fate of the poor Tibetans.As with Sudan and Burma, so it is too with Tibet – a mysterious cat has got every single nation’s tongue!
The Chinese have been much more concerned with the possible effects on their precious Olympics. I think they have misread the world’s commitment to anything other than money. Our modern world’s shame is highlighted by the fact that ‘amateur’ sport has been so successfully exploited to become the biggest money spinner of all time. Catch the nations of the world putting principles ahead of the chance to collectively make some really fast bucks! If only even one country would demand autonomy or at least basic human rights for Tibetans before agreeing to Olympic participation… fat chance!

Just for fun, compare the “Freinds of Tibet” facts and figures with the Chinese version of ‘the truth’ and tell me what you think… There certainly is bias showing in Western reporting on Tibet but the Chinese story is simply pathetic.

How to be a Good Lemming

November 30, 2007 at 4:12 pm | Posted in communism, culture, developing economy, economy, fairness, filthy lucre, free market, global evils, God's kingdom, goods and services, human-performed, industrial evolution, justice, kingdom ethics, kingdom of God, mammon, market, MNC, multinational corporartion, per capita, poverty, real value, redundancy, socialism, trickle down, value addition, wealth distribution, world GDP | Leave a comment
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‘Tis the season to be jolly… would be quite frivolous if it were not at the same time also so profoundly real.
The Christmas season in the West is a time especially set aside for spending, purchasing, buying, gifting, and generally being very, very, jolly.

25k.jpgIn the U.S. the spending season kicks off with a bang at Thanksgiving, but all over the world, common sense will lead us to suspect that the jolliest of traditional seasons will begin soon after the annual harvest. Give a couple weeks or a month for all that excess to start getting distributed, and then them holidays, and that spending will ensue – it makes good sense.

In India we have that grand ‘festival of lights’, Diwali, that is strategically placed after the first harvest in October or November and then, in the South of India, there is a second celebration (Pongal) that comes right after the second monsoon season in mid-January and that forms the very exciting and satisfying climax to our times of splurging.

Economies and spending cycles that keep them vibrant have to be based on the presence of excess, and most times that excess is only available for a short while right after the harvest. Holidays are also timed to help to distribute all that ‘excess’ and just as efficiently as possible! Any great delay between when the excess arrives and the application of peak marketing pressure to get people to spend may result in that excess getting channeled into savings accounts – economists don’t like that at all. When we have plenty, and so much that we can even think in terms of excess, the purse strings will be at their loosest. Marketing has to strike while the iron is hottest but that is not the end of the story. We too help out by apparently just temporarily choosing to collectively forget that the upcoming year may hard and long.

Marketing the world over, is geared to maximise its hype just at these times. Spend – buy – purchase – CHARGE IT – or the ubiquitous EMI with 0% interest!

This year, the absolutely essential gadget is…

Everybody simply HAS to have this!

The teaser SAAALE! drags you out, ‘pushes’ you over that last little hump of caution, and then…inflation US

Insidiously, we also might not notice that we will really have to shell-out just a bit more this year than we did last year to get that ‘absolutely essential’ something. Economic cycles rely on the feeding frenzy to slip into the inflation mode too, for this is the one time of year that folks will be blithely unaware that the essentials just got a bit dearer. The small incremental adjustments will slip quietly into place in the corners of our subconscious even before we have time to register them, for there is so much else of an exciting nature to capture and hold our collective consciousness in thrall.

banknote-euro-usdollar.jpgValue addition is one culprit, but the yen for bigger profits is certainly another. For the corporates, turnover should increase, and so too should the return on investment, the profit margin. Balance sheets will be anxiously prepared as the financial year draws to a close. At stake is the size of the share price pie for that depends on ‘the figures’.

To the economist, inflation is a godsend. Deflation, when prices actually drop, (do you see red in the diagram above?) is an absolute disaster and must come straight out of hell. Modern economies rely on inflation to create the space in which value addition creates levels of work both in manufacturing/marketing and in services/marketing. More jobs, more earning, more spending, more money – MORE

Those little entries on corporate balance sheets called profit (net after taxes) quietly also rely on inflation. The trend is paradoxically opposed by innovation and new technologies! The whole complex process works together to keep standards of living on a slow rise that is slightly worse than what the actual inflation level would lead us to expect.

At some point people do question whether this all adds up. Of course it doesn’t, not nearly, but it sure looks good while it’s flowing along. Pension plans will be the most obvious harbingers of the bad news that eventually inflation catches up with you.banknote-rupee.jpg Other painful reminders include the cost of health-care, health insurance, and medicines. Long term savings plans and incremental investments will yield something but much less than they should when compared to the damage that inflation has quietly been inflicting.

Money and easy credit are the end of a very long road that has separated our spending from the realities of our actual contributions to life. Think about it, as it is you’re just the last stop between the ATM and the corporation that owns the store that you’re heading to with the plastique in hand!

What would happen if inflation were to stop? What would happen if our governments printed just enough notes to maintain a fixed amount of money in circulation? What would happen if value addition were to be replaced by true value? What would happen if the purchasing power of a dollar or of a rupee were to become rock steady?

Have you thought about it this year-before you start (or at least finish) spending that bonus?

What will this Christmas/Pongal bring I wonder? Is it perhaps even possible to have fun and fellowship with friends and without money? Will anyone believe that you love them anyway even though you didn’t push your plastic a few thousand more over its already strained limit?

GOLD > Coins > Bills of exchange > CREDIT Þ Transactions

FARMING CONCRETE – India at 50/50

November 17, 2007 at 9:56 pm | Posted in corporate agriculture, developing agriculture, fairness, farmer suicide, free market, honesty, human-performed, justice, openness, planning commission, socialism, Yogi Berra | 4 Comments

We, the people of India, always seem to be at the crossroads.

For a country that is thought to be developing fast, a lot of the time we are quite uncertain as to our direction, and even more confused about our ultimate destination. Instead we are very busy doing what Yogi Berra once advised : “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

Everyone seems to silently assume that our goal in ‘development’ is to become a clone of ‘developed’ economies as much like the U.S. or Britain, or Japan, and to transform into this heavenly vision just as soon as possible.

Having traditionally been socialist in spirit but officially non-aligned, India has largely come out of ‘the socialist trap’, and now appears to be leaning towards a capitalist, ‘free market’ economy, somewhat to the delight of those who like possessing, and using, Capital. Or, so goes the assumption at present, but do we really wish to become ‘more developed’ in this limited and warped sense?

What are we turning ourselves into? What are we to become? We have indeed emerged, but to what? At present we Indians seems to me to be in the grip of a particularly thick fog. We are incapable of seeing our own noses, let alone tackling any bigger questions. And one of the biggest questions revolves around what we are going to do with agriculture.

Here is today’s biggest fork in the Indian Road: 50% (yes, one half) of India’s 1.1 billion population is now urban. The growing urbanisation of rural populations is driven by the death of small farming as a viable way to make a living. As making a livelihood out of farming becomes less attractive to families and (by design) much more attractive to corporates, the trend will be that smaller farms will be abandoned to be consolidated by larger, capital rich, corporates who will then complete the mechanisation of agriculture (in the name of efficiency) and try to completely eliminate rural labour.

What are we going to do to employ the up-coming flood of ex-farmers? The number of farmer suicides is growing (though we seem to hardly notice) by leaps and bounds every year. Do we just let them quietly continue to commit suicide? What a convenient solution…

The problem of course, is more general than just agriculture. In a comment on a previous post, Mahil had alluded to the increasing drive for specialisation in our developing world. As the machine, aided by intelligent computerised control, takes over both production and process, where will human-performed jobs come from? From a different angle, another tough question to answer now is : How will our nation’s wealth eventually be distributed? Do justice, and fairness, and honesty, and openness have a say in our direction into the future?

Admittedly, our problems in India are not small ones. With a population of well over a billion people, somewhat scarce natural resources, limitations on arable land, and weather that always seems intent on either starving us with drought or starving us with deluges, it’s perhaps not surprising that we seem fixated on wondering mostly about the when and the where of the next meal.

The pundits tell us that now, security is the name of the game. Do you own a house? Have you financially planned for your children’s educations, and more worryingly, their marriages? have you got a couple of credit cards? Are you keeping up with the Krishnans?

The idea of planning, beyond the matter of the family’s survival, is not something that includes our neighbors, our rural cousins and our nation at large.

Being shortsighted produces a situation that is rife for those who do have longer term agendas to quietly set their plans in train. Our politicians seem sometimes to be hand-in-glove and sometimes (rarely) simply dupes. Eventually, when the truth of massive sell offs does emerge, all will perhaps claim to have been too easily fooled! This is not in any sense a ‘conspiracy theory’. I refuse to believe that folks that are so good at ingeniously lining their own pockets are as dumb as they wish us to believe on the questions of development and overall direction.

In theory, we have something called a ‘planning commission’. The only problem is that this too is a ‘socialist’ leftover and as such this commission now does little of substance. The current head is someone who explicitly believes in deregulating everything. The resultant “Five Year Plans” have become manifestos of what to dismantle first, and of how fast the markets can be ‘liberated’.

Our politicians are just as intent on survival (in the narrowest sense) as anyone else, but they are far-sighted enough to ensure that their monetary genealogies will survive for at least a few generations of their own profligate progenies.

In other words, motive and opportunity are known to be present in all developing economies. These are the ingredients of economic murder. Our economic c(r)ooks are particularly intent on making them coincident TODAY in India.

So, what are we going to do about it? Are we prepared to continue to be myopically concerned with our own little selves? Are you prepared to let your child’s nation’s future be quietly sold off to the highest bidder?

NeoCononialism

August 30, 2006 at 12:24 pm | Posted in asylum, blair, bush, colonisation, colonization, dissidents, forcible deportation, great britain, Guantanamo, justice, liberty, magna carta, neoconial, neocononialisation, thatcher | Leave a comment

The tables have been turned. For those, like myself, who are citizens of nations that survived our colonisation by GREAT Britain, it’s ironic to see the ridiculous and comical turnaround that has occurred over the last 5 years.

Can’t really blame Tony. He had inherited a castrated nation and desperately needed to be leashed to the neocon HE-men of America in order to distract his people from their own desperate straits.

Margaret Thatcher was the much loved and therefore much reelected Prime Minister who knocked the final few nails into the coffin of British world hegemony. She has never recovered and now has to kow-tow quite shamelessly to the likes of GWB.

A globalised economy, the almighty dollar, a resurgent Euro (ever wondered where the vaunted Sterling is hiding?) and the loss of Hongkong (not to mention the Falklands war) had left Britain tottering.

From all the former colonies around the world we watch with somewhat mixed emotions as the new handler slaps his dog into complete, obsequious, submission. A former colony has in turn colonised (or is it neocononised) the once proud owners of an empire on which “the sun never set”.

The Magna Carta (of 1215) says “No Freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any otherwise destroyed; nor will we pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful Judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right.

But in today’s England, the neocononial tsunami that began with the secret “renderings” has washed away all traces of justice and liberty.

Those who came seeking asylum from the terror at their backs are falsely accused and imprisoned as suspected “terrorists”. When finally acquitted by the highest courts are nonetheless being forcibly deported to the control of Secret Police in countries that are known for their torturous and murderous treatment of dissidents.


And the tragicomedy continues to play out…

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