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

Myanmar – India supports the Junta’s Freedom to Loot

September 29, 2007 at 5:08 am | Posted in british empire, Burma, China, democracy, forest department, India's double standards, Indian foreign policy, junta, JV, MNC, multinational corporartion, Myanmar, Name and Shame, subversion | 2 Comments

The world has already expressed its disgust at the criminal actions of the military Junta in Myanmar. There are just two things that I would like to stress:

India’s voice has been silent. Why? What is the vested interest that shuts our mouth, or is it that our government actually secretly approves of the actions of the “Generals”?

As an immediate neighbor to Myanmar, one would think that we would be the first to express our dismay, but nowadays many ‘immediate neighbors’ are complicit by their silence; take South Africa and Zambia for example, and how they have chosen to ‘deal’ with Zimbabwe. India is proving to be a similarly adept tightrope walker.

Our Indian Junta does not believe in principles any more. The shock of the interim success of the religiously fundamentalist BJP seems to have stripped all of the remaining ideals from todays so-called leadership. The long-term game is to remain in power and in order to do that they feel the need for support and encouragement from other morally bankrupt (but rich) democratic allies. One can see that a certain world power is counting on inciting India to act as a bulwark against the ultimate ascendancy of the growing economic might of China. That particular power in turn unhesitatingly subverts the remaining principles of their chosen allies by the simple expedient of financing whomsoever will ‘toe its line’.

Western talk of promoting democracy has proved to be cheap. Belief in the benefits of true democracy have altogether disappeared. The result is seen here as India had backed away from doing anything about Tibet, and then ‘on request’ did the dirty to our long-time allies the Iranians, so too now will we sell the Myanmarese peoples to the highest bidder.

Both India and Burma (Myanmar) are ex-colonies of Great Britain! The British understood globalisation, and Realpolitik long before anyone else. They had to to be able to maintain a dominance, an empire for over two whole centuries, on which the sun never did set! At the same time the Brits have been busy writing histories of how selflessly they used their empire to educate and develop an uncivilised world. Our Indian leaders have learned too well at the feet of their former masters.

The unholy alliance of a China along with a subverted democracy, both joining in in the shenanigans of the key MNCs ensures the continuance of the military regime in Myanmar. This is my second point. The survival of the military junta is because they are tremendously rich. These riches fund the control of the army that then backs up completely the Junta’s undemocratic hegemony.

The money in the case of Myanmar, comes mainly from timber, oil, gas, opium, and mining. All of the timber, oil, and mineral wealth is harvested from the vast pristine tropical wilderness by multinational corporations (MNCs) whose activity is known and approved of by the nations that host and spawn these Money alone is God behemoths. The facts are not even denied; it is called progress, development and globalisation. Shamelessly such MNCs continue to operate without any controls, raping the lands and forests and simultaneously doing all in their power to ensure the continuance and enrichment of the ‘oh so cooperative’ golden-egg-laying-gooses of a Junta. The nations that spawn such monstrosities as these MNCs are the very ones that also piously speak of promoting democracy!

The majority of investment in oil and gas was made by multinational companies from France, United States and United Kingdom in entering joint venture projects with the state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE)

India and China in different ways are great supporters of today’s Myanmar, and even rivals for influence there, though there is little question that China’s economic influence does dominate.. India has its stake more as the key cutout and staging point for any MNC that wants to get round the ‘minor sanctions’ and the ‘muted murmurs of disapproval’ that are occasionally felt from Europe and America.

Myanmar is one nation where there is no need for any mafia. The looting and environmental destruction are legal! But MNCs prefer the anonymity of JVs and offshoring their activities through ‘friendlies’ like India.

It is also a little-recognised fact that the vast British empire was built on wood from Africa and Asia. In all former colonies one will find that some of the oldest surviving government departments are the FDs (Forest Departments) and that the systematic rape of third world forests was almost the first thing that the colonial British actually did to their colonies. While wood is still a very major money spinner, the future clearly lies in the oil and gas reserves. India and China in their unholy partnerships with the MNCs have their eyes and policies firmly fixed on all that gas and quite some oil reserves too.

  • India’s double standards and their hidden activity as proxies to ‘higher’ powers needs to be recognised and CONDEMNED.
  • The MNCs that are actually doing the damage but who have remained faceless need to be NAMED and SHAMED.

We Indians have been witness to the insidious but definite shift in our own nation’s foreign policies as it increasingly leans towards outright doing whatever the richest of nations want. The Indian activity is mediated (dare we suspect ‘funded’?) by these same nations and their MNCs i.e. the very ones who are consistently exploiting Myanmar (and wherever else the opportunity to act without any controls makes the process maximally profitable). It is a sad truth that both of our leading political parties have already been ‘converted’ into backboneless and unprincipled supporters of “that which should not be named”. While that pristine state in public speaks loudly of championing democracy, at the same time the word to the MNCs boardrooms is to quietly get on with getting the loot.

I am not at this moment much concerned about the sins of the rest of the world.
It is India’s shameless tactics that have confounded me.

Folks, it’s time to make a change!
Let’s stand up for what’s right, for a change…
India needs to get its act together NOW.

Pray for the peoples of Myanmar.

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