THE WEST NEEDS TO CHANGE ITS OBSESSION TO MANIPULATE, HOMOGENIZE AND HEGEMONIZE TO COME OUT OF RECESSION
Any new systems of operation, especially untested, if it is unleashed on a global scale for short time gains for the few and the mal intention of dominating the rest will slowly but surely cause unforeseen damage to everyone in some way or other. I am going to reproduce an article that I wrote in 1999 under my earlier name as V.KARTHIKEYN. This is about globalization.
It appeared as cover story in INDIAN CURRENTS 15-21st MARCH 1999 titled ‘FREE MARKET-THE NEW FALSE RELIGION’
There is nothing wrong in it and it is also inevitable but its selective and clandestine operations to secretly favor the few and rob the rest through multiple financial operations across the globe has affected and shall affect economies across the globe first the very poor and undeveloped, then the under developed, then those blossoming economies unless the those in power there are interested in their own country’s economic welfare, then finally it would also affect even the top ,big developed nations. This is precisely what has happened with Globalization. Now that the initial beneficiaries, namely, the developed nations are at the receiving end they are making a noises about how globalization has drained their economies, how it has taken away their employment, how it has reduced their exports.
Though I would not like to particularize the general and generalize the particular or resort to oversimplifying a very complex issue, yet there are certain basic socio-cultural and psychological approaches that are further fuelled by constant media publicity which force the human race to gregariously believe that what is projected by constant publicity is truth, the only truth or at least the best possible way to lead life. Cutting the preamble short it is all the outcome of the incurable sick obsession of the western psyche, namely, Homogenization. If it works well then it would be easier to hegemonize and administer whatever they want. Now every business activity which is essential for human life resorts to this and it goes to any lengths to promote growth and spread its tentacles, a classic example is the pharmaceutical industry, they create a scare , develop a vaccine and make global publicity about the dangers of the disease and the importance of having a specific vaccine.
Time and again I have been repeating in my blogs on various subjects that most of the problems are because of this.
THE ARTICLE AS IT APPEARED IN MARCH 1999 quote
‘FREE MARKET-THE NEW FALSE RELIGION’
“Swadeshi or no swadeshi, do we need to embrace the false religion called free market? I am not scripting a virulent Green Group Manifesto or a Red Brigade propaganda pamphlet, but honestly trying to brush aside jargon laden economic theories churned out by the priest of free market, and prise open the clam-shell of Transnational Corporations and reveal the bogey of the entire operations of the false religion called free trade, with its well publicized mantra of globalization as a God given incontrovertible truth, is exploiting the poor and the environment to ruinous ends that we could be bequeathing a totally uninhabitable planet for our future generations.
This globalization mania is the product of that incurable sick obsession of the western psyche, namely, homogenization. If we glimpse through the annals of history, we can observe this and the several ways in which this has been carried out: by indoctrination, by force, by cultural invasions, by wars etc. Throughout history it has failed miserably. Be it the Roman Empire’s greed to spread its tentacles , be it the attempt to homogenize religion which failed with Spanish Inquisition, be it Nazism or Colonialism, all have failed. Once these attempts at homogenizing cultures, beliefs, political ideologies have failed, now, the West is trying it in Trade and Economy. As before, it is bound to fail. But what we must learn from history and guard ourselves against is the heavy price that humanity may have to pay for facing and overcoming these attempts emanating from a few individuals charged with fanatical obsession in terms of Religious wars, Nazism, Colonialism etc with all their destructive manifestations.
The impact of the previous obsession were restricted to specific geographical area as they collapsed before they could successfully spread everywhere. But the manifestations of the present obsession, read Globalization of trade and economy affects the lives of everyone on the globe, either directly or otherwise, and can cause irreparable environmental damage which can even render life miserable for future generations.
Now we need to carefully understand the entire structure of this new false religion called free market.
· 1] Who are the Gods of this false religion called free market and globalization?
· 2] Which are its temples?
· 3] What are the myths of this false religion?
· 4] What are its main scripturs?
· 5] Who are the priests who so vehemently recommend it as a panacea for all human ills?
· 6] What are the rituals that are cleverly used to attract the people?
· 7] Who are the followers?
1] The Gods are undoubtedly the giant Transnational Corporations (TNCs). Their presence is almost ubiquitous, their grip is strangling. Nearly 70% of all international trade is controlled by a mere 500 corporations.
The 10 largest TNCs have a total income of 100 of the world’s poorest countries.
As in every religion here too the gods are hidden behind the clouds of rituals and myths floated by clever priests, who alone have the benefits of transacting with these gods in secrecy.
2] The Temples where the gods of this false religion operate are International Trade and Global Financial Transactions.
International trade has grown faster than world’s economy; it has grown 12 fold in the post war period and is expected to grow 6% annually for the next 10 years.
Global Financial Transactions, the bigger temples, dominated by a small number of banks, most of them based in US have been growing faster than trade. Flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) in 1995 reached US$ 315 billion ,almost 6 fold increase over 1981-85 level. In the same period trade increased by a little more than half.
Between the mid 70’s and 1996 the daily turnover of the world’s exchange markets increased a thousand fold from around US$ 1 billion to US$ 1200 billion.
Being a bigger temple, it cannot be treated like other ordinary organizations. That’s why when Nobel Prize winning economist James Tobin mooted a tax on foreign exchange transactions it was dubbed as Tobin Tax and turned away.
3] The Myths:-
A] It narrows the gap between the poor and the rich. It has only created a class of very rich people in some countries and many people poor in most of the countries.
As per the Human Development Report 1996,UNDP, share of global income ratio between the richest 20% and the poorest 20% was in 1960 30:2 and in 1993 it was 61:1.
B] Creates more employment:
Liberalization, privatization and the entry of MNCs are said to increase employment. But in many countries it has created more unemployment, displacement of even the well-employed due to policies of redeployment and retrenchment and so on. This has been the obvious outcome as the TNCs want to make the maximum profit by cutting down on labor and be competitive in the international market. This leads to lesser distribution of massive profits garnered by TNCs. This has what made G.TYLER remark (in The Nation-State Vs Global Economy Challenge 1993) ‘viewed globally the ultimate effect of the strategies pursued by the global corporations in their immediate best interest is to convert the globe in to a Dickensian England…. A world of underpaid and unemployed people unable to buy what they produce.’
C] HEALTHY COMPETITION:
There cannot be a greater lie. The priests of this religion are always very selective about the protection they oppose and the competition they promote.
D] HELPS SOCIAL WELL BEING:
In fact no other religion has ever interfered so outrageously into a social fabric and got away with it, but this did so by overturning Thailand’s restrictions on smoking to open the way for U.S tobacco companies as reported by Tom Athanasiou in DIVIDED PLANET.
Safety standards are brushed aside as non-tariff barriers to free trade .
4) THE SCRIPTURES:
The main scriptures are the World Bank, IMF, some private banks, WTO and GATT. All these lay down in the perfect rule for monetary manipulations.
The salient features of these scriptures:
The vicious circle of monetary manipulation proceeds are pocketed by the big transnational corporations which would then be slashed in private banks. These funds earned by the exploitation of cheap labor and rape of the environment of the Third world would be made to enter back into the very same Third world countries as loans for structural adjustments. Some portion of it is distributed as bait to those non participants and hesitant participants to this false religion of free market.
Most of these funds are squandered on eco-unfriendly damn development schemes like construction of huge dams or destroying the rain forests. Part of the funds also go for destructive military expenditure , and, of course , most importantly, a large chunk of the THIRD WORLD DEPT gets into those secret accounts in the banks of Switzerland through corrupt political leaders, bureaucrats and corporate barons who are the vociferous priests of this false religion. That’s why these scriptures, especially world bank which is supposed to help developing and underdeveloped countries and push aside all barriers to trade has not bothered even once to pass a resolution banning the most unjustifiable and dubious secrecy laws of SWISS BANKS. At least the WTO can do this. But the question is will it do it?
5] The Priests:
They are the direct and indirect agents of IMF,WTO etc. in the form of high profile bureaucrats, ministers, corporate tycoons etc who operate as mass opinion molders of the MNCs.
6] The Rituals:
Collaboration with multinationals. Rituals are always attractive, elaborate, and meant to make you forget the reality. All the rituals are performed to please the gods and /or profit the priests.
For example India has been performing a ritual of lately with great pomp and parade. Many MNCs in the automobile sector have entered into collaboration with several local manufacturers at the bequest of the priests because they know that labor is cheap here, most of the people are either illiterate or ignorant and the so-called intelligent folks are indifferent and therefore cars can be manufactured cheaply without bothering about any environmental or human problem and can be exported to other parts of the world and MNCs can gain in the competition. Recently ,there was a huge auto fair in the capital in which we witnessed much media hypes and more models’ hips to bring tangible benefits to the public from the rituals, many small cars were paraded which are expected to flood the Indian market. Dear Indian souls, why all of you have forgotten the reality and eternal problem this can cause. These cars mean more expenditure for fuel, for deploying more police to man the traffic, for more road space etc. This can also produce more CO2, more accidents etc. This also blocks our vision to see the inevitable necessity to improve the public transport both quantitatively and qualitatively or spend government funds on expanding less polluting rail transport rather than draining the funds by buying diesel and petrol. Finance minister after finance minister, chief minister after chief minister are vying with one another to offer place and platform for automobile collaborators. These people have not bothered to notice that the enormous growth of our population in the last five decades has already increased number of individual vehicles on the roads. They have also not noticed the number of government and government aided schools and colleges and hospitals that they ought to have provided for the growth in population. Why?
The ritual of economic liberalization does not bother about the millions of children who die without food due to poverty, millions more who die to easily preventable diseases due to lack of medical facilities and millions more who lead life without even the barest minimum literacy.
From the gullible public to the discerning denizens everyone is a follower of this false religion. Even the supposedly unbiased, perceptive media which is meant to inform the public and take care of long term interest of human beings and environment is either a victim or willing participant in this mess.
For the media millions dying of hunger and poverty is like sun rise and sun set, a regular feature which does not warrant reporting ,unlike an eclipse[ like the shining cars with sliding doors exhibited with the ectomorphic entourage of long legs and perky breasts strutting about in transparent wrap skirts] which needs to be reported. The glow of richness and banalisation of human instincts. Bravo! The glow and banalisation of globalization, the great false religion”
End of the article published in 1999
I must definitely change and accept the total inevitability of certain aspects which I have virulently criticized in the above article taking into consideration the inevitable economic trends not only to avoid being labeled as a luddite but also as a matter of honest realization of the inevitable. However the underlying intention is to make everyone see clearly that no single ideology, even in matters of economic development cannot be universally applied and many operations in the present time in history with lurking motives may recoil sooner than expected on the perpetrators of the operations. Now it is too late for US to regret their ugly deeds and uglier intentions. The recession must lead them to retrospect , more than that, respect that all nations on earth are populated with the same species called homo sapiens with just different cultures , value systems, religions etc but with equal rights on resources and reciprocal respect and right to reciprocate any disrespect .No single nation however powerful ,or group of nations, no single ideology, no single religion, no single way of life can be tested ,tried or thrust upon the whole world. So manipulation and homogenization cannot work in 21st Century.