In the last twenty years some ten thousand Indian business attracted US$150 billion investments. What is India doing to grow the next ten thousand businesses?
- Re likely to move around 52-54 level this month: Experts (news.in.msn.com)
- Current account deficit will come down to 3.7 p.c.: Chidambaram (thehindu.com)
- FII holding in Indian companies near record high (news.in.msn.com)
- Chidambaram meets FIIs (thehindu.com)
- SEBI to frame uniform guidelines for all foreign investors (thehindu.com)
- FIIs invest $2.3bn in equities so far this month (news.in.msn.com)
Take swine flu — now renamed. We know it started in La Gloria, a little town in Mexico. We know a young boy suffering from fever in March became the first confirmed victim of the current outbreak, which, even as I write, has reached India. What is not said is this ill-fated town is right next to one of Mexico’s biggest hog factories, owned by the world’s largest pig processor, Smithfield Foods. What is also not said is that people in this town have repeatedly protested against the food giant for water pollution, terrible stench and waste dumping. (via Sunita Narain: The real pandemic).
This will jolt you upright
There were two things about this post which made me sit up.
One – The real story behind the ‘probable’ pandemic. This is something that most mainstream media writers do not tell. Take official Government press releases, (sometimes) change the language and call it news. Sometimes, they help in the cover up. If this story does not become well-known enough, Mexico and its poor will be blamed for the starting this pandemic – by the West.
Two – the fragile state of US agriculture, specifically, and the West in general.
About 46,000 ‘corporate’ farmers, account for nearly 50% of US farm output – and most of the US$20 billion in subsidy. The US Government prints vast amounts of currency notes or issues US Treasury Bonds, which are lapped up (earlier by the Middle East Oil Potentates, and the Chinese these days). This money is then handed over to these ‘American farmers’.
The US agricultural system
An interesting situation exists in the food sector – especially in the US. Giant food corporations, killed buying competition with high prices (to farmers), direct buying from farmers (at higher prices), monoclonal seeds that destroy bio-diversity. And the US consumers are not getting the lower food prices that are being promised in India.
Farmers became dependent on corporate supplies of seeds (at high prices) and corporate purchases by the same corporations (at low prices). Today, an ‘efficient’ and ‘hi-tech’ agricultural farm sector in the US needs more than US$ 20 billion (conservative estimates are US$12 billion) of subsidies to survive.
The US-EPA says, “By 1997, a mere 46,000 of the two million farms in this country (America), accounted for 50% of sales of agricultural products (USDA, 1997 Census of Agriculture data)” (bold letters supplied) – and gobble up most of this huge subsidy that lowers Third World agricultural prices. These lower agricultural prices devastate agriculture in Third World countries, creating man-made famines. These man-made famines, of course, gives the West a false sense of superiority.
A study in contrast
The Indian agricultural system, with nil subsidies, working with cost disadvantages, does not have giant buying corporations and monoclonal seed stock, is holding its own against subsidized agricultural systems of the West. And paid hacks of these Western corporations are trying to tell Indian consumers and policy makers that these giant corporations will cut food costs in India.
These giant corporations are aiming for entry into India – promising ‘efficiencies’ in buying (which will give consumers a better price), and higher prices for farmers (which will increase farm incomes). Of course, this will last as long as there is competition.
Once, these giant corporations, fueled by huge amounts of debt and equity, drive out competition, they will lower the boom on the consumers and the farmer – like in the USA.
Stuffed and starved
Raj Patel, in his book, Stuffed and Starved, demonstrates how global food corporations are behind global food habits, imbalance traditional diets, creating disease epidemics (like diabetes) – and how India needs to be careful before crafting industrial policies that encourage these global corporations to destroy Indian agriculture. A book review extracts some key points as follows,
What we think are our choices, says Patel, are really the choices of giant food production companies. Millions of farmers grow food, six billion people consume it. But in between them are a handful of corporations creating what Patel calls “an hourglass” model of food distribution. One Unilever controls more than 90% of the tea market. Six companies control 70% of the wheat trade. Meanwhile, farmers across the world are pitted against each other, trying to sell these gatekeeper companies their produce. And if you think the consumer comes out on top because of all this competition, think again.
The End of Bretton Woods
With the collapse of Bretton Woods, this will become increasingly difficult. Where will US agriculture be without subsidies – in a massively high costs zone. US food exports will shrivel and global agricultural prices will reach (at least) 200 year highs (my estimate). And that will be the golden hour for Indian agriculture. What is the only dark cloud in this scenario – GM seeds which the West is pushing down the reluctant Indian agriculturists’ throat. With significant help from the Indian Government.
- Bamboo is liberated, says Jairam Ramesh (hindu.com)
- Growth in India – the state of the trickle-down debate | Priti Patnaik (guardian.co.uk)
- Global food crisis: Smallholder agriculture can be good for the poor and for the planet | Elwyn Grainger-Jones (guardian.co.uk)
- The Truth About Flu Pandemics (everydayhealth.com)
- Global food crisis: Argentina in battle with multinational grain giants | Felicity Lawrence in Buenos Aires (guardian.co.uk)
The U.S. Treasury and financial regulators are clashing with each other over how to disclose results from the stress tests of 19 U.S. banks, with some officials concerned at potential damage to weaker institutions. (via Bank Regulators Clash Over U.S. Stress-Tests Endgame (Update1) – Bloomberg.com).
What are banking insiders saying?
Banking insiders think that all these banks are practically insolvent. How does Obama and his cohorts deal with? Mega mergers? More cash infusions. Or will the US banking also finally end up with the Big 3?
Public sector or oblivion
During the Great Depression, more than 19 auto companies (similar to the number of banks today) were folded into the Big 3. The Big 3 lived to fight for another 70 years. In their death throes, the US Big Auto is likely to go the way European auto sector has gone – public sector or oblivion.
Saddam lives (through his words)
The way it looks, it will mean the Mother Of All Mergers. At which point, there is no team of accountants in the world who can figure out what is where, or what condition what is in? And then the evasions, the lies the obfuscation can continue for some more decades?
Real low … real truth (seen an oxymoron like that?)
The real question – who will pay for it?
Not the Americans! No siree. Definitely not.
Neither the American super-rich or the American welfare-poor? Not the American tax payers or the American tax evaders? Not the American Whites or the American Blacks?
It is the Chinese, the Russians, Indians, Brazilians and above all the Africans will pay for this! They have done, what bankers call non-recourse lending! The Chinese, Russians, Indians, Brazilians and the Africans, have no recourse. Who will the Chinese go to, for redeeming their US$2 trillion?
The bankrupt US of A? Welcome to the real world.
- U.S. Regulators Issue Stress-Test Guidelines for Smaller Banks (businessweek.com)
- Dollar falls against euro after stress tests (seattlepi.com)
- CIBC: What’s the American Century endgame? (theglobeandmail.com)
- Euro Bank Stress Test Results Due Soon (UK Banks Pass: Sky News) (blogs.wsj.com)
- Europe Bank Stress Tests Compromised by Greek Non-Default (businessweek.com)
- UK banks set to clash with EU over tough new capital rules (telegraph.co.uk)
- Here Are The Banks That Failed Today’s Stress Tests (businessinsider.com)
- Dollar falls against euro after stress tests (sfgate.com)