Archive

Posts Tagged ‘capitalism’

Karl Marx on the opium trade

June 7, 2011 1 comment
Faced with a labour crisis after slave revolts, Europe (specially England) needed alternatives for a new 'slavery' model. A fugitive theorist - Karl Marx. Capitalists and capitalist nations of Europe loved – especially the USA.. Click for bigger image.

Faced with a labour crisis after slave revolts, Europe (specially England) needed alternatives for a new 'slavery' model. A fugitive theorist - Karl Marx gave a model for 'slavery'. Capitalists and capitalist nations of Europe loved – especially the USA.. Click for bigger image.

Marx on the Opium trade

Some 150 years later, Karl Marx’s commentary on the opium trade remains relevant.

Much loved by the capitalists of his time, Karl Marx analyzed opium trade well.

Nurtured by the East India Company, vainly combated by the Central Government at Pekin, the opium trade gradually assumed larger proportions, until it absorbed about $2,500,000 in 1816. The throwing open in that year of the Indian commerce gave a new and powerful stimulus to the operations of the English contrabandists.

In 1820, the number of chests smuggled into China increased to 5,147; in 1821 to 7,000, and in 1824 to 12,639. Meanwhile, the Chinese Government, at the same time addressed threatening remonstrances to the foreign merchants, punished the Hong Kong merchants, (with) more stringent measures. The final result, like that in 1794, was to drive the opium depots from a precarious to a more convenient basis of operations.

The trade shifted hands, and passed to a lower class of men, prepared to carry it on at all hazards and by whatever means. Thanks to the greater facilities thus afforded, the opium trade increased during the ten years from 1824 to 1834 from 12,639 to 21,785 chests.

The year 1834 marks an epoch in opium trade. The East India Company lost its privilege of trading (and) had to discontinue and abstain from all commercial business whatever. It being thus transformed from a mercantile into a merely government establishment, the trade to China became completely thrown open to English private enterprise which pushed on with such vigour that, in 1837, 39,000 chests of opium, valued at $25,000,000, were successfully smuggled into China, despite the desperate resistance of the Celestial Government.

We cannot leave without singling one flagrant self-contradiction of the Christianity-canting and civilization-mongering British Government. In its imperial capacity it affects to be a thorough stranger to the contraband opium trade, and even to enter into treaties proscribing it.

Yet, in its Indian capacity, it forces the opium cultivation upon Bengal, to the great damage of the productive resources of that country; compels one part of the Indian ryots to engage in the poppy culture; entices another part into the same by dint of money advances; keeps the wholesale manufacture of the deleterious drug a close monopoly in its hands; watches by a whole army of official spies its growth, its delivery at appointed places, its inspissation and preparation for the taste of the Chinese consumers, its formation into packages especially adapted to the conveniency of smuggling, and finally its conveyance to Calcutta, where it is put up at auction at the Government sales, and made over by the State officers to the speculators, thence to pass into the hands of the contrabandists who land it in China.

The chest costing the British Government about 250 rupees is sold at the Calcutta auction mart at a price ranging from 1,210 to 1,600 rupees. But, not yet satisfied with this matter-of-fact complicity, the same Government, to this hour, enters into express profit and loss accounts with the merchants and shippers, who embark in the hazardous operation of poisoning an empire.

The Indian finances of the British Government have, in fact, been made to depend not only on the opium trade with China, but on the contraband character of that trade. Were the Chinese Government to legalize the opium trade simultaneously with tolerating the cultivation of the poppy in China, the Anglo-Indian exchequer would experience a serious catastrophe. While openly preaching free trade in poison. it secretly defends the monopoly of its manufacture. Whenever we look closely into the nature of British free trade, monopoly is pretty generally found to lie at the bottom of its “freedom.” (via Karl Marx in New York Daily Tribune Articles On China, 1853-1860 Free Trade and Monopoly; linking text in parentheses supplied; parts excised for brevity and relevance).

Charge of the lite brigade

The nature of the political beast is the same. Welcome to globalization of ideology. A standardized world. No difference at all!

It has been Post WW2 belief that Economic planning and State intervention will work. (Artist - David Low; (1891-1963) Published - Evening Standard, 26 Jun 1944).

It has been Post WW2 belief that economic planning and State intervention will work. (Artist - David Low; (1891-1963) Published - Evening Standard, 26 Jun 1944).

Low-cal, idea-lite brigade

With a collapsing economic base, changing power equations, their social superiority in tatters, the West has created a corps of propagandists, whose  job it is to create red herrings and  dead-end arguments. These content-lite ideologues, manage to put many ‘victims’ on the defensive.

For the past few quarters, we have seen a rising tide of co-ordinated attacks on China, using right-wing Christian rhetoric, from pit-bulls like Hugh Hendry, Jim Chanos, with the Charlie Rose show chiming in, aided by ‘think-tanks’ like CFR.

A recent column, deals with one such nuisance. A banker-economist-columnist, Abheek Barman writes about Ian Bremmer and his latest ‘theses’ about ‘state capitalism.’

Ian Bremmer, a pundit who analyses global political risks at the Eurasia Group, has recently argued that giant companies, backed by governments, are out to capture free markets. Among others, he identifies China, Russia, Brazil – and India – as candidates that practice ‘state capitalism.’

Western auto industry

Is the French and German auto industry anything but State controlled. With governing boards packed with representatives of the various Landesbanks, union representatives, where does private sector classification come from.

'Confidence of the voter' is always useful and preferred. In case it is absent ... does it matter? (Artist RJ Matson - from Roll Call, Date - 7/21/2010 4.02.01 PM).

'Confidence of the voter' is always useful and preferred. In case it is absent ... does it matter? (Artist RJ Matson - from Roll Call, Date - 7/21/2010 4.02.01 PM).

Are we forgetting how Europe’s largest auto-manufacturer Volkswagen, was set up by State initiative? Or how Renault was saved from the ignominy of ‘Nazi’ collaboration by State initiative? How long would the Agnelli Empire last without State support? Are we not forgetting how Chrysler has been saved several times by US State guarantees – and now GM, too!

Banks on a dole queue

A Swiss survey estimates that the Western banks may need US$1.5 trillion in capital-support. Would Mr.Bremmer like to name the likely source for these funds? French banking is public-sector controlled – which in turn controls French industry. Are we saying that Alsthom, ENI and ANSALDO are private creatures!

In the USA, the heavy-hand of the State was plain and for all to see in the handling of LTCM, WaMU, Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers. Can anyone forget how Robert Rubin, Hank Paulson, Alan Greenspan all had a distinguished private-sector career (mostly at Goldman Sachs) – before and after their positions in the US Government.

Ian Bremmer frequently faults the ‘sovereign funds’ as a ‘marker’ of the State Capitalism’. Are BofA, Citibank, JP Morgan-Chase, RBS, Barclay’s, Credit Lyonnais, Credit Agricole anything but sovereign funds by another name? Was the Western housing bubble anything but an ‘efficient’ cash-tranfer mechanism? US-Fed printed money and the banks distributed – and the State bailed out the banks. A welfare scheme by another name.

And no! I solemnly declare that there was and is no conflict of interest in all this.

Voter apathy is the real objective behind the mock-fights and pseudo-competition - a facade for collusive power-sharing. (Artist - Jeff Parker, from Florida Today, 7/30/2010, 2.02.01 PM)

Voter apathy is the real objective behind the mock-fights and pseudo-competition - a facade for collusive power-sharing. (Artist - Jeff Parker, from Florida Today, 7/30/2010, 2.02.01 PM)

The incestuous bureaucracy

This kind of co-ordination, without an explicit policy, is possible in a close-knit, group, which has a shared value system, and is accepted by the general population. National bureaucracies have followed similar paths across nations.

What is good for General Motors is good for America. In the USA, Fortune 500 corporations, Wall Street firms, top banks serve as recruiting and training grounds for top bureaucrats. In China and the ex-USSR, the overtly political Communist Party was the training and recruiting ground for bureaucrats.

In most other countries, certain ‘secular’ institutions covertly work as training and recruiting rounds for creating an aligned bureaucracy. Top Japanese and French bureaucrats strangely come from one university. For instance, in Japan from The University of Tokyo, Law Faculty and the French ‘enarques’ cut their teeth at Ecole National d’Administration (ENA). The role of Oxbridge in the British Government cannot be understated.

Making the 'right' noises is 'modern' politics! (Artist - Peter Brookes, Published - The Times, 21 Sep 2002).

Making the 'right' noises is 'modern' politics! (Artist - Peter Brookes, Published - The Times, 21 Sep 2002).

Between 1900 and 1986, 45 per cent of permanent secretaries –or administrative heads of government departments –came from Oxford, 23 per cent from Cambridge.

Like Secretary Hillary Clinton correctly pointed out to business leaders in Pakistan, “we tax everything that moves and doesn’t move, and that’s not what we see happening in Pakistan.” Compared to G7, the share of the State in the BRIC nations would be less than 25% of the national GDP.

The nature of the beast is the same, Mr.Bremer. And this goes for you too, Mr.Barman. The world, these days has become ideologically standardized. Welcome to globalization. No difference at all!

And to think! Ian Bremmer accuses the BRIC countries of practicing ‘state capitalism’. Mr.Bremmer, these arguments are futile. Much like the futile British charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War, against the Russians. Like the French general said, it is C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre, c’est de la folie. (It is magnificent, but it is not war, it is folly).

Extract from Ian Bremmer in Foreign Affairs

From The End of the Free Market | The Call.

A generation ago, the collapse of communism made clear that government can’t simply mandate lasting economic growth. To fuel the rising prosperity on which their long-term survival will depend, political leaders in China, Russia, the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf and other authoritarian states have accepted that they have to embrace market-based capitalism. But if they leave it entirely to market forces to determine winners and losers, they run the risk of enriching those who will use their new wealth to challenge the state’s power.

Instead, they have embraced state capitalism. Within these countries, political elites use state-owned and politically loyal, privately owned companies to dominate entire economic sectors — like oil, natural gas, aviation, shipping, power generation, arms production, telecommunications, metals, minerals, petrochem­icals, and other industries. They finance all these institutions with the help of increasingly large pools of surplus foreign cash known as sovereign wealth funds.

State capitalism isn’t an ideology. It’s more a set of management principles. It can never match the hold that communism once had on the popular imagination, because it wasn’t born as a response to injustice. It was created to maximize political leverage and state profits, not to right historical wrongs. The system is not the same from one country to another, because the ruling elites in Beijing, Moscow, and Riyadh use it to meet distinctly different sets of needs. And no two state capitalist governments can ever fully align their interests. By its very nature, it’s exclusionary; like mercantilism, it promotes one state at the expense of others. That’s why there can’t really be any kind of “state capitalist consensus.”

Instead, you get client states — mainly smaller Asian countries in China’s shadow and energy exporting governments in Africa and Latin America badly in need of friends with deep pockets. Brazil, India and other big emerging markets that have elements of both free market and state capitalist systems have seats at the G20 table alongside some serious free market skeptics. The developed states don’t have much to offer them at the moment that looks attractive for their economic stability.


Emulate Gujarat’s agricultural success – The Economic Times

Talk is cheap ... data talks

Talk is cheap ... data talks

Gujarat is a drought-prone state, with an irrigation cover of just 36% of gross cropped area. Increased water supply from Sardar Sarovar project, higher investments in check-dams and watersheds (as of June 2007, a total of 2, 97,527 check dams, boribunds and Khet Talavadi (farm ponds) had been constructed by the state in cooperation with NGOs and the private sector), and of course, good rainfall for the past few years has helped propel growth. (via Emulate Gujarat’s agricultural success- Policy-Opinion-The Economic Times).

Indian economic model

There is something interesting in the state of Gujarat. Sometime back there was a status report on finances of all state governments in India. The difference between Gujarat and the Rest of India was stark and telling. Very impressive.

While we have Westernized ‘experts’ saying that Indian agriculture is a dead end – and promoting a line of ‘there is no option apart from mega projects’, we have here in Gujarat the real solution to agriculture and water management. The Gujarat solution, which has been India’s way of managing water. Effectively, at a low cost, under the control of the people who use it and need it. Indian agriculture has a bright future – these ‘experts’ notwithstanding.

Which makes me think.

With Chief Minster’s like Yeddyurappa in the South and Narendra Modi fom the West, what BJP needs is two more Chief Ministers. One for the North and one for the East. To break the logjam at the national level. The last two electoral defeats at the national levels has seen BJP in disarray.

But at the state level it is a different story. More power to such Chief Ministers.

Where Marx comes alive – Pallavi Aiyar

August 9, 2009 1 comment

For greater good of the most many ...

For greater good of the most many ...

perhaps nothing exemplifies European socialism more than the maze of regulations governing the retail trade in Belgium. It took a panel of five young government officials from the Directorate for Regulation and Organisation of the Market, armed with pages of notes, to explain the main highlights of these to me.

This is what I learnt: In Belgium, shops can only legally go on ‘sale’ twice a year, in January and July. It is only during these periods that shops may sell goods at below cost or ‘extremely reduced’ profit. For six weeks before the sales period, shops may not advertise price reductions.

Although offering discounts (as long as these do not amount to a loss) is legal at other times of the year, for a month before the biannual sales, textiles, shoes and leather products may not be discounted at all. Moreover, the sales are reserved for the ‘seasonal renewal’ of stock, so products deemed non-seasonal may not be included in the sale. Sofas, for example, are considered seasonal but antiques are not.

To implement all of this, two hundred-odd inspectors from the Directorate wander around the country inspecting and many complaints regarding non-compliance are also phoned in.

The rationale behind this mountain of red tape is the protection of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which it is believed would go bankrupt if big retail were to be allowed to dump in an unrestrained manner. (via Pallavi Aiyar: Where Marx comes alive).

Europe has come a full circle!

The State has slowly and surely, completely taken over. The hard-fought liberties, the Magna Cartas, the Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, have been in vain. The people have just stepped up to the dias and handed over all the power back to the State. The much touted Renaissance and Reformation have all come to nought.

For the Rest of the World, what is truly a cause of anxiety is that the East seems to be embracing Western political ideology and constructs with reckless enthusiasm – in their quest for ‘progress’ and ‘modernity’. And the public sector behemoths may yet cause some damage.

Remember the East India Company – a public sector company.

Mercantilism reconsidered by Dani Rodrik

July 28, 2009 1 comment

Healthcare is killing

Healthcare is killing

the mercantilist mindset provides policymakers with some important advantages: better feedback about the constraints and opportunities that private economic activity faces, and the ability to create a sense of national purpose around economic goals. There is much that liberals can learn from it.

Indeed, the inability to see the advantages of close state-business relations is the blind spot of modern economic liberalism. Just look at how the search for the causes of the financial crisis has played out in the US. Current conventional wisdom places the blame squarely on the close ties that developed between policymakers and the financial industry in recent decades. For textbook liberals, the state should have kept its distance, acting purely as Platonic guardians of consumer sovereignty. (via Dani Rodrik: Mercantilism reconsidered).

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.

What is on the table

Hobsons choice?

Hobson's choice?

2 out of the G-7 countries are bankrupt – US and Britain. Their industrial base was supported by raw materials and captive markets – acquired by genocide, and the loot of centuries.

France, Germany, Canada, Italy  and Australia (not in G7) are tethering on the brink – under the weight of their social security system, and most of their business is in the public sector. A geriatric Japan is dependent almost entirely on exports to these declining seven. Japan’s investment in India and China has been negligible.

Real low … real truth (seen an oxymoron like that?)

The real question – who will pay for this financial crisis?

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, who will pay for these bailouts! They (BRICS+Africa) 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.

US economic outlook

How the West can become competitive?

How can the West become competitive?

US auto is down – but not yet out. It will limp along for few more decades. The US is still the prime force in the computing industry – though not on the manufacturing side. US oil industry no longer dominates international markets the way they did in mid-20th century. The US nuclear industry faces increasing competition from a public sector French and Russian industry. The seemingly strong position of the US in agriculture is based on two aspects. Massive direct subsidies – of more than 8 billion dollars. And indirect subsidies of possibly another US$ 8 billion. Most of which goes to the 46000 farmers who account for 50% of the US agricultural production. The communication sector has again seen the erosion of US competitiveness – with the domination of GSM technology seemingly solid for another 10-15 years. The global financial markets were dominated by the US organizations in the past – but with the global financial crisis and the end to dollar dominance may see reduced clout for US firms.

Big Government ... Big oil ...

Big Government ... Big oil ...

With such an economic outlook over the next 10-25 years, what the US leadership may focus on, is Arctic oil. Oil will remain a strategic asset only with high prices (slower production increase and faster demand growth) and if no other energy source appears. Oil finds in the Atlantic and Pacific republics may spoil the party – for instance, Cuban oil.

Much like the respite of the North Sea oil to Britain, Arctic oil may provide a temporary halt to the slide in US economic dominance. If the US can lay its hands on a significant part of it!

The other option is to nationalize the US economy. Like France, Germany and Italy. The economies of France, Germany and Italy are practically run by public sector monopolies – or subsidized behemoths, who make survival of competitors difficult by their ability to sustain losses – based on Government largesse.

The lure of ‘capitalism’ …

The Franco-German-Italian public sector model may be the only answer

The Franco-German-Italian public sector model may be the only answer

Why is the West so keen on calling these publc sector, subsidy driven regimes as Capitalism? Capitalism depended on looted capital and slave labour to prosper – resulting in the famous ‘laissez faire’ quip. Capitalists wanted and got ‘laissez faire’ capitalism – which was a ‘coda’ for unlimited slavery. The restrictions on laissez faire were actually restrictions on slaves.

Now under socialism, they get unlimited protection from ‘destructive’ competition. Which is being papered over by names like crony capitalism, free market capitalism. etc.,  etc.

After the multi-trillion dollar bailout, which has just begun, and with more than US$4 trillion with China, Japan, Russia and India, neither is the outcome certain nor is the outlook bright.

Last but not the least, we must remember the power wielded by the Chartered Companies of Europe – another word for public sector.  East India Company was a public sector company!

The Rest of the World needs to be careful of these public sector monsters!

Italian capitalism … French Capitalism .. German Capitalism …

May 13, 2009 3 comments

To hide the empty cupboard, new ‘isms’ and fresh ‘cracys’ are paraded. E.g. Crony capitalism, State capitalism and so on. As these balloons lose height, a new balloon is launched.

More than outsourcing, it a question of being competitive  |  Cartoon titled CEO Nightmare  on October 9th, 2008 by Barry Deutsch  |  Click for image.

More than outsourcing, it a question of being competitive | Cartoon titled CEO Nightmare on October 9th, 2008 by Barry Deutsch | Click for image.

The Agnellis were more than Fiat’s controlling shareholders. They have been the de facto royal family of Italian capitalism. Gianni Agnelli, the patriarch who died in 2003, was at the centre of a web the cross-shareholdings that gave a small group of entrepreneurs and bankers disproportionate power over Italian industry. The group was called the “salotto buono” (literally “the fine drawing room”).

The downturn has been tough on some of the old powerbrokers. Mediobanca, the investment bank disproportionately powerful because of its shareholdings, reported a plunge in profits after taking E281m of writedowns on strategic stakes in Telecom Italia and RCS Mediagroup.

But the old network might be replaced by something worse: “Berlusconism”. Silvio Berlusconi is prime minister, the richest man in Italy and master of most of the country’s media … Berlusconi has already meddled directly in the national airline, Alitalia and the national telephone operator, Telecom Italia. His indirect influence is even being felt in old bastions of financial power such as Mediobanca where his daughter recently won a board seat.

Italy did not do too badly with the “mixed” state-private economic model it followed postwar. But Berlusconi’s version seems to have a special twist. His record shows he likes talking about reform, but his actions reveal an unhealthy interest in furthering his personal empire. With Italian GDP predicted to shrink 4% this year, that approach is the last thing Italian business needs. (via Fiat’s dealing will change Italian capitalism).

Capitalism was always about controlling capital

Capitalism was always about controlling capital

Public sector economies of Europe

The economies of France, Germany and Italy are practically run by public sector monopolies – or subsidized behemoths, who make survival of competitors difficult by their ability to sustain losses – based on Government largesse.

Spain and Britain have all but collapsed! Which way will the US jump – will it also go the public sector way – go the Spanish way? By the way, the national industry in Spain these days is prostitution!

Which bring me to another question!

The lure of ‘capitalism’ …

Why is the West so keen on calling these public sector, subsidy driven regimes as Capitalism? Capitalism depended on looted capital and slave labour to prosper – resulting in the famous ‘laissez-faire’ quip. Capitalists wanted and got ‘laissez faire’ capitalism – which was a ‘coda’ for unlimited slavery. The restrictions on laissez-faire were actually restrictions on slaves.

Now under socialism, they get unlimited protection from ‘destructive’ competition. Which is being papered over by names like crony capitalism, free market capitalism. etc.,  etc.

Coverup .. Papered over .. Spit and polish ...

Coverup .. Papered over .. Spit and polish …

Look at Spain and Britain

Spain’s national industry today is prostitution. Britain is floating on the sewage of the Bretton Woods bilge! After the multi-trillion dollar bailout, which has just begun, and with more than US$4 trillion with China, Japan, Russia and India, neither is the outcome certain nor is the outlook bright.

Last but not the least, we must remember the power wielded by the Chartered Companies of Europe – another word for public sector.  East India Company was a public sector company!

The Rest of the World needs to be careful of these public sector monsters!

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?

Which model will US follow – public sector or closure? Subsidies or welfare?

Real low … real truth (seen an oxymoron like that?)

The real question – who will pay for it?

Not the Americans! No siree. Definitely not.

Will the Lilliputs manage a soft landing?

Will the Lilliputs manage a soft landing?

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.


Modi fails the Kalinga test – The Economic Times

April 20, 2009 9 comments

Nothing in our modern democracy, nor anything in our political culture that is over two millennia old, permits the ascendance of a ruler who lacks compassion for the people. In our myths, our history and our practice as citizens of a free and democratic country, there is no warrant for the exercise of unbridled power, or for a leader who fails the Kalinga test. (via Modi fails the Kalinga test- Opinion-The Economic Times).

Ananya Vajpeyi, teaches at the University of Massachusets, Boston. A ‘concerned’ NRI, she is cautioning her unlettered and unsophisticated‘desi brethren’ about the dangers of electing Narendra Modi. The basis of her fears – a highly critical (of Narendra Modi) article in a US magazine The Atlantic, by a influential journalist, Robert D Kaplan (extracted and linked above).

First and foremost, फ़िकर Not! Ananya. The Indian Voter knows what he is doing.

Secondly, and sadly, the hatchet job done by Robert Kaplan suffers from many infirmities – none of which you point out. What Robert Kaplan has done is use Narendra Modi as a human shield to attack India – secure in the belief that ‘no one will dare defend Narendra Modi’.

One – ‘Free’ India made bad and the wrong choices

Look at Kaplan’s statement on India’s post colonial choices “to protect the poor against the ravages of capitalism, which benefits only the majority rather than everyone”

Same difference ...
Same difference …

No one, but no one, in their right minds, (Kaplan excepting) will ever state that Capitalism ‘benefits only the majority’. Capitalism benefited a small minority, who were allowed to concentrate and control the means of production – and enrich themselves; usually through Corporations.

The quid pro quo is that the capitalists will in turn advance the agenda of the ‘rulers’. E.g. The English East India Company. American Socialists may differentiate themselves by calling themselves as Capitalists,  may offer anecdotal evidence of a ‘trickle down effect’ – better than the Eastern European Socialists, but it can hardly be called a benefiting the majority.

Also, India could never have chosen capitalism – as that would have required vast numbers of slaves. Capitalism, which died out in 19th century, as we all know, was built on the pillars of ‘on-shore’ slavery and colonialism. Kaplan either forgets (unlikely) or does not know (surprising) that India has never used slaves – in the last 5000 years of history.

All countries are socialists today ...
All countries are socialists today …

India’s post-colonial choices were a mix of pragmatism, necessity and accepted wisdom of the times – and Western pressures and influences that are responsible for more than a fair share of guilt in these wrong choices.

Kaplan conveniently forgets that economists like JK Gailbraith, Western institutions like World Bank, IMF, stampeded India (and Nehru), into some of these bad choices – which the West now claims were India’s own choices in the first place.

For instance, one of the worst choices made by India, tied to World Bank, IMF and US aid, was to follow the infamous population control policy.

Two -India is a paradox, cannot survive

Kaplan’s ‘deadly ethnic and religious tensions’ bit is again a case of selective amnesia. Would he like to trace the role of US and its client, named Pakistan, in the religious tensions that India manages today? Would he like to account for the US$ 3 billion that Indian NGOs receive each year – mostly from the West. These NGOs mostly, are a cover for proselytization or worse still, some of them are fronts for subverting or influencing Indian public agenda.

French youths face Paris riot police in Clichy-sous-Bois - Oct. 29, 07

French youths face Paris riot police in Clichy-sous-Bois - Oct. 29, '07

Or would he like to posit the fact that the West today has the lowest levels of ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity – and persecutes whatever little is left, like the Roma Gypsies for example. Would he like to mention any other country where such a large minority Muslim population, has greater freedom and opportunity, than in India? Would you like to suggest France instead?

India manages the aspirations of nearly 17 crore Muslims – which is equal to half the population of the entire US of A. Get a minority population of that size, and then Mr.Kaplan, we will talk about the Gujarat riots.

In case you don’t remember, a simple marker for persecution Kaplanbhai, is decline in populations. Has the Muslim population in India declined? Like the Native American population has or the post-bellum African-American population has declined (in comparison to the ante-bellum)? Or the Jewish and and Roma Gypsy populations has (ignoring the limited population recovery of Roma Gypsies in post WW2 West). Or the reduction due to genocide of the poor Congolese by the Belgian emperor.

Did you see such magazine covers in India, Mr.Kaplan?

Did you see such magazine covers in India, Mr.Kaplan?

Post colonial census started with a Indian Muslim population of about 11.2% – which has now crossed 15%. Is that persecution, Mr.Kaplan? Is the ‘perceived’ Muslim backwardness (as defined by the Sachar Committee report) an effect of Indian public policy or are social choices made by Indian Muslims, the cause?

All the “social homogenization that globalization engenders” I have seen in India is how Western culture and content (TV shows, Hollywood, etc.) continues to remain a flop show!

I have no clue where Kaplan gets his data or opinions from?

Three -The argumentative Indian

The Kalinga effect.

I always thought Ashoka’s change in heart was a universal lesson – especially for the war-mongering Desert Bloc killlers – like George Bush! Modi looked away while some (estimated) 2000 Muslims were killed in riots. George Bush was looking, everyday, at more people getting killed in Afghanistan and Iraq (20 lakhs (2 million) at last count) than in Gujarat. What about the various US Governors who looked away as more than 2000 killed in riots at Queens, Bronx and Haarlem?

Is it that only Indians (especially Hindus) are supposed to be moral, Bhai Kaplan? King Ashoka is a lesson in history for all war mongers – and not Indians alone, Mr.Kaplan! Is it that Indians will be always be held to higher standards – while the West (and the Desert Bloc in general) can keep getting away with murder, genocide and massacres?

Four -Kaplan ko kyon gussa aata hai or (If only Narendra Modi would apologize) …

Kaplanbhai has a brilliant idea for Indians!

He is suggesting we let Mr.Modi get away with the Gujarat riots, if he says sorry! By making a proforma apology!

Worry about the West, Kaplanbhai!

Worry about the West, Kaplanbhai!

Like the many false apologies, made or not made, after the genocide of Jews, Native Americans, or the Roma Gypsies or the Australian aborigines, and then get on with life. Ananya, you should know Indians better than Kaplan.

A common derisive Indian response to apologies is अँगरेज़ तो चले गए लेकिन, येह सॉरी शब्द यहीं छोड़ गए (the English have left, but they have left behind this word sorry). Indians will accept a change – complete and total change in behaviour! Satori! The flash! Indians will give a second chance to even criminals and robbers – without an apology!!

But empty apologies? Bad idea! Like Valmiki (the writer of Ramayana) did not apologize – but, instead he reformed! Or the many dacoits (Phoolan Devi et al) in the recent past, who were elected to the Indian Parliament.

Five -Kaplan in knots

Kaplan’s finds “migrants … Muslim, from throughout India have been streaming into Gujarat” and Kaplan also “encountered … alienation from India, evidenced by their withdrawal into their own communities …”

Two comments spaced a few paragraphs apart, and the contradictions become clear. If he cannot understand this anecdotal  ‘inconsistency’ he should either flag it or exclude it. What he is doing, is hiding it!

Six -The best of the trash

Obama and Modi comparison! Now that is interesting!

This is the only bit I liked in that entire article. Leaving his (one-legged, Godhra riots based) commentary aside, I would like to see a second Black person become a President of the USA. Just like there never has been a Catholic President, ever – except once, who was murdered!

Obama is tokenism.

In the last 60  years, in 15 US elections, only one bald US president has been elected – and only 5 bald presidents in the 233 years of Republican US. Seemingly, the US Voter and political system selects people with a headful of hair! And we are not even started on a woman president or a Muslim President! Worry about the prejudices and biases of the American Voter, Mr.Kaplan. India has had numerous Muslims in important positions – Supreme Chief justices,  Presidents (two of them, at last count), many Central Government Ministers!

It has taken nearly 60 years for Narendra Modi’s ‘right-wing’ Indian, ‘Hindu fundamentalist’ party to come to power – and lose it. They have been given opportunities at the states – and been suitably rewarded and punished – based on performance. The Indian Voter has voted the ‘Communists’ and the ‘Fascists’, fundamentalists and liberals, of all shades and colors – in and out of power. Indian Voters are smart enough and know what is good for them.

It is the American Voter, who is the concern, Ananya!

Seven -India – defeated and divided

Kaplan takes a misguided statement of a misinformed (by propaganda as education) Indian, Vijay Chauthaiwale, a molecular biologist that “They (the Muslim) conquered … we lost. The British conquered. We lost. We were a defeated society. We needed to come together as Hindus.” This is so juicy and tempting!

Would Kaplan take the word of an American molecular biologist on history as close-to-truth. If he did, The Atlantic, would throw him out faster than he can spell history.

Is this propaganda or opinion? History, it ain’t, Mr.Kaplan!!

Let us go to the ancient world.

The expansion of the Eyptian Slave Empire, led by their Pharoah Thutmose III,  was stopped at the Battle of Megiddo (1468 BC) – by an Indo-Aryan alliance of Mittanis, Amurrus and Cannanaites. It is the Battle of Megiddo, from which the Biblical Armageddon is derived, meaning, ‘mount of Megiddo’. The alliance led by “king of Kadesh with the support of troops and money from the Mitanni, the great power to the north,” was able to take on the might of the Egytian armies under Pharaoh Thutmose III.

Or the three important battles of the ancient world. Ramesis-II at the Battle of Kadesh!! Semiramis, whose Assyrian Empire, was finally dissolved after WW1, tasted a horrific defeat in her Indian campaign. The resounding defeat of Cyrus The Great at the hands of the Indo-Scythian alliance is rarely recounted in modern history.

More recently, Alexander’s retreat from India (which Kaplan also refers to, in his subsequent post) is too well known for me to repeat. The death of Crassus at the hands of Indo-Parthian General Suren is too grisly for Western tastes – and usually covered up, delicately. As is the defeat of Justinian’s Roman armies, at the Persian borders at the hands of Indo-Persian elephant army is not usually mentioned either.

The first foreign-Islamic ruler in Delhi, Qutubuddin Aibak, was in 1206 by which time large parts of Europe were already under Islamic rule for more than 400 years, from 8th century itself. Within 200 years, by 1400, the Ashvakans (these days known as Afghans) Lodhis and the Moghuls re-took New Delhi from the Khiljis – which ended foreign rule in India. Many Indians are still victims of colonial propaganda – which shows India as  ‘defeated society’. Kaplan is either a (unlikely) victim of this propaganda or a (most probable) part of the problem? Either way, bad job!

And you Ananya, should know better.

Eight -Small things that actually mean big things

He comments on how Narendra Modi wore “traditional paijama pants and a long, elegant brown kurta—ironically, the traditional dress of India imported by the Mughals.”

I got bad news again for you, Mr.Kaplan.

India is the only culture in the world to have unisex clothing. The plainsmen and women wore the 5-yard dhoti and saree – and the hills people wore the tubular top and leggings.  And this is one of the many things that Alexander’s armies learnt in India. Macedonian national dress is the salavaria!

Nine-Where would India be without the British Raj

Kaplan can’t resist crediting the British! His desperation to credit “The British, by contrast, brought tangible development, ports and railways, that created the basis for a modern state. … the British, despite all their flaws, advanced an ideal of Indian greatness”.

His Masters Anticipation - Uncivilized Indians fighting with each other like animals

His Master's Anticipation - 'Uncivilized Indians fighting with each other like animals

At the end of WW2, Britain was a superpower, intact with its huge colonial Empire – apart from the massive debt that it owed the US. With Germany defeated and Hitler dead, Italy in shambles and Mussolini hanged, Britain sat at the head of ‘high tables’ in the post-WW2 world (with the US), deciding the fate of the nations.

On February 18th, the lowly Naval Ratings from the Royal Indian Navy rained on the British parade – by raising the flag of Indian Independence. Britain did not have the stomach to take on the Indian Colonial Army, battle hardened and exposed to warfare in all the global theatres of WW2. They acquiesced and 18 months later the British were out. From then, to …

Britain today, a shell of its former self – with its manufacturing hollowed out, its agriculture in shambles, its economy on the verge of being relegated to the Third World is a huge descent. Much like Spain after Haiti.

In a 100 years after Haiti, Spain flamed out. By 1930, it was in the throes of a Civil War. And in Spain today, prostitution is national industry.

The Masters Glee 2 - Rubbing their colonial hands in anticipation

The Master's Glee 2 - Rubbing their colonial hands in anticipation

India has in the meantime, led by ‘men of straw’, has moved from being a ‘ship-to-mouth’ basket-case, to a significant economic and political success. Yet, the British colonial administrators needed to prove that only they could rule over India. Indians were after all ‘men of straw … of whom no trace will be found after a few years’. And they were led byhalf naked fakir‘. If Britain was indeed so good at its job, why can’t they do anything to save themselves from this terminal decline.

For all this, we owe a debt of gratitude to the British, Mr.Kaplan? Can you make up a better story please, next time!

Next time, Ananya

I could have easily made it ten or even a dozen falsities by Robert Kaplan – but does he deserve so much attention or time, Ananya? Will you rise to any two-bit of writing that denigrates India – using Narendra Modi (or someone else next time) as a human shield?

Are you Ananya, suggesting that international opinion should decide who the Indian Voter will elect?

%d bloggers like this: