Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

Need consumption vs Greed consumption

I dont get it. For years we cursed the US and Western Europe for consuming too much and living far beyond the resources that our planet could afford. And now trillions of of dollars are being pumped into the US and Western Europe to stimulate demand, encouraging, for example, the American people to buy more cars ! All in the name of avoiding a global slowdown. Any one see a contradiction in there ?
So does that mean that the only way the Global economies can continue to grow (and therefore not collapse) is for the Western Economies to go on consuming at ever increasing levels at what I call ‘Greed Consumption’ at the cost of the rest of the world ?
I would suggest that if this is really a Global economy, most of those dollars should go to correct the unsustainable imbalances between the ‘greed consumers’ and those that cannot even hope to attain ‘survival consumption’. For till that happens, no stability will come to the world, and therefore no global financial prosperity.

The G 20 talks will fail,

I was traveling with my producer in the US who was expressing real concern on the environment. ” What is going to happen to global warming when every Chinese has a car ?”. He is a caring intelligent man, who completely missed the contradiction. We were traveling in his gas guzzling Rolls Royce. It’s like a concerned King who is trying to fix the financial problems in his Kingdom, without realizing that the base problem lies in the system that made him King.
The G 20 summit is made up of people committed to current financial/political systems, for that is how they came to power. They will tweak the financial system, but not accept that the political systems are interlinked with the problem. The economic system is embroiled in an unfair political system, not suited to a Global economy. The Global leaders constantly talk about free movements of goods, services, free markets and free access investment opportunities globally. So I have one question to them :
Why don’t you allow free access to jobs world wide ? How about taking away all immigration restrictions world wide ? Not till that happens will we have a truly Global economy.

Is there a new idea for India ?

After all India was formed out an idea. An idea of freedom from the British. India now needs a new idea. Having been formed, what could keep it going ? Democracy was a great idea, but after over 60 years of independence 80% of India’s population does not have any of the basic fundamental rights that our constitutions promised them. Democracy on its own is obviously not working.
India needs social change. A non violent revolution. It stands on the brink of greatness, but is completely brought down by its political system. So do not expect change to be brought our by these elections. India need a leader that can lead the people from outside the political system. For that it needs a new idea. An idea that does not destroy the basic ideas of democracy, but creates a front which ensures that democracy works within our culture, where the promises made in our constitution to the citizens of India are kept.
I had this discussion with my friend Shashi Tharoor, who almost became the Secy Gen of the United Nations. But thankfully he did not, for instead of that he is back in India about to contest elections from Kerala. Hope he wins, for he is a brilliant thinker/writer/administrator and would be a great addition to our Parliament. But will he be more effective outside the Parliament ?
We need a new leader. Like Gandhi, this new leader should be able to motivate our people to change their own lives. Where the motivation comes for the good of the collective, combining all castes and religions.
But what could that singular new idea be ?

Why does Obama always raise the bogey of India and China ?

We in Asia have always suffered because our best minds left our shores to take jobs in the US and the West. The ‘brain drain’ as we called it was a big problem for the growth of our economies. Now that our economies are growing faster than the rest of the world, and there is a new found optimism in our own culture, the brain drain is reversing. Indian and China stand on the brink of creating new technologies, new international brands and we dream of coming at par with the West economically. It is time therefore for the West to welcome this new dream as part of the new world order. For in a Global world your neighbour’s prosperity is as important to you as for them. Not only is a prosperous trading partner good for your own economy, but poverty leads to social unrest wich can lead to global terrorism as we have seen.
But in the west the old thinking continues. They still see the rest of the world only in context of themselves. President Obama has yet again warned that if the US does not pull of it’s socks, Indians and Chinese people will take away their jobs. Why do all US politicians constantly raise the bogey of their people loosing their jobs to Indians and Chinese ? Like the West has a right to keep all the best jobs to themselves and Indian and China only deserve the jobs that the West decides to give them ???
It is the minds and the enterprise of the Indian and Chinese technologists who migrated to the US that have held together the US economy in the last two decades. The US medical system has been held together by the Indian and Chinese immigrants. And the only jobs that have been transferred outside from the US to India and China are jobs that we do cheaper. And most of the product goes back to the US in any case. The US gradually made India and China their outsourcing base, transferring polluting Industrial jobs (and therefore pollution) to China and back office low end work to India.
President Obama, of all people, must realize that the aspirations and enterprise of the Asian people are going to begin to take fruit. He of all people must stop looking at the growing prosperity of Asia with fear. The days of Western economic colonization are over and there is a far better and fairer world economic order that is emerging. The economic downturn and the rise in global terrorism are vital signs of a world that is on the brink of collapse because of extremes of wealth and poverty.
A fairer world is a more stable world. And President Obama must recognize that wealth, prosperity, and stability lies in a willingness to share.

The truth behind the IPL cricket shift

What no one is saying is that the foreign players have expressed their unwillingness to come to India subsequent to the terrorist attacks in India and in Pakistan. So the IPL organizers and the team owners had no choice, if they are to recoup their investments and make the kind of profits they were hoping for. And please ! could they stop going on and on about how this is not about money but for the good of cricket ?? I loved the IPL tamasha last year, but through the year no one talked about anything but the revenues from advertising, the cost of players etc etc. It is all about money.
But the IPL having to leave India for security reasons is a blow to our credibility. Tourism, for example, that has already gone through a devastating season now stands drop even further. I am surprised at our Home Minister Chidambaram’s statement today in the press that Pakistan is in danger of becoming a failed state, and the Talibanization of Pakistan is a real threat to India.
Has he just woken up ? We have been discussing this on our blog and elsewhere for months now. Which makes it even more important that in the coming elections the security and protection of the people of India is a prime agenda. Can the parties please please for once put the people of India ahead of their own mindless lust for power ? My argument still is that a new leader will arise from outside the political system. Someone not polluted by it.
Is there such a leader ?

Oh no ! IPL leaves India for boring foreign shores

What is IPL without the crowds screaming, howling and cheering ? What is IPL without all the controversies of what the sexy cheerleaders should or should not wear ? Without all that IPL is just … well .. cricket. In India cricket sizzles and IPL was cricket mixed with heady festivities of a pop concert. We will miss the melodrama of it all. I know everyone is making the right statements like ” we are doing this for the good of the country as national elections are coming up”.
National elections are good for the country ? That’s debatable. And does our inability to provide adequate security for the matches mean that there will be a ban on big political rallies for the lack of adequate security cover ? Now that’s a good thought.

The beginings of the social revolution in the US ? Obama now rides the ‘tiger of change’

Panicked by the rising public anger in the US, President Obama and his team have taken an extraordinary step by retroactively taxing almost 95 % of all bonuses received by executives/employees of any corporation that has received government bailouts. Despite that, executives of AIG have asked for private security guards in case the public anger against them turns violent. AIG employees have been advised by the co not to wear anything that could identify them as part of the company. It is easy to forget that we are talking here about the largest insurance company in the US and probably in the world.
And still workers communities, backed by trade unions, are organizing bus tours of expensive real estate properties, for their members to see how the ‘other half lives’ on the ‘tax payers money’. People are hiding expensive cars in the garages, for soon their cars may even be attacked in the streets.
President Obama and his team may not ultimately suceed in this attempt. I am sure that the executives will fight back by tying the government up in extensive law cases, somehting the US is so famous for. But the people have tasted blood. They have recognized they have the political power and will hold Obama to his electoral promises.
Change is upon America as Obama promised, but not in ways he may have imagined. But he now rides the tiger of change and cannot jump off.

TV debates for political leaders in India

You must vote. Of course. It’s the way we live. But for whom ?
There seems to be no political agenda of any party. The only agenda is to malign or bring the other party down. Or to form alliances so that the seat count is favourable. But I have not heard one good speech, or seen one good manifesto, or heard anything that I have not heard for the last 20 years. There is no leader in India right now that seems to have a vision. Is there a vision for India ?
There has to be. As Pakistan loses it’s sovereign status and gets talibanized. As the US moves the war against the Taliban and the mythic Osama Bin Laden closer to India, and As the world reels under recession and the dream of India as an economic super power begin to fade. As the farmers in the interiors lose any hope of an economic miracle for themselves, and Naxalism takes hold of vast areas of rural India.
As India is threatening to tear itself apart in the East, in the North with Kashmir and in the South as the Tamil rebels migrate to India to continue to fight for their home land in Sril Lanka, what is the vision that will hold India together ? Where is the leader, where is the party that says that at these difficult times they have a particular agenda to lead the people and the country ?
So let them not hide behind petty games and seat counting. Lets invite them out in the open and debate each other on TV for the whole of india to see and judge for themselves. What is the Vision that Mayawati, or LK Advani, or Sonia Gandhi, or Manmohan Singh have ?
And how do we vote without knowing that ?

Obama gets it

But does everybody else ?
In a planet where 95% of the wealth is owned by 5 % of the people. Where 5% of the people consume 95% of the earth’s resources beyond their basic needs, and where global media has ensured that the 95% know how that 5% live, is it surprising that the world is in turmoil ? There will be no going back to the old financial systems. There will be no recovery of the global financial systems as we knew it , where the financial systems inherently are designed for the protection of the 5%.
This global meltdown is a great leveler that was a long time coming. It caught the innocent in it’s web and will cause a lot of pain to those that already live with their belts impossibly tightened. But it is the new beginning of a more equitable world.
Obama gets it, but can he handle it ?

Hungry Hearts by Sohaila Charnalia

It all began the day the four of us sat down to complain. Two of us had lives beating us down….anti-stress pills, rebellious kids, struggles to put in place careers that would have been easier to handle had we been men, or simply, if we had decided to compromise ourselves. The third grumbled about the tight family bonds that were strangulating her. While the fourth was fighting to keep her partner from straying. All of us badly needed a break from the whirlpool of inane activity that we called life.
`Let’s do a play’, one of us shouted…..