Archive for March, 2010

GOD BLESS AMERICA

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

GOD BLESS AMERICA

Whenever President Bush ended a speech, he demanded that God bless America. Was it a reasonable demand?

God said, “You shall not murder.”(Exodus 20:13). Americans say, “You shall not kill an American. For every American killed, we will kill a hundred, nay a thousand Arabs or Afghans. For every Israeli killed we shall encourage the killing of a hundred Palestine, men, women and children.”

Jesus said, “Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you.” (Mat 5:43). Americans say, “Persecute your enemies day and night. Bomb and destroy their homes.”

God said, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat: If he is thirsty give him water to drink.” (Proverbs 25:21,22). American say, “Starve their men, women and children through economic sanction for years and destroy their roads, electricity and water supply and encourage the Israeli’s to do the same to the Palestines.”

Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Mat 6:24). “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” (Timothy 6:10). Americans say give us more money at all cost, even if it is by exploiting the poor, by destroying the environment and encouraging lust”.

Jesus said, “Do not judge or you too would be judged.” (Mat 7:1). President Bush judges Iran, Iraq and others and labels them as evil. What evil has it done? America, Russia, France, Britain, China, Israel, India and Pakistan have weapons of mass destruction. So what if Iraq has some. America has been supporting the destruction of Palestine by Israel, refusing to sign the Kioto Treaty, pay its dues to the United Nations, applied economic sanctions to Iraq, Cuba, Sudan, Libya and God knows who else. America had President Alende of Chile murdered and turned a blind eye to General Pinochet’s persecution of his own people ( one of the accusations America levels against Sadam Hussain of Iraq).

The devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. “All this I will give you,” he said, “bow down and worship me.” (Mat4.7). American Presidents take world leaders to White House or to their ranches and show them the power of America. “Bow down and worship America,” they say, “and we will give you billions of dollars of economic and military aid for your country and a few millions for your self.”

Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek.” (Mat5.4). Americans say they are the only super power. They will go it alone in defiance of the world.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.” (Mat5.8). Americans say, we are the strongest and do not need mercy. We want to see more starving children, more grieving mothers, widows and brothers, more desperate people in Iraq and Palestine and any other people who dare defy our authority.”

Jesus prayed, “Forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In the same spirit we say, “May God bless America”.

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RAM TEMPLE AT AYODHYA

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

RAM TEMPLE AT AYODHYA

The fact is that Hindus are peace loving and tolerant. The Muslim Community has perceived it as our weakness for ages. Will the Muslim world allow a Ram Temple to be built at Mecca? Will the Christian world allow a Ram Temple to be built in place of the Church of Nativity at Bethlehem? If Mecca, the birth place of Prophet Mohammed can be holy to Muslims, if Bethlehem, the birth place of Jesus Christ can be holy to the Christians, why can’t Ayodhya, the birth place of Ram be holy to Hindus. If Babar committed a barbaric act by destroying a temple and constructing a mosque, what is wrong if the offending mosque is destroyed and a temple is built in its place?

Most of the Indian media and intelligentsia consist of westernized oriental men and women whose religion is money and sex. To them Sri Ram has no relevance. But that is not so for the majority of Indians. Vote bank politics, the Indian Supreme Court, the pseudo secularists and the Indian Muslim leadership are opposed to construction of a Ram Temple at Ayodhya. The only solution appears to be to hold a referendum on the issue.

The referendum should be held with the next general election. The voter must give his religion and choose one of the following options (represented diagrammatically on the ballot paper):

  • Allow Ram Temple to be built at Ayodhya on the undisputed land with the disputed land being kept vacant.
  • Allow Ram Temple to be built at Ayodhya on the disputed and undisputed land.
  • Reconstruct Babri Masjid on disputed land and Ram Temple on Undisputed land.
  • Do not allow construction of Ram Temple or Babri Masjid on the disputed and undisputed sites at Ayodhya.

May the will of the people prevail.

PLEASE SAVE INDIA

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

PLEASE SAVE INDIA

A time has come when any intelligent and patriotic citizen should be alarmed at the state of affairs of our country. Our political system as reached a nadir that must be tormenting the souls of the freedom fighters who gave their lives to see an independent, vibrant, progressive, strong India. We shout the slogan “Mera Bharat Mahan”. We have been independent since 1947 or about 61 years. Let us look at some facts about our condition after 61 years of independence:

●      We are told that we are the fifth largest economy in the world. What we are not told is that our per capita GDP (PPP) is only $2563 per year which places us at 115th place out of 195 countries. In comparison, China has a per capita GDP of $5325, Pakistan $2594, Sri Lanka $4265 and Egypt $5495.

●      Human Development Index (HDI) is a comparative index for measuring the state of development in a country. It combines factors like life expectancy, literacy, education and standard of living. India stands at 133rd place amongst 195 countries as per the list published in 2008 based on data of 2006. In comparison China is at 90th place, Sri Lanka at 104th, Iran at 84th place, Egypt at 116th place and Congo at 130th place.

●      Our infant mortality rate is 55 per 1000 live births. In comparison the rate is 23 for China, 11 for Sri Lanka and 53 in Nepal. The world average is 48.8 per 1000.

●      Our literacy rate is 65.2% and places us at 159th out of 195 countries. The rate is 93% for China, 90.8% in Sri Lanka and 71% in Egypt.

●      As per UNDP list India has 28.5% people below the poverty line. In comparison, China has 4.6%, Egypt has 16.7%, Malaysia has 15.5% and Sri Lanka 25%.

●      India is in the top 20 most corrupt countries of the world. Recently two software giants of India, Satyam Computers and Wipro have been banned by World Bank from working for them for 8 and 4 years respectively for following corrupt practices. Three other Indian companies have also been barred for the same reason in 2007.

●      About 30 % Indians don’t have bank accounts. About 60 % do not have access to safe drinking water or toilets.

Is there anything in the above figure to be proud of? India became independent in 1947. China became independent in 1950. India had been unscathed by Second World War. China had been devastated by Japanese occupation from 1935 to 1945 and 38 years of civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists. Yet China is far ahead of us in every sphere. Why is it so? The answer is simple. China has had more effective governance than what we have had. The Chinese leaders were more nationalist than ours. Our political leaders have rarely been able to put the interest of the nation above that of self, dynasty or the party.

Our political parties, particularly the regional parties, will do anything in the hope of votes. So Congress is willing to pressurize the CBI to exonerate Mulayam Singh or Lallu Yadav in the disproportionate assets case so that Samajwadi Party or RJD does not withdraw support. President’s rule was imposed in Jharkhand in the hope that the UPA will be able to buy support and form a government as they have successfully done in Goa. Kalyan Singh leaves BJP because his son is not given a BJP ticket. Mayawati gets crores of rupees on her birthday. All parties field criminals for elections. Money is paid to engineer abstentions, defections or cross voting during trust votes.

As of date there are about 40 political parties who contest Lok Sabha polls. In the last election in 2004, the Congress won 145 seats and the BJP 138. Thus between themselves they won 283 seats out of 545. The other 38 parties and independents won 262 seats. This leads to coalitions of convenience and marriages of strange bedfellows with the sole objective of sharing the power and perks of office. And when the share is denied or egos are hurt, support is withdrawn. This leads to intense horse trading and pandering to sectarian interests rather than national interest. It is unlikely that the election results of 2009 are going to be any different unless we can do something to stop these minor parties.

Can we do anything to save our country from our self seeking politicians? Can we ensure that Mulayam Singh, Sharad Pawar or Mayawati does not become the Prime Minister of India with about 45 out of 545 seats in the Lok Sabha? Can we stop the left parties or Mamta Bannerjee from organizing bundhs and paralyzing our lives? Can we stop people like Raj Thakrey or Shiv Sena from beating up north Indians in Bombay, vandalizing hotels, news paper offices or burning buses, taxis and vehicles at Mumbai or Belgaon? Can we elect a government that can maintain law and order and stop violent agitations with a iron hand.  My friends and Countrymen! Perhaps we can.

●      Firstly, we need to elect a party with a clear majority. Because only a party with clear majority can take any action that is in the interest of our country without worrying about whether the government will survive if it takes unpopular decisions in national interest. If the party with a clear majority does not perform, we can elect the other party at the next election. Five years is a short time in the life of a nation. If America can survive eight years of President Bush, India can certainly survive a Congress or BJP government for five years. So we must vote for either Congress or BJP or independents but must not  vote for any regional party in Lok Sabha Polls.

●      We must resolve not to vote for parties which use violence and goondaism to intimidate voters.

●      We must ensure that no person with criminal background gets elected.

●      We must ensure that self seeking defectors like Ajit Singh, Kalyan Singh to name a few are not elected. We must ensure that they loose their deposits.

●      We must ensure that no corrupt politician of any party gets elected.

Only the people of India, the youth and the media can save our country and make it great.

To do this we need to elect the cleanest party out of Congress and BJP, the only two national parties with a clear and thumping majority.

We have to make our politicians accountable.

Please do not use your vote based caste, race or religion. Use your vote to make India strong.

If you agree with my views, spread the message by any method you can think of.

May God Bless India

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STOP GLOBALIZATION

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

STOP GLOBALIZATION AND FREE MARKET POLICIES

Capitalism was not always practiced as it is today. Social welfare and social justice was very much a part of the Capitalist system that existed till the seventies. It vanished with the introduction of Neo liberal Economic policies during the Presidency of Ronald Regan. The neo-liberals want the corporate world to be freed of government controls and regulations. They want taxes and tariffs to be abolished or reduced. They want free flow of capital and investments to be allowed across the globe. They want prices to be deregulated and left to be evolved at the market place based on demand and supply. The forces of neo-liberal capitalism are trying to turn the clock back more than two hundred years, to the beginning of industrial revolution by abolishing worker rights and bring back the social conditions of Blake’s “Dark Satanic Mills” or Charles Dickens’ “David Copper Field”. The neo- liberals aim to get rid of the welfare state for the workers, even though this would produce desperation, anxiety, hopelessness and fear in billions of unemployed and economic slaves. Under the neo liberal dispensation, the accumulation of wealth has been extraordinary. In 1996, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) reported that the assets of 358 billionaires of the world exceeded the combined incomes of 45 % of the world’s population. By 2005, it must have crossed 50%.

China seems to have gained remarkably through liberalization of its economy. In its first twenty years of economic reforms from 1978 to 1998, its per capita GDP had grown from 379 Yuan to 6431 Yuan. Trade during the period increased from US$ 20.6 billion to US $ 319 billion. Foreign exchange reserves rose from US $ 167 million to almost a trillion US $ by the end of 2007. The figures are most impressive. What is often forgotten is that China never adopted neo-liberal Capitalism in its totality. It has strict capital controls and a controlled foreign exchange conversion regime. The free market access to foreign companies is restricted to a few coastal regions and towns and having Chinese companies as partners is often mandatory for investing multinational corporations. Thus the Chinese economic reforms are more nationalist than capitalist. But China, in spite of its remarkable success, has backed away from the toughest part of the reforms. Fearing that the resulting unemployment will fuel unrest and instability, its leadership have decided against closing down loss making state enterprises and decided to recapitalize and modernize them. Housing subsidies have been retained and privatization of housing development postponed.

Globalization is the brain child of neo-liberal capitalism. Supporters of globalization want to turn the world into one global market. Globalization is designed to weaken the powers of individual countries to control their own destinies. Actions by these countries to control their balance of payment or currency problems, if in contravention of the WTO rules can be referred to the WTO, which can impose hefty penalties. These rules also apply to the US. The American Government cannot stop imports or increase duties to make American products more competitive. They cannot restrict imports to save American manufacturing or to create jobs. The truth regarding the exploitive nature of globalization is that it is controlled by the corporations, particularly multinational corporations. It is really interesting to see what American President Thomas Jefferson had to say about corporations.

I hope we shall… crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and to bid defiance to the laws of their country.”
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to George Logan. November 12, 1816.

The world has failed to full fill the hopes of the farsighted President, who foresaw the tyranny and power of the transnational corporations over two hundred years ago. We are allowing them to take control of our governments and our lives. Big business distorts our perception of the truth. Corporate propaganda and some times even money power also tries to undermine democracy by supporting autocratic right wing leaders and conspiring to overthrow left leaning leaders like President Allende of Chile. The impact of globalization so far has been to raise profits, strengthen the corporations and weaken the workforce and governments.

The basic aim of economic globalization was to open up the entire world economy by removing trade barriers imposed by Developing Countries through import restrictions, duties and inflow of foreign capital. The US wanted to manipulate the world economy so that it is adapted inextricably to suit the US and European investors and their transnational companies. Under globalization most profits go to groups of American investors and American Transnational Corporations. Unfortunately globalization does not benefit the American and European people. Globalization may make available cheap imports for consumption but it creates widespread unemployment in the US and the developed world. When you don’t have an income you cannot consume.

It appears that the forces of globalization unleashed by the US for short term economic gains are going to prove similarly disastrous for it in the long run. While the national income has been growing, the economic prospects of most Americans have been diminishing. Those without advanced degrees and for the vast majority of working Americans, real hourly wages have fallen significantly over the last 25 years. What supporters of globalization ignore is the frightening growth of low wage jobs. As a result 30% of the population of the US are earning too little to lift a family out of poverty. Globalization has not reversed the pattern of poverty for 30 per cent Americans. It is only accentuating it.

Because of globalization, the US economy will suffer from the millions of job losses that are bound to occur as manufacturing declines in the west and increases in the east. The US and EU will find it extremely difficult to abolish farm and export subsidies and compete with countries like China, India and a host of developing countries Abolishing these subsidies could be fatal for the developed world. Unless globalization is stopped, US and Europe will face widespread, unemployment, poverty and political turmoil.

Globalization is not working for the US. Like many other strategies born out of capitalist greed, globalization is bound to fail. It will only work if it is restructured to benefit the people of the world rather than multinational corporations and investors of the developed world. It will work when it can reduce rather than increase inequalities. US economy can survive only if they can find a way to find a way to globalize trade without hurting its own citizen and the people of the countries of the world. It should consider scrapping WTO and going back to GATT.

Unless Globalization is stopped, and the clout of the multinational corporations curbed, the developed world is doomed. If that happens, the developing countries will also be hurt.

STOP USING GDP

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

STOP USING GDP FOR MEASURING STATE OF ECONOMY

GDP is widely used by economists to gauge the health of an economy, as its indicators are relatively easily identified. However, its value as an indicator for the quality of life of the population of the country is limited. For example, the poverty threshold in the US is $ 17500 for family of four or about $12 per head per day while for the developing countries poverty threshold is $2 per day. GDP does not take into account equal value for equal work. For example when a barber gives a haircut in the US, GDP increase by $ 10 but when a barber gives a haircut in India, the GDP increases by about 50 cents. GDP does not take into account free services like domestic work, open source soft wares and internet services like Yahoo, Linux, Google and a host of other activities.

Criticisms of GDP as the indicator include:

  • GDP method does not reflect the rich and poor divide. If the income of the super rich increases, the median income also increases and gives an unrealistic picture.
  • GDP based statistics discourages fuel efficiency and energy efficiency as they reduce cost of consumption and hence GDP. It leads governments to design policies like low returns on savings to encourage consumption rather than savings.
  • GDP counts work that produces no net change such as repairing damage or rebuilding after a natural disaster or war.
  • GDP rises if more people fall sick and they receive expensive treatment. This is not a desirable situation.
  • GDP method ignores issues such as damage to the environment. Economic growth at the expense of environmental degradation is undesirable in the long run.
  • GDP method ignores sustainability of growth. A country may achieve a high GDP for a short period by over-exploiting natural resources or by misallocating investment. For example, the large deposits of phosphates gave the people of Nauru one of the highest per capita incomes on earth, but since 1989 their standard of living has declined sharply as the supply has run out. Oil-rich states can sustain high GDPs without industrializing, but this high level would no longer be sustainable if the oil runs out. Continuous growth is alien to nature. A child will grow faster than an adult. An adult will grow old and decline. Developing countries will grow at a faster rate than developed countries while developed countries will struggle to achieve a positive growth. Have we forgotten the “Marginal Productivity Curve”.
  • GDP method encourages formation of economic bubbles such as real estate bubbles, dot.com bubble, stock market bubbles which end in disasters when they burst.
  • GDP method encourages a low individual saving rate. GDP appears to grow faster owing to higher consumption, when people mortgage their futures.
  • Official GDP estimates do not take into account the black market where the money spent is not registered resulting in inaccurate or abnormally low GDP figures. For example, in countries like India with major business transactions occurring informally, portions of local economy do not enter the GDP statistics. Barter trade is another example.

Simon Kuznets, the inventor of the GDP, in his very first report to the US Congress in 1934 said “…the welfare of a nation [can] scarcely be inferred from a measure of national income…” In 1962, Kuznets stated that “Distinctions must be kept in mind between quantity and quality of growth, between costs and returns, and between the short and long run. Goals for more growth should specify more growth of what and for what.” Unfortunately, these notes are given very little consideration or publicity.

The state of an economy should be measured by a new indicator which should be worked out by giving weight age to a cluster of indicators mentioned below:

  1. The Human Development Index (HDI). HDI uses GDP as a part of its calculation and then factors in indicators of life expectancy and education levels.
  2. The Ginny Index, which reflects the economic disparity in a country.
  3. Median income and its growth. However, while calculating median income, the income of the top one percent must be ignored.
  4. Percentage of people below poverty line and its growth.
  5. Public Debt and its rate of change
  6. Industrial production and its rate of change
  7. Trade deficit and its rate of change

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Friday, March 12th, 2010

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