Archive for October, 2012

Why Economies of the Developed World are not Improving

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Why Economies of the Developed World are not Improving

By

Bhaskar Sarkar

Bhaskar Sarkar’s  Author Profile: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Bhaskarsarkar1940

The economies of the developed world have been in doldrums since 2000. The Dot.Com bubble of 2002 and the Sub-Prime Meltdown of 2008 have seriously affected the economies of the US and Western Europe. The growth rate of the US is barely above 1%. The growth rates of most economies of Western Europe are negative. Unemployment, poverty, hunger and economic inequalities are rising to alarming levels. There is no dearth of investable capital. But the world leaders have been unable to stop the economic downturn, the misery of at least one third of their people and revive the economies.

The learned economists of the world may like to consider the reasons given below.

Inability to Reconcile to Realities in a Changing World

The governments, politicians, economists and intellectual of the world seem to be unable to understand the realities in a changing world. The investor of Europe and the U.S. hold most of the investable capital in the world. But manufacturing and business processes in the developed countries are no longer competitive when compared with the developing world. Multinational companies of the developed world are unwilling to invest in Europe and the US. Developed countries have increasing budget deficits, trade deficits, unemployment, poverty, and hunger.

Use of GDP as a Planning Tool

Per Capita GDP does not reflect the prosperity of the people of a country. It should not be treated as an index for any kind of economic planning. Any poverty alleviation program that is based on per capita GDP will only benefit big business and not the people whose poverty needs to be alleviated.

GDP growth rate should never be a factor in economic planning. Poverty alleviation, income growth of individuals, employment generation, infrastructure development, environment protection, conservation of natural resources, balanced trade, inclusive and sustainable growth should be objective of economic planning at all levels in any country.

Use of 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. The governments of almost all countries of the world use growth rate of GDP for economic planning and assessing the state of the economy. GDP has grave limitations when comparing economies of different countries. 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.

Use of GDP growth rate for economic planning leads to many distortions. Government policies are always encouraging or some times forcing people to spend. The savings bank interest in many countries is zero or close to zero. People have no incentive for saving. Pensioners are unable to invest their retirement benefits in safe bank fixed deposits and get reasonable returns. In India, senior citizen can get as mush as 9.5 to 10 percent interest on bank fixed deposits. They do not have to invest in mutual funds or pension funds which are subject to market risks. Stock market melt downs, as we all know, occur every few years. High interests will not only encourage the economically disadvantaged to save for the proverbial rainy day but discourage speculation with borrowed money. It will increase social security in the developed world.

Whenever there is an economic slowdown, governments tend to release stimulus packages. In other words it increases liquidity and encourages banks to lend indiscriminately. This encourages people to borrow and invest in real estate or the stock market. The construction industry crates jobs and statistical growth is achieved. The rises in the share market gives a good feeling. Property prices and share prices keep rising till something happens. There is turmoil in the Middle East and oil prices shoot up or there is a change in government policy and liquidity dries up. As property and share prices crash, people are unable to pay their mortgages and bank loans. There is a financial crisis. Banks go bankrupt and need bailouts. Jobs are lost. The economically vulnerable are ruined. It happened during the Carter presidency, the Regan presidency and the Bush presidency.

Loss of Businesses Competitiveness

The strength of the U.S. Dollar, Euro and Pound is the real cause of loss of business competitiveness of the developed world. The minimum wage for an unskilled person in the US is $ 7.2 per hr or about $ 57 per day. This would translate to about Rupees 3000 per day in India. The minimum wage in India is around Rupees 220 per day or less than four dollars per day. The labor rates in China, Vietnam, Bangladesh and many other developing countries could be even lesser. How can American or European manufacturers compete with manufacturing in the developing world?

Deregulation of Banking

Bankers are supposed to be conservative and risk averse. But most modern bankers are just the opposite. The Chairmen, CEOs and senior staff with multi million dollar packages are under enormous pressure from shareholders to earn profit. They tend to lend without assessing the repaying abilities of the borrower and the quality of the collateral securities if any. To make matters worse, their cash to deposit and reserve ratios are very low and they borrow from wholesale lenders and lend to retail lenders at higher interests. So when there is an economic slow down and borrowers begin to default on a large scale, banks get into trouble. When the banks default on payments to the wholesale lenders, there is further melt down of the kind we saw during the “Great Depression” of 1929 to 37, depression of 1982-83 or during the Sub-Prime Crisis of 2008.

Government Attempts to Boost Economy

Whenever GDP growth slows down, governments attempt to boost growth with stimulus packages, low interests etc. This creates excess liquidity with investors and banks. Excessive liquidity and cheap credit lead to bull runs on the stock market and a boom in the property market. Real estate prices collapse due to the recession. Collapse of real estate prices caused the Savings and Loans Crisis of the 80s and to the Sub-Prime Crisis of 2007.

Globalization

The concept of Globalization of the world economy was thought out by the Washington Consensus to perpetuate US domination of the world economy. The basic aim of economic globalization is to open up the entire world economy to multinational companies by removing trade barriers imposed by Developing Countries through import restrictions, duties and restrictions on inflow of foreign capital. Globalization has helped export oriented economies of Asia. Globalization has not reversed the pattern of poverty for 30 per cent Americans and Europeans. It is only accentuating it. The U.S. and European markets are flooded with Chinese and Asian imports. Globalization is not working for the U.S. or Europe. Like many other strategies born out of capitalist greed, globalization is bound to fail. U.S. and European economies can thrive only if they can find a way to find a way to globalize trade without hurting its own citizen.

Out sourcing

Out sourcing increases the profits of American and European corporations but reduce employment in their own countries. Unless this is stopped, America and Europe will become countries of high net worth individuals, waiters, taxi drivers, the unemployed and the hungry.

Making the Investor the King

The private investors of the world have most of the investable surplus funds. Governments of most nations of the world have a deficit budget and are short of investable funds. It is therefore only natural that the global investors try to put pressures on the governments to grant them concessions in return for investing. Tax breaks are the main cause of the woeful state of government finances around the world. If the corporations gang up and form cartels, why cannot governments gang up and pass similar taxation laws and launch a war on tax havens and tax cheats?

Conclusion

Non availability of slaves and colonies is the primary cause of the decline of the economies of the developed countries. But that cannot change. What can change are government policies in the developed world which benefit the rich and the corporations at the expense of the middle class, working class and the poor. The financial conditions of central governments, state governments, town councils and municipalities are not going to improve unless there is a major change in economic policies of the developed nations.

This blog is an extract of the book, (Growth and Decline of Economies of Europe and the US.

To sample or purchase Growth and Decline of Economies of Europe and US: http://smashwords.com/b/231033

Dealing with Unauthorized Construction

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Dealing with Unauthorized Construction

By

Bhaskar Sarkar

Bhaskar Sarkar’s  Author Profile: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Bhaskarsarkar1940

A time has come when any intelligent and patriotic citizen has a right to be alarmed at the state of affairs in India. As of September 8, 2012, it is my personal opinion that our political system as reached a nadir. The political ethos of today must be tormenting the souls of the freedom fighters who gave their lives to see an independent India, a vibrant, progressive, strong India. Our educated youth, who are the primary stake holders in India’s future, must also be wondering about their future.

Unauthorized construction is one of the banes of our corrupt political and administrative systems. It is common for our builders and real-estate developers to bribe the concerned authorities and to commit various kinds of illegal development for profit. These include construct more area or floors than that allowed as per the sanction or the prevalent laws; developing and selling plots, houses, residential complexes built on agricultural land, land belonging to scheduled castes and tribes, catchment areas of streams, land earmarked as green belts of cities and towns and forest land. These lead to development of illegal colonies. There are over 250 illegal colonies in Delhi alone. Every city and town has a number of such unauthorized colonies. Millions of people reside in these unauthorized colonies.

Demolition of unauthorized colonies and structures is not always possible as the tenants or owners of these premises are often not the beneficiaries of the corrupt practice indulged in by the builder or developer, government servants and politicians. There is long litigation and the demolitions of such structures serve no purpose. However, to discourage this practice, it has to be ensured that the builders and developers who are the bribe givers do not benefit from such deeds. It is time we enacted laws which could to put an end to these malpractices.

Penalties for Unauthorized Construction

Construction of Unauthorized Structures

In case a builder or developer constructs an unauthorized structure without a valid sanction from the Competent Authority in the case, or constructs more than the sanctioned FSI and constructs more floors or premises he will be penalized as follows:

If the unauthorized portion is unsold and unoccupied, it will be confiscated by the Government and auctioned and the proceeds will be deposited in Government treasury.

If the unauthorized portion is sold, the property will be valued by an authorized valuer and the builder or developer will be required to deposit in Government treasury the value of the said unauthorized property within three months of the notice to do so. If the builder or developer of the said property fails to do so, all members of the board of directors of the company including the chairman will be punished by imprisonment of seven years and the premises of the offenders up to market value of unauthorized property will be confiscated and the money recovered.

If the property has been leased out on a rent and deposit, the property will be confiscated by the Government. The rent and deposit paid by the tenant to the builder or developer will be recovered from the builder developer and deposited in Government treasury. If the builder developers fail to do so within three months of such notice, the entire board of directors including the chairman will be punished by imprisonment of seven years. The future rents on the property will be paid by the tenants to the government.

Properties will not be destroyed.

Developers and Promoters of Plots on Agricultural Land

Developers and Promoters who develop plots on agricultural land, forest land, catchment areas of streams, greenbelts, SC & ST land will have to pay the market price of the total land illegally developed by them to the government treasury within three moths of receipt of notice to do so. If they fail they will be awarded a minimum rigorous imprisonment of 7years and their immoveable property of value equivalent to the money payable to the government treasury will be confiscated by the government. The plots will be regularized after obtaining the conversion charges of the plot from the present owners because they all knowingly bought agricultural plots for residential purposes. If they are unwilling to pay, they will be evicted. If they are willing to pay but they do not have the money, personal loans secured by mortgaging the property will be arranged for them through public sector banks and the money recovered.

Properties will not be destroyed.

Punishment of Government Servants, Autonomous Bodies and Politicians

Any Government Servant who has aided or abetted in the construction of the said unauthorized property or failed to take timely action to prevent such unauthorized construction will , if found guilty by a court of law , be dismissed from service without any benefits and be sentenced to up to seven years imprisonment.

Any person who interferes with the implementation of these guidelines and any government authority that fails to take immediate action on cases of unauthorized construction will, if found guilty by a court of law, be punished with imprisonment of seven years. If the person happens to be a government servant, he will be dismissed from service without any benefit.

Investigation of these Offences

The State Governments will create a separate division of the Anti Corruption Bureau to detect cases of unauthorized development or construction, investigate them and prosecute offenders in courts of law.

This law must come with retrospective effect of at least 10 years.

Conclusion

Is our political nightmare ever going to end? Are we ever going to be rid of greedy, power hungry, corrupt political leaders who are willing to rob and sell our country for personal and party interests? Are ever going to see an end to the ever growing nexus between the politicians and the criminals? Are we ever going to see the end of the all prevailing corruption that prevents our country from gaining its rightful place amongst the countries of the world? Are we going to see the end of the politics of reservations, of dynastic rule, an end to child marriage, dowry system and other social evils that plague our society? Or are we going to continue to be held to ransom by our various government departments? Are we going to be abducted, terrorized and killed at will by the Mafia? Will our wives and daughters continue to be raped, stripped and burnt at will by the rich and the powerful? Will we enter the 21st Century as a strong vibrant economy under an impeccable leadership or as slaves to the multinationals and the western world? Will we ever have a president who is not a puppet on strings or a party willing to uphold the Constitution and the law at the helm of the affairs?

This article is an extract of the Book “The President Takes Over”

To sample or purchase The President Takes Over: http://smashwords.com/b/238615

Homeopathic Treatment for Mental Problems of the Aged

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

Homeopathic Treatment for Mental Problems of the Aged

By

Bhaskar Sarkar

The Homeopathic system of medicine is one of the finest systems of cure available to mankind. It was developed in Germany in late 18th Century. Homeopathy provides us a life line in emergencies and serious illnesses till we can reach competent medical aid i.e. a doctor or a hospital as the case may be. Homeopathic self medication or treatment is reasonably safe and simple. It is cheap and free from side effects. It is an ideal interim solution till you reach a doctor as first aid or a life saving solution if you cannot afford expensive medical treatment. Homeopathy is eminently suitable for unusual problems and for those who cannot afford allopathic treatment or where the doctor says that the patient is incurable.

Old age, particularly after eighty, can bring a marked deterioration in the intellectual condition of a person. There can be disorientation of memory, particularly of recent events. The person may have difficulty in remembering names. The person can lose interest in life. Homeopathy has medicines for these problems. Some mental problems of old age and their homeopathic treatment is suggested below.

Childlike Behavior

When an old person behaves whimsically like a child give 6 pills of Baryt Carb 200, two times a day till condition improves.

Dementia

Dementia in old persons is a marked deterioration of intellectual and physical condition of a patient due to age.  Some common symptoms and medicines which are to be taken are given below:

The patient is melancholy and feels persecuted. His memory is weak. Patient is absent minded. There is weakness in sight and hearing and loss of taste. He is easily offended. There could be cramps in calves: Give six pills of Anacardium 200 two times a day.

When there is loss of memory, mental weakness, irresolute, loss of confidence, and the person is confused, shy and averse to strangers, give six pills of Baryt Carb 200 two times a day.

When the patient has great mental and physical depression and loss of memory and he has no interest in life, give six pills of Kali Phos 30 two times a day.

When there is complete loss of mental faculties and the patient is unable to understand or appreciate own suffering or thinks he is not at home, give six pills of Opium 200 two times a day.

In case there is mental debility followed by physical debility, partial loss of memory,  comprehension is weakened, the patient cannot find the right word and has difficulty in conversing, give six pills of  Phosphoric Acid 200 two times a day.

The patient has loss of memory; low spirit; restlessness; is fidgety and over sensitive to what others say with an exaggerated idea of ones importance. He dread of death when left alone: Six pills of Phosphorous 200 should be given two times a day.

Irritable

Some old persons seem always angry and irritable. They can be mean and spiteful. They cannot tolerate themselves and also others. Give one dose of six pills of Chamomilla 200 two times a day till temper is under control.

Melancholy

Some common symptoms and medicines which are to be taken two times a day are given below:

Dreads people and desires to be alone; intensely shy; lost of love of life; music irritates; dwells on unpleasant things: give six pills of Ambra Grisea 200.

Sits in a stupid manner; notices nothing; aimlessly wanders from home; curses or howls at night: give six pills of Veratrum Alb 200.

Memory Loss

Like all other faculties, old people tend to loose their memory. Some common symptoms and medicines which are to be taken two times a day are given below:

Unable to remember names: give six pills of Anacardium 200 and Lycopodium 200, for a month.

Unable to recognize localities or find ones house: give six pills of Glonoine 200.

Forgets recent events: give six pills of Absinthium 30 and Sulphur 200

Absentminded and forgetful; forgets things purchased in shops: give six pills of Lac Caninum 30

Instructions for Taking Medicines

Homeopathic Medicines should not be taken just before or after meals. At least half an hour’s gap should be taken. Homeopathic and Alopathic medicines can be taken simultaneously but with half an hours time difference. If taken in pill form, they should not be chewed but placed on the tongue and allowed to dissolve. Up to three different medicines can be taken in a day. Half an hour’s gap should be given between medicines.

If there is a doubt about which medicine to use, take two which match the symptoms closely.

If there is no improvement within a week, the medicine selected may not be correct. Change it with another or see a Homeopathic doctor.

Conclusion

Homeopathy is a well established form of medical treatment. It was developed in Germany and most of the authorities of Homeopathic medicines are Americans. Homeopathy is taught in many American universities like Michigan, California, Chicago and Missouri to name a few. It has been in use in the developed world for more than 200 years. It has survived that long because it is effective. Skeptics who decry Homeopathy do so either because they are ignorant about the benefits of Homeopathy or because they are afraid that increase in the popularity of Homeopathy will hurt their commercial interests.

This blog is an extract of the book “Homeopathy for Prevention of Diseases and Self Medication.” Bhaskar Sarkar’s  Author Profile: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Bhaskarsarkar1940

To sample or purchase Homeopathy for Prevention of Diseases and Self Medication: http://smashwords.com/b/229505

Limits of Freedom

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Limits of Freedom

By

Bhaskar Sarkar

The concept of human rights or fundamental freedoms like freedom of speech, freedom of belief, freedom from want and freedom from fear is of recent origin. These rights were not available in feudal societies controlled or influenced by kings and powerful religious institutions like the Church. Equal rights of sexes were unimaginable even in the United States till the 20th Century. But things have changed. Human Rights in today’s world are governed by the “International Bill of Human Rights”. It will be appreciated that rights must be tempered by responsibilities. When one person’s rights impinges the rights of another, or hurts religious or social sentiments of others, there is a case for restricting the freedoms enshrined in the International Bill of Human Rights. Let us examines some instances of abuse of fundamental rights.

Same Sex Marriage

Same sex marriage is an aberration of freedom. Homosexuality, like other forms of sexual deviation and perversion are as old as the history of civilization.  Various types of same sex relationships have existed for centuries. In China, during the Ming and Zhou Dynasties, females and males could bind themselves in contracts to members of the same sex. The first historical mention of the performance of same sex marriages in Europe occurred during the early Roman Empire. Emperor Nero is reported to have been ceremoniously married to one of his male slaves. But the so-called marriages between two Roman males had no legal standing in Roman law. In 342 AD Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans issued a law, the “Theodosian Code,” prohibiting same sex marriage in Rome and sanctioned execution for those so married. Opposition to same sex marriage in Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) is based upon Old Testament passages that discuss the fate of Sodom (Genesis 19:4 – 19:11), Gods command that one shall “not lie with mankind, as with womankind” (Leviticus 18: 22), and direction that those that do “shall surely be put to death”. Same sex marriages are not sanctioned in the Catholic Church or major branches of the Protestant Church. Homosexuality is punishable by death in Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, with life imprisonment in Pakistan and severely punishable in many Muslim countries.

In 2001, the Netherlands became the first nation in the world to legalize same sex marriage. Since 2001, ten countries, Netherlands, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa and Sweden have legalized gay marriage. Same sex marriages are also performed and recognized in Mexico City and parts of the United States. Pope John Paul II, the previous head of the Roman Catholic Church, criticized same sex marriage. His successor, Pope Benedict XVI has maintained opposition to gay marriage. Some Christian groups have been vocal and politically active in opposing legalizing same sex marriage in the United States.

The idea of marriage is that a man takes a woman in marriage so that he may have children by her. Calling a gay union a marriage is an insult to the ancient institution of marriage. The basic intention of our forefathers in creating the institution of marriage was to ensure moral discipline in society and to ensure proper care and development of children in a stable family and social environment. Sexual perversions should remain under cover of darkness or behind closed door. There is no need to specifically proscribe homosexuality and make it a criminal offence. At the same time, it is dangerous for a healthy family and society to encourage deviant sexual behavior by recognizing gay marriage.

Sexual Freedom and Children out of Wedlock

A major tragedy of sexual freedom in the Westernized societies is the growing number of children that are born outside marriage. All the world’s major religions look with disfavor on sexual relations outside of marriage. Many non western countries, particularly the Muslims, sanction criminal penalties for sexual intercourse outside marriage. Sexual relations by a married person with someone other than his/her spouse are known as adultery and are also disapproved by the major world religions. Adultery is considered to be a crime in many countries and grounds for divorce. Children born outside of marriage were known as illegitimate and suffered legal disadvantages and social stigma. In recent years the legal relevance of illegitimacy has declined and social acceptance of children born outside marriage has increased, especially in Western countries.

The Western world, particularly Europe and the United States is obsessed with sex. Sex is in the air through implicit and explicit picturization of sensuality and the sexual act on television and films. Pornography is freely available. Sexiness oozes out of almost every advertisement in the print or electronic media and in hoardings on the streets. Magazines are encouraging young women to have sex before marriage and to cheat on their spouses after marriage. There is peer pressure for free mixing and uninhibited sex in schools and colleges. Even mothers are encouraging their teenage daughters to date and even have sex without marriage. The result is the ever increasing number of unwed mother, mostly in their teens with some in early twenties. Most of them are victims of inexperience, immaturity and unsafe sex. Sixty minutes of the pleasure of love making and sixty years of suffering the consequences and repenting.

In the United States, the National Center for Health Statistics reported that in 2006, about 38.5 percent of births were to unmarried women. Since 2001, 31 per cent of babies born in Australia have been born to unmarried mothers. In the United Kingdom, there were 1.9 million single parents in 2009 with 3 million children. 90 percent of the single parents were women.

It is also well established that children raised by both parents grow up with more financial, emotional and educational advantages. On the other hand, children with single parents are at risk of not having adequate emotional and financial support that is necessary to nurture them into healthy, educated and successful members of the society. We may not like to acknowledge the existence of the problem but that will not make it go away. With one third of the developed world’s children with single parents and another one third are traumatized by broken homes, there will be more abnormal children than normal in the developed world. And these children will grow up into poor, disadvantaged and perhaps violent adults who will be a threat to social order. It is quite a price to pay for sexual freedom in the Western world and societies in developing countries that are aping them.

Governments can grant legal rights to children born outside wedlock. But they cannot provide them the social, emotional and financial support that a traditional family can provide. Such support is necessary to make them healthy and productive citizens of the future.

Women’s Liberation

Women’s liberation is considered to be one of the greatest achievements of the 20th Century. Women joined the workforce in strength in the United States in the 1920’s and the trend continued in the developed and even in some of the developing world. With husband and wife working, there is more money to spend. Working women also need to spend more money on cosmetics, dresses and grooming. The economic freedom of the working woman is good for the economy. Then came the easy availability of contraceptives and provided the women with sexual freedom. Women have equal status with men in all spheres of life. But there is one small problem. Women, particularly non Muslim women, also have the freedom not to bear and rear children. That is wonderful for the women but what about the world? When women opt not to have children, population growth is checked. So the Non Muslim population growth in Europe, Americas and Australia is negative while the Muslim population growth remains strongly positive. So in fifty to hundred years time, Muslim population will be the majority in most of Europe and being democracies. Muslims will rule Europe.

Only women can bear and rear children and make a house a home.

Conclusion

Are individual rights more important than common good of mankind? Can we have rights without responsibility? Should our freedom of speech permit us to abuse others, to slight others and to hurt religious sentiments? Should our right to assembly enable us to stop essential services and bring life to a standstill? What price are we ready to pay to ensure corporate profits?

Our forefathers, illiterate, ill fed, ill clad had one rule, the well being of the tribe came first and the well being of the individual came last. Slowly, the tribe was replaced by nations. Patriotism was greatly valued. Family honor was greatly valued. Society was strictly controlled. All religions abhorred greed, lust, adultery, profiteering, and deceit. All religions rewarded compassion, honesty, humility. All religions placed restrictions on human freedom. But we, the Western world, have developed. We are secular. We have abandoned the ancient religions. Wealth is our god. Commerce is our religion. Selfishness is our virtue. I, me and myself is our philosophy. We live to enjoy ourselves. We are free to do what we please.

The Rational Pessimist is worried that we have more freedom than what we know how to handle.

This blog is an excerpt of the book, “Be A Rational Pessimist”

Bhaskar Sarkar’s  Author Profile: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Bhaskarsarkar1940
To sample or purchase Be A Rational Pessimist: http://smashwords.com/b/177158

Why is Economy of Europe Crumbling?

Friday, October 12th, 2012

WHY IS ECONOMY OF EUROPE CRUMBLING

By

Bhaskar Sarkar

A study of economic history of Europe clearly shows that the wealth of the nations of Western Europe is not due to innovation and enterprise. Europe colonized most of the world from the 17th to the 20th Century. Europeans took billions of dollars worth of gold and jewelry as war compensation and taxes from the defeated countries. Europeans took over and exploited the natural resources of the colonies. It brought them great riches and left the colonies in abject poverty and a state of underdevelopment.

Is it also not true that most of the economies of European nations were developed with the help of slaves from Africa at almost no cost at all? Slaves from Africa and bonded labor from India were extensively used in cotton, tobacco, sugar, banana, coffee, tea and rubber plantation in the Caribbean Islands, South America, Africa and Asia and South Pacific Islands.

England fought and won wars with China for the right to sell opium. It not only made great wealth from this narcotic trade but also obtained the territory of Hong Kong and about 10 millions oz of silver as compensation for the war.

Reasons for the Decline of European Governments

Inadequate Revenue Generation

The primary reason for the declining wealth of the governments of developed nations is that the tax revenues are inadequate to cover the expenses of the governments. But most countries have lowered income taxes on the rich and the corporations and given them various kinds of tax breaks.

Import duties are another source of revenue generation which the E.U. has not exploited adequately. Increased import duties would have the additional benefit of making imports costlier and make domestic products more competitive. That would help revive domestic manufacturing and boost employment.

Too much reliance on Borrowing

Governments of most countries in the E.U. have borrowed more than 85 percent of their GDP. Some countries in the E.U. have sovereign debts more 100 percent of their GDP. And their debts are growing by leaps and bounds. If this reliance on debt is not reduced, sovereign defaults will become the rule rather than exception. Unfortunately, austerity in government expenditure on social security and public sector services like education and healthcare increases poverty and unemployment.

Tax Cuts

The sorry state of government finances are simply because the governments are not taxing the rich and the corporations to the extent they need to balance their budgets. This has been particularly so ever since President Regan took over in the U.S. and Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister of U.K.

Tax Evasion

Another reason for inadequate revenue generation is the benign approach to tax evasion. As per a 2012 report submitted by Tax Justice Network, the global rich hold $ 32 trillion in offshore tax havens such as Switzerland, Bahamas, Channel Islands and Cayman Islands. The powerful developed nations do little to destroy these tax havens.

Involvement in Wars

The E.U. has needlessly got involved in wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan. It is one of the reasons for the economic decline of the E.U.

Causes for Impoverishment of the People

Neo-liberal Policies

The primary cause of the impoverishment of the people is the neo-liberal economic policies adopted by President Regan in the U.S. and Premier Margaret Thatcher in Britain in the 80’s. France started an era of “corporatization” in 1983.

Free market policies and deregulation weakened the unions and left the working class at the mercy of the corporations. Working hours increased. Pay, perks and retirement benefits decreased. Working environments and safety requirements were degraded.

Deregulation led to excessive speculation by banks and financial institutions which culminated in the world wide financial meltdown and economic crisis of 2008, which has contributed substantially to the increasing misery of the working classes of the EU.

Unemployment

American and European corporations have been shipping jobs overseas to developing countries to maximize profits since the 1980s. The average unemployment in the EU is around 10.3 percent. In some countries like Spain and Greece, the unemployment rate is over 20 percent. Youth unemployment is even higher and is over 50 percent in some countries. The greatest tragedy is that there are millions in Europe who have no income, no social security and no insurance. They have to depend on community kitchens for subsistence food aid.

Consumerism

The culture of consumerism has been the greatest enemy of the working class in the US and the EU. It started in the US in the 1920’s when easy credit and buy now – pay later schemes boosted sale. When you do not have a job how do you pay your mortgage and installments. Today there are over one million unsold houses in Spain. Other consumer goods are also piling up in the factories and warehouses.

Interest Rates

The saving bank interest rate in the US and EU and many of the developed countries is 0 or close to zero. This is designed to discourage saving and encourage consumerism. But if you have no savings, how do you cope when you loose your job.

Conclusion

The wealth of the Western European Economies was never a result of innovation and enterprise. Much of it is due to barbaric acts and practices. History cannot be reversed. Europe developed at the cost of their colonies. Europeans plundered the riches of the kings and people of the countries they colonized. They exploited the mineral resources of the colonies. They enslaved millions of people. They have a head start. But things are changing. The European economies, without colonies and slaves to support their economies, are no longer competitive and are on the decline.

This blog is an extract of the book “Growth and Decline of Economies of Europe and the US” by Bhaskar Sarkar’s  Author Profile: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Bhaskarsarkar1940
To sample or purchase Growth and Decline of Economies of Europe and US: http://smashwords.com/b/231033W

Vote Obama and the Democrats

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Vote for Obama & the Democrats

& Win the Class War

By

Bhaskar Sarkar

The social, economic and political conditions which prevail in the United States today are very similar to that of France just before the French Revolution. Hunger stalks the streets. There are great social, economic and political inequalities. The national debt is at an all time high and there is pressure on the government to reduce its budget deficit. The rich, the corporations and the Republicans are unwilling to give up their tax exemptions, privileges and concessions and help the country and the Bottom 60 Percent in their hour of need. Most of the ordinary Americans like the teachers and nurses pay a higher rate of taxes than the rich and big business that have overwhelming influence over politicians and government policies. There is a marked degree of polarization between the privileged and the underprivileged. The “Occupiers of Wall Street” came out in protests in September 2011. But they have disappeared. If the inequalities and injustices are to reduce, the class war which they started must go on.

The situation for the underprivileged Bottom 60 Percent in the U.S. is pretty desperate. Roughly 1.5 million Americans file for personal bankruptcy a year while some 50,000 small businesses and companies file for business bankruptcy. Poverty, hunger and unemployment are increasing. Quality of education in public schools is suffering due to sacking of teachers, nurses and other staff in the name of austerity to balance budget. Children of the underprivileged cannot afford college. Those who complete college cannot find jobs matching their qualification. Even towns are filing for bankruptcy protection. 2012 is not only a presidential election year but also the election year for a number of states. The Republicans and their supporters amongst the rich and the business communities are desperate to repeal Obama’s Universal Healthcare Reform and stop Obama’s efforts to raise taxes and bring jobs home. They have pulled all stops and are raising millions of dollars for paid advertising campaigns in an effort to defeat Obama and the Democrats so that the privileged can sit back and multiply their wealth while the American middle class disappears and the working class can be reduced to economic slaves and made to work for a pittance.

If demanding social justice is class warfare, so be it. America always had class warfare. The native Indians (the bottom 60 percent) fought the European settlers (1 percent). The “One Percent” won. The super rich (1 percent) have always exploited the slaves and the working class (the bottom 60 percent). The “One Percent” won. The Republicans decry the attacks on Corporate America or so called “job creators”. But the reality is that jobs are not being created by the big corporations. The majority of jobs are created from small businesses, none of which are raking in the salaries of the top 1 percent of wealthy Americans. So asking the top 1 percent of wealthy Americans to pay their fair share and pay at least as high a tax rate as their workers is not class warfare or an attack on “job creators” or socialism. It is in fact the American way. The “One Percent” will try their best to preserve this unjust system. It is now time to stand up and fight for fairness for the middle class and a balanced approach for working class families.

The Bottom 60 Percent must have an action plan to fight the class war. The elections are the best way to fight a class war. All it requires is to take the trouble of going out and voting. The expenses are minimal. The risk of physical injury or damage to property is minimal. But the key is to know who to vote for. Remember, if you vote for the Republicans, you are voting for your class enemies. You are betraying the Bottom 60 Percent and helping your class enemies to win. Protests like the protests by the “Occupiers of Wall Street” help to draw the attention of the media and the people to issues. Protests help in forming public opinion and draw attention to injustices. They may influence government policy. But they cannot force governments to change their policies. Protests, by themselves, cannot win class wars. But internet by itself cannot win class wars. But the Bottom 60 Percent must use the internet to educate the Dumb of the Bottom 60 Percent about the realities of their economic prospects and importance of voting and voting for the Democrats.

The first phase of this consist of the 2012 elections where every effort has to be made to re-elect President Obama, and ensure that the Democrats have a clear majority in the Senate, House of Representatives, Governorships and the state legislatures.

The Republicans will do their best to confuse the Bottom 60 Percent about the real issues of the forthcoming elections. They are collecting millions of dollars for advertisement campaigns to confuse the voters about the real issues. Do not be fooled by Republican Propaganda. The issue in the coming elections is not about abortion. It is not about gay marriage. The issue is not about foreign policy or the environment. The issue is not Afghanistan or Syria. The main issues in this election are:

Will the rich pay a fair share of their income in taxes?

Will Universal Healthcare be repealed and will you be thrown to the mercy of insurance and healthcare companies?

Will incentives for shifting jobs abroad continue or will incentives be given only to those who bring jobs back?

Will efforts be made to curb jobs being given to immigrants when American scientists, engineers, IT and finance professionals remain unemployed?

The main issue in the forthcoming election is the economic prosperity of the American people, the Bottom 60 Percent and not of the prosperity of 1 Percent top earners or the profits of Corporate America. If the 1 Percent top earners paid adequate taxes like the Millionaire’s Tax, you the teachers and the nurses, the policemen and the postmen will not be losing your jobs due to budget cuts. If Corporate America were not shipping jobs abroad directly or through out sourcing or employing less paid immigrants, American scientists, engineers, technicians, IT and finance professionals will not loose their jobs or have a better prospect of finding one.

Vote in the Elections. Many voters do not come out and vote. Some are lazy and find standing in a queue and voting is too much of a bother. Some may feel that voting is futile. All politicians are the same and nothing is going to change. The Bottom 60 Percent must get over such notions and come out and vote. In a democracy, if the majority come out and vote, their chosen leaders will win. That is the only way they can gain political power and change the economic future of your children and grand children.

Please vote for those who care for the Bottom 60 Percent, the Democrats. It was a Democrat president, F D Roosevelt, who brought the New Deal and enabled America to pull out of the Great Depression. It was a Democrat President, John F Kennedy, who ended racial segregation in schools. It was a Democrat president, Linden Johnson, who gave the American Blacks the right to vote and social equality. It was a Democrat President, Bill Clinton, who gave America surplus budgets, lowest unemployment rates and maximum prosperity in recent years. It is a Democrat president, Barack Obama, who, against all odds, gave America universal healthcare and is struggling to bring the jobs which have been shipped out back to America.

This election is about the economic prospects of the Bottom 60 Percent. The Democrats have stood by the Bottom 60 Percent. The Republicans have always sought to exploit the Bottom 60 Percent. Do not forget the Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s famous admission, “I am not interested in the poor…..”

The moot question that now arises is whether the Bottom 60 Percent can forget their ideological differences, unite and vote for Barack Obama and the Democrats and bring in a more just socioeconomic system.

This Blog is an extract from the book “Fight Class Wars Now”

To sample or purchase Fight Class War Now: http://smashwords.com/b/206829

Bhaskar Sarkar’s Smashwords Author Profile: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Bhaskarsarkar1940