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Just look around and you will realize the state of affairs in our country. All of our villages have roads and there are plenty of vehicles that run on them carrying modern fertilizers and hybrid seeds. Tractors have reached villages and farmers in remote areas are capable of modern cultivation. Watching TV, we keep abreast of whatever happens anywhere in the world. We can contact a person anywhere on the telephone through the satellite. Science has made all this possible to the villagers. However, with all these facilities made available by science, the villagers in Maharashtra, slaughter, every year, 5 to 7 lakh goats and innumerable chicken in order to fulfill their superstitious vows. Among them are a number of educated people who do not feel what they do is not in accord with their education. It is a well-known fact that to be possessed is a psychic condition, a kind of mental illness; and yet in all Navaratri festivals, on full moon and new moon days and in village fairs, women are possessed by some deity and dance vigorously, oblivious of them. People worship these noisy humming and dancing women taking them to be the deities that possess them. They gleefully exploit the products of science but refuse to adopt the scientific outlook. We use the latest computer; and perform Satyanarayan pooja to inaugurate the computer service. Using the computer and the performing pooja are mutually inconsistent. But we do not mind it because we want to use science but not adopt scientific way of thinking.

Scientific Outlook in the Past

Some people claim that this scientific outlook is not at all new to India; it has been there for ages. What existed in our country in the ancient past is, in fact, a matter for anyone to imagine the way he likes. A reference to the Pushpak Yan in the Ramayan means that we had aeroplanes and Brahmastra means the existence of atom bombs in those days. One does not need to refute these claims because it is more important to analyze why we are in such a dire state today if we had all these technologically advanced appliances in the past? Later on we can examine whether it is sheer imagination or things really existed as is claimed by some. But one thing is clear. We did not have any philosophy in the past that can be compared with what is called scientific outlook today. What we did have was rough estimates, assumptions and lengthy studies based on careful observations and genius of our people in the past. Whatever significant contribution India did make has been recognized by the world. The zero, for example, that has removed a big mathematical obstacle, is an Indian invention. It is attributed to Bhaskaracharya. Another scientist of acclaim, in those days was a chemist, Nagarjun. He invented the process of combining silver and gold with copper. Amarsinha classified the animal and plant kingdoms. Varahamiheer knew that the sun is a star and not a planet even in those days. Copernicus known for the Copernican revolution, that changed the center of the world from the earth to the sun, had said, ‘ the sun seems to be revolving round the earth, but in reality it is just the opposite of it. The sun is the center while the earth revolves round it.’ Aryabhatta initiated this concept in the 5th century, in India. We have honored him by naming our first satellite after him. (Incidentally Aryabhatta was not a Bhatt, i.e., a Brahmin but a Kshatreeya.) People ridiculed his idea. They argued, ‘If the earth revolves, as you say, how do we who, stand on it and perform all sorts of activities not fall off as the earth moves? Again how is it that the birds that leave their nests in the morning can find them on their return in the evening, when the earth has moved ahead?’ The point here is that we did have a process of critical thinking in the 5th and 6th century AD. This wisdom we had attained through observation, experience and discussion and were important and useful. However this process of acquiring knowledge cannot be called scientific outlook. In the next ten to twelve centuries the tradition of critical thinking also almost disappeared. A few good kings, eminent philosophers and littérateurs were born during this period, but no scientists. All debate centered on trivial matters such as who should and should not dine with whom; how should one wear the sacred and mundane dhoti; how many strands should there be in the sacred thread; should one eat onions and garlic during the four sacred months of the year; how drinking cow’s urine and brushing one’s face with its tail give you merit and emancipate your soul and so on. The rest of the world was following a different path. The Portuguese brought the revolutionary art of printing into Goa in 1550. It saved huge time that was required to copy manuscripts by hand. Spreading knowledge would have become very easy, but it took nearly three hundred years for this invention to reach the rest of India.

Development of Scientific Outlook

Scientific outlook was not developed in our society. Since it is essential to have such an outlook, Indira Gandhi amended the constitution. Till then only the rights of a citizen were mentioned in the constitution. With the amendment of 1976, along with the rights, a citizen’s duties were also included in the constitution. One of these duties is, ‘Every citizen should endeavor to spread scientific outlook, critical attitude and humanism in the society.’ The core content of the ‘new education policy’ of Rajiv Gandhi included ‘inculcation of scientific attitude’. Scientific attitude is an important part of our life. Is it something very serious, quite difficult to understand and meant only for a few people? No not at all. All of us use it in our normal life. ? No not at all. All of us use it in our normal life. If I want to go to Bhandara from Satara, to attend a function, I would ask a friend as to how to go about it. He tells me, there is a train from Satara that will take me to Bhandara. When I ask him, on what basis does he say so, he tells me that he remembers having seen it in his dream six months ago. Another friend told me that I would have to go to Pune and take a train from there. When I requested him to substantiate his information, he said, he had heard someone telling his friend, two months ago, at Pune railway station, that he went to Bhandara by a train. A third friend told me that I need not go to Pune since the Maharashtra express can take me directly to Bhandara. ‘How can he ascertain this information?’ I asked him. He replied that 15 days back he had been to Satara railway station where somebody was telling this to somebody else who wanted to go to Bhandara. A fourth friend told me that one has to go to Nagpur by the Maharashtra express, then go to the bus terminus and take a bus going to Bhandara that will reach me there in about two and half hours. I asked him how can I be sure of what he told me, he said he had been to Bhandara for some work by this route only a couple of days back. Now out of these four friends whom should I rely on, the most and on whom the least? The least on the one who saw something in his dream, six months back; may be, a little on the one who heard someone telling about it to another person; I can rely on the third friend a little more who heard about it at the Satara railway station fifteen days ago and the most on the fourth friend who himself had been to Bhandara, just two days ago. We rely to the extent we have reliable evidence. The same practical criterion that we all commonly use is the basis of Scientific Outlook.

We rely to the extent we have reliable evidence. The same practical criterion that we all commonly use is the basis of Scientific Outlook.

Method of Verifying the Evidence

How does one verify evidence? The process of scientific thinking is the method that is used for doing this. The factors that constitute this method are: Observation, Logic, Inference and Verification (this is of three types, viz., direct, repeated and universal), followed by experiment. What comes out of this is the scientific outlook. All the discoveries made so far are the result of some observation. We are taught in school about steam energy discovered by James Watt. The story goes thus. James Watt was engrossed in his thought. A kettle was boiling by his side. When enough steam gathered in the kettle its lid fell off. James put the lid back on the kettle. It fell off again after a little while. A few repetitions set him thinking about the reason for the lid coming off. He did not imagine a ghost in the kettle. He reasoned that since the lid comes off again and again, there must be something inside that pushes it out. This reasoning resulted in the discovery of energy contained in the steam, which led to the industrial revolution in Europe. Another example: we celebrate 28th February as National Science Day, because C.V. Raman’s discovery of ‘Raman effect’ was published in world-renowned magazine ‘Nature’. Later he won the Nobel Prize for it. How did he discover it? He was going to England in a liner. Every day he used to go to the deck and see the deep blue sky above and the deep blue sea below. He was curious to know why. Now he could have praised God for creating the beautiful blue sky above and the beautiful sea below. But, he did not do that. He started reasoning and discovered a novel scientific truth. Thus, scientific outlook starts from observing phenomena and asking oneself the question ‘why’.

Now one cannot expect to prove everything by observation. Suppose you have lost your way in a jungle in the evening. You need to reach some small settlement before night. Since you do not know where such a cluster of hutments can be found, you would not know which way to go. Then if you see some smoke going up at a dozen places by the side of a hill, you think this may be an indication of a settlement and you take the path towards it. What is the basis of your choice? You have not seen any men or a settlement or their fireplaces. But you know that wherever firewood is used for cooking, there is smoke and in the jungle, firewood is used for cooking. Evening is the time for cooking dinner and if food is being cooked in every hutment, there would be a dozen places from where the smoke can rise. So you deduce that there must be people living there and they are preparing their dinner. On the basis of this logic you proceed in that direction and your deduction turns out to be correct. Scientific outlook consists of firstly observation, secondly reasoning (or logic) where observation is not possible and thirdly inference. Let me explain the third constituent, inference. A friend of yours, who is a late riser, suggests that you accompany him for a walk at sunrise next morning. He promises to come to your house very early next day. Since you know he is incapable of doing this, would you argue with him, ‘Oh, you want to go for a walk at sunrise, but how are you sure that the Sun will rise tomorrow?’ No you won’t. But how does one know that the Sun is going to rise tomorrow? When we give appointments several days in advance, how do we know that those days are going to break on this earth? We deduce this from our knowledge that the Sun has been rising regularly in the morning for the last 460 crore years. It has not taken any leave at all. If it does that even for a day, it can cause a permanent “leave” for all the living things on earth. Since the Sun has been rising regularly so far, you infer that it will do so even tomorrow and plan to go for a walk in the morning. This is inference.

The next factor is verification. We have already seen that it consists of three parts: verification, repeated verification and universal verification. What is verification? Adi Shankaracharya had said, even if hundred wise men tell you that fire is cool, will you believe it? No, you will not. If those hundred wise men say, ‘not only do we say it, but it is also written in the book’, you would reply, ‘I do have a lot of respect for all of you but the direct evidence, my own experience, tells me that if I put my hand in fire it will burn.’ Verification by direct experience is an important part of scientific outlook. Now we will see what is repeated experience. Someone tells you that using a certain enchanted ring will secure employment for the user within one month. You ask him to give you proof. He then says that he had used it and later his neighbor had used it and both got jobs within a month. What you should argue with him, is that if the same experience is repeated a large number of times, then we should make ten thousand such rings and distribute them among ten thousand unemployed youth. If they all get jobs within a month then we can accept that this ring does have some supernatural power of securing jobs for the unemployed. We cannot draw conclusions from just one or two examples. For drawing conclusions you need a very large number of such examples. This is the crux of the scientific outlook. Again this experience or verification has to be universal. It cannot be science without being universal. If you say that only the residents of that particular city will get jobs on using the ring, it will not be acceptable as scientific truth. If the ring really is capable of getting a job for the user, any body anywhere should get a job within a month on using it. If a medicine is developed for a particular disease, it will cure any person suffering from that disease any where in the world. When the law of gravitation was proved, it could be applied anywhere in the world to verify it. Thus scientific outlook is founded on direct verification that is repeated in very large number and is universally applicable.

Experiment is the last important constituent of scientific outlook. Anybody should be able to verify scientific truths by conducting required experiments. Water boils at 100 degrees centigrade. It means that water will boil at this temperature anywhere in the world, be it Bombay, Calcutta, London or Madras. If it boils at a lower or higher temperature at any place, you have another universal law that explains why and to what extent the boiling point of water rises or drops. It is not that water will boil at 90 degree centigrade in Mumbai and save fuel because the residents of Mumbai are very religious, while the residents of Moscow being atheist water boils there at 110degrees centigrade. One can verify it by experiment. So observation, the question ‘why so’ based on the observation, then reasoning or logic where observation is not possible, followed by inference and verification and lastly experiment are the steps that build the scientific outlook. There is a lot of value content too in the scientific outlook. It tells how a human being should look at life in general. The value content dwells in the method of scientific thinking.

Independent Movement to Eradicate Superstitions

Every body feels that with the spread of science education and modernization, superstitions will automatically disappear by and by. No special efforts are needed to do that. Say, for example from a totally dark room we cannot dig out the darkness. Just light a candle and the darkness will vanish. A petromax will make it brighter, while a tube light will make it brighter still. When the day breaks out and as the sun reaches the zenith the room is flooded with light from all sides. Darkness has no room there. Superstition means the darkness of ignorance. So it goes without saying that with the light of knowledge and science the darkness of ignorance i.e., superstition will simply melt away. Had this concept materialized, we would have been the happiest people for, in that case, such a huge movement would not have been necessary at all.

Originally published by Dr. Narendra Dabholkar on antisuperstition.org. It has been republished here to propagate rationalist thinking and as a mark of solidarity with his beliefs. Do visit the site for more thought provoking rationalist commentary.

Transcript of Globalizing Inequality - a lecture by P. Sainath, sponsored by the Center for Social and Environmental Justice of Washington State University, Vancouver. Video by pdxjustice Media Productions.

Part 1 || Part 2 || Part 3 || Part 4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZZiDX3sWQ0

[In fact, so many new boutiques in fashion… fashion boutiques and designer stores have opened in Moscow that when Armani opened his designer store, in Moscow, the international world…] mocked him gently saying he was Giorgio come lately, because everyone else, Versace, Bulgari, all of them were already there and all this time people were dying of hypothermia in the city.

China. Long one of the most egalitarian societies in the world, is now seeing gaps between its coastal areas and its rural interior that it has not seen perhaps in 100 years. The Chinese people's procuratorate - a watchdog body of their communist party, the People's procuratorate of China, towards the end of 2003, came out with a report saying that two of the ... I mean, report on various things, in which it had mentioned... that two of the giant and rapidly growing sectors of the economy are - one is corruption and the other is prostitution. That was the watchdog body of the Communist Party of China speaking.

It forced them, in fact to have a special session in their last Congress on this issue of inequality.

It's in China. It's in India. It's in Russia. 

But by the way, harking back to the... but all this doesn't gain ground, because you see every night on every single one of your television channels - the giant soothsayer industry. "It's getting better. Things are actually getting a lot better"

You know, it's the baseline statistical, the baseline game. If you draw the baseline in the last ice age, everybody is doing better. And it's also the statistical averaging game, which we won't get into here.

But just to give you an idea of the way of looking at growth for instance... which do you think was the fastest growing economy in 2003 in the world? 

Afghanistan.

Afghanistan was the fastest growing economy in the world at 21%. See Afghanistan's GNP doubles if you just stop bombing. You build one school. It's a vast improvement. But by the conventional measures of growth, that was the fastest growing economy in 2003 and the United Nations however humbly added that 50% of the growth came from the cultivation and sale of opium.

Because you have destroyed any other means of livelihood for poor people in that country. They just cannot earn another way.

What about Africa? How did Africa do in all this?

Ask Joseph Stiegler. Former chief economist of the World Bank sacked for his incompatibility or incompetence, which of course immediately qualified him for the Nobel Prize.

As he points out, the African continent, subjected to forcibly imposed policies of the IMF and the World Bank has lost nearly a fourth of her income. Even African cotton farmers who grow the cheapest cotton in the world go bankrupt. American cotton producers - not farmers - because these are corporations, not farmers get an annual subsidy of a million dollars each.

No one can compete against that. So great is Africa's overall crisis today - and I think it is worth considering this point in view of all the amount of concern about outsourcing - that today, according to the Financial Times, the entire continent of Africa has just 20,000 engineers and scientists to serve a continent of six hundred million people, because today, there are more African scientists and doctors and engineers working in the United States than in all of Africa and much of this drain of medical personnel has come from South Africa - the country facing the world's largest AIDS pandemic.

So when you are talking about outsourcing, let's look at this  reverse factor as well. Let's look at what's happening.

Let's look at the millions of manufacturing jobs lost in China by the new process of liberalization, privatization and globalization that's taken place.

200 jobs lost here. Phenomenal outcry - and yes - what's being promoted - and that should be the view - the way of viewing it - is the race to the bottom.

Keep finding people who will work cheaper and cheaper and cheaper until you drive them into the ground.

That's the game - it's a race to the bottom. It's not jobs stolen from one set of poor people by another set of poor people.

In India, in the last few years, the inequality has - that's why I started with the theme weddings - the inequality has reached such proportions... let me tell you some truths about the tiger economy.

I speak very bravely these days, because I have an election of 2004 behind me. Every time I spoke before that - My God! it used to infuriate people if I told them "This is what the government data shows".

At a time when India was being promoted as the emerging tiger economy, its per capita food availability in 2003 was lower than it had been during the Bengal famine of 1942-43. You can check that figure in the pre-budget economic survey - a document that the government of India places in parliament at the time of the budget session of Parliament.

Amartya Sen's figures will show you that the per capita availability of foodgrain in the Bengal famine was 147.5 kilogrammes per Indian. In 2003 it was 141.7 kilogrammes per Indian. Seven kilogrammes less than in the Bengal famine.

In this period, they were still implementing the structural adjustment policies of export led growth. In a period when per capita availability of foodgrain was so low, India exported 30 million tons of foodgrain in 18 months at a price far lower than that at which she sells it to poor people in her own country.

We exported that grain to overseas markets at 5 rupees 40 paise a kilogram, while selling it to poor people in Andhra Pradesh at 6 rupees 45 paise a kilogram. And then we boasted "Look at our mountains of foodgrain" Mountains of foodgrains existed because the structural adjustments programme had so effectively destroyed the purchasing power of the poor that they could not buy food at those prices.

It was that hunger that drove the kind of election results you saw last year.

Once we entered the brave new world of liberalization, privatization, India cut development expenditure from her budget. Cut development expenditure from her plan outlays. From 14.5% of gross domestic product, to 5.9% of her gross domestic product. That is a cataclysmic fall of about 30,000 crores, which is about 7 billion  dollars. 

We removed 7 billion dollars from development expenditure, but we didn't just remove 7 billion dollars. When 7 billion dollars is invested in the Indian rural economy, it converts to about 30-35 billion dollars of rural income. We blew that income away and that's when the crisis began, that's when the farmer suicides began. That's when our agrarian crisis took off. That's when thousands of farmers committed suicide between 1997 and 2003 becoming the lead issue in at least 2 or three states in the elections - the suicides of thousands of farmers, which I've had the misfortune - the total misfortune - of being the mug who has to cover.

Don't think that farmer's suicides are something that happen only in India. They happen right here in the United States. Maybe they don't all get reported as suicides because there are two problems associated with the reporting of suicides all over the world. One is stigma, second, in USA is insurance. 

So a lot of them, if you speak to the farm unions here, they will tell you that a number of suicides are not necessarily reported as suicides, but as accidents, because you don't want to deny the family insurance.

In India there are at least seven ways in which you can undermine the suicide figures and that was the investigation I did between 2001 and 2004 in Andhra Pradesh, which I am now doing in Kerala and finding out that the number of rich district of Wyanad, Kerala is as intense as the poor district of Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh, because cartels have emerged at the global level, which are controlling and rigging commodity prices.

Commodity prices have collapsed at the level of the producer, at the level of the wholesale, at the level of the small farmer. They haven't changed much at the global level. Each time one of you goes out there and buys a cup of coffee, one twentieth of what you pay for that cup of coffee goes to that guy who spends his life growing coffee in Wyanad or in Brazil.

The rest goes to Sara Lee, to Kraft, to Nestles, to Starbucks and to the big boys. That's how the world of commodities is now rigged. Now, the prices of commodities are falling for the producer right in this country.

In the United States, between 94 and 99, consumer prices at the market actually rose 2.8%, but family farm prices crashed 37.5% in this very country. We're just slaughtering the small farms, the small households across the world.

If you look at your farm subsidies which are leading to suicides in Africa, for instance. They didn't go to small farmers in the United States. They went to 26 Fortune500 corporations. I was delighted to find who your struggling small farmers were when I checked the Associated Press database on this story.

I cried buckets when I realized that poor old guys standing in the line for handouts of agricultural subsidies in the United States included Ted Turner and Scottie Pippen and not to forget, David Rockefeller. They are all listed as recipients of agricultural subsidies in this country, whereas your small farmer is going bust.

I worked for a semester while teaching in a university of Iowa in the late 90s - in 1998. Where every day in the paper I read about another family farm going belly up. More foreclosures. More farms closing. And once the farmers of Iowa had a spectacular protest where they came and released lots of hogs in the streets of one of the towns nearby and explained that while the price of pork on the supermarket had not fallen one cent on the pound, their prices had collapsed.

So somewhere.... the money was going somewhere. Where was it going? This is happening in the United States. 

Farmer suicides are occurring in the United Kingdom up to the 2001 for which figures are available, at two and a half a week on average. They are occuring in Burkina Faso and Mali in Africa where cotton growers of Burkina Faso are getting wiped out by the subsidies of the UN and the United States.

All over the world, that small farmer is getting wiped out to the benefit of corporations. That's the kind of situation that you're looking at.

In Latin America, long the world's most unequal region, inequality rose so sharply in the 90s, which was terrible for a continent that had seen a hundred million people  fall already below the poverty line in the 1980s. They had two rounds of shock therapy.

There is an Oxfam figure that tells us that in Mexico alone, an additional eleven million people fell below the poverty line between 1990 and 96.

Worldwide, as FAO director general Jacques Diouf points out, in the last fifteen years, in which rich countries increased subsidies to their farmers or agricultural producers, poor countries went from being net exporters of food to net importers.

India is the country that produces the best spices of pepper in the world. They come from Malabar. Many explorers from the West and the medieval ages used to sail to India looking for Malabar pepper. Malabar pepper is premium grade pepper as against four other lower grades of pepper. Malabar pepper has collapsed, because the new laws allow people to import third grade, fourth grade pepper into India, remix it with Malabar pepper and re-export it to rich markets.

So farmers in that very rich district of Wayanad, that is the source of most of the Malabar pepper are committing suicde in very large numbers.

In coffee. The coffee prices have collapsed by a factor of ten, pepper prices have collapsed just through the floor. Vanilla prices have collapsed. cardamom prices have collapsed, but if you get on to the multi commodities exchange websites, you'll find that at the global level, the prices have not fallen so much.

Somebody is making the money and those are corporations. These are the driving force of the new inequality that's going on. India is a classic example of engineered inequality.

The New York Times had, some time ago, a front page article celebrating the birth of  a class of people who spend their weekend at the mall. Isn't that delightful? And some of the letters that came in from India were also illogical, you know?

I noticed a few NRI exchanges proudly about "have you seen this article? Everybody is spending time at the mall in India" It would have to be a VERY BIG MALL.

While all this celebration was going on, per capita food availability was falling. At a time when the tiger economy was being painted, India's position in the rank of nations, in the human development index of the United Nations fell from 124 to 127, which places us below - for the poor people - not for the rich people, because India's rich are richer, I think than some of North America's rich.

However, it places you below - for the quality of life for poor people - places you below el Salvador. It places us below Botswana and the occupied territories of the Palestine.

So here, the greater - it's pretty much like the Tsunami model. The greater the misery of the poor, the greater the achievement of the markets. The greater the misery of the poor, the better the rich are doing.

Here we come to this thing of, what does that inequality growing in every - I've traced it for you even now in Africa, Europe, wherever. It's happening in Japan, again one of the more egalitarian societies in many senses. It's growing very rapidly in Japan, where the Japanese are under severe pressure to privatize their pension funds, to privatize their providend funds, to privatize their simplified life insurance and postal insurance and postal savings. And who are the ones forcing them to do the privatization? Same bunch of corporations.

Now the kind of gaps that are coming up between rich and poor - in 2002 in this country, Prof. Paul Krugman of Princeton wrote that essay on inequality and there's also another brilliant essay by Jamie Galbraith on the perfect crime - inequality in the global age, where Krugman argues, quite correctly in my opinion, that obscene levels of inequality don't nearly threaten economic well being. They threaten and undermine the existence of democracy.

[contd in part 5]

Transcript of Globalizing Inequality - a lecture by P. Sainath, sponsored by the Center for Social and Environmental Justice of Washington State University, Vancouver. Video by pdxjustice Media Productions.

Part 1 || Part 2 || Part 3 || Part 4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGsk6XafewU

In other words, rate far above the lives of millions of Africans. That is absolutely clear. It is crystal clear from the conclusion about it.

Yet, the game is unraveling. We'll get into some of the numbers of inequality a little while later if you wish, but let's look at some surprising things that are happening.

The guys running the game, know it's unraveling. They're aware that things are not going as per plan. And maybe they... maybe the plan was different in any case, but with one of the fundamental features of our time being the increasing, growing disconnect between mass media on the one hand and mass reality on the other, you don't often get to see these things highlighted.

Let me quote three very, very important people and institutions. "Our planet is not balanced. Too few control too much, and too many have too little to hope for. Too much turmoil, too many wars, too much suffering." Now depending on who you are, that sounds like Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatistas, or Mother Teresa. It's actually James Wolfensohn of the World Bank speaking. That's James Wolfensohn at the joint World Bank - IMF meeting in Dubai.

You know, now a days the World Bank and IMF are very careful to pick as venues places like Dubai, Riyadh, other places known for freedom of expression to hold their meetings in. So that all you protesters can go there and say what you like. Now this is...

This is Wolfensohn speaking about concentration, inequality, too few own too much. Too few control too much. Look at the language. It is very different from the gung-ho, trickle down, claptrap that you had for fifteen years before that.

Three days after Wolfensohn spoke - this was towards the end of 2003 - a small paragraph appeared in the International Herald Tribune about the IMF. The International Monetary Fund, which if you remember, during the southeast Asian financial crisis together with the United States government, Washington and others, nearly brought down the Malaysian government of Mohammed Mahathir for being recalcitrant and creating a crisis, blah blah blah blah

Three days after Wolfensohn speaks, from the same meeting comes an acknowledgment from the IMF that the IMF has since accepted that Mahathir's capital and controls formula actually worked.

You nearly brought down an elected government, because it didn't conform to your prescriptions and then calmly, five years later you say, you know I was shocked, we got it slightly wrong... we just blew the whole region apart by doing so, but... you know? They're admitting it.

Around the same time, the third member of the trinity spoke. This is the oracle. The Wall Stree Journal. And we'll come to the Wall Street Journal in greater detail in a minute.

A few days after Wolfensohn got it off his chest, the Wall Street Journal came up with this very original line. Well... original for the Wall Street Journal anyway. It wrote. The Wall Street Journal said its true really (?) "Yes, markets are a great way to organize economic activity, but markets need adult supervision."

Gee! If they had figured that out twenty years ago, millions of lives would have been spared.

Now I think this is a strong case that the World Bank and the IMF and the Wall Street Journal are in urgent requirement of adult supervision. All three of them are now hedging on what's going wrong. They know that market fundamentalism has run its course, that things are going very badly wrong.

Throughout the 90s to even suggest that the market was not God was to invite derision, attack, ridicule, of a very abusive nature. Right? The market wasn't good for just democracy. The market IS democracy.

You can't separate these two things. Now, as it begins to unravel, let me give you the later thoughts of the Wall Street Journal.

On the elections in India. This is the same newspaper that argued that markets are democracy, etc etc. Here is the Wall Street Journal. It writes 5 days after the Indian election results, because that's how much time it took to get out of the trauma, "Democracy is perverse."

Democracy is perverse! It is attacking the Indian election results! Democracy is perverse. Although it is natural for the United States to suggest that all countries should embrace democracy, the lesson from India is that Western nations cannot be dogmatic about elections.... except when they are in Iraq.

The lesson from India is that Western nations cannot be dogmatic about elections.

The journal continues "As India's elections will testify" - this isn't on their op-ed or edit page - "As India's elections will testify, democracy is not always supportive of coherent economic policy and prosperity."

You want me to translate that for you, it means that those voters are really dumb and they are very dangerous and let's - you know - corral them. Continuing - verbatim quote "The West should be more hesitant about promoting political competition. For alas, that could destroy the leadership" - unquote - that pursues real economic change.

So don't promote elections and stuff for God's sake, these miserable peasants in India go and change governemnts that are promoting markets

The WSJ continues "The lesson is that if India wants to be an economic power, it has to pay heed to the global voter known as the investor."

If India wants to..you know? Screw your electorate. You want to be a power, you pay attention to the global voter known as the investor. And then it adds as an afterthought because it may not look all that democratic "in addition to your own voters at home."

Gee! Thanks! We can listen to our own people so long as they think the way you want them to.

But surely that's a regression, but oh... let me not put it all at the door of the Wall Street Journal. We have far more enthusiastic people at home, like the editors of our own newspaper - one of whom wrote when the collapse took place in 2004, no government ... just before the election this editor wrote these two pieces in 2004 "No government that the markets see as hostile can survive."

Just before the election he also wrote that "the era of mass elections, mass meetings, door-to-door campaigning and election rallies is over. Elections will now be decided on the basis of what people learn from the media."

As famous last words, those rank along side the Tarzan's "Who greased the grapevine?"

He also made a pronouncement on after the crash "The markets have spoken" you know? He had read the entrails of the market like the ancient wizards who read the entrails of whatever animal that they made miserable.

Now all the other newspapers in the West contributed to the building of this Tiger economy model, this emerging tiger stuff when in fact, inequality was being entrenched at that devastating pace.

Let me give you the example of the New York Times. Mr Keith Bradshaw, renowned investigative journalist for the New York Times, an expert on the automobile industry, which of course qualifies him immediately to comment on Indian agriculture. Is sent to the southern state of Andhra Pradesh to deify the greatest, the most beloved third world leader in the West. Mr Chandrababu Naidu, from my home state of Andhra Pradesh.

If you hit.. if you Google this name tonight, or if you check LexisNexis, you will find that no third world leader ... the only other third world leader who will get you an equal number of hits is probably Saddam Hussein - ok? But for totally different reasons.

Naidu was the darling of the World Bank, the IMF, the WTO, etc. Mr. Bradshaw in analysing also joined the list of famous last words, said that "Mr. Naidu's party is set to retain power." You know? Before they suffered the biggest electoral defeat in the history of that state in decades. "Mr. Naidu's party is set..." In my home state in Andhra Pradesh speaks a language called Telugu. Some 70-80 million people speak this language.

And Mr. Bradshaw wisely commented - he'd studied the problem very closely. He'd visited the place for all of six hours or so - and declared that "Mr. Naidu's party seems set to regain power in the coming elections, because he and his party speak Telugu."

Now this is... you know? The rest of Andhra Pradesh speaks Esperanto. Right?

This is like saying that "Tony Blair and the labor party is set to retain power because they speak English." which of course, there might be a strong case for, because earlier it was cockney. Right? So...

Anyway, all these predictions went awry, and you can see how how angry they are with democracy when it works against them, because the poor there spoke, and they spoke decisively.

Anyway, if you look at how... oh... more than the free market, has anyone seen the new patent laws and seed laws of Iraq? There's a free market for you. A completely imposed free market in perpetuity and in eternity captive to Halliburton and MCI and a number of other multinationals.

Halliburton gets exclusive monopoly rights to import oil into a country with the second largest reserves of that commodity in the world at about two and a half times the price of that commodity in that part of the world. Exclusive rights of exclusive importation.

A friend of mine calculated that it would be cheaper to drive the oil down by limo from Kuwait than to buy it at Halliburton's price.

You should see these patent laws and seed laws. The people of Iraq didn't even know that they needed a Seed Law. It's been written by the Monsantos, the Cargills and these guys. Its been... whoever or whatever other doubts you might have about the law you can see that it's been written by the lawyers of American Corporations. The language, the tone, everything is unmistakable.

A country has been reduced to a colony in perpetuity. It doesn't matter how representative the government of Iraq is tomorrow, it can have no.... The free market precludes Iraqi ownership of any Iraqi asset of significance.

Soon after Saddam fell, a couple of very entrepreneurial young guys started a telephone ... a cell phone network, which was shut down physically by your army and handed over to to MCI which had no previous experience of building networks in such places. That's the free market.

I'm sure the Iraqis will be very grateful. I see them expressing it everyday. The opening up process in many ways now, in many of these countries resembles the opium wars of the 19th century.

But let's look at this growth of inequality worldwide. Inequality has grown faster in the last 15 years than in the preceding 50. Every single report of the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Report, which has been coming up since 1991 shows you this and shows you that it has intensified with every single successive year.

The income gap between the top 20% of the world's population and the bottom fifth has more than doubled by 1998. The top 20% consumed 80% of all goods and services. The bottom fifth of the world's population are currently living on 1.2% of the world's resources and services - goods and services.

The world's richest 200 people doubled their net worth in 4 years leading to 1998, which means they more than doubled their net worth in 4 years to over 1 trillion dollars and the assets of the top three billionaires are more than the combined gross national product of all least developed countries and a six hundred million people put together.

By 2004, the position had actually worsened. To that point, is what I think the Bank and the Fund were beginning to worry about. You know? That things are not going as planned or maybe they were going as planned, but too well.

Russia. Look at the rest of the world. Russia, once the second superpower in the world was subjected to shock therapy in the 90s and other doctrines of market fundamentalism. The former USSR lost 42% of her gross domestic product. No mean achievement, because no country has lost 42% of its GDP without either a war or a famine. Russia managed that with only the IMF and Jeffery Sachs. Without war or famine.

Every year now. Every year, if you check it out, 400-500 people die in Moscow in the vicinity of hypothermia. Of cold. In the cold of Moscow in winter, while every year, the number of Mercedes Benzs sold in Moscow has soared. The sale of Mercedes Benzs has gone up in every one of those years that more and more people have died of hypothermia.

In fact, so many new boutiques in fashion... fashion boutiques and designer stores have opened in Moscow that when Armani opened his designer store, in Moscow, the international world... [contd in Part 4]