Friday, November 10, 2006


What is happening today in Delhi in the name of sealing is nothing short of robbing Peter to pay Paul. It is also part of the ugly face of globalization.

The reason why countries compete with each other to hold international games in their country is that it will attract lot of foreign, domestic as well as foreign institutional investment. This, in turn, will help in modernising and cleaning old urban areas. Airports will be modernized; new malls and buildings will come up in areas where none existed. Roads will be widened and new flyovers and underpasses will come up which will smoothen free flow of vehicular traffic. A number of five-star and three-star hotels and guesthouses will come up to accommodate hundreds and thousands of tourists who will participate in the international games. It will also result in the opening of a number of foreign restaurants and eateries to cater to the eating habits of foreign visitors and local residents. A number of companies will open shops in malls to sell branded goods and services. New jobs will be created and there will be great demand for skilled labour and qualified professionals such as architects, engineers, real-estate developers, financiers, money-changers, tour operators, and so on.

On the face of it, all these developments seem very hunky-dory. But in actual practice, it is plenty of evil disguised as good.

Globalization has helped hundreds of millions of people attain higher standards of living. It has benefited countries in seeking new markets for their exports and by bringing in lot of foreign investment. But for millions of people globalization has not worked. Many have actually been made worse off, as they have seen their jobs destroyed and their lives become more insecure. They have felt increasingly powerless against forces beyond their control. They have seen their democracies undermined, their cultures eroded.

This is not something new. It has already happened in the late nineties in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea, Singapore and Latin American countries. At that time Singapore did not feel the brunt of it because most of its national savings were invested in American bonds and America was the country which benefited most from this crisis.

We are aghast because this is happening for the first time in India and we do not understand the realities of free-market economy.

What then is the solution?

The solution is very simple. Mahatma Gandhi once said that whenever you want to take a decision, imagine yourself looking at the face of the common man of India and ask yourself whether your decision will benefit such a person or not, and the answer to it will help you in arriving at the right decision.

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