Thousands of people are thrown out of their homes and homelands in many countries including India by the neoliberal juggernaut. It is done in the name of development. It may be done in the name of setting up industries, SEZs, mines, dams, or apartment complexes. The people who are displaced are not given any viable alternative. They have to die. “People who are not in demand in the world market do not deserve to live at all,” as Kagarlitsky said. [See Beyond Capitalism – part 1]
Even those who are supporting the displaced people have no right to live. See the fate of Dr Binayak Sen, who spent his whole professional life for the poor and the underprivileged. The country has given him the gift of life imprisonment. He is dangerous for the capitalists who are the kings in the current political dispensation. Dr Sen is not an exception. Himanshu Kumar, a Gandhian, whose ashram in Chhattisgarh was demolished is another example. Arundhati Roy who fought for a different and yet similar cause in Kashmir is another example.
Kagarlitsky gives an interesting example from Russia. The World Bank asked Russia to close the mines in Siberia as they were nonprofitable. It is more profitable to import coal from Australia, said the World Bank. The Bank gave a loan of $500 million to help Russia close down its coal mines. But the money was stolen by “people in the Ministry or government.” [Kagarlitsky’s words] The money did not reach the miners who were rendered jobless. Russia asked for another loan which was not provided. Eventually the rouble crashed. The devaluation of the rouble went from 6 roubles against one American dollar to 30 roubles against the dollar. And then the mines became profitable! How?
In the words of Kagarlitsky, “When you say that particular people and products are not capable of competing on the world market, among other things, it is not about the products, people’s skills or the way they work, it is completely independent of its people. It is, on the contrary, how financial institutions operate, like how they fiddle with the exchange rate of the currency.”
Those who are in power make the rules that will serve their own interests, in short.
Kagarlitsky says that during the years of privatisation in Russia [1993-1998] the property of the country was divided between the new oligarchs and party managers. There was “permanent looting” of the country’s resources by the people in power.
Is the situation different in India? The rising number of billionaires and the still more rising number of the poor along with all the possible forms of corruption will give you the answer.
So, what’s the solution? If a system is not delivering, it should be changed or at least modified. Capitalism in the garb of neoliberalism has failed. It has to be changed or modified. It will be. It’s a matter of time.