Indian Vendors of the American Dream

Girish Mishra questions the basis of the American Dream being transplanted by its Indian vendors:

Ever since the beginning of the economic reforms mandated by the Washington Consensus, the gap between the rich and the poor has rapidly increased. Similarly, regional economic disparities are largest since Independence. The new jobs that have been generated require the skills that cannot be acquired by the poor, especially from the rural areas. Most educational institutions in rural areas do not have furniture, proper buildings, teachers, blackboards and electricity. They cannot afford computers even in their dreams. In this situation, the American Dream has no relevance for them. Maybe it can inspire the young people in higher income groups who can think of emulating their counterparts in the USA.

On a personal note, I am very happy to have discovered Girish Mishra’s site, having been an avid reader of his column in New Wave that used to be published from New Delhi many years back. Along with Girish Mathur’s articles, it used to be something to look forward to.

Girish Mishra has taught Economics at Kirori Mal College in Delhi and has been a voice of wisdom from the Left for a long time. It gives me a sense of deja vu to find his articles available on the internet.

I would urge you to bookmark his site and read the online articles at his site as well as the Znet site.

2 thoughts on “Indian Vendors of the American Dream

  1. Here is something from Amartya Sen on “market fundamentalism”


    Amartya Sen denounces ‘market fundamentalism’
    Malaysia Sun
    Wednesday 27th December, 2006

    Coming out strongly against what he termed as ‘market fundamentalism’ in the Indian subcontinent, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has called for speedy reforms, saying the drive against globalisation was only ‘a slogan’ that needs to be countered.

    Sen declared himself to be ‘anti-anti-globalisation,’ saying that drive against globalisation was ‘a slogan, only a campaign’ that should be countered.

    At the same time, he said, the pros and cons of globalisation needs to be weighed in the context of each society and there was nothing wrong with a comprehensive analysis and criticism of the process.

    Referring to China, Sen said despite being a communist country China has accepted market economy to some extent. He said although he does not support the market economy strongly, it could be introduced depending on a country’s necessity.

    Both Sen and fellow Bangladesh Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus pitched for the poor of the world, stressing that the process should help them and not merely the rich.

    It was important that potential of the process was utilized to eradicate poverty and lift countless have-nots above the poverty line, they said at a dialogue, ‘Towards an Inclusive Globalisation’, organised by Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Bangladesh’s premier think tank on economic affairs.

    Sen, Yunus and global financier George Soros, however, appeared at different wavelengths on the need to police the globalisation process and the role of the media.

    Soros called globalisation ‘a market fundamentalist project’, which is putting the ultimate reliance on market forces.

    However, Yunus said globalisation is moving in the wrong direction, arguing that the majority of those receiving the benefits of globalisation were the strongest in the society while the poorest have no say in the process.

    Highlighting the fact that two percent of the people possessed 50 percent of the world’s total assets, he stressed on the need for ‘free assets free for all’ policy.

    As globalisation is something that cannot be stopped, Yunus said the relevant question centres on ‘right globalisation versus wrong globalisation’. Comparing globalisation to a highway, Yunus said: ‘Vehicles of the big countries are plying on this highway while rickshaws have no place here’.

    Yunus pointed out that 60-70 percent of the world’s population has no access to information technology (IT) and emphasised the need for equal access to IT for all people.

    ‘If the IT is brought to the people at the bottom level, they will at least be able to know whether globalisation is wrong or right,’ he said.

    Yunus said he is trying to introduce an idea of business with entrepreneurs setting up non-profit companies for the well-being of humanity.

    With regard to the role of the media in the globalisation process, Soros partly blamed the media for failing to raise sufficient debate on the issue as most media houses were owned by big companies.

    Sen, however, argued that the media is doing its job.

    Sen was against the need to create another agency to monitor the globalisation process, as there were organisations like the UN, World Bank, World Trade Organisation and the International Monetary Fund to do the job.

  2. Thanks, Sen’s statement is very interesting. In fact, I find it tough to believe and would still like to verify it.

    In my own review of his Argumentative India, I had remarked:
    “Similarly Sen is silent on the other central point of conflict in the last decade and half- that of globalization. In the last essay in this collection, he conveniently ignores the use of the term ‘globalization’ in contemporary discussions in the economic sense, not to say its use as an economic ideology of contemporary capitalism that has much in common with the globalization of a hundred years ago.

    Sen seems to consider any interchange of ideas between countries at all times in world history as the process of ‘globalization’, including, for example, the exchange of ideas between the Arab world and India about a thousand years ago. This is a very simplistic view of globalization. Nowhere does Sen consider the contradictory and debilitating impact of globalization in India in the past 15 years.”

    Still, his usage of “anti anti- globalization” is typical ambivalence on Sen’s part.

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