Globalisation is a façade of modern capitalism
Z.K. Pahrü Pou
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]oday we believe that life is much easier to live and more beautiful than in the past. The world is filled with modern technologies, luxury goods and services. We are told by capitalist forces that we live in a global village and that we must be happy of being a member of global family. We are even told to accept the society shaped by global capitalism without any question. We are comforted that all our needs will be provided by market agencies and our duty is only to earn money, buy from market and consume. We are not given time to think and search for alternative other than capitalistic society. We are chained with the ideology of ‘There Is No Alternative’ (TINA) to modern capitalism.But, friends, take a moment and look at the reality of life. We will find that in the midst of plenty, our generation feels emptiness deep down in heart. People become restless. It is quite visible that frustration and insecurity are on the increase in people’s mind. Society is much more divided than in the past. In some parts of the world there is scarcity of water for daily consumption but bottled-water or soft drinks like coca-cola are available plentifully in shops.
More than ever before, the gap between the rich and poor is widening at fast pace. Natural resources are grabbed by the few rich individuals/corporates. Today, 20% of world population controls 80% per cent of world’s resources. Many cultural heritages including languages are vanishing especially of the indigenous groups of people.
Morality seems going down the drain. Case of broken home, domestic violence, sexual harassment, rape, human trafficking, extortion of money, wars, starvation, suicide, and corruption filled news reports. Traditional food system gets dislocated. Ecological system is at stake. Human actions have intensified global warming and natural disasters (floods, droughts, earthquakes, etc). In this context, it will be an interest to read this article to know more about the forces of globalization.
Globalisation is a process and hence there is no consensus for its definition. However, the effect of globalisation is felt everywhere in the world in one way or the other. Globalisation promises many things but it has yet to prove. Its promises include economic development for all section of people, political stability, and social security. In short it promises a better world to live. Globalisation may be said to be “good” or “bad” development depending on how a person is affected by it or how one perceive it.
It is to be expected that the minority rich (found in almost every country) who are the main beneficiaries of globalisation would say that it is ‘good’ but for the majority poor of the world population it is ‘bad’ development. It is considered ‘disastrous’ development by many thinkers of today because the main force that propels globalisation is capitalism.
This global capitalism has three main projects. They are Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation, often known as LPG. So the process of modern globalisation is nothing but the process of spreading capitalism on a world scale. The motive behind modern capitalism or neo-liberalisation is to accumulate material wealth non-stop with all available means at the shortest period of time even at the cost of both human beings and nature. Globalisation is a project of the rich capitalists to grab the whole resources of the world.
These capitalists have bought many big shots of Indian politicians (MPs and MLAs) and state bureaucrats so as to frame state’s policy that would protect and promote their enterprise/business. This is the reason why we need to be very, very careful when we deal with such topic as globalisation. Many of our educated people and political leaders are welcoming globalisation without giving a critical thought on the present form of globalisation which is nothing but a facade of modern capitalism.
Global capitalism employs liberalisation as one of its project. The states (governments) are forced to loosen their hands in protecting the interest of its citizens but allow global markets to operate with freedom. The welfare of its citizens is left at the mercy of market forces. The global finance agents such as International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) forced the countries to liberalise its economy which India also accepted in 1991.
Free trade and free market have enormous impact on the economy of the hundreds of small indigenous farmers and traders. The products of local farmers and petty traders are out-competed by the products of multi-national and transnational companies (MNCs & TNCs). Instead of protecting the interest of its citizens, the state protects the interest of the corporate bodies by giving subsidies and even providing police force.
If we do not fall in line with the interests of global market forces, we are at risk because the sponsoring countries of global capitalism could brand us “terrorists,” “extremists,” or as “evils.” Now the global market decides what we should wear, eat, buy, at what price and finally how we should live.
Through the breath of the rich capitalists, the state gives subsidized money or loans to local farmers to grow cash crops but not for food crops. People are advised to grow cash crops, earn more money and buy from the markets. Farmers are losing food sovereignty and are forced to depend much on multi-national companies such as Monsanto Seed Company that supplies GM seeds.
Once farmers are trapped into growing cash crops, they are completely under the control of the private companies. Today we see our markets and shops filled with foreign goods, food stuffs and other things but our own homes are empty. Since its liberalisation of economy more than 500,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide. Thus liberalisation of economy is one of the reasons of unrest in many countries of the world.
The second project of global capitalism is privatisation of public owned properties, institutions, factories, industries, etc. There are lots of talks going on about Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) for bringing development. This is a tricky joke for this is how the state hands over its resources to private companies. This is how our state machineries that are responsible for the development of the common people, wanted to take good sleep by handing over all the responsibilities to the private companies. This is scary fact.
Today we see airports and seaports being privatised in the name of developing to world’s standard. The state’s owned factories and industries are declared “sick” and then sold out to big private companies. Government-run educational institutions which provide free education to thousands of poor children are slowly going into the hands of private individuals/companies. Government hospitals are either sold or leased out to private companies in the name of providing quality health care. Hence health services become inaccessible to poor people.
Rivers and beautiful mountains are snatched away from the rightful owners (mostly from the adivasis/tribals) and gifted to private companies for the establishment of mega-dams, tourism spot and for recreational centres. This process has displaced millions of adivasis/tribal people in India. The many insurgent movements in NE India and Naxalite movement are created by inconsiderate policy of the state government.
The main driving force of all these things is global capitalism which has little or no concern at all for the well being of majority of world’s population or other living beings and nature. Influenced deeply by the concept of privatisation of global capitalism, our generation considers ‘private property’ as the source of security and by the same logic many Christians try to appropriate God as private property for their security.
Globalisation being one of the projects of modern capitalism pushes for homogenization of world culture – the so-called culture of the minority elite class. It introduces consumerist culture where the meaning of life is to be found through possessing or accumulating luxury goods. By destroying the varied cultures of the people, the capitalists wanted their products to be sold in the markets. Our food habits are thus changed through different advertisements in TV, Internet, mobile phones, printing media, etc. Our children prefer to eat plastic packed foods than our local foods. Soft drinks which do not have any health benefits are portrayed as better drinks than locally available drinks.
Our traditional medicines are replaced by allopathic (modern) medicines. Those who dress up themselves like the Westerners or sport Korean hairstyles (caterpillar spike hairstyle) are considered modern men and women. Modern education which actively endorses Western lifestyles brainwashed us into thinking that whatever we inherit from our fore-parents are inferior to Western culture. Many youngsters prefer communicating in English rather than in their own mother tongue.
The art of writing grammatically with correct spelling is destroyed by the mobile phone’s sms style of writing. Communitarian way of life of the tribal people is waning due to the influence of Western culture which emphasise on individual efforts. With the introduction of technology our society is divided more than ever before. We have hundreds of friends (many of them are fake friends) in facebook but neglected our friends whom we met every day. We spend much of our time talking and chatting with someone who is far away from us but hardly find time to talk and share the joys and sorrows with immediate neighbours. Human values also changing due to modern technology. Those who possess the latest and best technology or electronic gadgets or latest SUVs increase their value. Good moral life and hard labour finds itself difficult to earn respect in today’s society.
Besides mass media, our churches and educational institutions played an active role in spreading modern capitalism. If Christianity and modern education gives a sense of identity and self-consciousness to tribal people, then they are also responsible for the destruction of nature and communitarian way of tribal life by spreading dualistic, otherworldly and anthropocentric teachings. Such teachings have led to the breakdown of tribals’ worldview on intrinsic relationship of God-human-world paving the way for the commercial forces for random exploitation of natural resources. Modern education gives much importance to individual effort rather than on community or group effort resulting to individualism.
The church teaching on “prosperity theology” inspires its members to accumulate wealth without limit. So from the above discussion, it is clear that modern capitalism that employs LPG, has affected every part of our life, organisations and institutions in various ways. The present form of globalisation which is based on the ideology of “survival of the fittest” cannot be an acceptable norm for our society as it has no concern for the wellbeing of poor people as well as nature.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
It is impossible for us to go back to our fore-parents’ age and live like them. At the same time, we should not allow globalisation to sweep away whatever we inherited from our fore-parents. We do not need to learn how to fly like birds in the sky. We do not need to learn how to swim like fish in the sea. But as human beings, we should learn how to walk on this earth carefully and meaningfully. This will help us to solve many problems that we are facing today. All the outside forces that come to our land came along with certain interest and hence may not be beneficial or suitable for our society if we accept them in toto.
Therefore, we must be judgmental when someone talks about Development, Growth of economy, Alleviation of poverty, Progress, modernity, and Prosperity. If we accept whatever comes from outside without serious examination, it may do more harm to our society rather than building up in the long run. It is a fact that no one can stop ‘change’ as everything changes. But while accepting the ‘changes’ taking place in our land, we should also think and decide what kind of change is relevant and useful for us and which are not, and what course of action should we take to deal with the changes. Our leaders (of Church, of Civil Orgs, of Political Orgs, of UG groups, etc) must be sensitive in discerning the signs of the time and lead the society in the right way.
God created us in different ways with different cultures and placed us in different places that are suiting to us. We are God’s unique people with unique identity and culture. God did not create us to be a copycat of the westerners, capitalists or elite class. If at all necessary, let’s learn from others and improve ourselves but not at all live a copy-pasting life as we tend to be today. We need to modernise and transform the age-old cultural heritages (social, economic and political life) that have come to us through many generations. Traditional stories, folklores, legends and myths need to be told, retold and reinterpreted in the light of changing world. Revive and preserve the varieties of our agricultural system and food cultures. Communitarian way of tribal life has to be protected by any means from modern way of individualism.
The tribal ethos of fear, shame and taboo has to be cultured into the minds of younger generation. The traditional culture of sharing and caring for one another has to be protected from the forces of consumerist culture. Protect the land and commons from falling into the hands of commercial forces. It is time for all of us to speak out against the ‘evils’ of global capitalism that is destroying everything including harmonious social relations and nature.
Our leaders (both religious and secular) need to put their heads together and examine modern capitalism-which appears in the form of ‘globalisation’ – and search for a viable and sustainable world. We have to make strong decision not to serve mammon (modern capitalism – that destroys everything) but to serve the true God who creates, protects and sustains all forms of life. We should reject the kind of world pursued by global capitalism. If we serve and worship the true God, Another World Is Possible.
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