Author and activist Arundhati Roy sent some “cryptic” answers to an e-mail questionnaire sent by Outlook. Excerpts:
Can India’s corporate sector, with all the taints of corruption and scams, decide India’s political future?
Of course it can and of course it will. The whole point of the corruption is to consolidate power and money, isn’t it? But perhaps we should not use the words ‘Corporate India’...it is just a few corporations that run India who will be making those decisions. Even within ‘corporate India’ and the business community, there is an accelerated process of marginalisation and consolidation taking place. And corporate money has no nationality.
Considering that the corporate sector’s worldview is so unidirectional and self-serving, why is it being accepted so blindly by the media and in turn by the people?
Because the corporations own and control the media. And the media controls the imagination of the people. RIL, for example, owns controlling shares in 27 TV channels. Logically, ril’s political candidates are going to be promoted on those channels.
What gives the corporates the strength to force such views on the people?
Let me guess...could it be money? Lots of it?
“Corporations own and control the media. Their political candidates are promoted on those channels.” In the US, the corporate sector plays a key role in the selection of the president. The corporate sector here seems to be pushing in that culture—individual-based politics as opposed to issue- or party-based public debates....
This election the Corporate Candidate will be the person who is seen as being able to ‘deliver’...and that will include being able to put down people’s rebellions across the country by deploying the army if necessary, in places like Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh, where, in the corporate view, massive reserves of cold cash are languishing in the forests and mountains—not quite the US model, but getting there.
Do you consider all this to be good for India’s democratic system and values?
Yes, it’s excellent for Indian democracy. We should be run by corporations. The army should be deployed. Nothing should come in the way of corporate need. The poor should be moved into concentration camps outside large cities. The surplus population should be exterminated.
Part of people’s resentment against Arundhati is that she is pro-poor and says harsh things eloquently. All of her finesse and punch would sit so well if it was employed in praising new India.
Jaipat S. Jain, New York
Has Arundhati herself framed these questions?
D.L. Narayan, Visakhapatnam
It is with great pleasure that I congratulate OUTLOOK Magazine on its historic 17th anniversary and salute this one-of-a-kind publication on its tremendous contributions to the INDIAN community. Keep up the good work.
Regarding the entry of females into formal workforce and impact on economy - I fundamentally disagree with all those radical feminists in that it is not that women working in home were economically unproductive. THe problem is that when you do a work within your home, it is not measured inGDP, whereas if you do work in a workplace or through proper legal arrangement it is measured.
To cite an example - I clean my house and cook a simple meal of dal chawl in my home, it is not considered in GDP.
But I get hired by some agency to clean the house of my friend and cook a meal of dal chawl in his/her home . It gets factored into GDP.
After WW2, women have entered formal workforce across world and this trend is a one time trend, which shows an exaggereated influence on GDP. But once the ratio hits 50%, the trend stops. And then GDP slows. Some european nations have 50% women participation in workforce. Now, there is nothing more to boost GDP. These nations have best labour standards and per capita income and too much savings. But there is no way GDP can grow further significantly. Meanwhile, the populations are ageing, so consumption and productivity will only come down. And for now these countries are trying to address by bringing cheap asian/african labourers but how long?
MU >> They only displaced more efficient male workers.
Strongly disagree on this statement. There is nothing like efficient male workers or efficient female workers. It is all about individual workers, some are good, some mediocre and some bad. You are doing same mistake as radical feminazis, potraying an entire gender as evil/inefficient. Pls dont fall into same trap/commit same mistakes
I strongly disagree that womens entry into the work place was a 'revolution' in the economic sense ( though it was, in the Feminist sense ). It can parroted for its propaganda worth, though
They only displaced more efficient male workers.
42D and 43D,
We can endlessly debate on economics but ultimately the state of economy is always a slave to the state of the underlying human population.
Demographics is the master and economics is the slave , despite our love to think other way.
The huge improvement in productivity in western world came out of one time revolutions - industrial, manufacturing, spread of electric power, urbanisation, entry of women into workplace and lastly the IT revolution. Now, the entire cycle is complete. Like it or not, Western nations are all facing an ageing population. It is human nature that at age over 40, humans never have the same drive to excel and improve things that they had in age below 30...
So, the era of high growth will never come back to europe and uSA. all that we will have is incremental improvements. After we are done with last stages of IT revolution, after everyone has a google glass or smartest phone in their hands, there is nothing big to improve in western world...(in economic sense)...
In India, all these revolutions are just happening, so we will see long periods of growth - unless, resource demands that the growth needs are not supplied with. And here lies the risk...
THe UPA's biggest failure is thus in their inablity to understand this, their failure to particularly meet growing energy demand of india. Merely having a food security bill and NREGA wont get things better, since revolutions do not happen out of some paper laws.
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