India’s stand at WTO

The fate of more than 90% of Indian farmers who are resource poor and dependent on the state for their livelihood, stands threatened by the new TPA agreement. Mr.Jaitely in a deja vue moment probably remembers his last negotiations on the behalf of India, in NY some years ago. The world forgets that a majority of India lives in its 500,000 villages. Here the farmers subsist on land holdings of less than 10 hectares of un-irrigated land and have done so for millenniums. This is unlike the conditions in developed Europe, US, Canada, Australia or the communist China or Russia and needs to be addressed urgently.

The new TPA with its limits like 10% on subsidy’s to the poor farmers would destroy their lifestyles as is clear from the numerous farmer suicides that take place each year and especially following dry monsoon years. There is an ecologically beneficial relationship between the villages and the surrounding land and it needs to be preserved. With the government holding stock piles of food grains for times of drought, through its procurement process, it is also a social imperative to continue these subsidies till the economy grows. There can be no timeline for meaningful employment for these partially self-employed people as we are decades from that point in our economic growth. The fight for resolution of this issue is vital to India and other developing country’s core social programs for food security, poverty reduction and rural development.

India’s stand has been stated before and is morally correct and needs resolution before the TPA kicks in.

Moral Strength

The morality of the economic elite is not be questioned by the middle class; and similarly the lower classes are supposed to live with their own moral or immoral behavior, squeezing the middle strata from both ends. The pleasures of the senses though fleeting; seem to attract the worst in us, and but for our morals many more of us would fall into a trap of descending morality and decadence. The rise of civilizations is when the middle class is on the ascendance; and lasting change comes neither from the top, or the bottom. In any great society history has shown that while the middle holds itself to a higher standard, only then the society continues to evolve into a higher rising spiral of success.

The greatest leaps in philosophy, art, science and architecture have come about, when great ideas were shared by the middle classes and spread across the spectrum of universal thought. To achieve this; great dialogs have to take place, and education and cultural renaissance has to be nurtured and spread across the nation. The atmosphere has to change to allow this great exchange of ideas, to encourage innovative thinking and solutions for the betterment of mankind, and also of our fellow creatures. For this to happen a more equitable distribution of resources has to take place; so the best ideas can be implemented and allowed to bloom, into the next fruitful endeavor.

Today we face a great dilemma where the elite are increasingly gathering the resources to them, at an unprecedented scale, and the political will to redistribute is gone. The poor subsist on the dredges of the top down approach and the middle is struggling for its economic and cultural survival. Failing standards in schools and universities are pushing the middle class further behind. In an unequal economic war, large corporations squeeze the workers out; for the benefit of their shareholders. The top corporate officers are often seen running away with the million(s) dollar prize, even when they are dismissed for not adding any value. We learnt from Alan Greenspan’s following of the Ayn Rand philosophy; by allowing capitalists to go forward and multiply unchecked, led to unintended consequences. Instead of being harbingers of the greatest good, they showed unmitigated greed, bringing the greatest financial institutions of the world to financial ruin, and led to the Great Recession and a lost decade.

It is still too early to say who will come out as a champion of this century, or this millennium. The US, and China are the front runners today but neither of them are known for their high happiness index, or measures of equality. While one has a dysfunctional political government, the other has an overtly centrally planned one. Neither of these models is conducive to find the long lasting solutions for a moral standard, which will allow humanity to be happy in the long run. The US stands on its own moral high ground belittling all other developing and undeveloped nations as inferior, and China has historically maintained that its Middle Kingdom is superior to all others. We desperately need a new model.

We should all think long and hard on what we want to achieve and what kind of a world we want to leave for our next generations. A more equitable and caring world is only possible if we remove the rose colored glasses, that we all wear. We need to be able to look clearly at reality and without prejudice move towards a morally higher path. Innovation and development are not mutually exclusive from compassion and love. We have to not only embrace diversity and equality, but have to allow it to prosper and grow. From the many will come the solutions of tomorrow and not from the elite at the top. The revolution from the poor will only unravel the laws of a civil society and be more regressive then progressive. Our greatest achievement will be to lead all around us from darkness of ignorance to the light of knowledge, and from the untruth of sensual weakness to the truth of moral strength which is everlasting.