Kalugu

Insight into South Asia

The Pirates of Somalia and the MNC Robbers

If you have to turn the whole world towards you, you don’t have to hit at the governments or the armies. Hit at the most powerful Multi-National Company. The whole world will look at you. This is not my theory, but that’s the reality in this capitalist world.

For the past few weeks, the news headlines were dominated by the pirates of Somalia. Stories were flooding in the Television channels, newspapers and websites about the Pirates menace. US Navy, European Navies and even the Indian Navy are fighting out the pirates in the Gulf of Aden – one of the important trade route between Asia and Europe.

India, which could not save its own fishermen from the Sri Lankan Navy in the Gulf of Manner near Tamil Nadu’s coastline, is fighting out the pirates in the Gulf of Aden thousands of miles away from its coastline. When hundreds of Tamil Nadu Fishermen perished at the hands of the encroaching SriLankan Navy, India turned a blind eye towards the problem. But it was quick to fix the problem of its elite business class.

“One man’s pirate is another man’s coast guard” Says K’naan, Somali-Canadian singer and activist in the Huffington Post.

His article clearly exposes the double standards of the Western Media and the governments when it comes to their claim as who is victim. No matter what, It’s always the west who are victims. But K’naan exposes the actual victims.  It’s none other than the Somalian people. In his article K’naan exposes the exploitation of the Somali waters by the MNC companies. Western companies have dumped their wastes in Somalia’s water. The Multi-National companies exploitation of the Somalian waters and its impact on the people’s health has been explained by K’naan. The people of Somalia see the pirates as their Coast Guards who rob the vessels which dump their wastes thus preventing the exploitation of Somalian natural resources.

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Africa is a land known for its rich natural resources. From bio resources to minerals and oil –  it’s a land of richness. But contrary to its richness, it is also a land of poverty. The natural resources are meant for the people. People over the ages have lived with the help of these natural resources.

But since the advent of imperialism, western multinational companies have exploited the African continent and they gave back nothing but misery to the African people. Africans were victimized by these multi national companies. For decades the African continent has become the exploitation field of the western capitalists. Given the state of African countries lawlessness due to various civil wars and corrupt governments, the western multi national companies have been able to exploit the African resources without much of the world paying any attention.

Western pharmaceutical companies are the leaders in this game. They exploited the rich natural bio resources of the African continent. Not only just exploitation, these multinational drug companies patented their drugs which were unaffordable by the African people. Drugs made using the African raw materials were beyond the purchasing power of the African people. Such is the tragedy of the exploitation.

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As the whole world is being driven by the capitalists, multi national companies have wooed other countries to sign the patent law which bared those countries from producing the generic drugs. India until few years ago was a cheap source of generic medicines. African people who could not afford the western pharmaceutical companies medicines had to depend on Indian pharmaceutical companies as a cheap source of supplies for them. Sensing their business loss, India was persuaded to bring in the patent bill. India’s patent law passed in 2005 brought India under the control of World Trade Organization (WTO), which increased the cost of the medicines.

Not just the exploitation of the resources, Africa has become the place of clinical trial for western pharmaceutical companies. Any medicine after research and development has to undergo rigorous testing. This involves testing with the actual patients. Africa has become a place for clinical trial because of its population and the existence of the variety of diseases due to the poor economic condition of the people. Often these clinical trials were executed  compromising fair clinical fractice which is the advocated standard.

So, with all these background in the mind, I don’t see the Pirates of Somalia as “Pirates”. I see them as coast guards of Somalia. As one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, one man’s pirate is another man’s coast guard

Written by Tamil SASI

Tamil SASI is a popular bilingual blogger who writes on various topics in English and Tamil. You can read his other writings at tamilsasi.com

Filed under: Africa, Business & Economy, Politics, World, , , , , , , , ,

Can A Global Economy Ever Work?

Written by NÈF Worldwide

NÈF Worldwide is a movement of like-minded individuals, committed to pursuing abundant life for all. NÈF Worldwide posts at Kalugu are by Richard, Founder and Lead Antagonist of NÈF.

 

 

04_28_50-us-dollar-bills_web

 

We’ve had some discussion on here about the merits – or lack thereof – of capitalism in a global economy. I continue to argue that capitalism, in it’s truest sense, cannot work in a global economy, which seems to be something slowly though quietly acknowledged by the Obama-led government as he pushes for less international purchases and more “buy American” thinking.

I thought it might be interesting to note, for the sake of the discussion, how much money is spent on an international level when it comes to the non-essential items that drive a capitalist-based economy. The following is a list of the big spenders, and how they rank on a global scale (listed in Billions of US Dollars):

  • The United States: $2,135.3
  • Japan: $532.3
  • The United Kingdom: $497.4
  • Germany $471.7
  • France $344.1
  • China $230.3
  • Canada $215.4
  • Russia $190.4
  • India $79.1

Now, if we were to look at those same numbers, based on expenditure per person, remembering that this is for non-essential items, the list looks like this:

  • The United Kingdom: $8,290
  • Canada: $7,180
  • The United States: $7,118
  • Germany: $5,896
  •  France: $5,294
  • Japan: $4,095
  • Russia: $1,360
  • China: $172
  • India: $69

Those last two numbers should scream out at you. The two largest population bases in the world collectively spend less than $150/per person on the items that tend to drive an economy upward.

It was argued on an earlier post, that China and India will experience 22% growth (I’m assuming annually), whereas, countries like the US will experience 2.5% (quoting James Wolfensohn). Assuming the statement is correct, which I don’t,  in 40 years the expenditures by country would look like (again listed in Billions of US Dollars):

  • China: $655,673 
  •  India: $225,200
  • The United States: $5,781

Now, if you happen to be Chinese or Indian, that should make you feel great, except it’s not plausible. In order for the economy to grow at such an astronomical rate there would have to be:

  • an increase of expendable income
  • a major shift in values when it comes to money and its use
  • a population increase, similar to what The US has experienced since the Great Depression

Those of you from India (or China, or any Asian country that fits the scenario), allow me to ask:

If  you can imagine a dramatic increase in expendable income (income rises faster than the rate of inflation), can you also imagine the paradigm value shift required to spend money so freely or a population increase that would leave your country at 2.48 billion residents?

One of the strongest, growing economies in the world today is Cuba, despite some of it’s residents  experiencing poverty and the US embargo. This is openly acknowledged by the US government. How did this happen? It’s simple: No exploitation of it’s resources by outsiders. Our products for our people first.

There are others, mostly in South America and mostly led by Hugo Chavez that are adopting this philosophy. It appears, despite American criticism of those in the Chavez camp, that Obama is adopting a similar mindset. Perhaps it is the way forward for everyone.

Anyway, by this point I’ve inundated you with stats and numbers, and I’d really like to understand how Asia expects to grow at the rate of 22% without westerners buying their manufactured goods, which they will no longer  be able to do, since they are out of work due to the global economy. The numbers just don’t support the prediction of explosive global growth.

Capitalism might work for everyone, if we choose to only sell our products at home… but I’m still working on a better solution, because 9 countries collectively spending 4.7 trillion dollars on non-essential goods in the same year that 11 million children under the age of five died of preventable causes, is not a just world. How can one person (UK) spend more than $8,000 on things he did not need, knowing his brothers and sisters are in great need. 

Capitalism doesn’t work, because at worst it exploits and at best it turns a blind eye to suffering. The numbers support that truth.

 

Stats were based on the calendar year 2007 and taken from:

The New York Times

Wikipedia

Filed under: Africa, Asia, Business & Economy, Culture, Europe, North America, Politics, World