|M A I L B A G||
Saturday, May 1, 1999
Lunacy of capital the cause of global crisis
MR M.S.N. MENONS article (March 26) can be understood against the background of global structures of economic, political, social and cultural relations characterised by dominance and dependence, oppression and the thraldom, exploitation and impoverishment which have led to the idea of a NIED.
It provides a beautiful example of how money becomes a bad master, unless we control it. It gives rise to speculation and attracts resources away from production during inflation. It spreads misery all around by putting the whole economic machine out of gear during deflation.
Under the veil aspect of money, production is no longer considered the basis of worlds growing wealth, rather it is the currency speculation and manipulation of prices against the poor countries which holds sway by keeping much of the world in a state of crisis.
I fully agree with the writer in respect of the tragedy created by the currency speculation, which at present is benefiting the West alone. US leadership has rightly been held responsible for creating such a mad world of short-term capital (hot money) aiming at quick profits and good returns, on the baseless pretext that it is necessary for the personal security and economic well-being of a man. This is in extreme opposition to Alfred Marshalls view which considers man of primary significance.
Experts in this field find no merit in hot money flows. Despite the fact that countries of the third world need the savings of others, they cannot afford to go on all this. In fact, the regulation of such capital has always been resisted by the intransigence and negativism of the major western powers, for quick and high profits to them are not possible, except by creating a crisis through pushing down the value of the poor countrys currency. US conspiracy behind the Asian crisis is also visible where the IMF has acted as cats paw to open that region to hot money by introducing full convertibility, to gain a stronger foothold there and to reduce the economic significance of that region. Not only this, the IMF has also been used to batter down the tariff and investment barriers to US exports and capital. The hunt for windfalls in East and S.E. Asia by the western corporations is going on.
The floating currencies have made the phenomenon of currency speculation so rampant that it has ceased to have any economic sense. Most of the countries are unable to combat its sustained attacks as they are not having adequate foreign exchange reserves. To control it, there is every need to reform the world financial market which has been a subject of focus at the G-15 meeting in Jamaica.
I do not, however, agree with the writer when he thanks the US leadership only. Dont we who are creating poverty by aggravating the crisis in one form or the other deserve part of the same? We need to realise that the primary responsibility for solving our developmental problems lies with ourselves.
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In poor health
The Primary Health Unit, Gagret (Una), it pains me to point out, has become a victim of stark neglect and stunted growth. Set up way back in 1962 as a six-bed primary hospital, its bed-strength has remained static although, over the years, the population of the town as also of the surrounding villages has multiplied. The unit has to cater to the needs of the victims of numerous road accidents, thanks to its strategic location on the Jalandhar-Dharamsala highway.
Being understaffed, ill-equipped and ill-kept, the unit is woefully inadequate to cope with the ever-increasing rush of indoor/outdoor patients. About the state of sanitation in the hospital, less said the better.
The harried people of the area are extremely sore about the sad state of affairs. They overwhelmingly feel that upgradation of the health unit to a 50-bed civil hospital has become imperative. The poser is: Would the authorities wake up out of their sleep over the matter and do the needful without any further delay or dilly-dallying?
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Now a days the Municipal Corporation is constructing the road dividers. Earlier the dividers have been constructed from Fountain Chowk towards Railway Station. Now a days the construction work of dividers is being carried out from Fountain Chowk towards 22 No. Phatak. This is a very good job. Certainly it will decrease the number of accidents. But on the other hand it should also be kept in view that by this act the people in general should not suffer. In front of Mandir Shri Kali Devi some space has been left, similarly some space has been left on the road leading towards our Lady of Fatima School and before the road leading to Brar Street opposite Verma Bakery on 22 No. Phatak. But before the PSEB headoffice on The Mall, Patiala, where 5000/7000 employees are working, no space has been left to enter and they are facing a great difficulty in reaching the office because first they have to come from Fountain Chowk to the red lights before the State Bank of Patiala. Then they have to come back from the State Bank of Patiala to the PSEB headoffice. Similarly if some employee is to go from the PSEB headoffice towards railway station to reach the Circle Office, then he will have to first go to Fountain Chowk, then to come back to red lights near the State Bank of Patiala. If some space is provided before the head office of the PSEB or before the Yadvindra Colony, it will not only save the valuable petrol but will also help people in reaching their destination well in time.
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The demand by the Chief Minister of Punjab for setting up a military academy in Anandpur Sahib and its prompt acceptance by the Prime Minister is not something to cheer about. In the modern world battles are fought not by armed forces but by intellectual ideas. Once again the leadership has displayed its bankruptcy of vision while claiming to speak for the whole of community. A military academy in Anandpur Sahib will not serve any useful purpose unless there is any increase in intake of Sikhs in the armed forces. An educational institution of international repute, which would have helped Sikh youth to better equip themselves to face the challenges of modern world, would have been a better option.
I feel that the issue of what institution should be set up in Anandpur Sahib to mark three hundred years of Khalsa should be debated upon again before a final decision on it is taken.
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