Saturday, May 6, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Globalisation and Third World

THE article, “The backlash against globalisation” by Mr A. Balu is a useful commentary on the votaries of world-system; those who entertain apprehensions and fears of the poorer countries of the world about its impact on their economies and those who put the whole issue in correct perspective.

The article should be read in the backdrop of (i) the adoption of the policy of privatisation or liberalisation in India which implies freedom of the economy from various direct and physical controls imposed by the government so that development and operation of the economy is increasingly guided by freely operating market forces; and

(ii) Neo-global system which was perceived necessary to create a healthy and resilient global economy free from international tensions, monetary chaos and economic stagnation as the present international economic order is somewhat wicked, immoral, unjust and unfair.

  The author of the article puts forth the divergent views expressed by different national dignitaries at different fora regarding the impact of globalisation. For instance, at a recent South summit in Havana convened by the “Group of 77’ (which now numbers more than 128 countries), the advocates of anti-globalisation have held that in the hands of rich countries, trade is already an instrument of domination and under neo-liberal global economy it will become an increasingly useful element to perpetuate and sharpen inequalities. This view finds a greater voice in global economic decisions, increased aid and exports to UDCs, greater technology transfer and the cancellation of unsustainable debt that is forcing many countries to pay more in interest than for social services. The World Bank and the IMF (the twins) are the chief instruments of the developed countries to exploit the developing and undeveloped countries.

Many other leaders of the Third World having a pro-globalisation stand consider global economy to be the panacea for all the ills of the poor nations and rejected the “one-size-fits all” attitude that loses sight of different implications of globalisation for different countries having different economic, cultural and political set-ups. To them, the process represented by globalisation is the only way to raise people around the world to the same level as people in industrialised countries.

Those who put the whole issue in correct perspective in the context of growing anti-globalisation movement are correct in their understanding that it is not the globalisation as “a process of increasing economic integration and growing economic interdependence between countries of the world” but its disparities which are objected to. To them, the over-reaching challenge of the times is to make globalisation mean more than bigger markets which requires that we must learn how to govern better and — above all — how to govern better together.

The author of the article, thus rightly concludes that “going global has its benefits as well as risks and that the Third World has to accept globalisation with all its warts. Further, the richer northern nations should address seriously the question of debt burden of developing nations — as the initiative by the G-7 industrialised nations and the Russian Federation to cancel the debt of the most heavily debated countries have remained far from satisfactory. The continuing decline in the levels of ODA stands testimony to the tardy response of the industrialised world to the requirements of the South. In this way, the author despite odds against globalisation, as shown by the protests in Washington, rightly observes that the Third World seems ready to embrace globalisation and, in the case of India, “The swadeshi mantra” no longer seems to be an effective anti-globalisation instrument. In this context, one cannot help warning that in the interest of unity and integrity of India, which is far more important, this strategy of economic development through globalisation should not be effected as a “one-way street” which loses sight of the risks and insecurities associated with it as the movement of globalisation on the world scale has notably been reflected in an increasingly concentrated economic and political power structure and a trend towards trans-nationalisation which has been manifested in various forms.




Comparisons “unfair”

This is with reference to Tavleen Singh’s article, “Digvijay is not Chandrababu”, (April 29) I totally agree with her. In fact, I always felt that comparisons are unfair and Chandrababu Naidu, a colossus, should not be compared with Digvijay, a pygmy.

Madhya Pradesh is considered one of the “Bimaru” states in which illiteracy, infant mortality and maternal mortality are extremely high and that is why I consider these as my priorities. In the next census, it is my effort to see that the state of Madhya Pradesh fares much better on these parameters.

In spite of severe drought in Gujarat and Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh is comparatively better in spite of the fact that we have common border with both the states. Because of the watershed programme that was taken up in Jhabua four years back, migration of labour has come down in spite of the drought year and drinking water shortage is confined to only a few villages.

I would also like to point out that GDP growth rate in Madhya Pradesh has been much higher in the 90s than in most of the other states. Incidentally, these days, I am on a Gram Sampark Abhiyan doing surprise checks in remote villages of Madhya Pradesh. I would be very happy if Tavleen Singh could accompany me on one of these visits and see for herself what is being done.

Chief Minister, MP

Crop rates

The rates of various crops in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh were being telecast for a few minutes before 7 p.m. Punjabi news.

For the last 2/3 weeks, Doordarshan Kender, Jalandhar, has stopped the telecast of these rates, which has greatly affected the interest of the farmer community. They are not getting the information of the prevailing rates of various crops in different markets.

I would request the government of India to redress the grievance of the farmers and see that Doordarshan Kender, Jalandhar, starts the telecast of rates of various crops on three days a week as usual so that the farmers could sell their crops where the rates are higher.

Wadala (Jalandhar)


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