Political Economy Of American Colacracy

By Saswat Pattanayak The high moral ground for American democracy rests on the presumptions of healthy, competitive and fair elections. And holding these traits to be self-evident, the elections are held with utmost pomp and show. The grandeurs associated with US polls are unparalleled and are generally considered as reaffirming symbols of multiparty viabilities in the world. Countries that do not boast of a multi-party system are considered to be autocratic, and consequently despotic. Whether or not it is important to analyze the rationale behind such a forgone conclusion where fairness is associated with competitive party system is a separate…

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POSCO in Orissa – A Case of Global Masters against Local Preys

By Saswat Pattanayak Pohang Steel Company (POSCO) operates two of the world’s leading steel projects–the Pohang and Gwangyang works, and conducts business in over 60 countries around the globe. Since last couple of years, POSCO has been setting goals for the economically backward and minerals-rich Orissa. If Vedanta promises the biggest university in the world, POSCO promises the largest steel plant, and the biggest foreign direct investment in history (Rs 51,000 crore). After signing a Memorandum of Understanding with POSCO, Orissa-a largely obscured cultural site for Hindu pilgrims, has now found the biggest reserved location on World Exploitation Map. According…

Tax Deduction Day: Together We Sink

Today will be remarkable for its deep venality and outright disgust. To add to the tragedy, not that many will mind it a wee bit. But as people will rush to finish filing taxes to meet tomorrow’s deadlines, it is perhaps a time to candidly examine the system of taxation that defines capitalism to a great extent. For whom the taxes toll? Instead of a banal question that wonders if taxation is a good thing or a bad thing (which is as debatable as ethics of don Imus), lets ask if it serves the purpose –and more importantly, whose purpose….

Corporate Perceptions of Telecom Monopolists

In what could be the most visibly grotesque appraisal of monopolistic trends of capitalism, Jeffrey Nelson for Verizon Wireless says, the telecom industry of America is highly competitive. Washington Post quotes him as saying that consumers can choose among numerous handset models and four major providers of cellular services: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile. “If you don’t like what one company enables,” he said, “find somebody else.” Perhaps what’s lost on the corporate communicators is the fact that “four major providers” are signs of monopoly, and not of competition. American capitalism is on its path to perfection in the…

New York Death Penalty: Nothing Surprising

Death penalty for Ronell Wilson is unfortunate. In fact, death penalty itself is an unfortunate decree. Majority of the world population do not want such a punishment. A huge majority of capital punishment cases have been proved to be unsuccessful after being taken up. And again in the majority of capital punishment cases, entirely innocent people have been framed, and discharged with all honor. Yet, since New York—that last bastion of liberal America—has decided death sentence for Wilson, the underlying spasms defining a gap between New York and the New Yorkers have come to the fore. Since reinstatement of death…

Vidarbha Farmers: Genocide, not Suicide.

I am unsure if Shakespeare had such premonitions engulfing his worst tragedies, but the Hindu superpower India with its proud “economic growth rates” has been forcing me to wonder if we are missing the coming signs of the times. The tell-tales are here, the hints of misfortune are looming large, the sustained oppression by the Indian state on its peoples with “foreign aids” is rampant. And yet somewhere since last couple of years a major chunk of world’s geographical region is dancing away at a maddening pace, drinking the drink of its blood and dancing the dance of its death….

Capitalism’s Standards of Success

Once you hear the details of victory, it is hard to distinguish it from a defeat. —Jean-Paul Sartre I apologize for the delay in posting this entry, but I guess I had to wait till the mainstream media no more confused readers with the “hot topic” any longer. I had to wait until after they would have well done away with the headlines and sensations and the matter were allowed to be relegated to backburner. And I realize now is such a time when suddenly the matter of “Reservation” is not being brought about any longer. Its no more being…

Medical Strike: Misplaced Sympathies and Denial of Privilege

I will call this the Princess Diana Syndrome. Remember that poor adorable princess who met an untimely death? The whole world just seemed to have lost this great soul who was so beautiful and could have changed everyone’s lives by posing alongside the orphans. Media everywhere from global to national to regional to local got hooked onto the image of Diana as the savior who was a victim (even if that meant that she was victim of media themselves!) To some extent the media houses blamed each other, the paparazzis and even the evil cash-rich boyfriend who was also some…

Is Reservation a Solution?

Fellow readers and activists Satya and Rajesh have sent me via an email a response they had, to the issue of reservation, at the UMass., Amherst mailing list “Indian Manifesto”. I simply love everything they have to say here. And especially the way they end the note with: “One CANNOT reverse the arrow of time. In the last two decades, the lower castes are on the move and have been more influential than ever before, in determining national politics, distribution of power and resources, redefining culture, and the very texture of everyday life. That’s the greatest thing that has happened…

The Group of Rogue Nations

G-8 Summit finally concluded in Evian, France. As we know, a group of rogue nations met at the summit to encourage cooperative (read: competitive) action on key global priorities (read: globe is defined by them), spurring economic growth (read: of their own markets); combating terrorism (read: to curb popular resentments in their countries); preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (read: to forbid others of their luxuries); and promoting prosperity in the developing world (read: by devising ways to keep them from being developed or declaring them as such). Funny that I had to use the parenthesis to make…