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G-7 Solution to Global Financial Crisis-A Marshall Plan for Creditors and Speculators

A Marshall Plan for Creditors and Speculators Michel Chossudovsky FOLLOWING the dramatic nosedive of the Russian rouble, financial markets around the world had plummeted to abysmally low levels. The Dow Jones plunged by 554 points on August 31, its second largest decline in the history of the New York Slock Exchange. In the uncertain wake of 'black September 1998', G-7 ministers of finance had gathered hastily in Washington. On their political agenda; a multibillion dollar plan to avert the risks of a worldwide financial meltdown. In the words of its political architects US treasury secretary Robert Rubin and UK chancellor of the exchequer Gordon Brown: "we must do more to...limit the swings of booms and busts that destroy hope and diminish wealth".1 Announced by president Bill Clinton in late October, the G-7 proposal to install a 90 billion dollar fund "to help protect vulnerable but essentially healthy nations" from currency and stock market speculation will go down in history as the biggest financial scam of the post-war era.

Political Economy of Agrarian Conflicts in India

Conflicts in India C Chandramohan dependence and reciprocal obligations, both economic and social. The landlord by virtue of his large landholdings was in a position to ensure food security for his household as well as that of his clients. He exercised full control over the clients and granted patronage to them. The clients needed the land to cultivate and farm- work for sustenance and the landlords patronage and support to help tide over crisis periods and in turn they offered their service, deference and loyalty. General protection and welfare of attached labour households was the responsibility of the landlords. The landlords were also generous enough to extend some loans to workers [Jose George 1984], Tenant cultivation and sharecropping were quite common and rents were based on customary rates [Biggs 1976].

Kerala CPI(M) All That Is Solid Melts into Air

Kerala CPI(M): All That Is Solid Melts into Air K T Rammohan With party unity reaching breaking point and the fact becoming increasingly transparent to the public eye, the polit bureau of the CPI(M) has finally conceded that the Kerala party is plagued by 'groupism'. The polit bureau would, however, prefer to project the development as the result of a 'clash of egos'. Yet egos do not clash in a vacuum; the clashes are possibly manifestations of certain tendencies and expressions of specific interests and sections. What are these tendencies and which are these interests and sections?

Of Capital and Other Punishments

K Balagopal THE debate about death penalty is one of the endless debates of modern times. That it is endless is understandable, for there is death at both ends of the argument: the one who is to be killed at the hands of justice has himself killed, usually at the irrigation of his own sense of justice, or (more commonly), injustice. And so every argument about the preciosness, the sacredness or the merely secular right to life can be answered with equal force from the other end. Small wonder then that the argument goes in circles. There are those like V R Krishna Iyer who lakes the consistent stand that all life is precious and nobody nobody at all has the right to take life, lie bases his stand as an abolitionist on this argument (among others). The anti-abolitionist may argue that notwithstanding the consistency of this position, while the state may well heed its reason and desist from hanging murderers, citizens are unlikely to give up killing, and Krishna Iyer's pleas are not going to stop them. So may not the state hang a few of them to deter a few others from killing, and thereby save some lives precious lives in the aggregate? Not that Krishna Iyer has no other arguments left, but he would have to leave the terrain of preciousness of life to continue the debate. Preciousness (spiritual or secular) of life is a meaningful moral value, but it is an inadequate ground for distinguishing the two ends of the argument about capital punishment. The efficacy of execution as a form of punishment then enters the debate. And so we have arguments about the purpose, effect or impact of capital punishment as an act of state. Here the two poles of the argument are less symmetrical and hence the debate is more fruitful. That it is still inconclusive is a reflection of the fact that we would rather not punish anybody at all in the name of justice, for the cruelty that is inherent in punishment, any punishment and not just execution, is at odds with the lofty sense conveyed by the expression Justice, and yet we do realise that we cannot as yet (perhaps for ever) do away with socially inflicted punishment, even if we feel confident enough about our civilisational strength to rule out private revenge as a legitimate response to crime, for then the weak (whether by virtue of social structure or contingent factors) would be at the mercy of the strong. Then, where exactly do we draw the line between just and unjust punishments? How do we ensure a criterion of punishment that will simultaneously be just to the one who has committed the crime (for a signal difference between private revenge and public justice as a response to crime is that the latter must do justice to both sides) and yet leave us with the confidence that by its operation it will ensure that the weak are safe from the depradations of the strong (which is the only rationale - and real one for the existence of a public justice system)? This is not a very easy question to answer.

Rating Agencies and Capital Market Reform A Plea for Self-Regulation

Rating Agencies and Capital Market Reform: A Plea for Self-Regulation D N Ghosh There have been several instances in recent times of the market not taking kindly to the actions of rating agencies. The merits of individual rating opinions apart, what is of concern are the nature of the differences in perceptions and the reasons why the rating agencies lay themselves open to criticism. The key issues.

Nuclear Race in South Asia

Mahbub ul Haq IT will come to you as no surprise that I fully endorse the thesis that there should be a genuine commitment by the existing nuclear powers to a concrete timetable for nuclear disarmament. The recent and unfortunate nuclear tests of India and Pakistan should be seen as a part of this problem, not isolated from this international commitment to nuclear disarmament.

Capitalism and Globalisation in the Light of the Communist Manifesto

Light of the Communist Manifesto IN one way or another, the Manifesto is even more true today than in 1849 when it was written. Marx was first and foremost a student and critic of capitalism, Marx explained, through the scientific method, dialectical materialism known as historical materialism, how competition and 'free enterprise' would inevitably lead to the concentration of capital and the monopolisation of the productive forces.

Reservation for Women-Challenge of Tackling Counter-Productive Trends

Challenge of Tackling Counter-Productive Trends Medha Nanivadekar IF one is to go by the statements of the ministers in the BJP-led coalition government, the 81 st constitutional amendment bill seems to be on its way out of the cold storage where it was dumped by the Gujral government. Now the bill is likely to be reintroduced after the parliament meets in July 1998. It is intriguing to note that the bill still faces an uncertain future in spite of the fact that all major national political parties have committed themselves to 33 per cent reservation for women in state assemblies as well as the Lok Sabha in their election manifestos for 1996 and 1998 Lok Sabha elections. "The women's movement has till date, opposed all attempts to use its demand for one third reservation as a bargaining counter, because any dilution now will be ultimately targeted at the panchayat raj provision to which the movement has given the first priority" [ Vina Mazumdar, Seminar, September 1997, p 19].

Multiculturalism, Group Rights, and Identity Politics

and Identity Politics NaliniRajan DESPITE the Hindu nationalist rhetoric, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's slogan of 'one nation, one culture, one people' has its roots in post-Renaissance European thought. English classical liberalism from John Locke to J S Mill took the culturally homogeneous nation-state for granted. Even the classical republicanism of Rousseau, as embodied in the practices of the French revolution, maintained that the national assembly expressed the general will of the people of a homogeneous nation-state.

Mainstreaming Indigenous Knowledge-Developing Jeevani

The Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute in Kerala has successfully produced an anti stress drug from a local plant using the indigenous knowledge of the local tribals, the Kanis. In its attempts to share the benefits accruing from this development with the kanis, it has encountered numerous problems, THE Kani tribals are a traditionally nomadic community, who now lead a primarily settled life in the forests of the Agasthyamalai hills of the Western Ghats, in the Thiruvanantha- puram district of Kerala. The Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute (TBGRI), a centre for plant research is an autonomous institution for research and development set up by the government of Kerala, One of the major aims of the institute is to carry out botanical, chemical and pharmacological research for the development of scientifically validated and standardised herbal drugs.

US-Iraq Conflict and Global Intellectual Community-Some Unasked Questions

Intellectual Community Some Unasked Questions Daya Krishna THE almost complete silence of 'intellectuals' all lover the world regarding the US behaviour in its conflict with Iraq is a cause for grave concern as they are supposed to be the 'conscience keepers' of the world and vigilant critics of those who are in power. The 'brahmanical function of the intellectual class vis-a-vis those who exercise the ruling function in any society or polity is one of the crucial factors in restraining those who rule from departing too much from the path of 'dharma' or righteousness. It is true that those who have wealth or power seldom listen to those who talk of rightful conduct either in the context of seeking wealth or power. Yet, however ineffectual, the function has to be exercised at least by those who have themselves not become 'instruments' of whoever controls the centres of wealth and power.

Labour of Sisyphus, Feast of the Barmecide-The Sentence and the Promise in Development Studies

The Sentence and the Promise in Development Studies T V Sathyamurthy IN the double metaphor that I have chosen for the title, I have attempted to capture the fate of a majority of people in the industrially less advanced countries during the last 50 years(as well as increasing numbers of people in the less unadvanced countries of the world). The myth of Sisyphus is a familiar one. My guess is that the story of the Barmecide is less well known, In Homer, the myth of Sisyphus constitutes a powerful evocation of endless punishment. The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock uphill to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that, in the words of Camus, there is no more dreadful punishment than "futile and hapless labour", wasted and unrewarding labour, I should like to add, The fabled feast of the Barmecide is described in an Arabian Nights story in which a wandering mendicant, famished and thirsty, was led into the presence of a Barmecide (a prince) presiding over a sumptuously furnished and well-provided desert equivalent of a palace. Having led the visitor to believe that he was about to be served an elaborate feast and choice wines, the Barmecide kept the victim engaged in endless conversation at the same time as keeping his appetite stoked by the delicious culinary smells and the gurgling sound of pouring bottles floating out of the adjacent room. Neither the feast nor the wines materialised, even though the guest was compelled to appreciate a virtual feast to the accompaniment of real gestures with the appropriate senses.


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