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Arundhati Roy on Indian capitalism

By Jim Carey

Recent rulings of the US Supreme Court, Citizens United, McCutcheon, Hobby Lobby and the increasing inequality in the US have alerted many of us to the reality that the dynamics of 19th-century imperial capitalism has returned and it is very much alive and well in the democracies of the 21st century.

Film and discussion at Occupy San Miguel
Arundhati Roy
Mon, Jul 14, 1pm
TV Room
Hotel Quinta Loreto
Loreto 15

On Monday, July 14, at 1pm in the Quinta Loreto Hotel TV room, Loreto 15, Occupy San Miguel looks at the fourth largest economy in the world — India. We listen to Indian novelist and essayist Arundhati Roy, one of India’s most famous authors — and one of its fiercest critics. Her new book Capitalism: A Ghost Story, dives into India’s transforming political landscape and makes the case that globalized capitalism has intensified the wealth divide, racism and environmental degradation.

“The thing that we’re always told is that there’s going to be a trickle-down revolution…an opening up of the economy and eventually the poor would benefit. Well, trickle-down hasn’t worked, but gush-up has, because after the opening up of the economy, we are in a situation where, you know, 100 of India’s wealthiest people own — their combined wealth is — 25 percent of the GDP.

These new economic policies created a big middle class, which, given the population of India, gave the impression of a universe of its own, with the ability to consume cars and air conditioners and mobile phones and all of that.

The 300 million of us who belong to the new, post-IMF ‘reforms’ middle class— the market— live side by side with the spirits of the nether world, the poltergeists of dead rivers, dry wells, bald mountains and denuded forests; the ghosts of 250,000 debt-ridden farmers who have killed themselves. The 800 million who have been impoverished and dispossessed to make way for us — survive on less than half a dollar, which is 20 Indian rupees, a day.”

Roy tells us about the Indian army being deployed against the poorest people and pushing them out to give over those lands, those rivers, those mountains, to the major mining corporations of the world. She also talks about the resistance movements in India.

Roy won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, The God of Small Things. Her other books include An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire and Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers. The film is free and will be followed by a discussion.


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