Occupy San Miguel Looks at the Fourth Largest Economy in the World: India
By Jim Carey
March 8 is International Women’s Day. Monday, March 9, we will listen to the great international woman 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 inflated the wealth divide, intensified racism, and increased environmental degradation.
Mon, Mar 9, 1pm
Quinta Loreto Hotel
“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—as their combined wealth—25 percent of India’s GDP, while more than 80 percent of its population live on less than 50 cents a day.
“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.