Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context.
30 October 2012
Alas for Bharat!
The rightwing free-market government of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has opened the floodgates to the invasion of the Indian economy by mass-market Western products.
No matter that India – “Bharat” in Hindi – can produce such products itself.
No matter that the country is a seed-bed for small family-centred businesses.
The country’s “modernising” political elite – mesmerised by the smooth-talking snake-oil salesmen of international capitalism – has pulled down the historic firewall between indigenous Indian production and the vultures of international capitalism.
On 19 October 2012 the first branch of the international Seattle-based Starbucks coffee chain opened in Mumbai (Bombay), India’s financial and cultural capital. Two more branches have opened since.
No matter that India has its own coffee chains (for instance, Cafe Coffee Day), which more than adequately supply the caffeine requirements of its people.
No, the Indian Government, ideologically caught up in the clutches of international capital, has decided to allow the waters of the global market to seep over the Indian economy.
The result over time will be the obliteration of India’s small and medium-sized companies. The massive economies of scale available to giant multinational corporations will enable them to crush resistance by local businesses, some of which will fight back for a time but most of which will succumb in the end. The multinational giants have the resources to outlast local competition. They are in it for the long haul.
Small businessmen and local entrepreneurs – the economic backbone of countless local communities in India as elsewhere – will eventually pull down the shutters. Their offspring, instead of managing their own businesses , will end up as waiters in the greasy spoons of fast-food chains if not as cashiers at the check-outs of multinational hypermarkets.
According to the London Guardian of 30 October 2012, the appearance of Starbucks in Mumbai “reflects India’s increasingly international malls and high streets”.
The newspaper adds that “more western chains are expected to open branches here in the near future, after constraints on foreign investment were loosened this autumn”.
No doubt about it.
The inroad by Starbucks is just the tip of the iceberg.
Alas for Bharat!
Profiting from economies of scale to subsidise below-market prices until local traders can no longer survive, these international invaders will then extinguish indigenous businesses.
Welcome to the americanisation/globalisation/homogenisation of India!
The establishment by Starbucks of a predatory foothold in India is a text-book example of precisely what Antigone1984 is opposed to.
You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts. For instance:
1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)
2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)
3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)
4. Capitalism in practice (4 July 2012)
5.Ladder (21 June 2012)
6. A tale of two cities (1) (6 June 2012)
7. A tale of two cities (2) (7 June 2012)
8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)
Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.