Считается, что в ней тоже, как и в Грузии, много свободы и идут реформы.
Хотя, безусловно, следует признать: Индия, действительно, растёт. Причём растёт более бурными и - главное качественными - темпами, чем дутый распиаренный "рост" Саакашвили. Правда, при этом всё же нужно отметить, что либеральные принципы к индийскому росту отношения никакого не имеют, что, в свою очередь, вызывает некоторое недовольство у анло-саксов по поводу качестве реформ.
Да, рост Индии уже начал понемному конвертироваться во внешнеполитическом измерении. Дели стал даже заявлять некоторые геополитические позиции.
Однако, с учётом анализа текущих социальных и экономических реалий в этой стране, Индия ещё долго будет расти подобными темпами. По принципу: "тише едешь - дальше будешь (от того места, куда едешь)".
Boston Rewiew подготовил интересный обзорный материал об индийских реалиях.
Есть в нём, правда, ряд спорных нюансов. Например, тезис о "голодающей" Индии, ибо обеспечение продовольствием - это та первичная базовая потребность, которая уже повсеместно обеспечена по всей Индии. Проблемы такой в стране нет. Еда в Индии не просто доступна, а очень доступна.
Где бы вы ни находились - в Индии вы нигде не умрёте от голода. (В крайнем случае, истоскуетесь по мясной кухне или пресытитесь горохом))).
...В целом, всё это уже похоже на какую-то тенденцию: либералы призывают брать пример с развивающихся, проблемных и очень депрессивных стран (порой даже голодающих).
Так, если бы Украина следовала либеральным советам, то это привело б её к расколу (как Грузию), ввергло б в депрессию (как Молдову) и к голоду (как Индию). Можно ещё сюда добавить дутые валютные пузыри, накачанные виртуальными долларами (как США, которые сейчас вплотную приблизились к своему "дефолту").
Правда, учтём важный нюанс: индусы смогли обеспечить едой свои 1,1 млрд. населения. А украинские либерасты не могут решить проблему для номинальных 45 млн. чел. При том, что в Индии нет чернозёмов и сельскохозяйственные поля тоже не пустуют.
In the summer of 2009,
Association as well as representatives from Coca-Cola.
The questions were largely rhetorical, lamenting the obstacles to the modernization of
Perhaps that is because those hundreds of millions have more fundamental concerns when it comes to food. The enthusiasm for expiration dates at the
Yet dramatically rising prices and the malnutrition crisis were far from the minds of the conference-goers enjoying their luxury hotel in the heart of the
been welcomed by the 200 million members of the upper and middle classes, largely concentrated in the metropolises.
For the officials at the conference, it was a matter of faith that soon the majority of Indians would join in that welcome. India's embrace of a "free market" in the early '90s, its rise as an economic power, the presence of an outsourcing industry closely connected to multinational corporations in the West, and the growth of a frenetically consumerist lifestyle among the beneficiaries, seem to have led to the notion that, after long decades of Gandhian fasting, the country has woken up to a perpetual feast. The colorful crowds at the new malls, eating at local food carts, global chains such as McDonald's, and gourmet restaurants reinforce this impression.
Until recently, the new eating habits were noted mostly with approval in the West. In 2008, however, they began to come under criticism amid the worldwide rise in food prices. Many observers have pointed to the use of agricultural land for biofuels and the growing demand for meat and dairy products as principal causes of spiking prices. Both trends apply in
A few days after the
had been in attendance. At the Lalit, Sardana seemed a symbol of
"It's not just ignorance at the farmer level," he said.
• • •
The agricultural town of
settlement, no more than a cluster of mostly ramshackle houses and shops surrounded by a sea of rice and maize. In the summer of
A few weeks later, the burnt carcasses of the jeeps were still visible as I walked around with a man named Devaram, who worked for a leftist party that had been instrumental in organizing the farmers. We stopped to take a look at the gutted mansions. In spite of the blackened walls and gaping door frames, the
structures were imposing, standing tall amid the stunted shacks and scrubland.
I asked Reddy what red sorghum was, if it was something people ate. "No, no," his hangers-on cried out. Reddy smiled. "It's for cattle, and for chicken," he said. "It makes them fat, makes them produce more milk,
more eggs, more meat, so that people in the cities can eat them and get bigger."
One might assume that the misfortune of the poor in the countryside would be the salvation of urban butchers, but they aren't necessarily feeling enriched by the increased demand for meat and dairy among
standing outside the Idgah. They were selling goat heads and feet at twenty rupees per kilo to people who were too poor to buy meat but would use the animal parts to make stew.
The government decided to close the Idgah in 2005, and it was finally shut down a few months after my visit last year, the land earmarked for a shopping mall. All large-scale butchering was moved to a mechanized slaughterhouse in Ghazipur, across the Yamuna river. The butchers took me to see the new
facility, sneaking me past the security guards employed by the company that held the operating lease. The assembly lines full of German-made equipment looked far cleaner and more efficient than what I had seen at the Idgah. In place of the chaos of the Idgah, the atmosphere at the Ghazipur slaughterhouse was one of regimentation and precision. The electric guns were, however, silent. The few workers hanging about were eager to show me around and express their discontent at suddenly having to make a twenty-kilometer commute every day. They were young, carrying cell phones and sporting stylish haircuts, but
they were following a family occupation and felt bewildered at the changes enforced upon them. Even though the mechanized line was faster than the manual slaughtering they had done at the Idgah, they made less money now because animal suppliers were balking at the higher fees charged by the company running the place.
I walked out of the slaughterhouse with my guides to take a look at the surrounding neighborhood. The modern, hygienic slaughterhouse sat next to the largest landfill in the
The setting is a perfect metaphor for
dians living lives of comfort than ever before. But a gleaming new slaughterhouse is of little benefit to those still waiting for their slice of prosperity. Under the banners of modernization and free-market economics, the better off are rigging a system that caters to their desires, while some of the world's most desperate people are left to pick at the refuse accumulated at the edges of luxury. Many countries have high rates of inequality, but prioritizing, as a matter of official policy, high-quality meat for the rich in a nation where half of children are underweight seems especially perverse.
• • •
The most comprehensive effort to address the failures of
The right-to-food movement asks not only that the government provide food to especially vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant women but also emphasizes the country's larger policy, noting that "sufficient availability of food" for the hungry "requires that land and water must never be forcibly diverted away from food production for cash crops or industrial use." The demands made by the movement are egalitarian, and because the movement is a loose coalition of organizations and individuals spread
throughout the country, it seems inherently democratic.
Jean Dreze, a Belgian economist who has been in
"The idea is not that everyone will rush to court, although that is an ultimate possibility," Dreze explained. "The law would have an in-built mechanism for accountability, and we've seen that the government tends to
become far more responsive when it can be held accountable in courts for something." Dreze, who comes across as Gandhian in many ways, and the members of the right-to-food movement see food as part of a bigger question of what democracy might mean in India. In our conversation, Dreze expressed impatience
with the Malthusian idea, floated in some Western circles after the global price rise in 2008, that
growing population was to blame for putting pressure on limited food resources.
He noted that population growth was decelerating in many parts of the country in 2008. If people had more money and work, they could buy more food, he said, citing Sen's work on hunger in British India, which showed that famines (the worst of which killed about 4 million people in
"If the population needs to be well nourished, we do need to produce more food," Dreze said. "But the present system is unsustainable and inequitable." He argued that corporate interests manipulate the government framing the policies. "In child-nutrition programs," he said, referring to the mid-day meal schemes, "the corporations have lobbies to push packaged food. They had pre-formatted letters sent to various members of Parliament asking them to sign these and send them on to the ministry overseeing the program. In some instances, they tried to have cooked meals replaced by packaged biscuits," which have less nutritional value.
The government's public-distribution system, which had provided subsidized food grains and basic cooking ingredients to everyone, has also run aground since the '90s. The old system was inefficient and subject to corruption, but the current eviscerated version reaches only a fraction of the people most in need.
For Dreze and the other activists demanding a right to food, having enough to eat is a part of the right to life. In providing food for children, mothers, and pregnant women as well as for the rural and urban poor, the law would make
market-driven economy that has taken hold. When I spoke to Dreze, he had seemed guardedly hopeful about the prospects for a right-to-food law. More than eighteen months later, however, the proposal in Parliament is a diluted version of the early draft, without either the accountability on the part of the
government or the breadth of coverage activists hoped for.
When I visited
cooking, had more than doubled in price, and the government had to resort to emergency imports from Pakistan, obtained in part with threats to withhold its own tomato exports. But it isn't clear if there is any desire on the part of the government to address prices at a systemic level. There has been talk that
the government will work with American companies on genetically modified crops to put an end to future shortfalls, which would do little to alter the distorted system in place.
There may be meat and dairy for the privileged at the moment. For the majority, though, there is not much in the way of affordable food. Just the occasional biscuit.