Commercial globalisation: The mother of all modern day ills

Commercial globalization is making the world more polarized and prone to conflict. Security experts observe that this globalization has national security implications and is eroding the power of nation-states through world trade and financial bodies


Globalisation, in its essence, is a process wherein the various countries get easily interconnected to promote social, economic and cultural exchanges.  Current globalization is, however, primarily limited to economic activity. Now the World Trade Organisation (WTO) controls international trade. This has been done to ease international trade by reducing the possibility of individual countries putting up trade barriers. Economists claim that this has given people easier access to goods and services at cheaper prices. But in reality, it has retarded the manufacturing industry in the developed countries and in India. It has also helped efficient, low-cost Asian economies like that of China, to prosper.  
Today, an American or an Indian can buy a commodity made in China at a much cheaper price than the one made within their country. Unlike in the past, over 70% of the goods sold in the developed countries like the US and those in Europe are not made in their country, and consequentially, millions of common people have lost their jobs. Even in India, due to its poor infrastructure and unfriendly manufacturing policies, a large number of goods of every variety are being imported. There is a sharp and progressive decline in manufacturing in India since 1991. Many Indian manufacturers are selling Chinese goods under their brand. Even in the case of the service industry, thanks to the fast progress of the telecom, micro-electronics and IT industries, the job market potential has shifted to countries like India and Philippines.     
Revolution in communication and information technologies has further helped beneficiaries of globalisation like multinational companies and big business groups through faster and easier growth of free trade and electronic commerce. Consequential and seemingly uncontrollable power of deregulated capital markets has also done much to enhance the power of markets to the extent that it creates a sense of economic irrelevance of national borders. 
In actuality, commercial globalization is making the world more polarized and prone to conflict.  Its proponents claim that it facilitates integration, promotes openness and encourages institutional reform—though the fact remains that it is limited almost exclusively to commercial interests of multinational firms and branded merchandise owners. Consider for instance, a Chinese shirt costing $2 that sells at $20 to the end customers. Shocks associated with such globalization—limited only to trade—is causing a financial crisis everywhere, and has led to economic instability in the world. As a result, it has actually widened the gaps within and between countries. The rich are getting richer, thereby widening the gap between the rich and the poor in every country.
Security experts observe that this globalization of commerce, initiated at the behest of the business world, has national security implications and is eroding the power of nation-states through world trade and financial bodies. 
Knowledge has become a commodity
The intellectual property regime has made knowledge a commodity meant for commercial exploitation to achieve unlimited financial benefit and in some cases, for the suppression of new inventions, by buying and burying the intellectual property that would hurt corporate interest. For example, it is well known that the pharmaceutical industry prevents the unfurling of any new knowledge that would hurt their drug sale. On the other hand, traditional knowledge amongst the old and largely poor global societies remains unprotected, severely undervalued and used for free by big businesses. The patenting regime and the corporate control of agriculture effectively obliterate the last link of the poor to survival. A certain amount of guilt in this respect is reflected in attempts to create a Public Sector Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture by the Rockefeller Foundation, but this too is facing severe opposition by the drug industry. Corporate control of agriculture is yet another gift of globalisation limited to commercial interest of businesses and capital market gamblers. 
Media Manipulation
Today, governments surrender their sovereignty to international aid institutions and indulge in taking shortcuts for so called speeding up of development after failing consistently to address even the survival issues of the country's poor. There are many ex-employee pensioners of world bodies, who are now involved in governing nations, and serve as ambassadors of commercial globalisation. Technology too helps multi-nationals and other biggies, since traditional press media is being replaced by the television that helps them to deliver their marketing messages even to the rural illiterate, by crossing the barriers of literacy. South Asia is the home of almost 45% of the world’s poor, who are mostly illiterate. Commercial media reaches these people via at least 60 broadcast satellites to watch over 500 channels beamed at them. They carry new kind of messages that are magnetic and magical with the sole purpose of promoting an all-consuming lifestyle through lure and fear, enticing them to buy branded goods. It also promotes greed and ruthlessness to promote a money-centric life that poses a huge threat to more enduring social values that promote love and community bonding. It is interesting to know that the ownership, control and use of this medium has commercial exploitation as its primary interest and has nothing to do with informing the uninformed of the ways and means to lead a peaceful and rewarding life.  Advertisers control the entertainment and content since producers, in reality, depend on corporate sponsorships. Information and communication technologies have indeed shrunk distances, but they have not brought people together. In fact, it is creating a highly individualised and parochial society and in the process, hurting its diversity and charm.
A close look at the concept of today’s commercial globalisation tells us that it allows big multinational companies and large business groups to exploit people worldwide, and in the process ruin national economies and use lure and fear to promote greed and excessive consumption. Historically, it was evolved out of a nexus between US politicians and multi-national conglomerates. Business schools train the swarms of MBA graduates to ride the globalisation bandwagon. Executive pays in these businesses is the proverbial carrot that attracts talents from other professions. There is no doubt that globalisation is singularly responsible for the worldwide economic meltdown.  It is clear that the globalisation practiced today cannot serve humankind, nor will it bring the people of the world closer emotionally. Besides augmenting the profits of big businesses, it has done the greatest social harm by making life money-centric. 
This globalization is not about a borderless world
Sant Dnyaneshwar is the most revered saint of Maharashtra. Dnyaneshwar Mauli, (Mother Dnyaneshwar) as he is called by his disciples like me, was the first one in the world to uphold the principle of globalisation. His insightful prayer starts with ‘he vishwachi maze ghar’ (the entire universe is my home). His globalisation was about the oneness of a borderless world. The current, MNC sponsored commercial globalisation must be making Mauli very uncomfortable in his Samadhi!
In case you wish to read more articles by the same writer, please click here.
(PS Deodhar is founder and former chairman of the Aplab Group of companies. He is also the former chairman of the Electronics Commission of the Government of India and was an advisor to late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on electronics. He also was the chairman of the Broadcast Council in 1992-93 that set in motion the privatisation of the electronic media with metro channels.)





4 years ago

I dont know how to counter your arguements though I believe globalisation is important for a nation in present times. Absolutely brilliant article .. I also read your article about the condition of India's manufacturing sector and how whatever China is doing seems so obvious and simple. I am surprised I am the first one to comment on your articles they are just superb !! thank you for the enlightenment on so many issues!!

SEBI in a tough spot: Are art funds collective investment schemes or not?

SAT orders SEBI to look into Osian's Art Fund following an investor’s complaint. The regulator had brushed off the complaint arguing that art funds do not come under its purview

In a new twist to the never-ending Osian's saga and its unfortunate investors, the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has directed market regulator Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to re-examine a complaint filed by AK Muthuswamy in matters relating to refund from Osian's. The SAT order dated 29 November 2012 said, “We set aside the communication dated 31 January 2011 and direct the Board (SEBI) to re-examine the matter after hearing both the parties (complainant and SEBI) and in the light of the extant instructions on the subject”. It further asked SEBI to pass its “order and take a final view in the matter within a period of two months”.

Moneylife, in the past, has repeatedly highlighted the plight of Osian's Art Fund’s investors after they had great difficulty in getting their refund after the fund’s remarkable meltdown. In fact, SEBI has ignored the issue for far too long. Osian's investors have had the ignominy of suffering for too long with a regulator which has yet to take action on art funds, particularly Osian's. This prompted one of Osian's investors, Mr Muthuswamy, to file a complaint against SEBI which subsequently got rejected on the grounds that Osian's Art Fund did not fall under its purview. The complainant then approached the SAT to which it has ordered SEBI to look into the matter. SAT had specifically mentioned a high court order which categorically stated, “shall not bar the petitioner to challenge the order passed by SEBI, if so permissible in law, by filing an appeal or taking other remedies to address the grievance”. Now SEBI needs to respond within two months. Will SEBI act or let this one go? It is already bleating that a Madras High Court judgement makes it impossible to review its own order.

Moneylife, over the years, had been watching the drama closely and has been batting for investors. Neither the regulators nor Osian have bothered to help hapless investors.  Moneylife was the first to report on Osian’s problems (and subsequently everything that followed Osian). Following our reports, a few investors were selectively paid some part of their principal. The rest have been kept hanging for years with promises of payment. The returns aren’t as shocking as the SEBI’s apathy towards retail investors.

The Osian's Art Fund was hard-sold by bankers, mainly ABN Amro to clients and raked enormous fees ( The fund returns were not only poor but it has failed to keep its end of the deal—to return investors’ money. But the regulator did not bother. It only sent a show-cause noticed and utterly failed to act on it.

Osian's Art Fund managed to raise as much as Rs102.40 crore from 656 unit-holders across 39 cities, most of them high net-worth individuals (HNIs). The scheme used to declare NAVs showing 30% returns, but when it was time for redemption it was an entirely different story and a depressing one at that. The scheme was wound up on 10 July 2009, at which time Mr Tuli wrote to the investors that redemptions would be made over the next 120 days as per the terms of the redemption guidelines. Far from it. Three years later, the fund is yet to make good on its promises. Investors were kept in the dark and some were even discriminated.

A complete Moneylife coverage on the Osian's Saga can be traced to the following links:

Some unitholders still awaiting payment

Osian Art Fund delays payout
ABN AMRO customers upset over their Osian Fund investment
Osian Art Fund investors get part payment
Osian Art Fund: Art of a scam?
How SEBI failed to regulate the Osian Art Fund
Around 85 Osian Art Fund investors awaiting first payment
Osian Art Fund failed to live up to expectations says Tuli
ABN AMRO investors in Osian Art Fund still await first payments
Osian Art Fund organises auction to redeem fund
Osian’s new promise: Will pay back by 29th May


Kingfisher may get eviction notice from Mumbai Airport over dues

Mumbai International Airport may now slap an eviction notice on the cash-strapped airline, owned by Vijay Mallya and lease out the space to other carriers

Mumbai: In fresh trouble for beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines, Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) may issue an eviction notice after the grounded carrier failed to respond to an earlier notice asking it to clear the Rs22 crore dues towards parking and navigational charges, reports PTI.


The notice for clearing the dues, served 10 days ago, gave the airliner 7 days time to make the payment but it has not yet responded, MIAL sources told PTI on Monday.


"We have yet to hear from Kingfisher Airlines on our notice. They were given seven days time to clear our dues and so far neither they have responded to the notice nor have made any payment," sources said speaking on condition of anonymity.


They said the airport operator may now slap an eviction notice on the cash-strapped airline and lease out the space to other carriers.


The Vijay Mallya-owned carrier has been grounded since 1st October and its flying license suspended.


The airport has two terminals. While national carrier Air India and Kingfisher (before being grounded) operate from Terminal A, the rest including Jet Airways, SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir, operate from Terminal B.


With Kingfisher unlikely to take off in the immediate future, the airport is negotiating with other carriers to allocate them the space hitherto occupied by the Mallya-owned airline.


"Discussions are going on but we have not taken a final call," the sources said.


Kingfisher has been grounded since 1st October following a strike by its pilots and engineers over non-payment of salary dues. The strike was called off on 24th October after the airline management assured them payment of their dues for March, April and May in a staggered manner by Diwali.


Though, it managed to pay for March and April, the carrier failed to pay the May salary to most employees barring those drawing under Rs20,000 per month.


Effectively, the airline has not paid salaries to most of its 4,000 employees since May.


On 19th October, in the middle of the strike, aviation regulator DGCA suspended its flying license.


The airline has a bank credit of Rs7,000 crore and the unpaid interest since January this year thereon, apart from over Rs10,000 crore of accumulated losses since its launch in May 2005.


A consortium of 17 lenders, led by State Bank of India, had set a 30th November deadline to bring in additional capital to the tune of at least Rs5,000 crore as a pre-condition to consider the airline's request for more working capital loan. However, there has been no word from the company about the bankers' demand.


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