trade is good...for the poor

i've often wondered why the young/middle aged/old semi-literate bania chugging around the countryside on a rickety auto-trolley, on dirt roads that wouldn't have been there if many others like him hadn't paved them with older, more rickety contraptions, before him, carrying the world, sachetized, to the poor is such a universal target of revilement while the braminized doctor/engineer/babu who's paid to visit the village, but never does, is such an honoured member of indian society. they both serve certain needs- the bania performs his job sincerely while the brahmin uses almost the same rhetoric as that voiced by anti-globalisation protesters in doha and seattle to justify his non-performance. the state supports the doctor and it also supports those who go to jnu to learn to coin new terms of abuse for the bania. for his trade. in an old article, meghnad desai too echoes the view that the bania is a friend of the poor, across the world:
The world as it is now is unequal. In 1975, the OECD countries had around 80 per cent of world GDP. By 2000, that proportion has come down to 70 per cent. And this is what the first world fears. For the first time in the history of capitalism, the metropolis is worried. This is because capital is finding more profitable niches abroad and is prepared to desert the industrialised north. These rich countries must now find jobs for their unskilled male manual workforce. They have to invest in training and to restructure their welfare states. The rich have problems and so they want to slow down the pace of trade liberalisation. They want to impose social and green clauses to stop poor countries exporting.

The WTO meeting in Seattle was the south's opportunity to register its demands. But the exigencies of the US presidential elections and the financial needs of Al Gore's campaign were more important for Clinton than the needs of the third world. So he sabotaged it. The rich will use any excuse to hang on to their privileges - even anti-capitalism.

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