What Kind of New, Just, Economic Order?
by Dr. Mahander Kumar Saini
Dr. Saini is the General Secretary of the Union for Social Justice in New Delhi, and a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of New Delhi. Following moderator Michael Liebig's opening greetings to the Berlin seminar, he asked Dr. Saini to say a few words in remembrance of the victims of the Dec. 26, 2004 tsunami tragedy, to which Dr. Saini also referred in his speech, which we publish here. He spoke during the second panel of an EIR-sponsored seminar in Berlin, Germany, on Jan. 12, 2005. Subheads have been added.
I must thank Mr. LaRouche for inviting me to this seminar....
The problems in our part of the world are quite different. So far, I've been hearing, that if there is a kind of combination of Euro-Asia, the problems of the world will be solved. Of course, Mr. LaRouche has given a new kind of interpretation to the historical facts.... This is the first time I'm hearing the way he has interpreted it, and he has shown how the financial oligarchy can continue to dominate the world system, where there are the countries that develop technology—technologically, financially; and on the other hand, there are countries which are very poor, and which face poverty because of many things.
Colonialism in Another Guise
We in India became independent from the European colonial system, as many other Third World countries also became independent, after 1950. We started looking, from the point of development. And for development, we need finances, technology, manpower, and management—all these things were missing.
The liberators, the fighters, became overnight nation-builders. They did not have any experience in building nations. They did not have any experience how to build a modern nation. Therefore, we started looking for help outside. And whatever help came, we accepted. That means, we developed in a way which was imposed on us, or, which was given to us. It was of course voluntary: Whenever it was coming from anywhere, we accepted it.
So, our countries developed, particularly inter-developed in a certain direction, where the colonial masters gave all kinds of aid to see that they would continue exploiting the country—the raw material, and the people—the way they did it during the imperial period.
Our country became independent. But we were dependent for most things from outside. Even after 50 years, you will be surprised to know, that from A to Z, we are dependent on transnational corporations. We get up in the morning: First thing, we need a cup of tea: Lipton is there to serve us a cup of tea. Second, we need a toothbrush: Colgate is there to serve us. Then we go on to the table: the bread and the butter—now we have started doing it ourselves—but earlier it was Polson Butter and Britannia Bread (even today, Britannia Bread is still there). Next thing, we need clothes: In most of the synthetic clothes, the material comes from outside, which is manufactured by them.
Later on, we needed a motor car to reach the office. It is there to serve us: Either a Model T or a Suzuki, or some other car. Of course, we manufactured it, but everything is given by them. And we go to the office, we need a cup of coffee; it is, again, given by them. And during the day, whatever you want, we are totally dependent on them. We have computers, but we don't have the technology to manufacture computers. The computers come from outside. They're cheapest there. So, we have only their mechanics to pull things together, so that we have a computer.
At night, we retire. If we need a pill, that is also manufactured right there.
So, after 50 years, that is where these developed countries and the developing countries stand. We are more developed, and still we are dependent on them. Our life is so controlled by transnational corporations, that it is difficult for us to come out of it.
And if we are to develop an independent polity, we have to have a kind of system, where we can control these transnational corporations. These transnational corporations come to our country, they tell us, "Look, you permit us to operate in your country." Then, they do not come alone. They come with the influence and the ideology of their country. That ideology is also backed by the respective government of their countries, by international institutions, the IMF and World Bank: They are the ones who guide us in which direction we have to develop.
Once we've accepted, they give us conditions. With those conditions, we have to follow a certain path of development, which is not good for us, which is not self-reliant, which is not for the betterment of our people.
We have motor cars; we have now, underground railways, metro railways; we have modern infrastructure. But, for whom? Only for a limited elite. That elite uses it. Other people do not have anything. They suffer the same way they suffered during the colonial period, and this colonial period is still continuing in a different way.
Strengthen the United Nations
We must go for a certain kind of system, because Mr. LaRouche has introduced certain things, and he's said what should be done, what should be the remedies. And the remedy which I thought would be appropriate, is to strengthen the United Nations system. The sovereignties of these countries after the Iraq War, have been threatened. Not that they were free from influences earlier. But now, it is totally threatened, and we have to strengthen the sovereignties of these countries, if we have to adjust as modern independent nations, which can decide things about themselves, which can do things the way we want to do it. If we want to remain an independent member in the international community, then sovereignty has to be defended. And one of the methods of defending the sovereignty, is, strengthening the United Nations.
At the time of the League of Nations, at the time of the Second World War, and after that, the United Nations had been bypassed by the vested interests, who imposed their will on these countries. So, how do we strengthen the sovereignty of these countries? As long as sovereignty is not defended, we will be perpetually dependent, as we were during the colonial era.
The Non-Aligned Movement and Regional Systems
Second, in my opinion, the Non-Aligned system, which India, Indonesia, and Egypt started to defend the newly emerged countries, because we wanted to remain independent in terms of our thinking, in terms of our actions—. It was a power-bloc; it was a Cold War period; we wanted to remain independent, so that we could develop on an independent line. It was an assertion of sovereignty; it was an assertion of independence; it was an assertion to take independent decisions, [and so] this Non-Aligned Movement was started.
And the Non-Aligned Movement, even today, is relevant. We were condemned by both superpowers, in the beginning, but later on, they realized, "No. Non-alignment has a place in the world, because these people have a right to think independently, remain independent." Both the superpowers understood. And today, also, the Non-Aligned Movement has the potential to contribute to development and strengthening of sovereignty of these countries.
Third, in my opinion, they need to strengthen the regional associations. Regional associations must come up in these regions. And it has come, because, trade will increase, self-reliance and collective self-reliance will also increase, if the neighbors can come together and contribute to each other the kinds of things which are required. For example, India and Pakistan come together: Our needs and their needs are similar. But, we are developed. We can give them much more, which they cannot get today, or for which they have to pay a high price. Therefore, regional associations must be strengthened.
Next, what we passed in the United Nations, the Fifth Special Session and the Sixth Special Session, in what Mr. LaRouche has said in one of the write-ups in the latest issue of EIR, that we have to have a new kind of international system, a new kind of economic system, to solve the problems which have come after this tragedy [referring to the Dec. 26, 2004 tsunami]. Because it is a failure of President Bush, in two terms, that he did not inform the world that such a kind of tragedy was likely to take place. They had the information. Why did they keep it to themselves? I do not know. I have no answer. But, it appeared that there was some vested interest in doing it. "Let these people die—it doesn't matter at all. Some of the population will be reduced in the world. And then we will go in. We will be one who will be the builder. We will be the one who will finance. And we will be the one, who will again control them," as ... we have heard, "like animals." So, they want to revive the same old system, by different methods.
A Community of 'Self-Aligned' Nations
Next, the new economic order must be strengthened. And how to do it? We have to put, and we have to apply our collective mind to this, because it cannot be done by one nation. It has to be done when all nations, and powerful nations must come on the same platform, and think in terms of improvement of the poor. And, as a matter of fact, a country like India needs a program which President Roosevelt initiated. We are all aware, if we do not invest in development in the country, the financial markets, which are speculative markets, can lead the country to ruin any day.
Today, India's reserves are believed to be in the billions of dollars. From where is the money coming? It is coming from foreign financial institutions. They are investing in India, because the rate of interest in India is higher than the rate of interest in their own country. And the day they decide to take this money back, what will happen? Our economy will come back. Speculation is going on, share prices go up and come down; several times there have been crashes in the share market. So, they can play with countries.
We have to have a program which can bring people to a [higher] level. And India needs, not globalization, because globalization is nothing but only a new name of colonialism, where you control nations through remote control. Nations which became independent—they have their parliament, they have their sovereignty, they have their decision-making processes. But, ultimately, remote control is what controls their decisions. That has to be stopped, if these nations have to develop. And India really needs a new kind of program for development, something based on President Roosevelt's thinking. Our Prime Minister aims to do some of these things in his program, like creating employment, like giving employment to everyone, in certain areas. And one of the newspapers in India did say that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has gone on the path shown by President Roosevelt.
Last, not least: The method of development has to be self-aligned. We cannot depend for all time to come, on outside help. Outside help comes only to a point. Some help comes with certain constraints, certain conditionalities, that you have to develop only this part. Most of the development, we must, at least Third World countries, should do, and the Gandhian way is one way of doing it. Why can't the village be self-aligned, in terms of its needs? Gandhi showed a new way: You can make clothes your own way; you can have an election your own way. But, this can be self-aligned. And ultimately, it can be a nation self-aligned.
Thank you very much.