The unconstitutionally forced Farm Bills by the Government of India have invited a fierce backlash from the farmers in India, and rightly so, especially from the states of Punjab and Haryana which were the two major last states with a robust APMC system.
The current issue of Farmers’ protests has brought into spotlight the term ‘crony capitalism’ like never before. It is now being alleged freely and openly that the Modi government takes all the decisions to enable the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party’s biggest fundraisers – Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani – who work like cronies in the business.
However, we should first go a bit deeper into history to understand the pitfalls of the capitalism and largely crony capitalism. While capitalism of Adam Smith assumes humans have empathy, are innovative and human greed is good for the overall success of nations, it can easily turn into crony capitalism when it is unregulated. While capitalism started industrial revolution, led to scientific advancements and created progressive institutions like banking, intellectual property rights etc in the western Europe it was greatly responsible for colonization of the remaining world and its painful consequences. Its worst memory is institution of human slavery. Even as the global role of Western Europe decreased after second world war, and its physical colonization slowly disappeared from Asia and Africa, the tactics of early crony capitalists still serve as the guide for many businesses in present day authoritarian regimes and the nations where corruption is endemic.
With the noise around climate change gaining momentum, the league of nations is more than determined to control the fossil fuel industry. World’s major private investor Black Rock has promised to move over 7 trillion of its investment into the sustainable industries. It is forcing Petrochemical companies like Reliance to move into data and agriculture industry which are the industries of the future.
The success of artificial intelligence along with connectivity of modern internet will lead to next mass unemployment even in the most developed nations in the next two decades. The job market is going to change completely as automation and robotics succeed. Even the elite professions like physicians, lawyers are going to be the things of past. It is no coincidence that the richest people like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos are heavily investing in agricultural land.
In India, the planned capture of agriculture by the crony capitalists is cleverly designed. The capitalism of Manmohan Singh and PVN Rao which started in 1990s has quickly been taken over by the crony capitalism. Defunding of the existing public companies, weakening of APMC, control of media, and capture of the public institutions like courts, executive and bureaucracy are a part of its tactics.
In the global political scenario which is changing, the crony capitalists seem to have convinced their western counterparts that if they are allowed to take over India, the western stake holders can enjoy the pie too. However, the decline of the social fabric and the deep divisions in India are favoring the other side of the equation, which may lead to balkanization of India favoring China. The ongoing division of the Indian society is more about the psychological diversion for the crony capitalists to plunder freely.
The success of crony capitalism comes at a huge cost. Poverty in Africa, turmoil in middle-east, drug wars in South America and continuous erosion of liberty in the developed nations are the end results of crony capitalism.
The people’s movement in India is slowly getting bigger. What started as the struggle of a small state has become a pan-India movement. Punjab has the heart of a socialist, mind of a capitalist, its religion is Nanak and its culture is Hindu. It understood the value of liberal humanism, was not fooled by evolutionary humanist propaganda and had the courage to stand up for its rights.
It is the time World understands how the small family farmers of India are fighting the Goliath of politician-crony capitalism nexus and joins the movement. I joined this fight on Dec 9th 2020, alarmed by the association of the Farmers’ Protests with separatist Khalistani movement by the mainstream Indian media, with a 5 minute educational video. A small deed by one global citizen multiplied by billions, of reaching out to your political representatives to investigate the business practices of Ambanis and Adanis and hold them accountable will ensure our collective survival in the next century.
Ramandeep Kahlon Sangha