2ndlook

The Crisis of Aging Populations

Posted in Current Affairs, Media, Pax Americana, politics, Propaganda by Anuraag Sanghi on June 15, 2012

‘Advanced’ economies of the world are aging rapidly. They can only sustain by ‘importing’ labour – i.e. immi-grunts.

Japanese women and men expect to live the longest  |  Source & courtesy - economist.com; Dec 11th 2009  |  Click for image.

Japanese women and men expect to live the longest | Source & courtesy – economist.com; Dec 11th 2009 | Click for image.

Demographic dead-end

Japan is already there.

People in Japan have to work late in their lives – when by all logic and reason, they should be at home – in retirement or care.

But acute labour shortage, small families, late marriages are forcing the elderly in Japan to work.

High mortality rates of men in Russia has forced the government to announce incentives for families to have a second child.

USA is growing its labour force by Mexican and Asian migrants, principally from India and China. Western Europe manages its labour shortage with controlled immigration from Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia to a lesser degree.

Image source & courtesy - businessweek.com

Image source & courtesy – businessweek.com

China is torn between a looming crisis – and publicly recanting its faulty population policy. Young people in China make do with ‘solitary sex’.

Apart from these four major economies, in country after country State intervention has wreaked havoc.

Lure of the State

And Anuj Chopra here wants the State to intervene, regulate, dictate, control reproduction.

His excuse for State intervention?

A few (maybe a few hundred elderly women) decided to have children. Much like the patronizing treatment and media circus around the Octomom Nadya Suleman, a few years ago.

In recent years, thousands of fertility clinics have cropped up around India, spawning a new industry of “fertility tourism” for reproductively challenged couples from around the world. They are the medical equivalent of dollar stores, offering IVF treatment at a fraction of the cost in developed economies, and often without the strict regulations and waiting periods that elsewhere make the procedure a logistical nightmare. IVF — along with other reproductive specialties like surrogacy (the world-famous “womb-for-rent” business), hormone therapy, and gamete (egg or sperm) donation — are part of India’s flourishing fertility treatment business, on track to blossom into a $2.3 billion enterprise in 2012 according to the lobby group Confederation of Indian Industry. The sector, described as a “pot of gold” in a report by the Indian Law Commission, has earned India the dubious reputation of being the world’s baby factory.

Fertility clinics aren’t just serving the international market, they’re increasingly serving the domestic market as well. And regulation has not kept pace with the proliferation of clinics as India emerges as the Wild West of fertility. In recent years, facilities have been accused of a litany of shocking abuses — from exploiting impoverished women who became surrogate mothers to prescribing unapproved fertility drugs to delivering “stateless babies” who are refused citizenship by both their mother’s country and their Indian birthplace.

The Indian government is gearing up to pass a new law to regulate the fertility business, prepared by a 12-member committee of the Indian Council of Medical Research and expected to be tabled in parliament in the coming months. It mandates that all fertility clinics be registered with the government; spells out specific guidelines for the sourcing, purchase and storage of gametes; and also explicitly enumerates the health and legal rights of surrogate mothers and babies delivered by them.

But one pressing issue has remained beyond the purview of regulation: How old is too old to get pregnant?

In 2008, Rajo Devi Lohan, an Indian woman from a tiny village in the northern state of Haryana, became the world’s oldest mother at the age of 70. About a year and a half later, Bhateri Devi, a 66-year-old from the same state, became the world’s oldest woman to give birth to triplets.

In India, as in many other countries, medically assisted procreation techniques have long been the preserve of the upper-class elite. But in recent years, with proliferating clinics hawking cheap treatment, it is fast becoming the trend du jour among middle- and working-middle class couples, including the elderly. (via The World’s Baby Factory – By Anuj Chopra | Foreign Policy).

The problem of stagnant economies! (Cartoonist - Chip Bok; published on 2005-06-05; source and courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com).

The problem of stagnant economies! (Cartoonist – Chip Bok; published on 2005-06-05; source and courtesy – cartoonistgroup.com).

Anuj Chopra thinks that the English-speaking, Western-educated elites in India know better.

Anuj, before you waste so much paper to print snooty and silly theories, and burn electricity on server farms that host such web-pages, check with reality.

Wake up – and smell the coffee.

India does not face a demographic dead-end, because Indians ignored English-speaking, Western-educated elites in India like you.

Go, figure!



The Two Wars Of Robert McNamara

Posted in Current Affairs, Environment, European History, Feminist Issues, History, Media, Uncategorized by Anuraag Sanghi on June 7, 2008

Robert McNamaraIn the beginning

In 1937, this young ‘genius’ (supposedly) scored 800 all correct answers in his GMAT test (reputedly, a first in the history of GMAT) – and joined Harvard Business School. Harvard milked this story to sell its struggling business school. In the next 60 years, (as the urban legend goes) only 3 others scored 800 points – all Indians (confirms IIT, Mumbai website).

During WW2

The young ‘genius’ was Robert S. McNamara (ironically, S. stands for Strange). During WW2, he was a part of the Statistical Control Office. Statistics is what the legendary Edward Deming used to increase production and improve quality during WW2 in the USA. Robert McNamara, Col. Charles B. “Tex” Thornton and 8 others were a team that were in-charge of war transportation and logistics. They made these ‘boring’ jobs glamorous – and used their academic excellence to create an aura around themselves.

Robert McNamara

At Ford Motors

After WW2, this team joined Ford Motors. The Ford PR team promoted them as the Whiz Kids, the American press lionized them, even as Ford’s business results were ordinary. This Ford connection was to prove relevant to McNamara’s activity later, we will see. The Ford in charge of the company was Henry Ford II, a direct descendant of the racist Henry Ford, who bankrolled Hitler and funded research into Eugenics – whose most famous practitioner turned out be Joseph Mengele.

The Kennedy Presidency

In 1961, Robert McNamara became Secretary of Defense under President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy’s presidency was marred by more scandals than any other. Joseph Kennedy, JFK’s father made his fortune from bootlegging, many Wall Street Scams – and reputed shorted the market, which resulted in the Great Depression. On the other side was the inspired leadership of Ho Chi Minh.

Sinh Cung Nguyễn - Ho Chi Minh

The story picks up speed

In 1954, the Viet Minh defeated the French Army at Dienbienphu. Eisenhower outlined the infamous Domino Theory – based on Anglo Saxon paranoia that the whole world was against them (unfortunately, not true) and an assumption that Asia was retarded and incapable of making a suitable political choice – and that the Anglo Saxons knew better. The French handed over their mess to the Americans and walked away in 1956. And thus started McNamara’s War.

Fools Rush In Where Angels Fear To Tread

Kennedy-McNamara turned this into a war. Lyndon Johnson (on advice of McNamara) increased American involvement against the Vietnamese – without permission from the US Congress, which is essential as per US constitution. Then began the lies, duplicity, covert operations – directly monitored by McNamara. No wonder, McNamara boasted that “each hour of testimony requires 3 to 4 hours of preparation.”

The Vietnamese had the support of the Russians and the Chinese. American troops increased to 500,000 in this unconstitutional (and hence, illegal) war. Cost to the USA – more than 200,000 dead or disabled. Cost to Vietnam – incalculable.

What McNamara Learnt From Vietnam

Americans lost the Vietnam War. Against a determined enemy (like the Viet Cong), the technological edge that America had was not very useful. Worse, American technological edge, was only temporary. The experience of the Vietnam War, preyed on McNamara’s mind. The Vietnam War brought home the reality that India and China could raise an army bigger than the entire population of United States.

McNamara’s unique contribution to the Vietnam War was ‘body count’

he was so impressed by the logic of statistics that he tried to calculate how many deaths it would take to bring North Vietnam to the bargaining table … (later) he wanted to know why his reckoning had been wrong, why the huge casualties that he had helped inflict had failed to break the will of the men in Hanoi …

His ruminations about this began at the Americans’ April meeting in Washington, where he, Cooper and General Vesser agreed that casualties did not seem to weigh heavily with North Vietnam …. “Was there any consideration of the human cost in Hanoi as they made these decisions?” McNamara asked. “Is the loss of life ever a factor?” He noted that while 58,000 Americans had been killed, the most authoritative estimate — in a September 1995 article by General Uoc — put the number of Vietnamese deaths at 3.6 million. “It’s equivalent to 27 million Americans!” McNamara exclaimed.

To explain this to himself, he remembered … There were some people to whom life was not the same as to us, he reasoned as he stood one evening in the hotel lobby. (Ellipsis, bracketed text mine).

He was right. Only he could have killed an equivalent of 27 million Americans – and still talk about the value of life, with a straight face. For American neo-colonial objectives.

Against America’s temporary technology superiority, the population superiority that the Indians and the Chinese had was permanent. India’ subsequent rise in technology (with engineering skills in software, pharma, automobiles, etc.) and the Chinese rise in manufacturing proved some of McNamara’s ‘fears’ true. McNamara’s legendary quantitative skills made him a convert to The Population Crisis propaganda.

Lester ThurowThe Population ‘Crisis’ Ideology

You win, we lose.

That is what Lester Thurow proposed in his book, The Zero Sum Game. The ‘rise’ of India and China is a threat to America – and the West? In Anglo Saxon terms, the ‘rise’ of India and China is a zero-sum gain.

If India and China prosper, the West will lose, goes the paranoid thinking. Contributory growth as opposed to supplanting growth is an alien concept in Anglo Saxon strategy. Hence, the theory that population is the biggest problem for India and China – was ‘created’ as a development strategy.

The Ugly American Book Cover

How the Developing World was sold this dud

Initially the Carnegie Endowment and the Ford Foundation worked with USAID, (part of the US Government) to sell this theory – specially to the Chinese and the Indians. Since, there was no ‘apparent’ economic or political interest of the Americans, this paranoid construct was given respect as a theory. This lack of ‘apparent’ self interest also helped the ‘Ugly American’ (The Ugly American, by Eugene Burdick William Julius Lederer) to cover his face.

Next, the American economic aid started coming with the ‘population control’ strings attached. It took a while for the dots to start getting connected. At the first whiff of a scandal, USAID, Ford Foundation and Carnegie Endowments handed over this project to the UN, World Bank and IMF. This gave the Population Control programme, the respect it did not deserve.

Paul EhrlichPaul Ehrlich, Robert McNamara, Club Of Rome – False Doomsdayers

Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb (1960 coincided with the start of Robert McNamara’s World Bank stint. Together, the “smartest man” (Lyndon Johnson’s description of Robert McNamara) and Paul Ehrlich did a hatchet job on this. Economists Herman Kahn and Max Singer (of the Hudson Institute) did come out with a alternative model which disproved this theory. Yet in the midst of the din, the furore and the determined PR push by various UN bodies, the World Bank and the IMF, poor Third World countries never examined this theory critically.

The Western world synchronised and the infamous Club of Rome’s The Limits to Growth predictions were released …”the world would run out of gold by 1981, mercury by 1985, tin by 1987, zinc by 1990, petroleum by 1992, and copper, lead, and natural gas by 1993. The end was nigh” intoned the The Club Of Rome (from Reasononline …). This psuedo-academic report was jointly authored by heavyweights – Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jørgen Randers, and William W. Behrens III.Reason Cartton - Paul Ehrlich

The venue for the release of this report was carefully chosen – Smithsonian Institute, to give it an air of solidity and authority. This report itself was released with much fanfare, publicity and PR. Yale economist Henry C. Wallich noted, the quantitative content of the model comes for the authors’ imagination, although they never reveal the equations that they used.”

Economist Julian Simon rubbished this theory and made the famous Simon-Ehrlich US$100 bet – against the population doomsdayers. Julian Simon won the bet. Of course, he may bet either because he believed in the continued dominance of the western mode of exploitation or the inability of the rest of the world to stop this exploitation.

Un Helps?The bottom line was that these economists (the Ehrlich’s, The Club Of Rome, The McNamara’s, etc.) wanted the poor of this world to feel guilty about sex, about electricity, about having cattle, drinking milk and eating food.

Western critics (like critics Hermann Kahn and Max Singer) of the population theory were saying “Why bother? Our technology and military, economic might ensure that they (the poor) never lay their hands on the goodies!”

Population Crisis and The Population Problem

Nothing but re-packaged Eugenics programs of Pre-WW2. Hitler made these programs notorious. Hence, family planning and population crisis and population problem became other names for the same programs that killed more than 10 million Jews, Roma Gypsies and others. The repackaging and reselling was supervised by World Bank – under Robert McNamara.

McNamara’s two wars – on Vietnam and population control (of India and China) have both been a disaster. Strange, that a ‘genius’, supported and backed by the world’s only ‘superpower’ and the largest economy, could not achieve much against backward and developing nations like Vietnam, India and China.

The Population Control Network

India Lowers Guard

Huntington's book gave pseudo-intellectual justification started the Western campaign of Islamic demonization. (Image source - http://www.bayesianinvestor.com/books; artist attribution not available at image source)

Huntington

Mercenary logic

Samuel P . Huntington’s 1993 book, Clash of Civilizations, has a historical ring to it – a hint of something grand. An influential book, it ostensibly examined ‘conflicts between Western and non-Western cultures’ – and brought the phrase, Clash of Civilizations into limelight.

In the post-Soviet World, the book marked the launch of a new Western campaign – Islamic demonization. This book, released some four years after Rushdie-fatwa, provided pseudo-intellectual justification for West’s anti-Islamic campaign.

The America+NATO sponsored ‘ethnic cleansing’ campaign in Bosnia was underway, since 1992. Saturation media coverage of Monica Lewinsky and cigars effectively drowned President Clinton’s role in the initiation of the anti-Islamic campaign – and the news coming out of the Balkans. Deliberate diversionary tactics?

With one of the largest Islamic populations in the world, India’s co-option into this persecution was essential for this campaign to succeed.  India’s co-option was planned in significant detail – and successfully executed. 9/11 (September 11, 2001) was still 8 years in the future. The verbal trickery behind Huntington’s Clash of civilizations ‘package-deal’ has been swallowed whole – without challenge or de-construction in India.

This post will cover some Trojan moves that smuggled destructive concepts that Huntington  made respectable, into the mainstream.

Koenraad Elst1990

A ‘orientalist’ writer from Belgium, Koenraad Elst, waded into India. His books on Hinduism, Aryan culture, Islamic history in India were avidly lapped up by a section which was eager for Western approval. Elst’s blatant anti-Islamic agenda warmed the cockles of many hearts.

LK Advani released Elst’s book in India. BJP’s proximity has given Elst’s ideas high visibility which imbalances the discussion.

Elst busied himself in attacking the decrepit and contrived colonial-era Aryan Invasion Theory, and its ‘modernized’ variant, the Aryan Migration Theory (AIT /AMT). These attacks by Elst endeared him to India’s right-wing.

With less fanfare and noise, the same Elst has been propping up a newer and more obnoxious Dravidian Invasion Theory.

1991

Rajiv Gandhi had come back from Sriperumbudur in a coffin. The common Indian had given up on Punjab. The 1984 anti Sikh riots only strengthened the negative outlook. Assam problem seemed beyond resolution. Kashmir was simmering. The Indian electorate had given a fractured mandate. A hung Parliament. Corruption was endemic and every politician was an Untouchable – nobody or anything could touch them. It seemed there were no laws.

Indian economy was going downhill – and nothing seemed to get the economy out of the “Hindu rate of growth”. India was on the verge of a debt default. Indian debt was downgraded by Western rating agencies.

The Asian Tigers had done wonders – under US tutelage. China was furiously reforming – and succeeding at it. USSR 2 years ago had decided to retreat from Afghanistan. India’s faithful ally, Russia was breaking up. Many across the world shook their head and could be heard saying, “I knew … I told you … It had to happen …”

All bets on India were off.

Larry Pressler with AB Vajpayee (Image source and courtesy - larrypressler.com.).

Larry Pressler with AB Vajpayee (Image source and courtesy - larrypressler.com.).

1992

In this siege mentality, one fine day, a US Senator, Larry Pressler, announced at a press conference in New Delhi, that India was encircled by an Islamic coalition of 9 countries. The proxy war against India by Pakistan was at its height. This ‘Islamic Crescent’ (as Larry Pressler called it) first stunned India – and then stampeded its foreign policy.

Larry Pressler was seen as a friend of India – by Indians. He got some well-paying corporate board room positions – and he has kept in the back ground after that. But his press conference still rings. And Pressler’s proximity to Indian liberal establishment (which is close to both the BJP and the Congress), flanks India’s movement towards Western paranoia from the opposite direction. (Strangely, Google search, Yahoo search, Indiatimes search, websites of newspapers like The Hindu, cannot find any newspaper coverage for that press conference.)Western

Soon thereafter, India upgraded its relationship with Israel, (practically) abandoned the Palestinians (not to ignore West Asia’s own desire to cosy with the West) – and started getting closer to the US. The Vajpayee Government (with a historic tendency) continued with this rush to embrace the US.

There is too much tradition and culture for India to go down the demonization path, but recent developments do call for consciousness on this account. Is India falling prey to Western case-building and logic for Islamic demonization?LaRouche's Triple Curve

India’s Record – And the Reversal

India and its Government was in the vanguard of opposition to Apartheid, neo-colonialism, (especially in the Middle East). However, in the last 15 years, under the garb of ‘geo-strategic interests /initiatives /imperatives’, changed ‘super power equations,’ ‘uni-polar world,’ India is losing its moral initiative – and equally importantly its long term interests. It is getting sucked into uni-directional relationships – which are going down.

Western Adventurism – The Imperative

Without slavery, the West does not enjoy the manpower edge that it had till 1900. The loss of colonies from 1900-1950 has taken away the resource base and captive markets for Western dominance.

Now with the collapse of Bretton Woods, the opacity in financial systems is diminished. The welfare state has put a significant burden on an aging Western population.

With fading prowess on one side, and a resurgent Asia on the other, the US and EU are now at the cross roads. Is the West prepared to quietly fade away in the sunset?

Unlikely.

US Defence BudgetIndian Perceptions – Preparedness and Paranoia

Will this loss of power encourage some adventurism by the West? Are the various ‘co-operation’ agreements a sign of India becoming a client state of the West – again? What is the threat magnitude of this ‘cowboy imperative’? Does India need to prepare itself against a misadventure of the ‘desert bloc’?

While the activities of these Western ‘friends’, sensitised India to the Islamic ‘threat’, it more importantly, has lowered the Indian guard against the resurgent Western encirclement.

American forces are based in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Diego Garcia – and of course Iraq. The wolf pack behaviour of pursuit of quarry does not allow co-operation between packs – but within the pack itself. So, while the Islamic crescent perception has some validity, the threat of The Star and The Cross is equal, if not greater.

Sometimes, ‘friends’ are more dangerous than a recognised opposition.

Moral Stature

Equally, India should not acquire the practices or memberships that have made recent history bloody and exploitative. While many civilisations have stumbled (Greeks, Romans, Egypt) and fallen by the wayside, India’s many comebacks, have been based on never losing moral stature – and it is late in the day to start down that path.

Concerns! Questions?

West Outsources It Wars To India

Is the ‘Islamic demonisation’ an attempt by the ‘wolf pack’ to separate a member of the herd and then go for the kill – like Iraq.

Is India getting co-opted in this ‘wolf pack hunt’?

What Followed

PS – A few days after this post I found his cartoon (linked on the right), which is possibly truer than one would have imagined.

And then this book review by Vivek Chibber – an assistant professor of sociology at New York University. In this article, he reviews a book by a neo-CON, Niall Ferguson (yes, yet another one). The drift of this book is that America should declare itself as an empire – and go about ruling countries just the way Britain did – is what Ferguson has written in Colossus: The Price of America’s Empire by Niall Ferguson.

But the best of all this was the post by Gurcharan Das, an ex-MNC CEO, who started writing in various newspapers. His latest post in The Times Of India, plumbs the depth of misdirected warmth towards Western democracies. He writes,

thanks to the treaty, which paved the way for closer ties with the Western democracies. The West stood by India during its times of trouble and eventually India went on to balance power in Asia and the world”.

Gurcharan Das’ gullibility on matters of international relations is worth a bucketful of tears. Why would any country (let us keep Western powers aside for a minute) support India (or any other country) – except if it in their self interest? After 300 years of pillage, loot, murder, genocide, slavery are Western nations going to suddenly change become God Samaritans, Mr.Das?

Your naivete makes me squirm.
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