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80,000 Protest Against Microsoft, Coke in India!,7369,1125176,00.html

I am ashamed of these people. Ashamed that instead of focussing on serious problems in India, they are ranting against Bill Gates. Gates gave 100$million to fight AIDS in India. Apart from it, he has been involved in initiatives to provide education to thousands of poor people. I am reasonably wealthy (as a programmer), but my charity is quite limited.

One of the leading voices in this protest is Arundhati Roy , an Indian who sells her books in Amazon, Barnes and Nobles !. Arundhati Roy is a heroine to the British. Indians get irritated by her, but the British gave her the Booker prize. Her rants against multinationals get widespread readership in Guardian and Independent newspares in Britian. I have no explanation for this .  She also compares multinationals like Microsoft, Nike to the September 11 terrorists by statements like "Terrorists dont have boundaries, like multinationals".

Multinationals employ millions who would otherwise be unemployed. Key to it is tighter regulation and better environmental standards and not oppose multinationals per se.

An ashamed Indian
Saturday, January 17, 2004

80,000 is a lot of people, an astonishing amount of insanity. What is the impact theya re trying to cause?. Linux may be Linux, but it needs IBM or DELL hardware to run. If IBM and  afew others shuts down,  the impact will be deeply felt on software industry.

They travel by Boeing which uses SAP and Oracle. Oracle in turn uses hardware from HP. !

When do we draw the line?. And forgive me for trolling !

An ashamed Indian
Saturday, January 17, 2004

This is the "anti-globalist" Left, who want to keep
India poor and picturesque.  Indians (or Chinese) living
in "faceless' but comfortable high-rises with good plumbing
and good incomes - and watching Western or
Western-influenced TV or movies is un-PC.  Indians and
Chinese begging on the street (or whose officials beg in
the UN or IMF) while living in cramped, old (but obviously
Indian or Chinese) buildings with crappy sewerage and no
services is far more "real", and gives the full "experience"
of "foreignness" to the Western backpacker types who read

I lived in Beijing for a year, and learned to despise the
tut-tutting tourists who wanted to see the "real" Beijing,
where electricity and plumbing were indifferent and where
heating was poor (important since BJ's weather is basically
like Chicago).  The high-rise apartments weren't "real"
enough for these types.

There is probably a middle ground somewhere.  An
"urban renewal" movement has been preserving older
buildings in Shanghai, and made them into malls and
apartments with full modern services, but keeping their
old style and character.

But those anti-globalists are really reactionaries and
in some cases fascists (ie, nationalist + anti-capitalist),
trying to pass themselves off as progressive.

(off soapbox now - this is one of my hobby-horses :)

Saturday, January 17, 2004

"But those anti-globalists are really reactionaries and
in some cases fascists (ie, nationalist + anti-capitalist),
trying to pass themselves off as progressive."

???? thats meant to be an indepth analysis?

<g> good to see youve really studied your material.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Actually I think it's an interesting point and worth discussing.


Saturday, January 17, 2004

Sorry, my quick-and-dirty isn't meant to be anything
resembling an "in-depth analysis".  It's a rant :)

On "fascism", it is a massively overused term that has
long strayed away from its correct meaning of nationalism
+ anti-market corporate-statism - I shouldn't have
used it.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

I agree that it is interesting. One chord that struck a note was the "reactionary" label. I may be going off on a slight tangent here, but it is something to ponder.

Consider the definition of reactionary: an extreme conservative; someone who opposes change. Foobarista's usage of the term here is correct, even though it's associated with those who pass themselves off as progressives (i.e., liberal).

So, is a domestic radical who opposes globalization really a global reactionary?

Saturday, January 17, 2004

The problem with the anti-globalists _is_ their reactionary
streak: they want to stop trade - or have "fair trade", which
amounts to the same thing - ie, if actually implemented, it
would mean that only wealthy countries can trade with
each other, due to environmental and "living wage"
requirements, etc.  Real progressives would be fighting for
open, unfettered trade which would allow farmers in
Africa or India, for instance, to compete in Europe and
N. America.  This will generate far more wealth than
handouts from Oxfam and the like.

If China and India teach the world anything, it's that
there ain't no substitute for a booming economy to fight
poverty and bootstrap a country.  The boom will include
scandalous levels of corruption (which happens
when a country outgrows its legal/political infrastructure),
cronyism, sweatshops, and unequal distribution of wealth,
but given that the alternative is a universally poor country
that stays poor due to a fascination with socialistic
autarchy (or forced autarchy due to farm subsidies in rich
countries), the ugly economic boom is better :)

Saturday, January 17, 2004

ashamed -
I attended an anti-war rally last February. While I supported the anti-war sentiment, the event was rather embarrassing in the breadth of issues being raised. The lack of focus was irritating and, in my mind, made the anti-war movement look stupid. An outside observer would have to ignore the peripheral issues in order to fairly judge the merit of the core argument.

It sounds like a similar approach may be necessary with regard to the WSF. As I read the article, the core theme of the gathering was anti-imperialism, so I'll speak to that.

Is it possible that your position as a "reasonably wealthy" Indian biases you to some extent? The article states that despite India's "rapid economic growth, 400 million Indians still live below the poverty line". Perhaps they would disagree with you about the benefits of globalization -- just as the millions of Americans pushed below the poverty line during the 1980's would disagree with the right's glowing descriptions of economic triumph through "trickle-down" fiscal policy?

You say that all we really need are "tighter regulation and better environmental standards" ... when do you think these will be implemented? Do you think Coke is going to suggest them? Or is it possible that the discourse raised by the WSF is more likely to raise these issues?

If those with points of view not represented by the government or the media do not speak up, how does that further democracy or the development of solutions?

Saturday, January 17, 2004

It is nice to know that unthinking acceptance of globalization and the virtues of unbridled capitalism is still alive and well among third worlders, temporary and permanent such as unashamed Indian and foobarista.

It's nice to know that we can dump our outdated ideas there just as we can dump our toxic waste and medicines and textbooks past the expiry date.

Ant-globalization comprehends a large number of disparate movements, some of which have their ideas clearer than others.

Meanwhile while I go to work perhaps Ashamed Indian could explain to us the net benefits of the white elephant of the hydraulic dam which Ms. Roy is so opposed to, or how causing widespread drought in Rajastan and other areas by lowering the water table to irrigate cotton cultivation produces more wealth than it destroys, or how the Coca-Cola bottling plant that left the whole area around it without water is a shining example of progress.

I think dear Ashamed Indian that it is your wholesale acceptance of Western Multinationals propaganda that you ought to be ashamed of, and all for being able to lick up a few crumbs from the rich man's table.

Stephen Jones
Saturday, January 17, 2004

"Bentley's second Law of Economics: The only thing more dangerous than an economist is an amateur economist!"

Sunday, January 18, 2004

So, what's your point, Jones?  Ad hominem doesn't make
for much of an argument.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

I have to say...I LOVE the direction that this online community is heading in.
Bitch about outsourcing long enough, and enough Indians will show up to start a good debate about any random South Asian topic you care to mention.
The internet is awesome.

j b
Sunday, January 18, 2004

The Coke bottler in Mumbai still uses those cool curvey classic glass bottles.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Yeh. Jones . Whats your point?.

I never said anything FOR Coke. As you say, it caused water shortage. If there was a competent agency, it could have (probably) prevented this.

My post was on the hypocricy  of these people. Using computers assembled in India is all right. But dont these use chips made by multinationals?. Agitating against multinationals is all right, but does not selling your books on Amazon for profit go against it?. Does not amazon use hardware/software by microsoft?.

Multinationals are hardly mother theresas. The union carbide multinational killed thousands in the gas leakage disaster.
Most of them flout laws etc. But it **usually** happens when agencies are lax and corruption seeps into the system.

They should be agitating for things like better sanitation, better environment, cleaner streets etc. Not agitating, but doing something about it.

An Indian
Sunday, January 18, 2004


My point is whether you like it or not, multinationals are going to be here.

Unfortunately, people have mistaken what my post was about.
These people who claim that Multinationals should get out are in fact using products made by multinationals and in several cases, profiting from it.

Are multinationals to be blamed for the 400 million living in poverty?. Come on. I am an  Indian and i know who is to be blamed. The bloody politicians who did nothing to educate our people on pverpopulation etc.

India did NOT allow multinationals during the regime of Indira gandhi and NEhru. Was india a paradise then?. It was much much much worse.

An ashamed Indian
Sunday, January 18, 2004

Hey!! I am an Indian, and at all not irritated by Ms. Arundhati Roy.  Are you a spokes person appointed on behalf of all indians. Talk about yourself. dude !!

Sunday, January 18, 2004

This is just an aside and only in passing to do with globalisation but the use of Coke and other soft drinks could be seen as the equivalent of drinking beer in England before the Public Health Acts which cleaned up the water supply.

Beer at times was the only 'safe' drink.  In areas suffering more from a lack of supply of good clean water a soft drink (putting aside all the issues about energy and the sheer badness of corn syrup), in a hermetically sealed bottle is not a bad forced choice.

But clean water is preferable.

Simon Lucy
Sunday, January 18, 2004

Tap water is safe in any city in India. In fact when you buy bottled water in India iti is otten bottled tap water.

Poeple who can'g afford a clean water supply can't afford bottles of Coke. The only people who drink it because they are afreid of the water are tourists (often Americans, Brits and Germans).

Stephen Jones
Sunday, January 18, 2004

My point foobarista is that neither you nor ashamed Indian are making one.

80,000 people represent a vast number of people, with a vast number of disparate views and agendas. Many of them incidentally will agree 100% with your argument for opening up markets  for agricultural exports, and to fire off a broadside because tourists didn't reckon concrete tower blocks were a sight worth paying thousand of dollars for a holiday to see is childish.

Ashamed Indians ad uxorem attack against Arundhati Roy is indeed something to be ashamed of. First of all he objects to the fact that a person whose political views he disagrees with should be given the Booker prize, even though the novel well-deserved it and was writtten before she entered the limelight for ner opposition to the hydor-electric dam; then he claims that because she makes the point that the effect of multii-nationals actions cross borders she is being hypocritical for selling books on the Internet; rather as if you should be told it's hypocritical to go to the doctors after speaking in favour of the debarment of Mr. Harold Shipman.

The irony of course is that the 80.000 anti-globalization protesters are a global phenomenum. Their view points go far beyond the facile attacks on multi-nationals and Western/colonialist undermingi of the soul of the (Indian/Bangladeshi/Pakistani/Sinhala) nation that are two a penny in South Asia.

Many of the viewpoints are mutually contradictory. Mr. Bove may gain our sympathy for trashing MacDonalds, and more so for attacking the deplorable junk that the Americans often sell as beef, but ask him about subsidies for French farmers and you will suddenly find he will be against all those who arranged the stalling of the Doha round of WTO talks because of unfair agricultural trade.

But to claim that those who oppose many of the trends based on globalization are fascists, and that all the world needs to do to get rid of poverty is to follow the example of the United States is the same kind of simplistic posturing, but without the imagination in dress and slolgans!

Stephen Jones
Sunday, January 18, 2004

Has the world ever suffered from worse data? We clearly don’t know what effect multinationals are having – either short-term or long-term – on the world’s economies or its populations. All we know for sure is that the “statistics” published by both occidental and oriental governments and industry organisations are mostly hogwash.

What the multinationals seem to be doing is creating mayhem by exploiting differences between regional regulations.  Think of them as international day-traders -- parasites (if you want to be nasty), clever opportunists otherwise.

There is a principle that a fixed percentage of a population will be anti-social opportunists. Think of shop-lifters, speeders, tax avoiders, open-range over-grazers, polluters and queue-jumpers. The percentage of these people will grow until the pain becomes great enough that the rest of the population pays to limit them, and never before.  It’s completely predictable (insofar as linear mathematics can be considered “predictable”).

We currently have this situation with multi-national misbehaviour/opportunism. As long as physical costs limited global organisations from playing countries off one against another, we didn’t bother much with international treatises and regulations. Now that the pain has increased, such laissez-faire is foolish. We are at the “tipping point”. I’m making the possibly unwarranted assumption, of course, that you don’t want a return to raw “capitalism”, a system largely discredited by the Great Depression of the 1920’s, not to mention the Dark Ages of Europe and some very unpleasant times in Asia, South America and Africa. Some people do very nicely during such eras. (See robber barrons, slave-traders, conquistadores etc.)

If you really believe that progress, like time, has no negative values, please consider the Roman empire, ancient Egypt, the Spanish empire, the fertile crescent (aka the evil empire)… Even India has seen better days.

Reference: “The Tragedy of the Commons”, Garrett Hardin, 1968

Elena Rogers
Sunday, January 18, 2004

"Multinationals employ millions who would otherwise be unemployed. Key to it is tighter regulation and better environmental standards and not oppose multinationals per se."

Oh no; I think the key is tighter regulation on our end (the states).

India should fix itself before becoming a sink for U.S. labor markets.  For the primary reason that, right now, India siphons employment from the U.S., but not because the nation's labor pool is competitive, per se. 

Rather, you get the labor because of what I call the "stupidity tariff."

The stupidity tariff is where another nation absolutely ruins its economy with socialistic, bunk policies for a period of decades.  Then they manage to finally have _some_ industry, and because the market is so depressed from intervention, the labor is dirt cheap.  It's effectively subsidizing one or two industries at the cost of the rest of the economy.

I don't think the U.S. should sit by idly and let every nation that's run by some despot or socialist have their own little cottage industry that gets our jobs and capital.  We do that too much with the Middle East and their oil as it is; why should we do so with India as well?

Maybe Ms. Roy's arguments are ill-considered, but the rush of multinational countries into bear traps like India is indeed worrisome.  And I don't think the protesters are wrong to want, collectively, to be propped up by their own bootstraps rather than a multinational "bailout."

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Hello, no globalization yet.
                                        I was wondering how long it would be before JOS's very own anti-globalists, anti-outsourcers got into the act. We haven't heard rom them for a bit. Possibly they've all gone off to Bombay, and got Dehlli-belly or something, or done a bit of geek street theatre and disappeared down the matrix.

                                        There is only one problem I see with protectionist programmers against globalization; that is that all the jobs that they want protecting happen to belong to multinationals.

                                      Still, perhaps you could campaign against the globalization of multi-nationals.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, January 18, 2004

--" let every nation that's run by some despot or socialist have their own little cottage industry that gets our jobs and capital.  We do that too much with the Middle East and their oil as it is; "-----

Err, large chunks of the capital from Arab oil is invested in the US. If you look at the capital inflows you will see that it is much more a case of the US getting their capital.

And what jobs are you talking about? Are you saying Saudis are taking your jobs; I can assure you that even now there are loads of Americans and Brits doing jobs in Saudi. so really it's much more the other way round.

And what makes you think that writing software that will be used in Japan or Jersey is an american job?

Stephen Jones
Sunday, January 18, 2004

You argue for greater regulation of the MultiNationals, but in my experience (read: based on the things I've read) it's the MultiNationals that make the rules.

A nation like India would be desperate enough for the increased revenue to bend over backwards for them. It happens in the US as well where large manufacturing plants go to areas where they get the most government support, typically up to and including free land, free support infrastructure and more.

India: Please be more considerate of the locals and don't destroy their livelyhood and lives by taking away their water.
Coke: We could always go to China.
India: Well if you put it that way...

The way I see it, none of us can know what goes on in the board rooms and golf courses where these things get decided. The economists dedicate more time to studying the patterns, but also don't have any insight into what's going on, except on the occasions here documents are leaked or released, or someone says something.

Whenever someone tells me I'm flat out wrong, or tells me I don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to politics and large multinationals, I have to wonder what their source is that it's so much more reliable than mine, or that their interpretation is better than mine. For me, talking about politics is much like talking about religion - a conversation based on deeply held beliefs where neither side will be able to sway the other, and no amount of logic on either site will change anything. For every fact one side turns up, the other will find another fact to discredit it.
Sunday, January 18, 2004

"I was wondering how long it would be before JOS's very own anti-globalists, anti-outsourcers got into the act"

Well, I made a specific argument against outsourcing, which is that it's basically a tariff.  India is, inadvertently, waging a trade war against the U.S.--an absurd one, but a trade war nonetheless.

I'm not against globalization or outsourcing, per se.  The question,  for me, is whether it's the role of government to protect domestic workers from foreign subsidies and tariffs.

I would say it is.  My general "utopian ideal" is for all nations to have laissez-faire government and free trade, but that's not going to happen anytime soon.  Our government shouldn't initiate tariffs of its own just to reap profits, but it should counteract foreign ones, or at least help people deal with their effects.

Otherwise, what is our citizenship worth?  The government has a stated role of "national defense"; I can hardly imagine that doesn't extend to a trade war.  Unless one considers the short-term "profit" incentive for high-level executives and investors sufficient reason not to intervene; a rather cynical view, indeed. 

"And what makes you think that writing software that will be used in Japan or Jersey is an american job?"

Well, as I said, India is not competitive with us, per se.  Maybe Indians are better software developers and engineers, but that is not the issue.  Merit (nor convienence of location) is not the reason labor is being sent overseas.  It's cost, and that cost is really the result of nothing more than the bloated Indian government's inability to do anything right.  In other words, it's a de facto trade subsidy.

I don't think software development is an American job, but it's not an Indian one, either.  You seem to be saying that I think America should "hog" all the jobs for itself, but that's not the case. 

On the contrary, I just think we should act to keep India specifically from taking jobs.  I'm not anti-globalization, generally--if Japan wants software work, fine.  But Japan has a much better record of non-interventionist government and open markets than does India.

My overall point is that the government should not allow the private sector to bite the bait of foreign subsidies.  And I mean that--even if the subsidies are just "de facto," and not stated policy initiatives.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

If the japanese or indians or russians or who ever are such great programmers/engineers, they are free to start their own software companies to compete against the US (ie Microsoft, Sun, Borland, Oracle etc).  If they are so against an 'American' presence in their countries, nothing is stopping them from starting their own companies.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

OK - I surrender :(  I used to get into these arguments
on USENET in the late 1980's, and learned then that the
message-posting format is a horrible one for this type of
contentious dialog about generalized topics.  Given that
you can't see a person and have a quick parry and thrust
discussion, it is really hard to make a point without taking
hours on each post.

As to this topic, the "anti-globalization" types I was
referring to are those I get into arguments with.
Whenever I ask them about what they want to do instead
of the existing system, they all have wonderful ideas, but
almost without exception they require either a benign
(or sometimes not benign) totalitarianism or an
enlightened bureaucracy enforcing their ideals using
the power of either the state or society, together with
lots of notions of re-engineering people through education;
the New Soviet Man revisited.

For my part, the groups I have the most agreement with
are libertarians and anarchists, and the groups I tend to
dislike most are hard-core Greens (seriously reactionary,
and many Euro-greens I've talked to _do_ have fascist
tendencies) and labor-union hypocrites who use "fair
trade" as a veil for a sort of enlightened protectionism.

I have no problem whatsoever with people who want to
clean up Chinese factories or whatever, and who want to
use the power of the marketplace (boycotts, etc) to do so,
but those who want to close them down under false
pretenses are obnoxious in the extreme.

Lessons re-learned...

Monday, January 19, 2004

I think it's pretty clear most people want some form of globalization in order to have a language for different economic systems to communicate with each other.  To avoid misunderstandings and possibly remove the load on diplomacy/military.  However, if you just look at the computer industry, it's not the goals we debate so much as the means.  We could trivially solve many interop problems by mandating every computing device runs a Windows-like OS.  But many people would have practical problems with that.  Even with something as "harmless" as XML, you'll find very colorful flames.

Incidentally, you'll probably find this link+commentary interesting:

Taking the metaphor further, An-ashamed-Indian reminds me of a big anti-Gnu argument.  Gnu is often considered hypocritical because the GPL contradicts their freedom philosophy.  Just like Roy may be considered hypocritical for selling over Amazon.  However, the GPL's intention is to use software copyright (which they argue requires KGB-like system of informants and enforcement) to undermine software copyright.  So where does the contradiction come in -- in the system, or with Roy?

Just some free-associations..

Tayssir John Gabbour
Monday, January 19, 2004

Ashamed Indian:
On your comments on Ms. Roy,
Just because you don't liked her views and thoughts, you are throwing stones at her and even claiming,"all indians are irritated by her".Ask the poor people for whome she is fighting? Atleast she has got the courage to stand for what she thinks is good and right ( I know you may not agree ,because you are yourself a programmer: and fact is every human is selfish...but ofcourse extend differs).

I totally agree with Stephen : we should give more emphasis on cottage and small scale industries, which will empower our poor and those living in villages. And one of the best example in India is West Bengal, why can't whole of the India????

No one is saying you don't emphasis on IT sector in India but there are other industries like textile,tourism ,where india can do wonders. You need to develop good infrastucture and conditions for them.

For years forest guards protecting the forests are shouting,that they should be provide good weapons , petrolling facilities and all other....What actually they are being provided, nothing.And then we expect them to save the forests..Is this job not important?Don't they need equal attention?Large no. of Asian Elephants are being killed for their teeths , and we are providing these teeths to small countries like Japan. A real shame.....

What I want to say is globalization is good but up to a limit. It is India who has to decide how much it can take it. Do you think US gonna tell us, what is good for our country?? Just profits...are bringing him here my friend. And I am not criticizing US for it..If I would have been in their position,I would have probably done the same... It is we, who have to decide the limits.     

Your comments hurts: Ashamed Indian
Monday, January 19, 2004

See the products from china :
They have even not spared our festivals like Diwali- where u can purchase crackers manufactured in China at much cheaper rates than crackers manufactured in India,
Chinese toys - They are much cheaper than Indian Toys.
Yesterday, I went to the market and was surprised to see a chinese soap for sale for just Rs 11.
Why is it so? Say after 3-4 years what will happen of an Indian Manufacturer? Will they be able to face this competition forever? It can only be possible with proper support of Government.
Yes,Till now it has benifited the local customers because they are getting variety and products at lower price. But do you think this will go forever?? I doubt.

Your comments hurts: Ashamed Indian
Monday, January 19, 2004

My dear Your comments hurts: Ashamed Indian,

It seems you have huge reading problems. Where in the world have i said that forest guards should not be provided weapons?. Where in the world haev i said that globalization has good without any faults? Where have i said that Multinationals have motives other than profit?.

Read the post properly.

Before you get too emotional, I was pointing to the innate hypocricy of these organizers and people like Roy. When they ask you to boycott multinationals, are they willing to boycott their air conditioners too?. Is she willing to stop selling in Amazon and BArnes and Nobles?. The electric bulb was invented by edison who later moved to GE. Will you start living on candles?. Mind you, their message is not "Boycott multinationals when they flout laws" but "boycott multinationals". Microsoft pays taxes just like you and me do.

Even when you buy a supposedly "Indian" computer product, you are infact paying multinationals like Intel.
When you use the internet, you depend on technology made by Microsoft.

So i would urge you to live up to your beliefs. Stop using anything made by multinationals. My main point is "Punish them when they commit crimes or violate laws" is a better solution than "Boycott multinationals" because we all suck of their tits when we watch television, surf the internet or type in our word processor and we are in no moral position to boycott them.

Did you get this point dear?.

Thank you

An ashamed Indian
Monday, January 19, 2004

Dear Ashamed Indian,
                                  Kindly provide a link to where Ms. Roy told us to boycott ALL multinationals or STFU.

Stephen Jones
Monday, January 19, 2004

"When they ask you to boycott multinationals, are they willing to boycott their air conditioners too?."

An Ashamed Indian:
Do you know why their is contradiction in both of our views:

You are only taking your self interest into consideration, whereas I am taking interest of whole country into consideration.

About hypocricy you say:

I am a frequent buyer of products of Multinationals A, B,C, of them.

Does this mean I would like all of them to come and start manufacturing their goods here in India???Even if I am getting these products much cheaper... 

No one is against multinational per se, but taking into consideration interest and state of whole country one should certainly draw a line.

Did you get my point, dear. 

Indeed , I must confess, I am having both writing and reading problems ; but this problem is not difficult to overcome (Ofcourse,It takes time...) but learning how to think right and good surely takes lot more efforts and time.........

Your comments hurts: Ashamed Indian
Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Nuke India now. It's the only thing that will improve the U.S. labor market.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

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