THE United States and Europe subsidise their agriculture massively. In the US for instance, government expenditure by way of subsidies to the agricultural sector is on average nearly half of the GDP originating from its agriculture. The figures for Europe are broadly similar. In India by contrast, government expenditure by way of subsidies to agriculture is estimated to have been less than 10 percent of the GDP originating from agriculture in the past, and is now just likely to exceed this figure.
THE world capitalist crisis which began in 2008 not only persists but is worsening. The second half of the current year was supposed to be the period when growth in the major advanced countries would gather momentum. The IMF had predicted in spring that activity would “gradually accelerate”. But the latest figures show that instead of a recovery we have an actual deceleration in growth. In the Eurozone, quarter-to-quarter growth which had been 0.3 percent in the second quarter of this year fell to 0.1 percent in the third quarter.
ADVANCED capitalist country governments, no matter what their differences, generally put up a common front. They do not attack one another in public. It was surprising therefore when recently the United States attacked German economic policy in an official document and the German government replied in kind. It showed the kind of desperation to which advanced capitalist countries are getting pushed these days by the persistence of the global economic crisis.
THE pursuit of neo-liberal policies necessarily means bending to the caprices of international finance capital, so that it does not take offence and leave the country’s shores. This in turn necessarily means an attenuation of democracy, for democracy means that policies should be made in accordance with the wishes of the people and not those of international finance capital.
RECENTLY the district of Muzaffar Nagar in the western part of Uttar Pradesh was engulfed by communal violence and some 44 persons had lost their lives by the time of going to press. The fire had spread to the rural areas of the district and to some nearby districts. Thousands of people had left their ancestral villages, while Muzaffar Nagar city and Shamli town had had to be handed over to the army. Some one thousand people had been arrested but the violence seemed to be continuing unabated.