Singur, the potato bowl of Bengal, appears to have landed in trouble again. Not on account of unwilling farmers grieving over their lost assets, but on account of overproduction by the ones who didn’t lose their land. Excess supply of the crop has pulled down prices, leading indebted farmers to slither down the precipice. According to media reports, matters have come to a dismal pass, with a section of the farmers demanding that the Tatas be recalled to help rectify the situation. Industrialization, presumably rapid, will bring along with it employment for the farmers, thereby leading them out of misery.
Will the arrival of Walmart in India wipe out a thousand or more small retail stores that already exist? Or, will it pose a threat for the potential entry of similar small businessmen into the retail sector? The direction of causality carries undeniable significance. Destroying the means of livelihood of existing traders has grievous implications. Charting out a map for the future on the other hand is in the nature of a planning exercise.
Barack Obama’s desperate bid to rescue the recession-plagued American economy stands in sharp contrast to events that occurred in the early 1970s when Richard Nixon was in charge of the country. His bête noire at the time was the then president of France, Charles De Gaulle, who demanded that the United States of America pay for its mounting trade deficits by gold shipments from Fort Knox valued, according to the Bretton Woods agreement, at $35 an ounce. The US refused to honour the agreement and forced upon the world the tour de force of an oil-backed dollar. Oil imports, in other words, had to be paid for by US dollars and this made it imperative for everyone to hold eagerly on to the dollars printed by the US government to support its mounting trade deficits. The US trade deficit turned, therefore, into an advantage for its creditors, especially the ones, such as Japan, who were in dire need of oil imports to keep their economies running.