Capitalism: A Ghost Story (Roy)

I know so little about India, Pakistan, Kashmir – why is that? I have an idea. Whatever the reason, it’s past time to begin filling in that gap. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Roy makes the case that what she calls “gush-up” economics (in contrast to “trickle down” economics) operates in a similar pattern regardless of geography. One of the steps is the curtailment of a free press (which includes Roy herself). Another is turning dissenting groups against each other and, by virtue of the power of funding, isolating them into NGO-based silos to help prevent collaboration. Follow the money, she contends, and you will find the source of the problem (i.e., Bill Gates).

Nilekani’s technocratic obsession with gathering data is consistent with Bill Gates’s obsession with digital databases, numerical targets, and “scorecards of progress” as though it were a lack of information that is the cause of world hunger, and not colonialism, debt, and skewed profit-oriented corporate policy.

As for this information, Roy argues:

The gathering of information to control people is fundamental to any ruling power.

There is too much overlap between business and politics in India. (Sound like anywhere else you know?) This leads to the first of Roy’s 4 policy proposals (of which I understand three – the 4th?)

  1. an end to cross-ownership in business
  2. natural resources cannot be privatized
  3. everybody has the right to shelter, education, and health care
  4. the children of the rich cannot inherit their parents’ wealth

I sort of understand the thought behind the 4th item, but I am not sure whether I agree or whether it would even be possible to legislate such a thing.

A short and powerful book.


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