Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, March 26, 2007

With 10,000 Farmer Suicides, Is India Ready For Prime Time?

For every U.S. fighting man or woman who has died serving in Iraq, about three Indian farmers have committed suicide.

What's the context? Just that our eyes see what they are directed towards and don't see many other significiant things.

The farmer suicides have been going on for a few years now, and are thought to number 10,000. That's 10,000 heads of households, who have left their families and heirs a legacy of economic ruin.

The primary cause is drought, which has led to smaller yields, which have led to unpaid debts, which have led to, according to the Times of London, a typically Hindu thought pattern among farmers: Better to be reborn as a European cow than be an Indian farmer.

We've heard much about India's economic boom, and its race with China to be the next great global economy, but it is obvious that the nation still lacks the necessary infrastructure of a modern nation. We have droughts regularly throughout American agrarian regions, but they don't lead to waves of suicides because of our investment in water infrastructure ... and ag subsidies.

India has the subsidies, at least pledges of billions of rupees in relief packages, but it doesn't have the reservoirs, canals, pump stations and sophisticted distribution systems backed by cost-sharing finances and a particularly complex set of laws.

America's intellectual infrastructure is every bit as significant as its concrete infrastructure. Every ton of concrete we pour for public benefit is born of the free market, nourished by exceptional schools, financed by a business-oriented banking and bond system, and protected by a long history of protective legal precedents.

In The Pentagon's New Map, Thomas P.M. Barnett writes that global freedom is tied to successful globalization. India's economic boom is seen as a beacon of hope for the success of such a positive evolution of the global economy, but it's clear, as we count the bodies of farmers India has been unable to help, that the vision of globalization is a huge one, and cannot yet be considered a given.