As I have noted many times in this rag, “free” trade has done nothing but deliver misery and hardship to the poor of the world. In no place bound by “free” trade agreements have the working poor seen their fortunes improve; no, as a matter of fact, the poor have seen their situation get considerably worse in the US, the UK, China, Mexico, South America…

And India. We’ve noted before that thousands of Indian farmers have been driven to suicide after India signed “free” trade agreements that left them unable to compete with Monsanto, and unable to pay the debts they ran up trying to compete. Yes, I know how the MSM has pumped an almost constant stream of feel-good bullshit about how much better they have it in India these days thanks to “free” trade, but it doesn’t take a MBA to figure out that the only Indians riding any real wave of prosperity from the “free” trade agreements are the ultrarich. The ordinary Indian worker has seen prices go up, opportunities go down, and working conditions deteriorate. Sure, there are niches where people have been able to benefit, but the overall story is a story of decline and failure for the vast majority of the Indian population.

Hell, don’t take my word for it; after all, I can lie just like the MSM does. I think, however, that maybe the word of the Indians, themselves, might be sufficient.

The “free” trade bullshit regime has punished enough of the world’s people. We deserve a better deal.

All of us.

 

Indians have become much more unhappy about their lives in the past four years despite one of the world’s fastest rates of economic growth, a survey by the Gallup polling organization showed Monday.

The deterioration appears driven partly by the expectation, created by politicians and the media, that India’s boom would dramatically improve its citizens’ standard of living.

When many Indians realized that the boom was not significantly benefiting them, their sense of well-being and optimism about the future seemed to collapse.

“It is very dangerous to create expectations and not meet them,” said Rajesh Srinivasan, Gallup’s regional research director for Asia and the Middle East.

The number of Indians who rated their lives poorly enough to be considered “suffering” rose this year to 31 percent, equivalent to 240 million people, a dramatic rise from just 7 percent in 2008, Gallup’s surveys showed.

It is also significantly higher than the global average of 13 percent in the Washington-based polling organization’s 2011 survey of 150 countries.

Gallup classifies respondents as “thriving,” “struggling” or “suffering” according to how they rate their current and future lives. While 74 percent of Danes said they were “thriving,” the highest percentage anywhere in the world, just 13 percent of Indians said the same thing. The global average is 24 percent.

India’s self-image has taken a battering in the past few years. Corruption scandals dominate the headlines on a daily basis, the government seems paralyzed and unable to take even simple steps to reform the economy, and growth has been slowing.

The sense that the 21st century belonged to India has begun to evaporate, replaced by a deepening sense of malaise. Business confidence and investment have also declined.

Massive government welfare and rural employment programs have helped drive down poverty levels, the Gallup survey found. The share of people saying they did not have enough money for food dropped to 13 percent in 2012 from 35 percent in 2006.

But high levels of inflation have helped depress Indians’ sense of financial well-being. Stress levels have risen, and the number of people who can count on social support and help has fallen. The percentage of those saying they had smiled or laughed the previous day fell to 52 percent in 2012 from 62 percent in 2006.

Even more worrying was that levels of well-being and optimism were no higher among 15- to 24-year-olds, at a time when India is hoping to reap a “demographic dividend” in the form of faster economic growth as a result of a bulge in its population of young people. Just 15 percent of people in that age group said they were “thriving” in 2012, scarcely better than the average for the country as a whole.

“In most countries, 15- to 24-year-olds are the most optimistic,” said Srinivasan. “It is very, very depressing to see those numbers are so low.”

 

Indians have wised up. The younger ones, who have grown up in the “free” trade era, are the wisest of all.

The world is fed up with Plutocracy. Chinese citizens have been burning police cars and beating policemen all over China, a strong leftist movement has taken over several countries in South America, and people are immolating themselves in the streets of Europe. In India, the sheer number of disaffected young people is a recipe for violent upheaval, on a scale that will make the “Arab Spring” seem like a community social.

Why don’t the greedy change course now, while there is time? What will it take for the moronic ultrarich to realize that the only people that say “free trade works” are people who have no concept of how the average person survives? Does Robespierre have to reappear, with his guillotine, before anything meaningful changes?

I tell you, I am not optimistic about the intelligence level of the elites of the multinationals. I fear that heads will literally roll before the disconnected elite class finally takes notice of the damage they’ve done, and are still doing.

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