The Occupy Wall Street Protests have spread like wild fire across the western world. People feel they are being exploited by big businesses. Is corporate greed ruining our country? Could this anti-capitalist mood also come to India? Will there be an Occupy Dallal Street Movement on the lines of Wall Street?
Wall Street protests may not be exactly aimed at business or capitalism as a whole, but seems to be largely against the financial sector. There have been problems in the financial sector, and people in America are protesting against it. In America, capitalism has over matured, leading to many financial problems. The last decade in U.S. has seen a tilt towards corporate sector against people. Its financial sector makes 40percent of corporate profits. The income levels of ordinary people have hardly grown. Government bailed the banks out, but made people pay for it, leading to the present outcry.
What is the situation in India? India on the other hand has not felt the contagion of financial problems. Capitalism seems to be doing well here with an impressive annual growth rate of around 8percent, but are common people really benefited? The problem of inequality has remained, and seems to rise with the corporate culture. The income disparity between the poor and the rich has only grown in the last decade. So, is capitalism a problem, or the unhealthy system that it has woven itself in? Protests in advanced capitalist countries like America seem to point to certain faults in the system. Unemployment in America has touched 10percent, highest in last 60 years. India may not be experiencing the complete cracks of the system, as it is still a developing economy, but it is already affected by some faults like inequality.
The larger problem in India is the unholy nexus between government and corporate. Political System functions on black money, and black money comes from business men bribing political parties. This has led to a kind of crony capitalism in the country. Nira Radia tapes showed a close nexus between ministers and businessmen. Corporate are happy to align themselves with political parties as they get many advantages leading. The kind of irregularities scams and exploitation that corporate sector has seen, has given economic reforms and liberalization itself a bad name. The Anna Hazare led movement seeks to address the corrupt practices of politicians, but has hardly done anything to tackle the inequalities and scams of corporate sector.
Maruti India is witnessing one of those protests in the country that could soon reach a critical mass and fill Dalal Street in Mumbai and extend to whole country. The company has seen profits going up from 200 crore to 2000 crore in the last decade, while the wages of the bulk workforce hardly touched 4000 a month, a great example of how our corporate works. Companies should do justice to their laborers and give them fair share.
The public anger is growing each day against corruption and inequality in political and business sector. While the income of the lowest 10percent might have increased in the last decade, the standard of living has hardly improved due to inflation. If the problem is not address soon, we may see powerful backlashes like Occupy Wall Street in the country. Or has it already begun through the Anna movement?