Thursday, March 24, 2005

What's Up With India?

The previous government of India, led by Hindu nationalists from higher castes, had the idea of declaring India no longer a developing, but a developed nation - because of some booming industries like the software industry in Bangalore. From this they also followed that India no longer needs any foreign help.

Nevermind that whatever improvements a hundred million Indians enjoyed, 90% of India is still living in the same shit (literally). (My sister toured around Northern India just last month, her photos attest to that.)

Then came the Congress party election victory, where the spin was that the rural people had enough of the BJP's delusions. But they continue just where their predecessors quit. (Complete with the same idiocy about foreign help, refused after the Tsunami.)

The latest and worst idiocy is that in order to get into the WTO, the government is willing to end the production of generic drugs (f.e. against AIDS), pleasing the Western multinationals. Under The Same Sun and histologion have the story.

3 Comments:

At 2:04 AM, Blogger FransGroenendijk said...

Exemplifying that "pro-business dogmatism" is not just a European and US problem.
Listen to the free-trade fundamentalists on this subject to fully get the point.
"The free-market principle is to secure benefit sharing through contracts between the companies that demand genetic resources and the countries, peoples or individuals that supply these resources. The buyer and the seller can freely negotiate the terms of the contract, which ensures that both parties are satisfied."
The buyer and seller can freely negotiate...

http://www.techcentralstation.com/033105F.html

In my opinion you can argue for protection of intellectual property rights even in the case of medicines but not when implying that the free market will take care of any problem because you can find strong generic and theoretical arguments for the economical superiority of the free market in the long run.
While millions of adults and children die. I could accept enforcing stricter patent rules when they would be accompanied with extension of programs (of subsidizing) to supply the poor with cheap medicine.

 
At 11:11 AM, Blogger DoDo said...

Exemplifying that "pro-business dogmatism" is not just a European and US problem.

Indeed it isn't - it is currently a problem with most political elites around the world.

 
At 11:18 AM, Blogger DoDo said...

On the issue of patents and drugs, my opposition is more fundamental: one could argue that patents ensure income for drug developers, which in turn is an incentive for them to do research, but that argument doesn't take into account what profit-based research would be aiming at: rich people's unessential demands like Viagra, rather than the essential needs of poor people.

In short, medicine should primarily serve the public benefit, and if someone wants to introduce a market, its 'interests' should always be secondary.

 

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