I shall continue on the theme of tamas – meaning something far BLACKER than mere “ignorance,” which is a “curable disease” – a theme I touched upon in my post of the day before, and upon which I penned further elaborations yesterday.
I am doing so for one specific reason – and that is the tamas I found this morning in the “business daily” to which I subscribe, Mint.
Consider the following, which I found tucked away somewhere most people would not notice, and that too without the red dot that indicates the “full story” is on their website.
This is from their “Need to Know” page on which some twenty or more such boxed news items appear everyday, along with a “Top Story” – and today’s top story is, curiously enough, about the State-owned Punjab National Bank’s net profits declining by over Rs.1000 crores (1 crore = 10 million) on account of bad debts (non-performing assets). PNB, the report says, is India’s “second largest public sector lender by assets.” The largest is, of course, the behemoth State Bank of India, which is doing far worse.
Now, whereas this story on PNB is positioned right on top of the page, spread over four columns, the following occurs somewhere close to the bottom of the page, unnoticeable almost, were it not for its heading – “Govt debt rises 3.6% to Rs.39 trillion” – which made me read it carefully, ponder it, and then conceive this post after going through the rest of the paper. Here is what the boxed text under the heading above says – and, I repeat, this has not been posted on their website:
New Delhi: The Union government’s debt in the July-September period in this fiscal year grew by 3.6% to Rs.39,00,386 crore from Rs.37,63,264 crore in the previous quarter.The total public debt (excluding liabilities that are not classified under public debt) of the government had grown by 5.2% in April-June quarter.“This represented a quarter-on-quarter increase of 3.6% (provisional) compared with an increase of 5.2% in the previous quarter (Q1 of FY13),” the Quarterly Report on Debt Management released by the finance ministry said.Internal debt in July-September quarter constituted 90.4% of public debt, compared with 89.6% at the end of June. The internal debt of at Rs.35,27,405 crore constituted 34.7% of gross domestic product.. It was 33.2% at end-June 2012.Source: PTI (The Press Trust of India)
Translated: The Central State has borrowed some 40 lakh crore rupees SO FAR – and this “excludes liabilities that are not classified under public debt,” such as the outstandings of all the State Electricity Boards, and the losses of State-owned banks like SBI and PNB, to which we can add the losses of State-owned firms like Air India et. al.
40 lakh crore rupees borrowed so far – apart from all the rest that they owe on other accounts.
What this means as a “percentage of GDP” is meaningless. Much more important is what percentage of tax revenue is used annually to meet interest payments towards this debt and also repay that portion of the principal which falls due – what is called “debt servicing.”
That apart, the real issue is THE DESTRUCTION OF CAPITAL.
Which means DECIVILISATION.
Hence, the matter is VERY SERIOUS INDEED – and ought to be a FRONT PAGE story.
Not only that, a wide range of learned views on what ought to be done about this STAGGERING DEBT BURDEN placed upon the backs of a predominantly dirt-poor population by a supposed “WELFARE STATE” ought to have been a FULL FEATURE. Instead, they have a pullout full of BULL on fuckin’ JAMES BOND! And do read my post on this “fictional cold warrior” and his public endorsement by the English Queen at the recent London Olympics.
This diagnosis of TAMAS on the part of our financial press was further confirmed when I glanced through the column written by their editor R. Sukumar – something about “corruption” and such stuff that is now being unearthed about the BJP president Gadkari.
Is this the CORRUPTION that a FINANCIAL DAILY ought to be focusing on today? Or should the focus have been on the “financing” of State Expansion, Waste, and (consequent) Corruption. But this tamasic editor wishes to avoid such “uncomfortable questions.”
As for their “executive editor” Niranjan Rajadhakshya, who usually writes pretty sensible stuff on economic issues, today he goes on and on about the Kejriwal “anti-corruption POLITICS” – but then, as I have repeatedly emphasised, a “political party” is expected to be possessed of a “political ideology.” Further, all its members, particularly those in office, are expected to be “loyal” to the PRINCIPLES of this ideology. In this “multi-party democracy” that is socialist India the undeniable truth is that no political grouping is such. And as for “classical liberals” and libertarians – they are DEBARRED from setting up political parties and fielding candidates.
As far as Kejriwal is concerned – he has NO IDEOLOGY, like all the rest. He started off under the “Team Anna Hazare” campaign for a Lok Pal – and now this former Income Tax officer wearing a Gandhi topi is going about blackening certain “personalities.”
But the REAL ISSUE is not any personality at all.
There are many who have come to office on the anti-corruption platform – like VP Singh – or with a squeaky-clean image, like Manmohan. But the corruption we suffer from has continued unabated - and actually WORSENED - because this corruption is entirely SYSTEMIC. The system is DESIGNED such. Indeed, I would insist it has been deliberately designed to corrupt the youth – intellectually as well as morally – by shutting down the market and thereby forcing more-or-less everyone to join some bureaucratic organisation or the other – like the IAS-IPS-IFS, RBI, SBI, SAIL, Army, Navy, Air Force, which were the only options for most young people not so long ago. Even today, I notice more ads calling for sailors the Indian Navy needs – and never have I seen any such ad issuing from the merchant marine.
Thus, the real issue is nothing if not IDEOLOGY.
And to figure that out requires KNOWLEDGE.
TAMAS is FATAL for public opinion today – more so when it is exhibited by the financial press.
Let me add that under conditions of PURE CAPITALISM anyone and everyone would be reading nothing else but the financial press. For there would be very little “politics.” And everyone would want to know, early every morning, what happened in The Market during the previous day – which means all the markets in all the world.
What should be done about this STAGGERING PUBLIC DEBT BURDEN?
It should be entirely REPUDIATED.
All those who have lent to this State are “cronies” in effect – and receive “guaranteed interest” on their advances from the taxpayer. They are thus spared from the need to “speculate” in The Market. They have taken the proverbial “easy way out” – by relying on SOVERIEGN DEBT.
But sovereigns have more often than not gone broke – for they never “create wealth.” In History, kings have usually borrowed for WAR – and when they lost, their bankers lost, too. Many went broke – from the Medicis of Florence to their counterparts on London’s Lombard Street.
Sovereign debt ratings are down these days – worldwide.
There are only two options – one, to go the way of the EUSSR and their ECB, which implies continuing with the current fiat paper money and fractional-reserve banking cartel system; and the US Fed is going this way as well.
This is FRAUD.
CORRUPT MONEY as well as CORRUPT BANKING.
And ours is a nation of predominantly poverty-stricken masses.
Obviously, given their borrowings now exceed 40 lakh crore rupees, the SOCIALIST INDIAN WELFARE STATE must be ABOLISHED. Along with their source of all this “inflationary finance” – the RBI – which is also the “guarantor” of all their sovereign debts.
With sound, honest, hard money – coins of gold, silver, and copper – the poorest will slowly ACCUMULATE CAPITAL. Today, inflationism is ERODING the value of their precious SAVINGS. This will render a billion poor people unable to invest, hence unable to produce – and hence unable to demand anything others produce.
TRUE DEMAND will rise in this vast subcontinent inhabited by well over a billion people only with sound, honest, hard money – coins of gold, silver and copper: PRIVATE MONEY.
Since modern capitalism is “mass production for mass consumption” this is in the “rightly understood interests” of all the Big Corporations listed on stock market that own and operate huge factories – what is called “manufacturing industry.” And they, in turn, will raise demand for those who produce machines and capital goods.
Earlier post on how “Only the 'Natural Order' can resolve the current money and banking crisis.”
We as a nation – a diverse sub-continent where the “national map” has always been changing, and continues to change – must now debate IDEOLOGY.
We are confronted with STATE FAILURE – because of WRONG PRINCIPLES.
We therefore need to go back to asking and answering “fundamental questions” – and I leave my reader to carefully ponder these words from the constitution of one of the original American states:
The frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty.CONSTITUTION OF NORTH CAROLINA
There are many such questions on First Principles we need to ask, such as:
1. What is civilization?2. What is the moral means of enjoying life in civilisation?3. By what means can civilization flourish – and what causes its decline and eventual destruction?4. Is the Indian civilisation of today flourishing?5. What is “politics” and its corollary, “political power”?6. Should political power be centralised?7. In what precise area do we seek “representation” in any “representative democracy”?8. What is Law – as contrasted with “democratic legislation”?9. What is a Free and Open Society?10. How can Liberty and Political Power be reconciled – that is, how can political power be “limited” in all its necessarily “coercive” actions, which include taxation, and BORROWING as well? For an UNLIMITED BUDGET is nothing but TYRANNY – which is UNLIMITED GOVERNMENT: The Rise of the Total State and Total War, as Ludwig von Mises sub-titled his book on this very modern phenomenon, which he called OMNIPOTENT GOVERNMENT.
My extremely brief online publication that can be easily understood even by schoolkids titled For Civilisation, Against Politics:Arguments for an Intellectual-Moral Revolution answers most of these questions, to which can be added my column on what an Open Society is all about. I also recommend my column on the “morality of markets.”