Friday, August 24, 2012

Allowing Pakistani investment in India on grounds of liberalism is a threat to our national security by Anuradha Dutt

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From: sanjeev nayyar


2 Pakistani banks given permission to start operations in India.
 

Shortly after the clashes between the Bodos and the immigrant Muslims in Assam, social media set off a wave of rumours, geared towards creating fear psychosis in the minds of people from the North-East. This resulted in their exodus from other parts. Indian intelligence having fixed Pakistan's culpability in instigating this

‘psychological-jihad’, the Government should re-think its decision to allow Pakistani banks to set up shop here. The move to allow investments by the Islamic neighbour in all sectors except defence, space and atomic energy is part of an exercise to enhance economic ties and normalise relations. National Bank of Pakistan and United Bank Ltd have been permitted to start operations in India even as two Indian banks prepare to open there. But the sinister attempt to alienate the North-East indicates that the commercial exchange will never work so long as jihadis persist in destabilising tactics.

Those that are not fully aware of the machinations that drive global business may ask why such an exchange was undertaken at all, given Pakistan's failure to curb anti-India militancy or cooperate in probes into terror attacks. India should immediately suspend the commercial exchange. To answer the question about the rationale behind it, the ideal of free trade and free markets, the very ethos of a globally integrated economy hinges on doing away with borders. Neo-liberal reforms, originating in western classical liberalism, derive from the view that free markets would eventually neutralise enmities. There would be no need to waste money on defence preparedness once national borders cease to matter and the world becomes a massive marketplace. However, this does not mean that the money saved would be diverted into welfare schemes.

Claude Frederic Bastiat, early 19th century French liberal theorist, stated: “When goods cannot cross borders, armies will”. This really sums up classical liberalism and its modern offshoots, primarily free market-driven economy, right to private property, minimising the role of Government and stressing individual liberty. Even use of force was justified to protect overseas markets. Thus colonialism was the logical outcome of the doctrine. Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, is seen to have largely shaped classical liberal economics. John Stuart Mill's Principles of Political Economy, first published in 1848, propagated free markets though he subsequently veered towards socialist ideas. Mill was also influenced by the utilitarian approach. Jeremy Bentham, a British thinker, who shaped modern utilitarianism, propounded the view that the moral value of an action is gauged by the result. “...it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong”.

Happiness hinged on pleasure, gaining over pain. This spurred the growth of liberalism in the West. It could deteriorate into hedonism, with a veneer of economics and democratic ethics, providing the rationale for interference by Western nations in other countries, and exploitation of their natural resources and people. Though Mill did not support slavery, nor relentless growth at the cost of environment, as a servant of the East India Company, he justified colonialism on humane grounds.

Bentham and Mill both advocated animal rights but the former approved of animal experiments in medical research. Under the ‘greatest happiness principle', summed up as the doctrine of utility, life forms came to be seen as objects of pleasure and profit, with the malaise infecting other cultures. Devaluation of life — owing to the influence exerted by classical liberalism and utilitarianism, combined with the British naturalist Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection,summed up as survival of the fittest — became so acute, even of supposed lesser races, reduced to slaves or minions of people, perceived to be superior, that racist crimes and imperialism were the logical corollary.

Western civilisation, having long rejected its pre-Christian pagan and pantheistic heritage, was yoked to phenomenal reality, which was seen to exist for the pleasure and benefit of humans, all endeavours geared to harnessing this reality for material advancement, self-gratification and enjoyment of the fruits of labour. Its education was accordingly oriented towards this end, with man as doer, master and enjoyer of all he surveyed. Everything existed for his benefit. Colonial trophy hunters and their native hangers-on hunted down wildlife with impunity, decimated cheetahs, and almost finished off tigers and lions. Flesh of diverse kinds; eggs of creatures, from land and water; and mollusks on the dining table; pelts, skins, plumes, oyster pearls, claws ornamenting the person; forests cleared and mountains ruthlessly  blasted and levelled for building purposes; rivers forcibly diverted, hemmed in by dams and divested of natural flow: Man spared nothing.

The Vedantic view of the immanence of divinity and sanctity of life ceded influence in the areas of education, work and policy-making to such arid concepts. But to allow Pakistani investment on grounds of liberalism will eventually jeopardise security.

Last modified on Thursday, 23 August 2012

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sanjeev nayyar
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