CENTRE for POLICY ANALYSIS

CENTRE for POLICY ANALYSIS

“Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex” - Karl Marx

ARTICLE


GLOBALISATION IS THE NEW COLONISATION


We live in an era of globalization. We live in a time when a worker in China buys his groceries from an American retail store before returning to his factory site to join in the million others like him in producing buttons for the world- buttons that will be sewn onto shirts by calloused Bangladeshi hands, shirts that form part of the fall collection of an Italian brand, which may be worn by a middle aged business man in the US, quite distressed by the malfunctioning of his latest Japanese gadget- whose anxieties will soon be quelled via a transatlantic phone call in a perfect Southern accent by a customer care center employee, sitting in Bengaluru, India.

It is a remarkable time to be alive in and a dangerous one too.  For in the quest to achieve greater interconnectedness of markets and greater integration of world economies, in our effort to inflate the flow of people and capital across borders- there is an unmistakable sense of deja  vu.  We have lived these circumstances in a different time, across different contexts. Taking the clock back a few decades, we arrive at a period starkly similar to our current times, the age of colonization.  

Though many scholars place the origins of globalization in modern times, others trace its history all the way to the Age of Discovery that witnessed voyages to the New World by Spanish and Portuguese explorers. While the term globalization was coined in the 1970s to refer to a phenomenon of greater global interlinkages, it traces its beginnings in the 15th century. This period was marked by rapid colonization-the process of settling among and establishing control among the indigenous people of a nation. Vast swathes of land in Asia, Africa and Australia came to be in the political and economic custody of a few European powers as well as the US. This period was also characterized by ongoing rivalries among these powers, the creation of global supply chains, an untamed economic desire for new resources and markets- and in many cases a 'mission to civilize the natives of the land.  

It was only post World War 2 that erstwhile colonies came to be decolonized, with the colonial powers relinquishing their economic and political influence over them. This dismantling of a system built over many years is far from complete. The power dynamics continue to flourish in newer forms, under a different nomenclature. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, from the vestiges of the old imperialist structure, a new phenomenon has emerged: globalization. The progeny of colonization is kindred to its anatomy, almost ensured by genetic inheritance. Indeed, globalization is the new colonization.  

This paper posits that the phenomenon of globalisation is a present day form of colonisation- its features, its ideology, its occurrence and its consequences unmistakably similar. The commonalities are highlighted across different sub headings, ranging from to ideologies to labor norms, from trade policies to environmental concerns. 

 Genesis   

The Age of Colonisation saw industrializing nations, engaging in the process of colonizing, influencing, and annexing other parts of the world in order to gain political power. Set against the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution in Europe, this remarkable time witnessed a vast surplus of goods being rapidly produced by the ceaseless machines that the Revolution had brought about. The goods, however, needed markets to be sold in. Further, to keep the machines and factories running, more goods would need to be produced. More goods meant more raw materials being required.  

Thus colonisation emerged to fulfill these twin needs. Initially approaching countries of Asia and Africa with an air of commercial activity and with the promise of business, the colonial powers of Europe soon began the annexation of territories in right earnest, carving out markets for their home produced goods and ensuring a steady supply of raw materials for the subsequent batches of these goods to be produced. From controlling trade, the colonialists came to conquer territory. At the heart of this global linkage lay the greatest influencer: the profit motive.  

The onset of colonisation in the Age of Discovery coincided with the emergence of mercantilism, an economic doctrine prevailing from the 16th to the 18th centuries. This was later in replaced in the mid-18thcentury, during the Industrial Revolution, by industrial capitalism, with industrialists replacing merchants, agriculture coming to be mechanized, a factory system of manufacturing coming into being and a complex division of labor being undertaken.

The owners of capital- industrial and plant machinery- came to be known as capitalists and they came to employ labor in return for wages. The extraction of surplus from labor, the profits of the capitalist so to speak, became crucial to the existence of this new regime.  Hence, the roots of colonisation were linked inextricably to the economic maxim of that period. The puzzle pieces fit well. The super exploitation of the natives in the colonies provided the raw materials, super profits and fresh capital vital for industrialization of Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. The furnaces of the Industrial Revolution sparked off the burning desire to acquire new colonies. Capitalism stoked these flames. 

Several decades later, the roots of capitalism remain entrenched in our globalized society. The players have changed in outward appearance but their innate ideologies remain the same. In place of explorers and imperial conquerors alighting from ships, the present day colonizers are the multinational corporations- spreading their reach across vast territories, extending markets across countries, sourcing raw materials and labor at its cheapest and outsourcing production to areas with optimal climes and optimal profits.  

Akin to the trading companies that had formed in the wake of colonisation, the MNCs - symbols of our globalized world- invest in production processes abroad, outsource manufacturing, seek to create monopolies in their product lines and in many cases ruthlessly replace local production. Like the East India Company drawing the strength of its trade from Queen Elizabeth's Charter in 1600, the modern day colonisers extract support from international organizations which -dominated by erstwhile imperial powers - continue to implement pro imperialist policies in semi colonies and ex colonies.

Decolonization may have granted a country sovereignty in theory, but not in practice. The globalized world is one where one's economic policy and politics are directly affected by outside forces and one's history of being the colonizer or the colonized determines where one's fate will lie.  

Labor and Laws  

The story of labor in the colonial period mimics the circumstances in which workers in today's globalized world toil.  Colonisation and empire building entailed industrializing nations extracting surpluses from less developing nations and fashioning a global capitalism that would sustain their own dominance and the subjugation of their colonies. In Capital, Marx asserted that the erstwhile colonizers were able to trade their commodities substantially above their value in a poor region, taking advantage of a region's lower living standards and reduced labor costs. Such practices, he postulated, led to a 'new international division of labor', the creation of an interdependent social formation that maximized the extraction of surplus from 'peripheral regions', to benefit 'wealthy industrial centers'.

 At the center of this vortex, whirling in the momentum of these intercontinental events was labor- reduced to indentured employment on plantations, displaced by the coming of machines and wrecked by the destruction of their traditional livelihoods.

The period of colonisation witnessed certain political, economic and legal structures that enabled the institution of indentured labor to flourish. Expansion of colonisation necessitated the search for a legal framework that would legitimize the securing of rights and powers from the colonies. By the 19th century, a new notion of 'differential sovereignty' came to characterize global doctrines- the imperial powers and their subjects were not alike in their rights, entitlements and liberties. On one end of the spectrum stood the great colonial powers of Europe and on the other, the colonies in their political and economic command. In between these two extremes, lay the suzerains and the protected states- representing various intermediary stages of sovereignty.

In his paper titled "Cheaper than a Slave: Indentured Labor, Colonialism and Capitalism", Professor Tayyab Mahmud, Professor of Law at the Seattle University School of Law asserts:

These constructs of modern international law, assembled against the backdrop of colonialism, sutured the colonized world with the capitalist world economy on terms that facilitated deployment of unfree labor from the colonies. Where international law furnished the enabling global frame, colonial law within the colonies secured the subordination locally."  

Given this imbalance in the power dynamic, there lay a vast gulf between the colonisers and what they perceived as the 'racial other'. In this context, global laws that emerged in that period gave aimed to "reduce . . . to civility" those who had "no skill of submission." and gave validation to using violence in subjugating the 'natives'. Indentured laborers came to be employed in plantations and land tenure systems and public works. Working in merciless working conditions, punished for the smallest of mistakes, humiliated and imprisoned, these workers came to embody labor contracts that were no less cruel than slavery. In the 100 years spanning 1834 and 1937, about 30 million indentured workers left India to work on grow sugar in the Caribbean, to construct railways in Kenya and mine silver in Bolivia. Only 24 million would return.  

The destruction of traditional livelihoods was another facet of colonial rule, one that affected local labor in these colonies, deeply. The story of cotton in British India sheds light on the dispossession of workers from the handlooms industry as a consequence of India's trade policies bring manipulated by her colonial masters. From exporting 100 million yards in 1700, India became an exporter of raw cotton furnishing raw material for British mills, a change that was brought about by a colonial restructuring of policies and a ban on import of Indian calico. Millions of jobs in this sector were lost and income inequalities widened. The tables turned. Britain went on to export cotton textiles to India and paradoxically, India's came to buy the cloth, shipped from abroad, that it could have produced at home.

The industrializing nations of Europe, using their colonies as dumping grounds for their finished goods, came to threaten local production. The local producers in colonies struggled to compete with the machine produced goods flooding domestic markets. As trade barriers came to be maneuvered to suit the interests of the colonial rulers, the colonized were driven down to states of desperation, unemployment, persecution and abject poverty. Unable to rival the efficiency of the Industrial Revolution's machines, human labor in the colonies went one of two ways: unemployed in the wake of technological displacement or bonded in contracts of oppression and subjugation.  

The search for the lowest labor costs of production continues with greater vigor in our globalized world. Countries like India and China, with their burgeoning populations and low wages, attract MNCs from across the world to establish production centers in their backyards. High value products to be sold in markets across the globe are routed through developing nations to exploit the low wages that persist there.  

Globalisation creates circumstances that hark back to colonial period, when the 'wealthy industrial centers', the words of Marx, took advantage of the modest wages in the 'peripheral regions'. In its creation of wage inequalities, in its perpetuation of inhuman working conditions for labor and in its elimination of social security benefits through the imposition of a market oriented approach, globalisation unmistakably resembles colonisation.  

Consider the case of Apple shifting its production lines to Pegatron Shanghai, China in a bid to suppress labor costs and garner even higher profits. A report by the China Labor Watch reveals an "average of 60+ working hours per week, 52% of workers completed more than 90 hours of overtime per month, even working as many as 132 hours of overtime". Such statistics reveal the sordid side to globalisation. Dormitories crowded with more than 10 workers living in despicable conditions, subject to resignation penalties and late attendance fines, working overtime only to supplement their abysmal base wages stands in stark contrast to Apple's massive profits. Further, according to the the China Labor Watch report, Apple's huge profits provide for enough space to improve the conditions of its 1.5 million workers, across the global supply chain. To quote from the report:  

"Bringing worker wage base in Apple's entire supply chain to parity with basic living cost level of average urban resident would cost Apple $ 1.9 Billion per quarter, about 10 percent of Apple's quarterly profits."  

Like Apple, the profits of transnational corporations across the world are based on exploiting the low costs in developing nations. The suppression of wages in the production units of an MNC in a developing country fuel the astronomical gains of these new colonisers. Coupled with the dastardly conditions of work and the complete neglect of worker benefits, such an global supply chain carries the explorative gene, passed on from the DNA of colonisation.   

In the age of globalisation, inequalities have risen in developing nations. According to the International Labor Organization, of the 28 countries for which data is available, 21 experienced increased income inequality from the early 1990s to the mid-2000s. Further, openness to trade and foreign investment have increased the relative return to skilled labor and capital, while reducing the relative return to unskilled labor.  

Given that the developed world has had a head start in the industrialization process, the MNCs from this part of the world propagate technical change that is often biased towards highly skilled workers, while eliminating the role of unskilled labor. In this context, when MNCs transplant their production techniques in developing nations to reap their cost advantage they end up endangering the employment of less skilled workers, driving their wages down inorexably. This has reportedly been the case with tenders to construction companies such as Bechtel whose labor saving technological change has rendered many workers unemployed in globalized India.

Further, globalisation and the accompanying trade liberalization often hurts the local workers employed in the sectors directly competing with the foreign goods. In the absence of credit, information, social networks and governmental support, these workers in the declining sectors of a developing economy are hurt, unprotected against the onslaught of foreign trade. The workers supplanted by the machines or struggling in an economy's import competing sectors, in our globalized present hurtle towards a destiny similar to the displaced crafts persons and laborers in our colonial past.  

Further, economist Pranab Bardhan posits that globalisation often leads to the weakening of unions. He says:  

As foreign competition (or even the threat of it) lowers profit margins, the old rent sharing arrangements between the employers and the employed come under pressure. Rents decline for both capital and labor, but labor may have to take a larger cut as internationally less mobile labor faces more mobile capital. Companies can more credibly threaten substitution of foreign factors of production including intermediate inputs, for domestic factors. This may lead to lower wages, and, sometimes more important the increased risk of unemployment."   

In the 1950s, union membership was about a third of the workforce, however by 1983 the membership of unions fell to about 20%. Today, the figure stands at 12% of the workforce. As argued by Annycke, Bonnet, Dasgupta, Figueiredo, Khan, Rosskam and Standing in the 2004 ILO Economic Security for a Better World, since the 1980s which marked the onset of globalization- there has been a global decline in collective voice, particularly as it manifests itself in union membership.

Akin to the colonial context wherein labor was subjugated with equanimity and rendered voiceless by the legal and economic matrix of that period, labor in the developing nations is accorded second class status in the face of neo mercantile gains. As globalization pushes for a more market oriented policy, social security and welfare mechanisms in developing countries dissolve, rendering labor powerless.    

Economist Guy Standing highlights the implications of increasingly market regulated economics, asserting that such an approach has "weakened the defense of employment security regulations and customary practices preserving job security". This is reflected in the attempts of transnational firms to easily fire workers or employ workers with lower livings standards and rights or even search for cheaper sources of labor overseas.    

Globalization's likeness to colonisation perhaps comes through most starkly in the sweatshops and factories established by MNCs, in developing countries, to produce clothes and chocolate and knockoff hand bags for the rest of the world. Severely underpaid, the workers in these sweat shops live in hovels and are forced to work in unspeakable circumstances, working on wages as abysmally low as 20 to 24 cents an hour. Many sweatshops witness regular physical punishment- slappings and beatings, and force pregnant workers to toil in extremely harsh conditions, with no promise of rest. Many of these female workers often miscarry due to the exhaustion that they suffer.  

A testimonial by a 42-year-old mother-of-two working for Gap supplier Texport in Bengaluru, which appeared in a 2012 report in 'The Guardian' underscores the pitiless working conditions in the sweatshops:  

"The targets are too high. They want 150 pieces an hour. When we can't meet the targets, the abuse starts. There is too much pressure; it is like torture. We can't take breaks or drink water or go to the toilet. The supervisors are on our backs all the time"  

According to a report released in 2013 by the Institute for Global Labor and Human Rights, "Next Collections" workers (in Dhaka, Bangladesh) are forced to toil 14- to 17-plus-hour shifts, seven days a week, routinely putting in workweeks of over 100 hours." In their complete neglect of basic human rights, these sweat shops are reminiscent of the brutal circumstances in which indentured laborers of the colonial period were forced to eke out a living.  

Further, these sweatshops are notorious for employing child slave labor, in another bid to cut costs. Working in filthy conditions, subject to the brutality of middlemen and the sheer indifference of the giant MNCs, the children in these sweatshops are the victims of globalization's zero sum game. The more the costs of labor are lowered, the better the balance sheets of the transnational corporations look. The power dynamic remains unbalanced, tilted to favor the colonisers of today, the erstwhile imperial powers and their emissaries, the MNCs. Products bundled into  gunny bags, wrapped in tarpaulin and precisely fitted into plastic boxes await their delivery to the markets and homes of people, rather far removed from these cruel realities.

 Plunder of Resources

Colonisation entailed the unabashed plunder of natural resources in the colonies by the imperialists. In colonial India, forests of Sal and Teak trees were felled to provide timber for ships in the British navy. Acre after acre of natural vegetation was cleared across acres for the construction of railways, built primarily for British gain. Two kilometers of railway track required 900 sleepers, made entirely out of teak, deodar cedar or sal trees. Alongside the large scale deforestation and destruction of the natural habitat, there was a mass extermination of India's fauna. Britain's standard bearers demanded India's trees for their ships and warehouse, and India's animals as game for their hunts. The colony had no choice but to relent. And indeed no choice existed for the peasants of Bihar in northern India, forced to grow indigo on their farms, around 95 percent of which was exported as a dye to Great Britain- much to the exclusion of all other food crops.   

As indigo and other commercial crops gained dominance, farmers switched from producing staple foods to cash crops, grain output declined steadily, life expectancy fell and population growth turned negative in many regions.  As a result of the disarticulation between domestic production and distribution, states Mike Davis- author of 'Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World'-  "there was no increase in India's per capita income from 1757 to 1947"  

Africa provided minerals and slave labor, bio fuels and timber for the industrializing countries of Europe. For instance, in Madagascar in the early 20th century, a system of forest licenses of the French colonisers contributed strongly to deforestation. The colonial government had a completely biased approach to forest rights, depriving local communities of access to these forests and converting them instead into disciplined plantations. In addition, in many places the European conquerors introduced cash crops to be produced by the locals, to be shipped to and sold in Europe's market. Cocoa on the Ivory Coast, coffee in the Caribbean. These cash crops were often grown to the neglect of the staple foods, exacerbating the inadequacy of food and the inequities of the regime. 

In their "Scramble for Africa" between 1881 and 1914, the European powers met to conduct the "paper partition" of Africa, dividing up its lands and its peoples with the precision of a scale. One swipe of ink across the map and an entire eco system went to an imperialist power. Another strike through with the ruler and vast grasslands were assigned to another colonial master. The birthplace of the human race was divided thus, with straight lines cutting across its rocks and waterfalls. The flora and fauna of these African colonies came to be sacrificed at the altar of colonisation, unsparingly. 

The key players from the 1914 paper partition of Africa remain unchanged in the present times. Some of them have not even left Africa. In spite of many African colonies getting independence in the mid-20th century, for most of them their sovereignty remains chimerical. Globalisation has attracted newer players to exploit erstwhile colonies with global dynamos like USA, China, Brazil, Turkey and Israel competing for Africa's riches. The colonisers of today repeat the past cycle of exploitation - coltan is mined from the Democratic Republic of Congo- often using child and slave labor for the extraction process, vanadium is mined from elsewhere, used for adding strength to steel and to the pursuits of the new colonisers.  

Yet, the people of these former colonies remain impoverished as were their ancestors in the colonial period. They continue to mine and plant and harvest, for different masters under a different regime, driven by a motive that unites two ages: maximizing gain.     

The present day plunder of resources involves MNCs entering into contract farming agreements with farmers in developing countries to grow cash crops that will be exported to markets around the world. Reminiscent of the colonial masters imposing specific crop patterns in their colonies, contract farming results in farmers growing the assigned cash crops, to the exclusion of staples. The legacy of the indigo plantations of colonial India is carried forth by the potato farms of Gujarat in the 21st century, churning out raw materials for Mc Donald's French fries, precluding the usual produce of rice and wheat. 

Much of the produce from contract farming in developing countries is exported to overseas markets, augmenting the profits of agro processing MNCs while threatening the food security of the developing nations. Given that the exported produce is grown in place of a nation's staples and driven by an export oriented strategy, the quantum of food produced diminishes in proportion. Paradoxically, developing countries are often driven to import food that they are unable to produce given that its farmers are producing cash crops for an unknown destination, instead. Once more the balance of power is tilted in favor of the erstwhile colonialists while the ex-colonies yield, as they are wont to.  

Further, the process of contract farming involves the MNCs providing seeds, inputs and other fertilizers to the farmers in developing nations, to aid the production process of the desired cash crop. While some may sanguinely view this as an equal partnership between the farmers and the MNC officials, the underbelly of such contracts reveals more than what meets the eye.  

One side of such contracts- the farmers- lack information regarding present day world prices and do not possess technical negotiation capacity and the social capital to seek legal aid, while the other side of such contracts- the MNCs- remain in a position to exploit these informational and judicial gaps in developing nations. While many contract farming agreements involve a minimum pre assigned price of the crop, the lack of effective court systems in developing nations provides escape routes for many MNCs in paying the farmers their dues.  

Further, while the exports of cash crops produced continue to fill the coffers of these transnational agro processing companies, the farmers continue to receive a low price, on the pretext that their crop has a low quality as compared to international standards. Moreover, while employment in the agricultural sector of developing countries may have risen, wages have been driven down to subsistence levels due to the pressures of migration.  

In addition, the inputs provided by the MNCs - chemical fertilizers and genetically modified seeds produced in labs that are far removed from the farmlands where they will be ultimately sprayed and sown- are often not compatible with the soil quality of a given area, leading to degradation of the quality of land, which is often irreversible.   

Consider the case of Monsanto, a multinational American agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation. Following the Seed Policy being introduced by the World Bank in 1988, the Indian government came to deregulate the seed sector, thus creating pathways for Monsanto to introduce its Bt technology in cotton seeds. These genetically modified seeds came to replace the natural seeds that Indian cotton farmers had used earlier. Within a decade, Monsanto would come to control 95% of India's cotton seed supply, thus demeaning the seed sovereignty of its farmers.

With cotton being converted into a monoculture, there was greater vulnerability to pests and crop failure. Further, Monsanto's monopoly over the genetically modified crop, policy of collecting royalties on the hybrid seed and the demolition of other alternatives created a situation of helplessness and agrarian distress in across these farmlands, leading to a spate of farmer suicides in Maharashtra, India. Yet again, globalisation creates circumstances for the natural riches of a land to be defiled by the unmitigated desire to maximize profit.  

The case of the 1997 Kuppam Pilot Project in Andhra Pradesh, India characterizes the unsustainable nature of contract farming. Covering approximately 170 acres of land, this 964 lakh rupee project aimed at promoting capital intensive crops based on large scale private corporate investment through contract farming systems. An independent team of scientists, under the aegis of the Andhra Pradesh Coalition for Diversity, came up with a report in 2002, criticizing the project on several grounds. 

According to a report published in December 2003 by the Hindu Business Line: 

"Deep ploughing, with or without turning the soil, was practiced before every cropping. Large amounts of expensive agro chemicals, both pesticides and weedicides, were applied for every crop. These tend to leave considerable residues in the soil, raising serious environmental concerns. No organic manures were applied. The irrigation system involved rapid depletion of groundwater with no provision for its recharge, or for any other rainwater harvesting measures. The social impact of the project has been adverse. First, farmers tilling their lands have been driven out from their profession and only some are able to work as hired laborers on the demonstration farm. The benefit of subsidiary occupations like dairying with the use of crop residues, which is a by-product of mixed farming, has been lost. Indeed, farmers who have tried to use some of the by-products for fodder, such as the leaves of cauliflower plants, have been punished, and there is strict policing of the laborers to prevent such "theft" from their won lands. Food grain production has almost ceased in the project area. Only vegetables and other similar crops are being cultivated. This will adversely affect food grain supply to the people living in the area. The result is that the dependence of the local people on the market, which, in turn, is controlled by the corporate bodies, is total."  

Contract farming in our globalized world is the present day avatar of an unequal relationship that existed centuries back. This inequity is exemplified in the cocoa plantations of the Ivory Coast, producing cocoa for European chocolate companies, where the bruised shoulders of child workers, employed as slave labor, carry six kilograms of the produce daily. This imbalance is embodied by the 'banana republics' of the world, remaining dependent upon the mass exports of  a breakfast fruit for the dining tables of the West- countries that are run by state capitalism, that are marked by the large scale exploitation of plantation agriculture and which remain servile in the face of the controllers of commerce, the MNCS.   

The impact of environmental degradation on account of globalisation is felt more strongly by the poor in developing nations. Trade liberalization, a major facet of globalisation, hurts the poor through the over exploitation of fragile environmental resources- groundwater, fisheries, forests and pastures- on which the daily livelihoods of the rural poor particularly depend. The vast scale of environmental degradation is reminiscent of the colonial period, when the imperialists ruthlessly sanctioned deforestation destroyed a colony's natural riches in aid of their own gain.   

In his paper "The Global Economy and the Poor", economist Pranab Bardhan argues:
 

"One reason why land intensive crops may lead to the overuse of land and the depletion of natural vegetation (or that expansion of the agricultural frontier in general leads to agriculture) is the lack of well-defined property rights or lack of their enforcement on public or communal land. In such cases, the private cost of expanding production is less that the social cost, and there is overuse and degradation of environmental resources. If the country exports such resource intensive products, foreign trade may make this missal location worse."   

The vestiges of our colonial past manifest themselves in the form of ex colonies incessantly supplying their lands and their waterways, their forests and their minerals to inflate the bottom line of trading companies and transnational corporations, the present day colonisers. Globalisation comes to resemble colonisation in its validation of contracts that debase local ecosystems in developing nations, that dictate cropping patterns and remove the local farmer's freedom to choose, that disrespect native knowledge bases. In its narrow aim to only maximize corporate profit while disregarding the interests of the ultimate producers of crops and the original custodians of natural resources, globalisation is the new colonisation.   

Conclusion   

The story that began with a European fleet of ships arriving on the shores of Africa, Asia and South America some centuries back, comes full circle with in our present times. It is a story of deep inequalities, of gross injustices and ceaseless exploitation, with the benefits accruing to only one set of characters.   

Globalisation is the newest edition of the colonisation story, the exploitation of the past extant in the exploitation of the present. This paper highlights some broad trends in both the contexts, focusing on the uncanny resemblance in the zeitgeist of the two ages. From the cotton farms of India, defiled by the experience of contract farming, to the garment workshops in Bangladesh, marked by incessant cruelties and a complete neglect of human rights, from the cocoa plantations on the Ivory Coast- thriving on child slave labor- to the electronics factories in China, paying only a minuscule portion of its profits to its million workers- globalisation and colonisation are eerily similar. 

The story that began many centuries ago when a fleet of ships set sail from Europe, continues to affect our destinies in the present. We are the inheritors of colonization's legacy. And sadly, the victims of it too. 

 

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  • Opposition Must Take a Stand Against the War Politics of Hindutva
  • 'Patriotism' Made Easy in Times of 'WhatsApp Elections'
  • Urban Poor Have Set Agenda for 2019 Elections
  • Will the US End Up Putting Sanctions on Every Country That Doesn't Bend to its Will?
  • Minority and Indigenous Women Human Rights Activists More Prone to Harassment UN Report
  • Tribute to Speaker Rabi Ray (1926-2017)
  • International Participation is Necessary Where State is Part of The Problem
  • Italy Takes Belt and Road to The Heart of Europe
  • The Legacy of Shaheed-e-Azam
  • In My Own Voice: Heroes or Hiroshima
  • The Modi Years
  • Election in Israel: A Race to the Bottom
  • Why Bangladesh Overtook Pakistan
  • Digital Monopoly Platforms, Modi Regime and Threat to Our Democracy
  • Elitism and Development
  • Jawaharlal Nehru and Organised Religion
  • A Brief History of the IUML and Kerla's Muslims
  • The Immunisation of Human Rights
  • How Can India Win The Struggle on Poverty?
  • The RSS's Chanakya Neeti
  • Diversity, Belonging and Multiculturalism
  • The Chinese Ambition
  • The Role City Govts Can Play in the Health of Citizens
  • Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew: Forgotten Warrior of Our Freedom Movement
  • Fighting Climate Change, Building Resilience
  • Mridula Sarabhai(the orignal anti-national)
  • Right to Education: A Dream Half Forgotten
  • Decoding One Nation One Poll
  • Tunisia Heads for Polls Amidst Economic Slowdown, Squsbbling and Crack Down on Islamic Extremist
  • Lynchings, Litchis and No Water: What the International Media is Saying Abount India
  • Blood in the Nile
  • Will the BNP Ever Again be a Major Political Force in Bangladesh?
  • 'Real Estate Brokers' Cannot Dampen The Palestinian Spirit
  • The Indian Liberal's Conundrum
  • Hope For Democracy in Sudan
  • In Depth: Water Crisis Looming Across Tamil Nadu
  • Missing Secularism in New Education Policy
  • Religion, Nationalism And Insurgency in Balochistan
  • Dim Lights, Closed Blinds: History Lessons From a Party in Power
  • Loan Waivers Need Better Designing to Prevent Farmer Suicides
  • Makimg Best Use of Sri Lanka's Strategic Location
  • FDI in Coal: Look Who's Coming to the Party
  • Weapons and the Never Ending Space Race
  • Thirty Years the Berlin Wall Brought Down
  • Reclaiming the Opposition and Political Space in India
  • An Interreligious Conference to Build Bridges in Sri Lanka
  • On 'Correcting' History and Akbar's Invasion of Kashmir
  • The Evolution of the 'Nobel Prize' in Economics
  • Close Coordination Between Turkey and Russia in Syria
  • Sri Lanka's Election Time Promises Costly to Keep
  • The India Economy and The Cobra Effect
  • Fascism: Is Liberal Use "Trivialising" This "Destructive Phenomenon?"
  • Treating the Poor as Development Guinea Pigs
  • A Not sp 'National Education Policy: Analysis Reveals Exclusion in Education Sector
  • University Fee Hikes Pave the Way for Selling Public Assets
  • The Truth About Middle Class 'Revolutions?
  • 50 Years of US Arms Trade: The Lasting Impact on West Asia
  • India Abjures Secularism in Bangladesh's View, Will Regional Cooperation Take a Hit?
  • Amidist Resistance to "De-Tribalisation", A Look at Why Jharkhand Polls are More Critical Than They Appear
  • The Dangerous Game of Citizenship: BJP Creates Divisive Agenda Through NRC
  • Revealed: US Losing Aghan War Due to "Fatally Flawed" War Strategies and Lack of Clear Objetives
  • 'Politics and Prejudice': Can Dalit-Bahujans and left Progressives Join Hands?
  • State Power's Attempts at Rewriting History
  • Afghanista's Tumultous Fourty-Year Journey
  • Nepal: Citizen's Needs Remain Sidelined as Turbulent Game of Politics Continues
  • "Enough is Enough": Secular India Revolts Against a " Majoritarian State"
  • Looking at Cuba's Revolution 61 Years On
  • Soleimani Murder Set to Spiral Out of Control, US Expected to Pressure India Under LEMOA
  • The Rise of Digital Media and The Viral Phenomenon of "Nowledge"
  • Thus Spake JP: Beware the Writing on the Wall
  • Sri Lankan Government Must Pay Attention to Problem-Solving in the North
  • Drowning Nation Clutches at Military Might?
  • India's Neighbourhood First Policy Crumbles
  • A Gobal Assault by the Far-Right
  • Delhi Riots: Historical Patterns, Complicity of Forces Point to Planned Violence
  • Behind The Protests Defending Public Education
  • Putting The Judiciary on Trial
  • "Sanctions Are a Crime": During Coronavirus Pandemic, Sanctions Against Iran, Venezuela Causing Medical Shortages
  • Social Messiahs or Smart Entrepreneurs?
  • Justice Gogoi Joining Rajya Sabha Points to a Constitutional Crisis
  • A Russian "Plays Long Game" Firewall for Venezuela Against US Sanctions
  • RSS and the Question of Morality
  • Establishing COVID-19 Hospitals in Record Time
  • A New "Medical Internationalism" Needed: Cuba At the Pandemic Frontlines Even As Wealthy States Neglect Healthcare
  • Why They Suffer: The Human/Animal Conflict
  • More Books and Snowy Mornings
  • Statesmanship Required to Avert Constitutinal Crisis in Sri Lanka
  • Combating 'Hate Virus': Communal Forces Divide in times of Global Pandemin
  • How Biometric Authentication Has Excluded MAny From The Public Distribution System
  • Lessons From Iraq: Before Trump Sues China, US Must pay for Unjust War on Iraq
  • The American War System And The Global 'War of Error'
  • Demilitarising Patriotism in The Covid Fight
  • Muslims Need a Fair Media
  • Sri-Lanka: Shock of Covid-19 Wanes, Nationalist Sentiments Rise as Elections Approach
  • Covid-19 in Brazil: A 21st Century 'Reenactment' of the 19th Century Yellow Fever?
  • Iran's Fuel Tankers for Venezuela Sail to Safety Under 'Chinese Shield'
  • US Protests Bear Lessons For Sri Lanka
  • India and Nepal in For A Prolonged Standoff?
  • The Fifth Schedule: Tribal Advisory Councils and International Perspectives
  • The Asian American Response to Pandemic-Era Racism Must Be Cross-Racial Solidarity
  • Is Police Brutality Exclusive to the USA?
  • Libya's Future Seema to Rest on Arrangements Between Russia And Turkey
  • China's strategic Mind And Method: "Long-Term Planning" Behind Country's Geo-Political Moves
  • Returning Migrants: A Boon For Rural Industrialisation?
  • Why Refugees in Greece Are Afraid of the Word 'Camp'''
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