Saturday, January 26, 2013

Intimations of Immortality

One of my classmates at Columbia Journalism School died recently after a long illness. He was the second to go in the space of a few weeks.

Although we are still in our sixties (“the new 40s”), our cohort is at a stage when it must begin to face the fact that death has become a personal rather than a philosophical interest.

Shored up as I am by the Indian expectation that the soul will go from one discarded body to another, this issue is somewhat easier for me than for most Westerners who, if they believe in the reality set out by their religions, face Judgment Day. If they do not believe, death can only be a final extinction, an equally imponderable end.

But how real is my expectation of many more lives to come (my spiritual status being far from the dispassionate stillness required for moksha)?

It’s very real, and not because I have blind faith in what the Bhagavad Gita says: Science has crept in all around the concept of an eternal soul and now makes it impossible to believe in anything else.

Two scientific advances in particular have validated the concept of the soul. One is the recognition of the matter-energy continuum set out in Einstein’s E=MC2. Matter and Energy are indestructible; they can only be converted into each other.

The discovery of the genetic code is the other major step Science took towards the soul. Its importance lies in the recognition that each of us is a piece of code: complex and only dimly understood as yet, but essentially, each individual is a piece of software that takes material form at the moment of conception.

Put the two concepts together, and we have an individualized code destructible in its material manifestation as DNA but not in its Energy persona. When the material body dies, our individual wave pattern survives, and as with the human voice carried by radio waves, it can vibrate another receptor: a new body at the moment of conception.

As with the radio wave, our individualized genetic pattern will only vibrate a receptor tuned to the right frequency. That’s where the concept of karma comes in. Every action, every thought we have affects our DNA, which contains information coded at the molecular level. At death, the code that floats free of the body is a permanent record of the sum total of our actions. It can only take a new material form consonant with that code.

So, those with good karma find bodies that resonate with virtue, others degenerate into lower forms of life.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Did China or India "Win" the Development Race?

Who has “won” the development race, China or India?

Steven Rattner, a Wall Streeter with a Washington revolving door background, declared in an opinion piece in the New York Times last Sunday (20 January) that it was China. 

Tyler Roylance of the Heritage Foundation weighed in with an opposing viewpoint three days later on the HF website.

“When a New York Times columnist feels the need to tell his readers, ‘Don’t get me wrong—I am hardly advocating totalitarian government,’ something has probably gone badly awry in his analysis,” he noted in a rebuttal that cited all the by now familiar points in favor of democratic India.

What was missing from both articles was the smoke and mirrors quality of Chinese success. (“Smoke and Mirrors,” by the way, is a must-read book about China by Pallavi Aiyar.)

I have noted in earlier posts the real estate and banking mess in China, both hidden by  statistical fraud but evident in the continuing rise of housing prices even as unsold and unoccupied buildings accumulate into brand new ghost cities.

There is also the officially reported fact that 50 percent of Chinese GDP is investment, foreign and domestic. That is an entirely unsustainable phenomenon, without precedent in economic history: like Lance Armstrong’s seven Tour de France victories, China’s spectacular growth rates are the result of artificially pumped-up muscle.

When that rate of investment slows – as it must – it will bring down the whole house of cards. That is because the mandarins of the Communist Party have chosen the appearance of growth over healthy development. They have hidden weaknesses and problems to support the pretense of success.

Corporate debt, for instance, is 180 percent of GDP. (India’s is 49 percent.) Despite that huge debt overhang, there has not been a single default on a Chinese corporate bond issue. That is because even one might start an unstoppable run on the house. So, when a corporation cannot pay back its loans and is in danger of default, local governments step in with public money.

Tyler Durden of summed up the situation yesterday: “China is proceeding with bail out after bail out of any company that threatens to expose the reality that Chinese corporations are massively undercapitalized and that absent Chinese state support this particular 180 percent debt/GDP bubble would pop immediately and have dire consequences around the world.”

The corporate bubble will not burst in isolation. It will take the banks with it, and the real estate market. Bank loans, much of it unrealizable and “hidden” in blatantly dishonest ways, are estimated to be 300 percent of GDP. 

The expectation that the Chinese economy has made a “soft landing” because its manufacturing index has shown a slight rise in the last few weeks is whistling in the dark. What has been happening is that the government has been paying ruined merchants to stay open. A few weeks ago The New Yorker reported on a new mall filled with shops carrying the identical range of products, all on the dole; there was not a shopper in sight.

Warehouses at ports and even decommissioned office buildings are reportedly storing imported commodities for which domestic demand has dropped radically.The regime has elected to hid the slowdown in demand.

How long can Beijing continue this charade? No one knows; but it cannot be for very long. A timeline might be suggested by China's huge increase in food imports -- reportedly four times its annual amount.

That is in line with the certainty that a crash in China will bring down the entire world economy. The financial system the IMF presides over with such aplomb is as insolvent as China’s. The trillions of notional dollars Western Central Banks pumped into national economies to prop up demand after the 2008 fall of Lehman Brothers must meet up with reality at some level, and when that happens, the results could be dire indeed.

To answer the question at the beginning of this piece: India has won; but that might not mean much if we do not survive China’s failure.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Background to the Nuke Warning in Kashmir

The Indian government has told Kashmiris to prepare for a nuclear attack. The paragraphs below, from the concluding chapter of my book "1001 Things Every Indian Should Know," explain the background to that startling development.

The chapter sets out a number of specific recommendations for action, then adds the following:

"These measures should effectively roll up the international black market, reduce crime and corruption globally, and provide funding for the most urgent anti-poverty and environmental action. However, there is acute danger that before any of this can happen the British elite will plunge us into another major war with assassinations and false flag operations.

Another World Conflict?

It would also be prudent to spread awareness that we can expect strong opposition from Britain and its allies and proxies. An extrapolation of the British record suggests that it will be violent, perhaps involving war. Previous chapters have noted in detail the breathtaking variety of treacheries that led to the acquisition and retention of the British Empire. They have also made clear how the British elite has, from early days, considered the blood of its own people and those of other nations a cheap currency to trade for power. Massive death tolls accompanied the forcible trade of slaves out of Africa and opium into China, the genocides that drove to near extinction the American Indian, the Australian Aborigine and the Maori of New Zealand, and the great man-made famines of India. Britain fought two ruinous wars with Germany in defense of its imperial interests, killing several million of its own people and forcing the loss of some 100 million lives on other nations. Chapter 6 looked at how Britain maneuvered the world into the Cold War and engineered the great communal killings in India that led to Partition. Other parts of the text have reviewed how Britain gave itself room for strategic maneuver in the Middle East and South Asia by deliberately creating the conflicts over Kashmir and Palestine. In post-colonial Africa it has played a merciless game that has claimed the lives and livelihoods of millions of the poorest people on earth.
Looking back on that record it would be silly to expect that a few billion-dollar fines on its banks and the prospect of the economic collapse of China, its most lucrative source of criminal loot, will force Britain to mend its ways. It is an almost certain bet that London will try to provoke international conflict, most likely in South Asia where its geopolitical interests are concentrated. At this writing, the sudden deterioration in the India-Pakistan situation in January 2013, the staggering hate speech of an Indian Muslim politician, and the warnings of Hafeez Syed that things will hot up again in Kashmir are firm indications that it is trying. If there is inadequate temperance on both sides the situation could escalate in tit for tat violence and get completely out of hand. As with the beheading and mutilation of two Indian soldiers that led to the current deepening of tensions, it might not be easy to fix responsibility if “terrorists” get some of Pakistan’snuclear weapons. Another emergency Britain could set off easily is global hyperinflation. That would destabilize its nemesis, the United States, and ease all pressure to abandon its empire of crime. The only thing it cannot count on in undertaking such actions is its usual shroud of secrecy and persiflage. Too many people now are aware of its role and watchful of its actions. Despite that, the situation is extremely dangerous."
Keep your fingers crossed!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

1001 Things Every Indian Should Know

"1001 Things Every Indian Should Know"  is the title of the e-version of my book just published on Amazon's Kindle.

The book is priced at $3.99 (approx Rs.270) and can be read on any computer or tablet.  I believe there are several promotional days to come on which the book can be downloaded free. I will let you know when they are scheduled.

As a print version is in the works would be grateful for all feedback!

Here is the book description as it appears on the Amazon web site:


1001 Things Every Indian Should Know is a book about India and its place in the world. Written by a veteran journalist with a lifetime of experience covering international affairs, it tells of the country's millennial history and how our understanding of it was distorted during the period of British colonial rule. It also provides an Indian view of Britain and tells how the largest of colonial empires segued into a new career as the center of a global black market that is now estimated to be twice the GDP of the United States.

Britain and India are polar opposites. One invented the industrial revolution and the modern corporate apparatus of the market economy; the other has a rich material culture but its traditional approach to reality is essentially spiritual. Despite the end of colonial rule the interaction of the profoundly different approaches to reality of the two nations has continued into the 21st Century and it will decide the fate of the world. The book tells of that interaction in terms of Mahatma Gandhi's life and legacy, and Britain's deeply negative response.

The globalization of industrial civilization has brought the world into a situation of deep interlocked crises that have grown steadily worse despite all efforts by governments for over four decades. The book explains why that is so and reprises the case that Gandhi first made in 1910: industrial civilization is too violent and corrupting to be redeemed; it must be replaced.

However, India sans Mahatma is now on an ill-considered course to integrate with the industrial world: The repercussions for Indian society and for the world will be dismal. The rising tide of violence and crime in India is the direct result of its so-called "development" in recent decades. For the world, an industrialized India will be disastrous in terms of ecological impact.

How do we deal with this situation? Governments have shown they cannot do so. The book recommends how ordinary Indians can correct their country's course through civil action. It sets out a plan for a nonviolent Gandhian revolution that can transform not just India but the world.