Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Arundhati Roy on Capitalism

AMY GOODMAN: Can you make a connection between the issue of climate change and the issue of the growing inequality in the world? Certainly, it is massive in the United States. And in India, the growing inequality has increased enormously. You have this Oxfam report that just came out revealing billionaire fortunes in India increased by 35% last year as the poorest remain in debt. But that connection, that link of capitalism, between the two?

ARUNDHATI ROY: The connection is just capitalism, isn’t it? I mean, it’s pretty clear now. That any sort of attempt—I will give you a very good example. Like a month or two ago, the Supreme Court of India, based on a case that a wildlife NGO had filed, said that two million indigenous people should be evicted from their forest homes with immediate effect. Why? Because that forest needs to be preserved as a sanctuary. But when, for the last 25 years, people were fighting against projects which were decimating millions of hectares and acres of forest, nobody cared. And it was the same people that were being displaced. Then it was for progress; now it is for conservation. But it is always the same people who have to pay the price.

And when you are talking about evicting two million of the poorest people, stripping them of everything they ever had, there is little outrage. When the Congress party announced that it is going to have a scheme in which 20% of the poorest people will get a living wage, everyone just exploded. Like, how can you think of doing this? Because it strikes at the core of unregulated capitalism. Any sense of talk of equality or justice seems to just have the same effect that blasphemy has in religious societies. That is what capitalism has become—a form of religion that will brook no questioning.


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