India’s farmers are protesting authoritarianism disguised as capitalism. Sound familiar?

The Indian government forced through a series of laws that could enrich a few corporations while impoverishing millions. No wonder people are protesting, writes Supreet Kaur, assistant professor of economics, University of California, Berkeley

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Photo source: Kisan Ekta Morcha facebook page
By Supreet Kaur | INDIA |

If you’ve been watching the news — or even just following Rihanna on Twitter — you’re likely to know that protests of unprecedented scope — at least one may have been the largest in modern history — and duration are raging across India.

Although they are being called the “farmer protests,” the collective protest by millions of Indians — cutting across religion, caste and income lines — is about much more than any agriculture legislation. It is a coming together of desperate people to resist being subjected by their government to increased economic vulnerability.

In India, millions of farmers are protesting to overturn three new agriculture laws the government says are designed to reform India’s agricultural sector to make it less state-controlled and more market-based — what economists call liberalizing the sector.

 The need for reforms is urgent, and farmers themselves would generally agree that change is sorely needed. My 14 years of doing development economics work in rural India have shown me that farmers face crushing debt, unsustainable groundwater depletion and an epidemic of suicides.

So why, then, are they protesting their own deliverance?

Read the full article, ‘India’s farmers are protesting authoritarianism disguised as capitalism. Sound familiar?’ (NBC News 17 Feb 2021), here. Supreet Kaur is an assistant professor of economics, University of California, Berkeley

 

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