Even indian village ponds are drained by elite capture


It turns out the rich really do get richer.

While many pundits and policy makers devote time to quibbling with the thesis of Thomas Piketty, who claims that capitalism does have an internal law tending to plutocracy, news from India suggests that smart money should be placed on the readers who made the French economist’s “Capital in the 21st Century” a best seller.

It turns out the rich really do get richer.

While many pundits and policy makers devote time to quibbling with the thesis of Thomas Piketty, who claims that capitalism does have an internal law tending to plutocracy, news from India suggests that smart money should be placed on the readers who made the French economist’s “Capital in the 21st Century” a best seller.

 

A villager casts a fishing net in a pond at Gupti village in the eastern Indian state of Orissa March 28, 2012. A plan to form a joint development bank by the BRICS group of the world's most powerful emerging economies will have a hard time getting off the ground and would struggle to match the World Bank's expertise, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said. Picture taken March 28, 2012. To match Interview WORLDBANK-ZOELLICK/BRICSREUTERS/Parivartan Sharma

Imagine you are in the Indo-Gangetic Basin, the South Asian heartland that is home to hundreds of millions of poor villages. For centuries, fishing carried a cultural stigma and was a task done by the lowest castes.

Along comes progress and a government keen to boost food production and jobs for the growing population. It devotes resources to turning small-scale village-pond subsistence fishing into a dynamo. Fish production increases sixfold and India’s inland fisheries now export almost a third of their catch.

Great news for the smallholders who make up around 75% of this booming industry built up from scratch in the era of Indian independence, right?

Nope. Just as only wealthy financiers could tap the ultra-cheap liquidity provided by western central banks, it turns out that amid all that Indian bounty  it is very hard for the peasant to compete with the bigwigs of local commerce, despite the traditional stigma of the trade.

How is the little guy kept at bay in this case?

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