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People's Economies vs Corporate Control: First Commodification, Then Financialization, Now Demonetization


People's Economies vs Corporate Control: First Commodification, Then Financialization, Now Demonetization

Vandana Shiva

Ever since the Corporate Form was "invented" - in its earliest avatar as the collective East India Companies - those who have ruled via corporation have found innovative "means" new to extract wealth from the earth and people, leaving both poorer in a zero-sum "game".


You just keep getting it right and explaining it well, Dr. Shiva!


This has to be the most distorted, non-factual, propagandist point of view I have come around. The author of this article DOES NOT understand this brave move of demonetization at all!

First of all, demonetization has absolutely no basis of corporate control whatsoever. This move was taken to curb the parallel economy of black money that India has (which is one of the biggest in the world) and also under "exceptional circumstances" of Pakistan trying to completely dismantle India's economy by infusing fake indian currencies they produce through the 5 mints they have. The prime minister of India, Narendra Modi has SAVED the country by taking this swift and mighty bold move.

Also, the author keeps associating digital world and economy to corporate greed and control. This is highly distorted. The govt isn't taking away anyone's money. Everyone's money is safe (assuming it was acquired in legitimate means). Once the new currency is sufficiently available, this problem of cash crunch will dissipate. It is not as if there are no other means for people to transact. Digital transactions and cashless economy is something that exists in india and the govt is building on a state-of-the-art digital financial architecture (called UPI) which will make sure even the poor, impoverished and uneducated will be able to use cashless / digital transactions which will make their life very convenient. There is NO BASIS to assume that literacy is required to use technology. If you keep thinking making things digital is evil and somehow will lead to corporate control, and people should keep continuing with cash based transactions so as to accumulate black money again, well, that is just senseless.

I'm quite appalled that a noble alternative news site like commondreams can allow such propagandist article which absolutely doesn't make any sense. This article somehow is trying to tell people that demonetization was brought about to pressurize people to adopt digital economy so as to bring them under the ambit of corporate control. This is laughable. This article doesn't even provide the negative points of demonetization (which i agree there are) , and just makes up some twisted logic to malign this bold move. I understand you are strictly anti-capitalism and anti-corporate but that don't mean you connect the dots of capitalism with demonetization with absolutely no logical basis.


You have claimed one of the more intelligent people around, Vandana Shiva, is not using logic to describe corporate piracy and destruction of culture.

Please use a bit of your logical basis to illustrate a few of the benefits you claim for mortals but do not describe.


First of all, there are many intelligent people around who support demonetization (people more intelligent than the author) , and i'm quite sure the author is also intelligent. She might have a very good point of view on corporate greed and control, the evils of it, and how it affects the poor and impoverished and creates steeper income inequality. But i will reiterate this, demonetization is not an illegitimate attempt to criminalise the people’s economy, like the author so casually puts. She wants to say demonetization has taken away poor people's money by "barricading it in digital lockers" and making it accessible only "to people with digital keys". She compares it with patents on seeds. Understand that patents restricting farmers is a "permanent barricade". Demonetization is a "temporary disturbance" which was caused by the side effects - cash crunch. Once the new currency is infused, the economy will come back to normal. But the benefits are manifolds! Since you asked me to "enlighten" you, here goes:

  1. Terrorist activities in Kashmir has come down to zero. Thats right, zero! overnight. Terror activities used to be fuelled by indian currency printed in Pakistan. Its all cow-chodder now.

  2. After major terror attacks on india, at the two sites - pathankot and uri, India gave a swift and powerful response in the form of "surgical strikes" in multiple terrorist targets in Pakistan. India has for the first time in 60 years clearly defined a new foreign policy with Pakistan, which is fighting fire with fire, and exchanging flowers with flowers. This new direction, ensured by our PM had propelled a major retribution by Pakistan (and forces of China) in which they were going to infuse 15 trillion rupees of fake currency in India (which is printed by 5 pakistani mints) and completely destabilizing the economy. Under these exceptional circumstances, Modi has made this bold move of demonetization, effectively making all fake indian currency, the mints and the production useless. Understand that demonetization does bring disturbance to the daily activities, especially of the poor, and no sitting PM would dare to take such radical move since it would be political suicide. yet Modi has taken this for the country and its welfare. The idea is lost on the author.

  3. the author takes the example of 'chaiwallah'. She forgets to mention that our PM used to be a chaiwallah himself! Thats right, he used to sell chai in the railway platforms. Nobody understands the pulse of the poor and impoverished than the PM. Demonetization has overnight put to end, the parallel economy of black money. **the biggest cause of income inequality is not corporate bureaucracy but black money and parallel economy itself! ** This will not hurt the poor people but help them in the long run and curb inflation, and income disparity.

  4. demonetization will not hurt the 'swadeshi economy'. quite the contrary! depositing all cash stacks to banks has resulted in large amounts of cash coming back to banks. This has led to free fall drop in loan interest rates. also, ending of parallel economy and bringing back all the black money will further lead to large deposits back to banks and further lowering of interest rates of loans which will benefit the small industries.

  5. Digital economy is not evil. The author completely misses the point here when she continuously associates digital economy with corporate control. They are unrelated. If that were the case, explain bitcoins. Bitcoins and cryptocurrency (the feather to the cap of digital economy) makes sure to curb corporate control (through intermediaries like banks and other financial institutions). Digital economy will make things extremely transparent since every monetary transaction is accounted and has a digital footprint that can be easily traced. Black money dealings, bribery, terrorism, etc. exists because it is financed using cash which is untraceable. Digital economy will only bring down corporate control and greed, and make the whole financial system and economy more transparent.


Demonetization might be equitable in economies that are regulated at least to the extent that banks were during the US New Deal Era (1935-1978) whereby transparency really is transparent, no bank can become too big to fail, all banks shoulder risk, and economic downturns are more controlled..Today's token regulation of banking with "bail-in" and other features that benefit the 1% at the expense of the 99% creates an environment where demonetization enables accelerated wealth transfer from the 99% to the 1% and is a key strategy in the establishment of neofeudalism where the 1% own everything and the 99% own nothing.

Although demonetization may sound great in theory, in today's real world it is great only for the 1%.

Corporations are most accurately defined as government sanctioned piracy. Perhaps corporations were more akin to organized crime until the politicians they own decriminalized most of their evil actions.


this is not like the american government or economy here in India. We do not have as extremely adverse effects as the america has due to the federal reserve, the concentration of power to the private players who control the financial infrastucture, the military-industrial complex, the deep state (or the permanant government). Here it is different. This is why the economic downturn of 2008 didn't have extremely severe effect in india like it had in america, even the author agrees to that.

You are looking at india wearing american glasses, my friend :). I'd suggest try to read and research more on the indian economy and government.

I'll agree to this though. Demonetization might have had extreme effects in america like you state. But here in india, there have not been any riots, looting, strikes, bandhs or anything of any kind. This only proves that the people of the country are for the demonetization move (largely), and they are ready to do their bit and face inconvenience for the sake of the country.


To me, this is the straw that breaks the camel's back.
This will be the trigger of events that change the global financialization and controls of the internet, for the better or the worse.


"Negative" "interest" "rates". "Free" "Trade" Agreements". "Digital" "Currency". The doublespeak is overwhelming. The western economy may not be the same as India's but "demonetization" would be the exact disaster for the west that raydelcamino describes. It is the ultimate "Alice in Wonderland" "currency".


Once all money is digital and the black market is extinguished, goverations and corporments have full control. Transparency? Maybe like the transparency we have in the US with the constant spying on everyone by the NSA. Everyone's doings, including those of the wealthy and powerful, are subject to the big eye. But who watches THEM? Who knows where and by whom policy decisions are made? The more government entitles itself to spy on the public, the more it hides its own doings from the public that pays for it. I don't know much about India but I'm certainly inclined to believe Shiva over Bill Gates. He gets a lot of kudos for his charity, but it all seems to be based on pushing a privatization and corporate control agenda.


Your pandering to the looting class is laughable.

The looting class is herding us all into a non-cash, digital economy where they control and loot from all transactions. This action in India is one of the greatest thefts ever.

You are not that stupid. You are a tool. The brilliant and fearless Vandana Shiva understands far more than your limited, toolish pandering can ever comprehend.


your post is based on emotions rather than facts. Don't get too emotional, my friend, and lets try to keep the discourse healthy and fact-based, rather than "comparing people's credentials" and taking sides based on prejudice. Otherwise we are no different from those in mainstream media, in the military-industrial-complex, the CIA, the oil barons. 'meritocracy' is also a form of 'aristocracy'.

I refer to several renowned alternative news sites, and believe in free-thinking. Alternative news community is not a place to huddle together and speak ill of all corporate and vilify capitalism. Then you are inching towards communism. The idea is to understand that there are good aspects and bad aspects in capitalism just as there is in socialism. Not all corporate are evil, not all socialists are right.

Good sir, please do enlighten us as to how the non-cash, digital economy will lead to control by corporates? going digital doesn't mean going VISA where they take a certain cut as commission for every transaction. There are setups like UPI where digital, cashless transactions doesn't contain any surcharge. They are faster, easier, safer and better than keeping cash. Did you know that American dollar bills has NO backing of gold or silver coins (like the constitution states it should have), and in simple terms, is just a 'promise of debt' ? The more cash you print and circulate, the larger the circle of debt we are propagating.


your argument is half baked. If going digital can lead to easier spying by 'goverations and corporments' (nicely put though), then we have to keep them in check, not dismantle digital economy itself!

If the NSA is spying on people by tapping their phone calls, and their internet IP addresses, then should we criticize and try to regulate the NSA, or should we dismantle our phones and internet, and go back to using pigeons to exchange posts?


I was under the impression that the issue is not any proposal to ban cashless transactions, but rather to make it much more difficult to carry on cash transactions. I see the black, or grey economy as a critical bulwark against tyranny...and as the economy most of us will be moving into, increasingly, as the "mainstream" economy breaks down due to a raft of crises that cannot be addressed under our current system: climate change, other environmental problems and overpopulation, a gathering police state that seems to be at least trying to encompass the globe. These problems can't be addressed because the 1% have set themselves up with a lock on power, and seem to insist that ever increasing amounts of wealth going to themselves is a necessary component of any acceptable policy. Here in the US at least, they are also using both "mainstream" (corporate) media and alternative media to keep the 99% divided. Which makes solutions even harder. So, to use one example, college has become so expensive and the jobs it is supposed to lead to so scarce, that I expect to see a sharply decreasing percentage of the young risking lifelong debt to go to college, which means many or most will close. A few universities will endure, to educate the children of the rich. If the economy doesn't first crash due to resource depletion or political chaos, continuing automation will remove even more jobs, not only in the overdeveloped world but even in places like India. What are all those people going to do? They will get by with old-fashioned farming and service transactions on the black market. If we move into a more overt and total police state, then cash transactions will be critical to resistance units' survival. And I disagree with what you said about capitalism and communism. The healthiest societies are communist, but only on a small scale. Centralized, bureaucratic, state-level communist societies have all been as bad as the capitalist ones, which are not awful and unequal because of "bad" individuals but because of a system which guarantees this outcome.


Digital vs. cash has nothing at all to do with debt, the money supply, or the backing or value of money. Abolishing cash and enforcing the use of digital money will do absolutely nothing to control debt, ensure the value of money, or limit the amount of money. It will, however, amplify the power of those who conjure money, refine their control over those who use it, and enable new tools to ensure that the looting is uninterrupted.