The Global Economy Screws India's Poor  

Ah, yes, the global economy…

"There are limits to which we can keep consumer prices unaffected by rising import prices," Singh said somberly. "I know that the price increases we have had to announce today will not be popular, even though they are only modest. We remain dependent on imports. We are, therefore, vulnerable to global trends in oil prices."

The government will reduce import and excise taxes to soften the impact of rising oil costs on state-run refiners and oil marketing companies, which have been posting losses of about $1 billion a week.

Wow, $1billion a week? They’re losing money but Exxon and Shell are making money hand over fist. But India does have STATE RUN OIL COMPANIES. And with so many STATE RUN companies, you’d have to wonder how they can make ends meet in the right wing talking point “the market.”

In the past three months, inflation has surged to an annual rate of 8.1 percent, the highest since 2004, especially affecting milk, vegetables and cooking oil. The hike in the price of diesel, the country's preferred auto fuel, will further push up commodity prices. India imports more than two-thirds of its oil and is one of Asia's booming economies, growing at over 8 percent a year.

I suppose for India, it’s made a decision on what to run and what not to run. In the states, we just seem to look for ways to make it easier for corporations to screw their workers and ship jobs overseas as opposed to in India, where the abject poor are still so far outside of the main economy that even the growth in the economy hasn’t helped them. Again, from the Post

For many Indian families, however, there will be tough decisions and belt-tightening in the kitchen. Pushpa Tanwar, 27, lives in an extended family of eight in a semirural area on the outskirts of the capital. She uses one cooking gas cylinder per month.

"I was already coping with the rising prices of food and milk. Now I will have to conserve my cooking gas too," she said, adding that she would rely more on dried cow dung to fuel a mud stove. Such stoves, used in many poorer Indian homes, cough up poisonous smoke in unvented kitchens.

"It takes longer to cook on the mud stove, but I have no other choice," Tanwar said. "I will use the cooking gas cylinder only for special guests."

I have to wonder, how will the least among us cope with these new prices when those of us just barely scraping by are finding it difficult to make ends meet. With gas prices and fuel prices and goodness knows what’s coming down the road, how are any of us to make it?

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