Glocal Econ 12: India’s Zenith and America’s Nadir

Homework Due:

Questions from Web of Debt

Chapter 28: Recovering the Jewel of the British Empire: A People’s Movement Takes Back India

  1. How much of the world’s population do India and China represent combined? According to the PBS documentary Commanding Heights, what was India in the 1950’s after they’d won their independence from Britain? What was recommended for their new economy?
  2. How did Pandhit Nehru, the first Prime Minister, set up India instead? Who helped to shape this government and what was the result?
  3. What was India’s trade balance in 1973? What changed it? How did this affect India’s politics? As described by the group R.U.P.E. who was the new economy tailored towards and what industries experienced growth? What was the effect of the IMF loans by 1995? How does this trajectory parallel the US?
  4. Describe the “privatization trap.” What is the rationale given for structural adjustment programs? What is their real effect? How does Helen Caldicott describe their effect on women?
  5. How does the “economic miracle” of privatization work? How did the income gap change between 1980 and 1999? By 2006 what statistics does the World Bank give for world distribution of household wealth? In David Graeber’s book Debt, he describes the debt policies of governments and religions to consider all debts cancelled when twice the borrowed sum had been repayed. How would this change Third World debt? Should First World banks have to repay the excess?
  6. Why are India and China not poster children for the success of IMF/WB policies? What percent of India’s banks were still government-owned by 2006? How have India’s public sector banks fared, both in public opinion and in performance?
  7. Greg Palast, who wrote the article that first alerted me to the significance of the petrodollar, describes the difference between India’s states. How does Bangalore differ from Andhra Pradesh? Would the division of India into sovereign states benefit the poor? Why or why not?
  8. What is Vision 2020? What has the effect been? What are the four things that, according to an article in Sustainable Economics, laws and policies will rob from the poor? What are three ways it will do this? How is my A 2020 Vision the exact inverse? Are “freedom zones” like sovereign states would be?
  9. What is the BIS? Define the Basel norm. How did it affect Indian farmers? How has the credit debacle affected India’s public sector banks? Are microloans the answer or even a step in the right direction?

10. What is GATT? What does the WTO require the laws of every member to conform to? What is the New World Order a road to, according to critics? How did Bob Djurdjevic compare the NWO to the British empire? How does the IMF figure in?


Section IV: The Debt Spider Captures America

Chapter 29: Breaking the Back of the Tin Man: Debt Serfdom for American Workers

  1. What was the US debt by 2004 and how did it compare to the Third World? What is it now?  What was the 2005 ratio of US debt to GDP? What is it now? What does this make the US and what does that mean? Is it realistic to call the US the wealthiest country in the world?
  2. What will happen if the US declares bankruptcy, according to Mike Whitney? What did Catherine Austin Fitts call what is happening? What is that?
  3. How had the wealth gap widened between 1989 and 2004, according to the Federal Reserve? How did it change from 1997 to 1998 according to Forbes? Two books with more information include The Missing Class: Portraits of the Near Poor in America by Katherine Newman and Victor Tan Chen and (Not) Keeping Up With Our Parents by Nan Mooney. This table shows the income difference in LA in 2003. Could we get information for our counties?
  4. How were personal bankruptcy filing affected from 1995 to 2005, and how many people filed for bankruptcy in 2004? How does Chapter 13 differ from bankruptcy?
  5. What is the homestead exemption? How have new provisions eroded this protection? What is a “deficiency” and does California have an anti-deficiency law? How does the home equity loan push resemble the 1920’s? How did this contribute to the Great Depression?
  6. What change was made in bankruptcy law for insolvent corporations? Why haven’t states addressed the resulting problems? How has Warren Buffett described what America is becoming? What term does Paul Krugman use? Why isn’t the US working class mobile? Why don’t the loopholes that apply to tax havens and corporations apply to municipalities, counties and states?
  7. Who was the 2005 bankruptcy bill written for? What did credit card debt reach by 2003? What’s the average debt carried by the 60% who don’t pay off their credit cards monthly? How do Elizabeth Warren and her daughter describe the target of credit card companies in her book The Two-Income Trap?
  8. How have spending patterns changed in one generation, according to Warren and Tyagi? Would it solve the problem to double the cost of food and goods and cut the “unaffordable 4H: housing, healthcare, higher education and hope for retirement” in half? How did the Hazard Circular compare slavery to debt?
  9. Why doesn’t the time-value argument for interest hold water when it comes to credit cards and commercial banks? How does a credit card work? How does the monetization of debt differ from a loan between persons? What did credit card profits rise to in 2006?
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