Friday, 25 July 2014

மோடியின் கடுகதி- அபிவிருத்தியில் இலாபம் அடைபவர்கள் யார்?

First-ever $1bn home: Indian tycoon  27-storey sky palace


India's rich to quadruple wealth in four years as ranks of multimillionaires grow

A sixth more people are worth at least £2.2m than a year ago and demand for luxury goods is on the rise.

They call it the Richie Rich Club, and it is about to get even richer. India's wealthiest will quadruple their net worth in the next four years, a report says, with hundreds of thousands of new entrepreneurs and inheritors becoming multimillionaires.

The survey, based on interviews with 150 ultra-high net worth individuals, comes amid signs of returning business confidence in the world's biggest democracy.

Recent years have seen lacklustre growth, rising prices of basic foodstuffs and a weakening currency. 

But the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) won a landslide victory in May on a pledge to reinvigorate the ailing economy.Despite the slowdown, there are now nearly a sixth more Indians worth in excess of $3.75m (£2.2m) than just one year ago, the report for the Kotak Mahindra bank notes.

"Cities are mushrooming, the middle class population growing, opportunities have increased manyfold and the political environment has improved greatly in recent months," according to Murali Balaraman, a co-author.

Between them India's rich hold assets worth a trillion dollars, which is around a fifth of the total wealth in the country. Within four years, that total is likely to reach $4tn (£2.3tn), the report says, making three times as many people multimillionaires.

Serving the new rich – and the old money – is a booming luxury market.

"They really want to show or talk about their wealth in a really subtle way, and consumption of luxury goods is a nice way to do it," Balaraman said.

Abhay Gupta, the CEO of brand consultancy Luxury Connect, said the market for top end goods and experiences would "only get bigger".

"There is a huge aspirational class who look up to what the very wealthy are doing and then copy it," he said.

Cars are among the most popular items bought, the report says. Whereas five years ago locally made SUVs were shown off by the wealthy, now only foreign cars will turn heads. Mercedes saw a 47% surge in sales in India last year. BMW launched a new $200,000 (£117,700) model in Delhi this week.

India's appalling infrastructure restricts demand, however. Lamborghini's chief executive, Stephan Winkelmann, admitted last year that the traffic and roads in India "are not so suitable" for the $450,000 (£265,000) sports cars. In India, Lamborghini sells two models: the Gallardo and the Aventador, which has a top speed of 217mph.

Winkelmann said Lamborghini's Indian customers were much younger than those in Europe, with a typical buyer being in his 30s. However, the most popular investments remain real estate – mainly within India – and jewellery.

India's super-rich have long raised eyebrows around the world with their spectacular spending. Mukesh Ambani, the country's wealthiest man, has built the world's most valuable home in Mumbai, the commercial capital.

The 27-storey tower, complete with helicopter pads, indoor cinemas and a staff of more than 600, is worth an estimated $1bn (£500m).

The three-day wedding of the niece of Lakshmi Mittal, the UK-based steel tycoon who is worth an estimated $16bn (£9.4bn), was reported to have cost $80m (£47m). Hundreds of guests were flown to Barcelona for the ceremony and party, which took place in a museum in the city.

But buyers of luxury goods searching for the psychological satisfaction of exclusivity are becoming increasingly demanding, the Kotak Mahindra report says. One ordered nine cases of Japanese whisky costing over $750 (£440) a bottle for a wedding reception.

The attraction of the imported whisky was that no one who attended the wedding would find out how to source the same drink in India, the report adds.

Another big spender systematically bought identical pairs of Louis Vuitton bags, then cut up half of them to make clothes that would match her accessories.

Even the traditional wedding is evolving fast. Presents such as silver plates, dried fruit or sweets once sent with wedding invitations are being replaced by gifts by top western designer brands.

"These days it's Rolex watches and Louis Vuitton bags," says Gupta.

Almost half new ultra high net worth individuals live in smaller provincial cities.

A high proportion give substantial amounts to charity, though the report notes that the "growth of philanthropic spends in India has not been proportional to overall growth in ultra high net worth individual wealth".

Co-author Balaraman says that growth in the number of rich people would not result in social tensions as a wide gap in incomes and wealth is an "accepted norm" in India.

"People know that someone is rich and someone is poor and they carry on with their lives," he explains.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

A plan to divide California into six states is one step closer to a vote.

A plan to divide California into six states is one step closer to a vote.
Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper got the go-ahead this week to collect signatures for his "Six Californias" plan, according to the California Secretary of State's Office.
Draper needs more than 807,000 signatures of registered voters by July 18 to get his proposal on the November ballot.

With 38 million people, California is too big and diverse to properly represent all of its residents, according to Draper's plan.

"Vast parts of our state are poorly served by a representative government dominated by a large number of elected representatives from a small part of our state, both geographically and economically," the plan says.

With the current structure, California is "ungovernable," Draper told USA TODAY Network.

"'Six Californias' allows a refresh," Draper said.

Tim Draper, the man behind the idea
to split California into six states.
(Photo: Draper Fisher Jurvetson)
Draper is a founding partner of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, a venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, Calif. The firm has cashed in on some well-known start-ups, including Skype and Baidu, China's largest search engine company.

Beyond venture capitalism, Draper has also served on the California State Board of Education, according to his online bio. In November 2000, Draper launched a statewide school voucher initiative, spending $20 million of his own money, the Contra Costa Times reports.

With his "Six Californias" proposal, Draper points to a need to address the state's troubled public schools and outdated and overmatched infrastructure systems.

The six states would be:

South California: San Diego and Orange counties
West California: includes Los Angeles and Santa Barbara
Central California: includes Bakersfield, Fresno and Stockton
Silicon Valley: includes San Francisco and San Jose
North California: Sacramento area
Jefferson: Redding and Eureka areas

Draper said each region has different priorities, and a separate state would allow those areas to focus on what's important to the citizens there. For example, in the south, residents are concerned about immigration, in the Central Valley the big issue is water rights and in the north it's taxation without representation, Draper said.

Draper's plan encourages "regional cooperation." A new structure will also create competition between the states "which will lead to better and more responsive governance," according to the plan.

But the prospect of a six-state California becoming a reality is unlikely. Even if passed by voters, Congress would still have to approve the plan, including the addition of 10 more senators.

"The implications would have tremendous repercussions at every level of government, from Congress all the way down," said Kurt Bardella, president of public relations firm Endeavor Strategic Communications and former aide to Rep. Darrell Issa. "Even just adding five more stars to the American flag."

This isn't the first proposal to split up California. Other proposals over the years have suggested making California two, three or four separate states.

Contributing: The Associated Press.

Friday, 11 July 2014

The Illusion of Foreign Investment Growth.

The Illusion of Foreign Investment Growth? Africa Must Break With the World Capitalist System

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Global Research, July 08, 2014

Url of this article:

How long and deep can the current character of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) penetrate the social legacy of colonialism and neo-colonialism in Africa? Proclamations of economic growth throughout the continent are being received with much skepticism and consequently prompting the desire among many to address the persistent poverty, inefficiency and growing class divisions.

In a recent report issued by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) entitled “Catalyzing Investments for Transformative Growth in Africa,” it reveals that the rate of FDI in Africa is significantly lower than what exists in other so-called developing regions. These figures indicate that the reliance on western capital to fuel growth and development absent of a program for national reconstruction, will not work.

According to Ghana Web “Africa’s investment rate is low compared to the average for developing countries and relative to what is considered necessary to achieve development goals, the 2014 Economic Development in Africa report ha established.”

Therefore based on an annual average,

“the investment rate for Africa was about 18 per cent over the period 1990–1999 as compared to an average of 24 per cent for developing economies as a whole. The report said similarly, in the period 2000–2011, the average investment rate for Africa was about 19 per cent as compared to 26 per cent for developing economies generally. “

These statistics could represent a lag in overcoming the development challenges which have been imposed by colonialism and neo-colonialism. Nonetheless, the consistently expanding oil and natural gas industry in various regions of Africa should translate into higher levels of investment as well as growth rates being discussed in the financial media.

Other factors may also include unresolved and burgeoning civil conflicts and inter-state border disputes. The Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast of Nigeria has led to the intervention of United States intelligence and military interests.

Since late 2010, the North African nations of Tunisia and Egypt have not stabilized economically since the uprisings in those states. The Horn of Africa country of Somalia and the eastern regional state of Kenya are both embroiled and inter-connected in a counter-insurgency campaign with the high level interventions of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Pentagon and the European Union (EU).

All of these factors influence whether or not Africa will achieve genuine development or merely economic growth that does not fundamentally alter the international division of economic power and labor. If Africa cannot effectively stabilize its own internal situation then no one can honestly say that actual progress is being made which is sustainable.

Events in several African states clearly make the case for re-examining the notion of western investment-led growth. From Southern Africa to the West African state of Ghana and the North African country of Egypt, socio-economic problems are escalating requiring a new approach to the organization of society and its economic structures.

NUMSA Organizes Largest Sectors Strike in South Africa

On July 1 the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) embarked upon a strike which is demanding a 15 percent across the board pay hike and a R1000 housing allowance. Representatives of the National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA) said that talks with NUMSA leaders on July 4 failed to reach an agreement on their economic demands.

The industrial bosses affected by the NUMSA strike and other labor unrest in South Africa can only respond to workers’ demands through threats of mass lay-offs and capital flight. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) fresh from another majority victory in the national elections of May 7, does not have control of the major industries inside the country and therefore cannot impose a settlement that would raise wages and improve working conditions for employees.

NUMSA pointed out that the metal industry has shed 250,000 jobs in the last five years in South Africa. The bosses utilize this fact, which is a direct result of the world capitalist crisis of overproduction internationally, to rationalize the wiping out tens of millions of jobs throughout the globe.

According to CEO Gerhard Papenfus of the industrial owners’ group NEASA “The metal industry and South Africa face extremely difficult challenges. On the one hand there are workers who struggle to make ends meet and on the other hand SMMEs (small, medium and micro enterprises) simply cannot meet workers’ wage expectations.” (Citizen, July 7)

Papenfus continued saying “Unless we find ways to break the chains on this industry, as NEASA is proposing, the future of manufacturing in South Africa is bleak. We will not be party to any agreement responsible for the further destruction of the industry.” (Citizen, July 7)

Ghana: Occupy Flagstaff House

The West African state of Ghana has been championed over the last several years for its phenomenal economic growth. With the discovery oil and the country’s vast deposits of gold and other strategic minerals, foreign investment has poured into the state which was a pioneer in the African liberation movements during the post-World War II period.

Ghana’s first prime minister and president Dr. Kwame Nkrumah led the former British colony in its positive action campaign of the early 1950s creating a coalition government resulting in full-independence in 1957. In 1960 Ghana became a republic. However, the Nkrumaist program of Pan-Africanism and socialist development was overthrown at the aegis of the CIA and international finance capital in early 1966.

Although the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) under President John Mahama is considered more progressive than the main conservative opposition forces of the National Patriotic Party (NPP), both political formations remain trapped in the dominant world system of capitalism which places the interests of corporations and banks far ahead of those of workers, farmers and youth. At present there are burgeoning economic issues impacting Ghana including high unemployment, fuel shortages and a lack of confidence in the current political dispensation.

A so-called Occupy Flagstaff House (presidential headquarters) demonstration was held in conjunction with Republic Day on July 1 which brought out hundreds of disgruntled mainly middle class Ghanaians. Officially the organizing group known as the Concerned Ghanaians for Responsible Governance (CGRG) was not connected with the opposition NPP, despite the claims made by supporters of the NDC government.

In a report published in the Ghana media

“The CGRG on July 1, Republic Day organized the Occupy Flagstaff House demonstration that saw about 300 largely middle class people who defied rainfall to march in protest at what they described as the worsening economic conditions in the country. The demonstration which was almost disallowed by the police finally came off under heavy security presence. [The government] Chief of Staff who accepted a petition on behalf of the president assured the demonstrators that their request will be duly addressed.” (, July 4)

Coinciding with the CGRG demonstrations outside Flagstaff House were complaints regarding huge delays in fuel purchases for motorists. In a country which is an emerging oil-producing state such bottlenecks reveal serious issues within the infrastructural development of the country.

Other problems are surfacing in the education sector where the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has warned the Mahama government to keep its hands off their pension fund. The group opposes the restructuring of the pension system through the appointment of a so-called “fund manager”.

These problems with the sustainability of public pensions are reminiscent of the crisis facing Western European and U.S. systems where major struggles are emerging over the purported under funding of these schemes. Nonetheless, the capitalist governments throughout the world promote the rising profitability of banks and other corporations and this is usually manifested in the worsening conditions for workers, farmers and youth.

Egypt: The Military President and the Rising Cost of Fuel

With the conclusion of a controversial election in Egypt during June, the military leader turned head-of-state Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has assumed office amid a monumental boycott by opposition forces at the polls. Immediately Al-Sisi was invited to address the recently-held African Union 23rd Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea despite the deaths and imprisonment of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters and other opposition forces since July 3, 2013 when the army formally retook control of the state.

Those who hailed the seizure of power by Gen. Al-Sisi last year claimed that the military intervention amid the June 30 protest actions constituted a “second revolution.” However this second revolution comes at an enormous price to the Egyptian masses.

One aspect of this new political arrangement is the announcement by Al-Sisi on July 4 that the price of fuel would be raised by 78 percent. This is the direct result of the reduction in fuel subsidies which constitutes 25 percent of the national budget.

Al-Sisi asked Egyptians to sacrifice in light of his austerity measures that are in line with the international financial system which is imposing higher prices and lower salaries on workers throughout the world. Prices for electricity usage also rose at the beginning of the month.

Africa Must Break With the World Capitalist System to Achieve Real Growth and Sustainable Development

These events in the three above-mentioned African states provide glaring examples of the ongoing economic crises taking place on the continent. With Africa firmly integrated into the international financial order of labor and mineral exploitation at the expense of the much-need improvements in the salaries and living conditions of the majority of people, there is almost no potential within the existing political arrangements for substantial advancements in the socio-economic status of the workers, farmers and youth.

The rising expectations of working people related to the FDI-led policy orientations will undoubtedly prompt social unrest through strikes, mass demonstrations and other forms of resistance. If the notions of phenomenal growth within the neo-colonial African states cannot produce hope for the people then the much coveted political stability will remain unrealized.

Considering the tremendous reservoir of oil, natural gas and strategic minerals in Africa, there is no reason for the continent to remain trapped in the cycle of economic dependency on the imperialist states. Resources which belong to Africa must be effectively utilized for the betterment of the people.

This much-needed shift in economic and political policy formulation and implementation must take place within a continental socialist framework. If there is no serious effort to foster and mandate the equitable distribution of wealth and power, then the AU member-states will surely fail in their mission to accelerate the living standards on the continent.

The reported discussions about an African Monetary Zone and military Stand by-force cannot be implemented until the extraction, trade and distribution of resources of the continent can serve to benefit the still-impoverished masses. As long as African leaders look to the West for direction and fair treatment the existing class divisions will accelerate precipitously and the unity of the continent under socialism remains a far distant objective.

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