Tuesday, October 18, 2011



NEW DELHI: With anti-capitalism protests raging in the West, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi has chosen to invite Prof. Thomas Pogge, an anti-globalisation political philosopher, for a lecture here on Wednesday.

He will be himself chairing the lecture of the Yale professor on globalisation, justice and rights organised on his behest by the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies (RGICS) of which he is a trustee.

Prof. Poggee’s lecture could be a food of thought for both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who claim to be the torch bearers of India’s economic liberalisation and globalisation programmes. The professor questions globalisation and believes that it has given rise to inequalities

Defending invitation to the German philosopher, RGICS director Prof. Mohan Gopal said the job of his institute was to present different view points. “Prof. Poggee has an important point of view in the contemporary world,” he added.

Discounting fears that anti-capitalism protests in the West may turn to India as well, Prof. Gopal said the protests were mostly against job losses. “Whatever they have lost, we have gained. They (West) had put a monopoly and a premium over skills, which are now available elsewhere against lesser prices,” he said.

Prof. Progge is also known for forwarding an idea of the Health Impact Fund (HIF) to stimulate R&D of life saving drugs. He maintains that if the pharmaceutical companies, who make drugs for rich, register their medicine with the HIF, the company will receive additional payments from the fund that are proportionate to health improvements that are
brought about by the registered medicines.

The more effective the medicine is in improving global health, the bigger the payout. Because malaria kills millions, the firm that finds and develops a cure can expect a significant return, he argues.

The professor also believes that  wealthy Western liberal democracies were currently harming the world’s poor. “Local elites can afford to be oppressive and corrupt, because, with foreign loans and military aid, they can stay in power even without popular support. And they are often so oppressive and corrupt, because it is, in light of the prevailing extreme international inequalities, far more lucrative for them to cater to the interests of foreign governments and firms than to those of their impoverished compatriots,” he writes in his controversial book 'World Poverty and Human Rights.'


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