Neo-Imperialism in the Hands of Mexican Food and Over-Priced Coffee

Posted on May 13, 2010

Maria Thomas:

After the drama of the recent recession it is no surprise that all eyes have been turned to India and China, the only two countries which managed smooth sailing throughout the mass bankruptcies and hysteria that characterized the preceding years. Upon analysis of the situation, one can observe that perhaps the most crucial result of the recession is the surprisingly close relationship between India and America which is displayed through numerous avenues including arms deals, negotiation conferences and even fast food chains.

Bangalore was recently abuzz with the opening of Asia’s supposed largest mall, Mantri Square, which stocked the usual gamut of Indian brands. The wild card entry was the popular American fast food restaurant, Taco Bell. This restaurant drew in hoards of ravenous Indians who gladly made the one hour trip from the city to eat affordable Mexican food, suitably Indianised with the ever-present paneer and ‘aloo’. This affinity raises to mind India’s growing familiarity with the USA and expressions of its ‘western-ness’. Indeed, an intellectual mind might even begin to question why a simple American eatery drives us Indians wild with hungry pleasure.

Take for example the omnipotent McDonalds, now a regular feature in any self-respecting city in India; not a single individual can claim to have resisted the temptation of this rather mediocre fast food establishment despite the fact that there are roadside shacks that serve up better, and quite possibly cleaner, food. It all comes down to a sick fascination that we Indians have for anything American. As a result, the mere mention of Starbucks opening an outlet in India has the public quivering with anticipation, as though the trillion Café Coffee Day outlets that litter every lane and road are suddenly unworthy.

This attraction can be attributed to the subtle forces of neo-imperialism that permits the USA and other western countries to tighten their grip over the affairs of even marginally weaker nations. India may have recovered from the suffocation of colonialism but neo-imperialism is undoubtedly a similar threat re-visited. The tragedy is that thanks to globalization there is simply no way out besides becoming Communist and that is fundamentally a dead end from the start. Essentially, the economic set-up that prevails today puts countries like the USA in the most advantageous position possible as they are literally the puppet-masters who hold the strings of each and every developing country. Unlike more blatant means of control such as military dominance or colonialism, neo-imperialism maintains a friendly façade and is thus all the more potent in destroying inhibitions that would curtail the influence of these insatiable countries.

This problem is a direct flaw of capitalism as a whole and it is rather unfortunate that we have not found any alternative to this biased and unfair ideology. Of course we are profiting now, our economic growth rate is concrete evidence of this, but it is the future that looks rather convoluted thanks to excessive western influence. Indeed, the Indian future where coffee costs almost as much as a trip to an American Starbucks may just become a reality if we don’t start cementing our status as an individual country. Globalization is not evil but stringent measures have to be taken to ensure that in the process of absorbing all those delectable western trends we don’t lose out on the opportunity to establish ourselves as the formidable power that we can become.

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