December 3, 2016

"So, to quote from one of Dylan’s transformative anthems which holds as much meaning today as it did when it was first sung in the 1960..."

Said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing (by video) a crowd that had assembled for a Coldplay concert. He then quoted:
"Come mothers and fathers, throughout the land, and don’t criticise, what you cannot understand. Your sons and your daughters, are beyond your command. Your old roads rapidly agin’. Please get out of the new one, if you can’t lend your hand, for the times they are a-changin’."
People knew what he was talking about: demonetization. His address even had a joke about Rs 100 notes:
"You have been smart in asking me to only address the gathering and not sing, else I’m pretty sure your audience would be asking you for their money back, and that too in Rs 100 notes."
Social media reacted:

And other Bob Dylan songs are pressed into service:

That's from "Blowin' in the Wind," quoted to refer to reports that demonetization in India is killing people. The new policy — imposed suddenly and meant to control black money and counterfeiting — is a ban Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes. So people have had to line up to exchange their large notes for smaller notes, like those Rs 100 notes Modi saw fit to joke about. And there are reports that more than 50 people have died waiting in bank queues.

21 comments:

Laslo Spatula said...

Interesting: talking about counterfeit money when the band playing is the counterfeit Radiohead.

Maybe the counterfeit Bob Dylan was unavailable.

I am Laslo.

Humperdink said...

The Indian farmers surely understand - they have no money to buy seeds to plant their crops.

"If you like your money, you can keep your money .... unless it's in big bills."

Note: Zero Hedge has been extensively covering this fiasco.

rhhardin said...

Just spend less than your social security check each month and everything can be done with a credit card.

tim in vermont said...

I played that song on the piano and sang it when the Republicans took the house for the first time in my memory in '94, after Hillary overreached on Hillarycare, and I played an sang it again when Trump won.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’
For the loser now will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’



Because we all know that "writers and critics" had a solid handle on this election, right up until 9 PM.

robinintn said...

Don't criticize what you can't understand = shut up peasants. Probably not what Dylan intended.

PB said...

Ah, the problems of fiat currency and the government's ever increasing need to collect tax. Independent currency can be an answer, but then government just outlaws those.

Humperdink said...

"Just spend less than your social security check each month and everything can be done with a credit card."

In a fairly short time frame, even credit cards will be old news.

mezzrow said...

A sinner sits reciting Dylan it's now that I welcome the end

When the walls came tumbling down...

tcrosse said...

Who put the demon in demonetization ?

Mary Beth said...

Those big money, 1000 rupee bills were worth less than $15 each.

David Begley said...

Venezuela has a different problem. People need a sack of money in order to buy a sack of food. No lie. People are starving to death. This should be the top story but it is hardly reported. When does CNN go there and report?

Hagar said...

But it is a point that is mostly missed by Mr. Obama's admirers, that even the most exotic "foreign potentates" are quite well aware of American culture and peculiarities.
Mr. Modi and the Sheiks of Araby may affect wearing native dress, but everyone else wear dark blue suits with bright red or light blue ties. Vladimir IV goes on Russian TV and does a Fats Domino impression, etc.

Hagar said...

It has been commented that it was India's misfortune to gain their independence just when "socialism" was riding high. 70 years later they still have not managed to shake free of that ideology, but at least there are signs of unrest.

Hagar said...

The Tata Group owns Jaguar and Land Rover and God knows what else in Britain, and are considering expanding to the U.S.
If the Japanese and European automakers, and now the Indian, think the U.S. is a good country to do business in, and it does seem that they are doing quite well indeed, why can't U.S. industrial leaders do as the "Detroit 3" did - look at what the "foreigners" are doing to succeed and copy them - maybe even improve on that?

Gahrie said...

With India's population...I bet 50 people die every day on the toilet.....pick an activity and I bet 50 people die every day while performing it.

Clyde said...

"And there are reports that more than 50 people have died waiting in bank queues."

Seriously? What, nobody called Indian 911 when someone toppled over? People showed up for a long line without a bottle of water and a sandwich? What?

traditionalguy said...

Currency Grabbers are strangely the same ones who are the Gun Grabbers.They want POWER.

EDH said...

Harvard Professor Demands Ban On $20, $50, $100 Bills

How about this: I think the smallest US$ denomination should be at least large enough to pay for a Coldpay concert ticket.

Roger Sweeny said...

500 and 1,000 may be large bills in the sense that there are smaller ones, but a 500 rupee bill is only worth $7.50 and 1,000 rupees is only $15.00. These are not large amounts of money!

Roy Lofquist said...

Here is the original:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7qQ6_RV4VQ

dbzdak said...

I'm living in India right now and the problem is that 85% of the country's currency has been deemed useless and, from what I can tell, not much has been put back in the system to replace it. So cash is very difficult to come by unless you're prepared to stand in line for the better part of a day - and even then it's not assured. In the US, this might be a minor inconvenience, given how common it is for businesses to take credit/debit cards. But in India, maybe 10% of businesses have credit card swipe technology. The vast majority of businesses, including all of those owned and used by poorer Indians, deal only in cash. So people are dying not just because they had a medical condition that hit them while standing in a line, but because they can't get cash to pay for medicine and doctors. Or because they're farmers and no one has money to buy their crops, so they're committing suicide. Or they're small business owners who resisted a robbery and were stabbed. Stories like these are starting to fill a couple pages in each day's paper.

It's been almost a month now and I drive by 5 Citibank ATMs every morning - and not one has yet been open, with cash, since demonetization. The government says things are getting better, but I still see long lines every time I drive by an open bank and no open ATMs. Indians are patient, and mostly love Modi, but I don't know how much longer the patience will last.