Closer home the biggest farce was that of the Planning Commission declaring that the daily per capita poverty line expenditure in rural areas in 2010 was Rs 22 and in urban areas it was Rs 28. This expenditure would according to the Planning commission satisfy the basic requirement of 2400 kcal of nutrition per person per day in rural areas and 2100 kcal per person per day in urban areas along with expenses on housing, travel, clothes, education and health. On the basis of this poverty line expenditure the Planning Commission concluded that the population living below the poverty line had reduced from 37.2% in 2005 to 29.8% in 2010. The estimation of poverty line expenditure and the proportion of people not capable of making it is an exercise that is fraught with dangers and is undertaken by various people in accordance with their normative views and objective requirements. The Government of India tasked with the responsibility of providing targeted subsidies to those living below the poverty line obviously tries to pull the line down so as to restrict the number of people it has to subsidise. However, the reality is that it is only a myth that the extremely poor are being subsidised. In reality the poor do not get back in the form of subsidies that which they contribute to the exchequer through indirect taxes of various kinds that are levied by both the Central and State Governments. The rich on the other hand pay a much lower proportion of their incomes as taxes and they too get subsidies which are labelled as incentives in their case.
This brings us back to the global scene and America which to all intents and purposes has become the whole globe! A recent study of American Tax Returns by two French economists shows that the income of the top 1% of tax payers (which is less than the top one per cent of the population because a substantial proportion is not paying any income taxes and surviving on doles) whose average annual income is slightly over one million dollars received an income boost of 11.6% in 2010 while the average income of the rest of the 99% who earn about 35000 dollars per person increased by only 0.25% as reported in the New York Times. This top percentile of the population cornered 93% of the gains in income and further exacerbated the already high income inequality in America which has been consistently stoked during the past three decades with policies that have exempted the rich from paying taxes on their dividend incomes while taxing the salaried class. Thus, there is the famous anomaly that Warren Buffet who is one of the richest men in America earning his income from investments in the stock, currency and bond markets, pays less in taxes than his secretary who is his salaried employee.
Not surprisingly politics itself has become a farce globally with more and more money being spent on unproductive and downright dangerous enterprises while the poor continue to starve on less than Rs 20 a day or its equivalent worldwide. A milieu of violence that arises from this vast inequality and injustice fosters greater spends by governments globally on arms and armies a black and vicious circle that is pulling the whole human race to its doom.
Albert Camus first expounded in his novel "The Outsider" many years ago that the human condition is a Theatre of the Absurd as the project to find meaning in life is humanly impossible because of the huge amount of information and lack of information that had to be first tackled to achieve this. However, the ruling classes worldwide have solved this seemingly insurmountable problem by claiming that the accumulation of resources (and arms to protect them) is not only the meaning of life but also its only goal and this is to be celebrated by a continual enactment of one black comedy after another while the masses in general are enthralled by the inanity of reality shows on Television.