Friday, January 29, 2021
Monday, December 21, 2020
AIFRTE condemns central government’s move to dispense with SC/ST quota in faculty appointments in the IITs
Saturday, November 28, 2020
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Samarendra Das & Felix Padel, Out of This Earth: East India Adivasis and the Aluminium Cartel (Hyderabad: Orient BlackSwan, 2020), xxxii + 776 pp.
Can Anthropology of Aluminium Companies Speak for the Adivasis? Epistemological Ruptures in East India Frontier
There have been a lot of follow up writings that have encapsulated and demystified the enormity and complexities of ideas, events, histories, experiences, and narratives that Out of This Earth: East India Adivasis and the Aluminium Cartel encompasses. This review essay is an attempt to re-engage and revisit some of the key aspects and attributes of the new 2020 edition by Samarendra Das and Felix Padel.
Samarendra Das is an independent researcher, Odia writer, film-maker and activist. He is also closely associated with the Samajvadi Jan Parishad (Socialist People’s Council) -- a political outfit working with grassroots-level movements in India. Das is also a founder member of Foil Vedanta (www.foilvedanta.org), an independent grassroots solidarity organisation focused primarily on the British-Indian mining company Vedanta Resources PLC. Felix Padel is an anthropologist trained in Oxford and Delhi universities. His earlier work Sacrifice of Human Being (1995) looked at the colonial invasion of Kond territory from 1835. It is worth mentioning that the new 2020 edition has some new elements to it. The new edition contains 20 chapters with 808 pages while the 2010 edition was 21 chapters with 774 pages. In this edition, the authors swapped their authorship and this time the activist Das takes the first authorship. The new edition has 14 tables, 24 images, 6 maps, and 8 appendices that makes the book a treasure including the statistics and the list of mines. The 2010 edition came out after the Shah commission was set up to investigate the illegal iron ore and manganese mining situate in India. The book was brought to the Supreme Court’s attention during the landmark case on Niyamgiri. The reason Niyamgiri is best forested area of Odisha’s Bauxite Malis is the only mountain with its own special tribe, the Dongria Kond, who live only in the Niyamgiri range, and have preserved the forest on the mountain summits as sacred to Niyam Raja, the Lord of the Law (p. 64, 2010; p.73, 2020). After 10 years, the world is different, and mankind is witnessing severe and catastrophic environmental challenges in the form of global warming, hurricanes, epidemic, pandemic, flood, landslide, avalanches and more. Amongst the other threats, climate change in particular is the most pressing and urgent issue that the world is facing. The new edition is an updated version with more compelling details and records. It so adeptly presents the intricate linkages of mining-deforestation-climate change and that is one of the new additions which makes this new edition different from the 2010 edition.
Out of this Earth (OoTE) offers a detailed and overarching view of the aluminium industry worldwide, and also about its production, consumption, and distribution. The authors also focus on aspects like corporate financing, corporate and state nexus, sufferings and exploitations of local and indigenous communities in close proximity with aluminium factories and refineries. The book provides a close view about the trajectories of aluminium and how it became one of the most used metals in the history of mankind. Primarily, the study in this book is located in Khondalite Mountains in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, which is famous for rich deposits of minerals. The book raises some of the key fundamental questions about the political economy of industrialisation in general and the aluminium industry in particular. It also traces the growth and evolution of extractive industries and how these industries have continued to adversely affect innocent communities that are mostly neglected and side-lined by the state and its development paradigm. The authors add more essence to the fundamental questions that the Adivasis are grappling with and they held the Government answerable for that. The authors quote Bhagaban Majhi, a leader of Adivasi resistance to the Utkal Alumina project in Kashipur, Odisha:
“We have sought an explanation from the government about people who have already been displaced in the name of development. How many have been properly rehabilitated: you have not provided them with jobs; you have not rehabilitated them at all. How can you again displace more people? Where will you relocate them and what jobs will you give them? You tell us first. The Government has failed to answer our questions. Our fundamental question is: how can we survive if our lands are taken away from us? We are tribal farmers. We are earthworms [Matiro Poko], like fishes that dies when taken out of water, a cultivator dies when his land is taken away from him. So we won’t leave our land. We want permanent development.” (Recorded in the film Matiro Poko (Earth Worm, Company Man) by Amerandra and Samarendra Das (2005)
The book is not limited in its locational positioning to Odisha, India; it also recounts the histories and contemporary scenes of aluminium industry in other countries like Brazil, Australia, Guyana, Jamaica, Guinea, Ghana, and Iceland. The book is quite successful in providing a macro understanding of the aluminium industry and the inhumane and disastrous affect it has on marginalised and locationally disadvantaged communities.
Importantly, it is essential to indicate that being an Odia myself who hails from Odisha and considering my own background and growing up in a tribal dominated district like Keonjhar, I find this book quite compelling and absorbing for the people of Odisha. It is fascinating to see a work like this that takes the responsibility of being sincere and authentic to the Adivasis, their identities, values, and cultures.
Moreover, in terms of the theoretical and methodological groundings OoTE is an enriching volume. It goes beyond the traditional and conventional ways and means of doing research in tribal communities by practicing new ways and means that question the conventional anthropological and other sociological styles and patterns of engaging with local and indigenous communities and their lives and cultures.
The book offers a bottom-up view of community life, culture and how industrialisation and the business interest of corporates have been affecting the social, cultural, geographical, economic and environmental ecosystems of local and indigenous communities.
Primarily, drawing on empirical evidence from sites located in tribal spaces in Odisha, the book engages with various politically and economically disadvantaged indigenous communities in Odisha to understand how bauxite mining and aluminium production and refining have tremendously affected the social and cultural changes; and more importantly, how industrialisation in the name of so-called development of marginalised and underprivileged communities has been politically motivated; and local people’s best well-being has been economically side-lined and affected by the state and corporate nexus in a very strategic way.
Methodologically and theoretically, the book foregrounds itself in a robust space and it tries to promote indigenous ways and means of engaging with the tribal communities by employing methods of co-learning, co-listening, and co-narrating. While the book refers and cites global scholarship and literature, it is nevertheless very categorical about not falling in the trap of western methods and methodologies to carry out the study. The book also critiques the western and popular anthropological and other social sciences methods and methodologies and talks about the need for a method like Reverse Anthropology by substantiating it with holistic yet critical analysis that comes out of a true bottom-up approach. On popular development paradigms, the book offers staunch criticism of a development model that is embedded in the corporate-state nexus with invasive and destructive intentions, that hamper the indigenous communities and their lives.
Furthermore, the book does an in-depth analysis of aluminium companies and how they affect human life by capturing some of India’s strongest and most successful people’s movements, like in Kashipur (for some years) and Niyamgiri, which succeeded in halting mining projects and keep community interests alive. Das and Padel also discuss that,
“the extraction of mineral wealth from the tribal land from the consumerism and resource wars of the global elite provides a sharp insight into various forms of power; from overt economic and political power of the industrial-military complex, to the role of aid agencies, NGOs, and academics in obfuscating information to suit their own agendas, an finally, the ability of grassroots people’s movements to mobilise effective action against these huge odds.” (p.xxiii)
The book promises to offer valuable insights about the global history of aluminium and it traces the evolution of aluminium as a metal and its importance in human life. In that process, the book successfully engages the complexities embedded in the state and corporate nexus, vested interests, and affected community’s response to the growth of aluminium industry. To start off with, the authors raise certain fundamental questions like,
“How well do we know our earth? How well do we understand how it feeds us, or what we are doing to it through mining? What is the real cost of mining, to our earth and to ourselves? Who really benefits from the extraction and processing of huge quantities of minerals and oil from its depths?” (p.xix)
The uniqueness of OoTE lies in its representation and narration of India’s Adivasis. Individuals’ voices are very prominent and the authors have skilfully positioned these voices as sharply intelligent and historically situated. As a result, these narrations and positioning of marginalised voices make for a holistic history of India’s people’s movement.
Bringing in their own involvement with the people’s movements in different parts of Odisha and elsewhere against mining projects, the authors detail the hidden motives and agendas behind expanding and establishing aluminium factories and refineries in rich tribal lands. The book also uncovers the deep socio-economic inequalities entrenched in the state and corporate nexus that aim to mainstream and uproot the tribal communities from their own land. The book establishes how indigenous communities and their social, cultural, and economic ecosystems and infrastructures are close to nature and they have a tradition of co-existing with nature without disturbing and dismantling the ecological balance. Also, the book uses the excerpts of the documentary film Matiro Poko, Company Loka (Das &Das, 2005) made by Amarendra Das & Samarendra Das as evidence. The documentary film captures the trajectories of the resistance movements in the tribal spaces of Odisha. It is a documentary film made with and for the indigenous people of Odisha. It brings the speeches, songs, dances, gestures alive on the screen with the purpose of serving the indigenous people.
Interestingly, the book also analyses the political economy of the aluminium industry and how international monetary agencies including the World Bank and Britain’s Department for International Development have influenced both local NGOs and state-level economic policies to support the aluminium industry.
Primarily, the authors have tried to bring to light the concealed history of aluminium from different parts of the world and the implications it has had on indigenous communities across the globe by historicising and unpacking the overall patterns of aluminium industries in India and elsewhere (p.xxvi).
The book quite efficiently documents the resistance movements of Kashipur and Niyamgiri to showcase how marginalised voices and their collaborative strength led to the success of people’s movements against the mining projects and their hidden motives that goes against the Adivasis culture and livelihood. It also introduces the idea of ecological racism and how it is playing out in protest sites. The authors ably narrate those stories to unmask the subjugation of the innocent Adivasis. The authors quote an intense conversation between Bhim Majhi, a founding member of the Niyamgiri Surakhya Samiti along with his other fellow village members with the District Collector, showing a clear grasp of climate change and he responded. Their conversation reads:
They asked, ‘why are you opposing Sterlite Company?’ Majhi replied ‘We are resisting for our motherland, for our mountain. So we oppose Sterlite. We oppose the government. The summer is hot already, it will get worse if Sterlite comes. You won’t get rain then. The summer is so hard already, so we want them to stop.’ Then they say, ‘You are opposing us, can you compete?’ We reply, ‘It is not about winning or losing. We will resist, for our mountain.’ Then they ridicule us and say, ‘What are you Konds up to?’ What do you know about these things?’ (p.167)
This book is an ambitious project that aim to provide a panoramic view for readers to analyse and understand the connections between the aluminium industry, cartels, governments, banks, debt bondage, politics and their impact on the Adivasis (indigenous tribes) of Odisha. The book also exposes an unholy alliance of police, mining companies, politicians and Journalists, which whitewashes and silences public debates to favour the aluminium actors. Also the book changed the site of intervention and gazed at the focus of power and materiality using the political economy framework and anthropology. It also avoids fetishsizing decolonisation to not become redundant like many other works that have only added to the redundancy in the name of so-called rigorous academic scholarship.
In their ambitious and motivated attempt to unpack the hidden histories of bauxite mining and the aluminium industry globally, Das and Padel offer a critical understanding of the complex world of aluminium production, starting from identifying a bauxite mining site to factories, consumption, and distribution. The study also takes into consideration all those possible embedded systems, networks, and nexuses to make sense of the events that actually happen beyond the eyes of the communities that get affected in the process. The book describes the unprecedented plundering of resources in some of the best kept natural resources in states like Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh. While doing so, the authors also provide a detailed and extensive account of the atrocities, disparities, inequalities and extraordinary challenges that local and indigenous communities face due to bauxite mining and installation of aluminium factories and refineries. What the book also looks at the state and its administration’s role in facilitating and building a favourable environment for rapid industrialisation at the cost of natural resources and indigenous communities and their livelihoods. While trying to engage and comprehend the global complexities involved in bauxite mining and aluminium production by transnational corporates, the book presents fascinating details of how big names in the extractive industries, multilateral aid agencies, and policymakers who live in cities like New York, Washington or London for that matter, decide the fate of indigenous communities without even analysing and forecasting how extractive industries adversely affect indigenous lives in a disastrous and dreadful way.
The book is structured in five parts, each of which deals with different aspects of bauxite mining, aluminium production, local resistance, global complexities, the state-corporate nexus and so on. Part I of the book, entitled “White Metal: Green Mask”, provides a detailed and extensive account of the global history of aluminium and how it has become the most consumed metal of late due to the change in global economic order and human lifestyles. This section also offers a descriptive idea about the Konds and Khondalite of Odisha and how local resistance movements in places like Kashipur and Lanjigarh of Odisha brewed up to resist bauxite mining and aluminium production and refining. Going ahead, Part II, entitled “Niyam Raja meets the World-Wide Web: Aluminium’s Social Structure”, demystifies the global complexities involved in understanding the overall social structure of aluminium. This part also maps the entire trajectory of aluminium by looking at the global histories and mining laws in India and elsewhere. While focusing on aluminium in India, the authors particularly emphasise events and developments that occurred in Odisha and how certain acts, laws, and enforcements were made to ensure the entry of global aluminium actors into the indigenous lands of Odisha is a hassle-free affair. Analysing and critiquing the aluminium model for development, empowerment, and prosperity in Part III, the authors present quite a rigorous description of how aluminium is waging a war-like situation in the contemporary age, or what the authors so interestingly and evocatively put it as ‘Aluminium Age’ (p.7). Apart from that, this section also offers a concrete understanding about the ‘Investment-Induced Displacement’ of indigenous communities, their livelihoods and culture. In this section, the authors strongly point out that the biggest impact that extractive industries have on the communities is what can be termed as ‘cultural genocide.’ Moreover, the political-economy of bauxite mining and aluminium industries is also covered in this section. In Part IV, the authors’ argument shows the corporatisation, NGO-isation, and culture of appropriation by large corporate interests quite articulately. This section talks in detail about the role of big money players and aid agencies in facilitating the big aluminium corporates to get their aims achieved at the cost of culture and livelihood of local and indigenous communities. Also, this section looks at how the local level NGOs are deployed with a hidden agenda that is sponsored by the corporates to appropriate and brainwash the indigenous communities to get their things done in the name of development, upliftment, and empowerment. In the last part of the book, the authors are consolidating all the key arguments and summing up in an absorbing way by giving empirical accounts of the movements that eventually tasted success in their fight against big aluminium corporate giants. Primarily, in this section key questions of movements are asked and addressed to understand resistance movements in a more nuanced way. Key questions like:
“To what extant are the movements against mining projects separate global and local, and to
what extent do they form a single movement? To what extent are they ‘indigenous’? What
different stream can be identified as inspiring them? (p.621)”
The authors also quite efficiently position these mining resistance movements in the larger scholarship that is available in their field. This section also juxtaposes that these people’s movements against mining projects have a strong and complex lineage which sought inspiration from social thinkers and intellectuals like Marx, Lenin, Gandhi, Ambedkar, Rammanohar Lohia, Kishen Pattnayak, and many others. These movements thrive on the values of cooperation, cohabitation, and coexistence with nature. And lastly, the authors round off the book with the stimulating sense of sacredness and how indigenous communities have a greater bonding with the idea of being sacred. For them, nature is everything and everything that is important and necessary for them to be able to survive is actually blessings of nature. Nature is the ultimate thing that they look at and for. Their lives and livelihoods revolve around the idea of nature and it is sacred to them. Alluding to this assertion, one the Padayatra (Foot March) conducted from 17-22 May 2013, passing through every village on the mountains to share information and strategies, Dongria leader Lodo Sikaka spoke to the crowds consisting of five thousand Dongria and Kutia Konds and he affirmed that:
“They are saying they would mind 10 km away from the peak. We will not allow mining even 100 km away from it! For the forestland, for fruits, trees, air and water—for everything Adivasis worship the soil. It is our given right. They are saying Adivasis have right to up to two feet of soil, not up to 10-20 feet. Government is saying Adivasis worship for the forest and not for the soil. What do we worship for? Forest or soil? We of course worship for the soil. Our gods and goddesses are everywhere: here, there, in the trees—everywhere!” (p.190)
So the very nature of extractive industries to extract minerals and natural resources underneath the soil goes against the values of the indigenous communities and they feel agitated when their faiths and values are neglected and side-lined for corporate interests. In the last section, the authors quite extensively focus on these ideas and aspects of indigenous communities and their resistance movements against the mining projects to save their mother nature.
The book explores the intricate details about the geological and economic implications of extractive industries in general and aluminium production and trade in particular. It critically analyses the geology of bauxite mining and aluminium production, distribution, and consumption helps in developing a more nuanced understanding about the complicated and embedded agendas and models involved. In this new edition also, the authors are very particular in substantiating their arguments by providing much important statistical details and references to make their arguments and analyses sound and reasonable.
The book also argues about the business interests involved in the commodification of aluminium and how it has espoused deep-rooted inequalities and exploitations in the name of development and empowerment. The authors are strongly critiquing this industry model of development because of its lack of understanding of the indigenous communities and their cultures and livelihoods. It also emphasizes the inability of this model to make sustainable efforts to ensure that indigenous communities can continue their peaceful co-existence with their nature. In one of their previous papers, Padel and Das critically analyse the hostile effects of mining projects and metal factories resulting in gross disparity in tribal communities. They also reject the whole rhetoric of ‘sustainable development’ and ‘sustainable mining’ as these ideas have not contributed anything to the indigenous communities in reality. The authors echo the observations of P. Sainath who claims that there are huge amounts of money being pumped into the tribal areas in the name of ‘tribal development’, but unfortunately, it doesn’t make much difference to the lives and realities of the tribal people (Sainath, 1996). One of the harsh and extraordinary impacts that is less talked about and researched is related to the rich ethnic cultures of tribal societies and how these are being killed and vanishing in the name of mainstreaming and development (Padel & Das, 2010).
Moreover, the book is critically positioned in a space that encourages and urges for decolonising of our relationship with materiality. The book is a strong advocate of respecting tribal lives and their social structure as it details the atrocities being faced by the vulnerable communities in the name of aimless development. The authors also claim that it is not the development of the poor and marginalised, it is actually a false rhetoric which justifies and fulfils the business interests of the big corporates. This book is speaking to a global audience of readers by giving important general scenario about the exploitation of bauxite in Jamaica, Brazil, Australia, Guyana, Guinea, Ghana and Iceland. At the same time the book zeroes in on the particular details of the happenings and development of resistance movements that occurred in the eastern Indian state of Odisha. The authors record and narrate the convoluted details of the state and corporate sponsored disparities and socio-cultural inequalities quite sharply and in the words of Joan Martinez-Alier, this whole exercise and efforts by the authors is termed as Environmentalism of the Indigenous and the Poor (Martinez-Alier, 2002).
The authors are strong proponents of the idea of Reverse Anthropology (Kirsch, 2006) because of the fact that the authors are not very content and convinced with how the so-called conventional anthropologists and the rigidity in the field of anthropology have failed in providing a holistic understanding of the indigenous. The authors establish that Reverse Anthropology is justifying and summarising the methodology part of this book. The authors argue that many studies have been conducted that aim to offer critical details of how indigenous communities and their social structure and cultural values are devastated by mining project. But according to the authors these studies need to go further deep into the societies in order to understand the prevailing phenomena. They also assert that it is very much essential to understand the idea of Social Construction of Knowledge and Realities (Berger & Luckmann, 1971) in order to decipher critical details of tribal societies.
The book is very critical of how traditional anthropological orientations interpreted tribal societies during anthropology’s own primitive years in the nineteenth century as an academic field of enquiry. The authors argue that unfortunately the early anthropological studies and observations depicted tribal and indigenous societies as ‘primitive’ and the so-called industrial society as ‘civilised’. But with time, anthropologists have woken upon to this realisation that tribal societies may be less-developed in material terms and division of labour, but they may be more developed in many other terms like social structure, culture, language, and in their relationship with nature. The authors also concede that tribal societies reject the ideas of oppression and exploitation and thrive on shared living, equal relationship, and cooperative labour. The authors also assert that predominantly, studies in anthropology, history, and sociology about mining mostly address issues and themes like migration, tradition, and belief systems, division of labour, and social structure and control etc. In some ways, these studies have essentialised mining communities that have affected the tribal societies in an unbelievable way. It is because of this narrow and very canonical orientation that the existing scholarship is suffering from colour and caste blindness. Instead, the authors argue that studies should question the issues and politics of race embedded in the underdevelopment of tribal societies (p.21). In order to overcome this canonical orientation, the authors are recommending Reverse Anthropology to ensure that the subjects of research should actually take the centre stage and they should start questioning the researchers in order to ensure that the entire exercise is a process of co-learning and conscientization (Freire, 1970). Conscientization helps the subjects of our research to become critical of the process and they will be empowered in their own ways to make sense of the ‘what’ and ‘how’ questions of the happenings around them in the name of research and development.
In terms of their methodological and theoretical moorings, the authors are very particular about their ways, styles, and templets of articulating the ground realities, observations, and narratives. This work also problematises the embedded ethnographies and how these canonical and top-down studies take knowledge out of the communities by essentialising their indigenous identity. For those kinds of exercises the authors use ‘Extractive Capital’ or ‘Extractivism’ for “extracting knowledge for the communities to engage with Extractivism.” Exposing the gaps in earlier ethnographies, the authors claim that extracting knowledge from the communities and not giving it back is what the hallmark of traditional ethnography. While one the contrary, this book is extracting knowledge out of Aluminium companies and sharing it back with the communities for their greater good. It is also important to mention here that both the authors are non-indigenous and have played a critical role in engaging with the communities to make sense of being indigenous, its meaning and value.
Throughout the book, one would sense how empathetic the writing is towards the realities of indigenous communities and their lives. It is the methodological and theoretical positioning of the authors and their orientations which have helped in making sense of the complex veracities hidden in the extractive industries in general and bauxite mining and aluminium industries in particular. This position also help the authors in understanding the deep social, cultural, and communication inequalities (Dutta, 2011) embedded in the state and corporate nexus that facilitates the big mining corporations in consolidating their existence in indigenous lands of India and elsewhere.
Moreover, the use of interesting and robust methods, metaphors, narratives, and concepts, like Matiro Poko, Company Loka, Kagaz (Paper), Dharna, Andolan, Niyam Raja, Karma, Dharma, narrative analysis, oral histories, participating in protests/resistance movements, drafting protest poems and songs with communities, creating protest/social movement media like wall magazine, attending annual general meetings and court proceedings, travelling to and meeting with national and supranational institutions, considering rich archival data, in-depth interviews with key stake holders, content analysis of various government reports, acts, laws, annual reports, and newspaper articles have made this book enriching in terms of the research.
Lastly, it would be justified to suggest that OoTE is a seminal text. It intrigues with its unique positioning of research and the important lessons it imparts about the adversities that is caused by the frequent occurrence of resource extraction in indigenous lands in all its globalized complexity and local perversity. One of the key lessons of the book is that it exposes the modern-day imperialism in a thought-provoking way.
In general, the book is a true exposition meant for researchers and students in the field of anthropology, sociology, history, and communication and media studies. OoTE would also serve as a necessary reference point for those who are working on ideas and themes like politics of development, anthropology and political economy of extractive industry, tribal identity and culture, indigeneity, mining, social movements, and social inequalities. Other general English speaking readers will certainly find it richly insightful and informative.
Berger, Peter L., and Luckmann. 1971 . The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. London:Penguin.
Das, Amrendra and Samarendra Das. (2005) Matira Poko, Company Loko [Earth Worm, Company Man in Kui/Odia with English subtitles].
Dutta, Mohan J (2011) Communicating Social Change: Structure, Culture, and Agency. New York: Routledge.
Freire, Paulo. 2005  Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York, USA: Continuum.
Kirsch, Stuart. (2006) Reverse Anthropology: Indigenous Analysis of Social and Environmental Relations in New Guinea. California: Stanford University Press.
Martinez-Alier, Joan. (2002) The Environmentalism of the poor: A Study of Ecological Conflicts and Valuation. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Padel, Felix. 2010 . The Sacrifice of Human Being: British Rule and the Konds of Orissa. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Padel, Felix & Das, Samarendra. (2010) Cultural Genocide and the Rhetoric of Sustainable Mining in East India, Contemporary South Asia, 18:3, 333-341, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09584935.2010.503871
Padel, Felix & Das, Samarendra. (2010) Out of This Earth: East India Adivasis and the Aluminium Cartel, Hyderabad: Orient BlackSwan.
Sainath, P. (1996) Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories from India’s Poorest Districts. Delhi, London: Penguine.
Saturday, May 16, 2020
The All India Forum for the Right to Education (AIFRTE) is fully aware of the threat posed by the Covid-19 crisis to the health and socio-economic well being of the Indian people in particular those who suffer chronic under-employment and unemployment. As such, the AIFRTE and its member organizations, like all other democratic people's organizations, have been in the forefront of activities aimed at ameliorating the conditions of the people in these difficult times and have united with the rest of the country in facing this challenge.
However, AIFRTE is deeply troubled by the Government of India (GOI) having embarked on an extremely reprehensible course of action. The Covid-19 crisis is being used as a subterfuge for imposing, in a completely unconstitutional and undemocratic manner, policies that will have a far reaching impact on the civil rights of the people and on the character of Indian society.
The direct and shameless abuse of power, using the colonial anti-sedition law and the recently amended Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) - which targets as terrorists individuals who are not affiliated to a declared terrorist organization - against students, teachers, academics and public intellectuals and civil liberties and human rights activists, has now reached outrageous proportions. All right to dissent is being crushed. Peaceful protestors and activists are being booked and arrested during the Covid-19 `lock-down' which prevents all democratic forms of protest, and are being held without the possibility of trial under prison conditions that are an extreme health hazard because of the pandemic. We note in particular arrests of organizers of the Jamia Co-ordination Committee (JCC) which has played an inspiring and leading role, following the ruthless attack by the police on the Jamia Milia Islamia campus, in defending the constitutional rights of people and demanding the repeal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
We are outraged by the fact that victims of the state-sponsored riots in north Delhi are being charged with instigating the violence that has destroyed their homes and livelihood. Everywhere the story is the same. Peaceful struggles, whether against massive fee-hikes on university campuses or powerful democratic resistance against the blatantly anti-constitutional CAA, have been viciously attacked.
Compelling evidence of the role of right-wing hindutva forces and identified leaders, including ministers of the ruling cabinet, in instigating violence with police protection and backed by the ruling party and government is shamelessly ignored and brushed aside. Either no action at all is taken against them or else they are immediately released on bail on minor charges. However, peaceful protestors are charged with trumped up heinous crimes and incarcerated under draconian laws.
The ruling regime is thus not only continuing but is intensifying under Covid-19 lock-down the strategy used against democratic activists and intellectuals in the Bhima-Koregaon case. The recent arrest and incarceration of Prof. Anand Teltumbde and Gautum Navlakha on Ambedkar Jayanti (14th April 2020) despite the clear threat of the Corona virus to the lives of these senior citizens with co-morbidities is a brazen assault against defenders of civil liberties.
Unfortunately, the highest judiciary appears to have caved in before this concerted attack and has repeatedly failed to protect the citizens. The result is that the regime is acting with increasing impunity as seen in the inhuman arrest and incarceration in solitary confinement of the pregnant research student Safoora Zargar for participating in the anti-CAA protests. Similarly, Police searched the house of Kanwalpreet, state secretary of Delhi AISA and confiscated her mobile phone, warning her of dire consequences because of her participation in `illegal' activities.
Another recent action of the Delhi Police which functions under the Centre reveals the level to which this harassment has sunk. Mahesh, a unit secretary of Parivartankami Chhatra Sangh (PACHHAS) has been subjected to false cases under sections 188, 269, 270 and Disaster Management Act 51. He has been charged with instigating protest on social media by observing hunger strike in his own home on 23 April 2020 as part of a country-wide daylong hunger strike in solidarity with migrant workers and students. The demands of the strikers were testing of stranded workers and students for infection, provision of facilities to take them home and immediately providing ration and financial help for the stranded across the country.
Under these hostile circumstances the GOI has introduced a series of ordinances and regulations regarding working hours and conditions, salary and pension structures, the education system and widespread digital surveillance under the pretext of improving the public health system. As usual the GOI finds it unnecessary to even inform the people, let alone debate these issues and follow democratic conventions and procedures in implementing them.
AIFRTE is deeply concerned and disturbed by these measures all of which must be exposed and resolutely opposed. The GOI is exploiting the Covid-19 crisis for crushing all dissent.
At the same time it has failed to act to protect the health of the people against the virus. The lock-down, unplanned and imposed in a sudden four-hour time-span, caused enormous hardship for the people and a humanitarian crisis of disastrous proportions for lakhs of migrant workers who are the real builders of the country. Instead of strengthening the healthcare infrastructure and protecting healthcare workers, a political farce has been set in motion by calling upon citizens to bang utensils, light lamps and finally have the armed forces shower petals on hospitals instead of saving the migrant workers trying to walk back home across the country from hunger, exhaustion and even death.
AIFRTE appeals to all member and fraternal organizations, and all democratic individuals across the country to unite and raise their voices against this fascist authoritarian regime even as they unite to provide support and relief to the working masses for whom the Modi Government has shown neither concern nor respect.
Prof. Jagmohan Singh
(On Behalf of AIFRTE’s Presidium)
Saturday, January 04, 2020
Saturday, November 30, 2019
Saturday, October 19, 2019
Monday, April 29, 2019
Thursday, October 18, 2018
Sri Nabin Pattanayak
Hon’ble Chief Minister
On 15th October Raigad police arrested leading member of Niyamgiri Suraksha Samity - Sathi Dhadi Kadraka from Muniguda and brutally assaulted him. To lodge protest against such undemocratic and unruly act of your police, National Vice- President of Samajwadi Jan Parisad Satihi Lingraj Azad has convened a peaceful demonstration on 23rdOctober at Raigard. But Police constantly putting pressure upon Satihi Lingraj Azad to postpone the programme on 23rd October. Even S.P of the neighbouring district Kalahandi called Satihi Lingraj Azad at PS and put pressure on him to postpone 23rd October program. These kind of arm twisting act of your police administration is not only undemocratic, abuse of power but also violates the fundamental right of assembly and freedom of expression.
You are aware that Niyamgirii Suraksha Samity has all along organised various kinds of movements in a peaceful democratic manner to protect interest of the Adibasi community of Nyamgiri Hills from the attempt of the Vedanta Company to take over Nyamgiri hills for boxite mining.
You may recall that by the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court opinion of the Adibasi inhabitants was taken. At that time despite all kinds of harassment, allurement and fear let lose by the Vedanta Company with the active aid of the state and central govt. and also ignoring the call of the Maoist to boycott opinion poll not a single vote was given in favour of Vedanta Company.
It seems that Vendata Company again appears in the scene and Orissa police is acting at the behest of the Vedanta Company to destroy the peaceful democratic struggle of the innocent Adibasi of Nyamgiri Hills to save their life, livelihood and environment in and around the Niyamgiri Hills from the clutch of the ill famed Vedanta Company.
We strongly condemn such illegal act of your police appeal to you to restrain the Raygard Police from creating any obstruction for holding peaceful demonstration of Nyamgiri Surksha Samity to be held on 23rd. October.
Kamal Krishna Banerjee
Samajwadi Jan Parisad
Jalpaiguri (West Bengal)
Saturday, October 06, 2018
जयदेव द्वारा संगीतबद्ध प्रेम परबत का यह गीत बहुत लोकप्रिय हुआ था।
इस फिल्म की सभी प्रिंट्स जल गईं।ऑडियो को दूसरे गानों पर बैठाया गया है।मधुमति में दिलीप कुमार और वैजयंतीमाला के गीत के साथ गजब बैठ गया है।
Thursday, September 20, 2018
A.G. NOORANI warns us of being “unsafe and unhistorical to cite the Gandhian precedent before independence” (“Gandhi's no to satyagraha”, August 26). Noorani has tried to establish that both Gandhiji and B.R. Ambedkar were against satyagraha in the post-Independence era. Gandhiji was perhaps more conscious of the dangers of being misunderstood and misrepresented by his readers and others. Books of his original writings carry a note “To The Reader” originally written by him in his journal ( Harijan, 29-4-1933, page 2). It says: “ I am not at all concerned with appearing to be consistent…. When anybody finds any inconsistency between any two writings of mine, if he has still faith in my sanity, he would do well to choose the later of the two on the same subject.”
To be “safe” and “historical”, I would like to start from Gandhi's martyrdom so that nothing remains later than that. Gandhi gave Pyarelalji a new draft Constitution for the Congress that he had prepared the previous day. “The struggle for the ascendancy of civil over military power is bound to take place in India's progress towards its democratic goal.” The draft contained this prediction. We can easily imagine the nature of the struggle that Gandhi had imagined. It would have been fought through peaceful and pure means. Gandhiji observed a fast (a mode of satyagraha) on Independence Day. He was asked whether he would leave politics after August 15, 1947. Gandhiji replied, “In the first instance there is no freedom approaching the Kingdom of God. We seem to be as far from it as ever. And in any case the life of the millions is my politics from which I dare not free myself without denying my life work and God. That my politics may take a different turn is quite possible. But that will be determined by circumstances ( Harijan, 17-8-1947, page 281).
His last two post-Independence fasts, in Kolkata and Delhi respectively, were in the wake of communal violence after Partition. Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel were in the saddle of power. Noorani is known for his writings on communalism and should not deny Gandhiji's contribution through these two fasts and ultimately by his utmost sacrifice. Gandhiji's speeches and writings on satyagraha have been sanctified by his righteous practice and suffering the consequences of breaking unjust laws. Moreover, they are written for all time. His incisive logic is unanswerable.
Gandhiji has made it amply clear that he believed in the supremacy of the people. In his famous booklet “Constructive Programme: Its meaning and place”, he elaborated his vision in clear terms: “The truth is that power resides in the people and it is entrusted for the time being to those whom they may choose as their representatives. Parliaments have no power or even existence independently of the people. Civil Disobedience is the storehouse of power.”
Ambedkar delineated how fundamental rights can be effective. He said: “Rights are protected not by law but by the social and moral conscience of society.” The social and moral conscience of the Indian people protected these fundamental rights when they got an opportunity to choose between democracy and dictatorship in the 1977 general elections. In spite of all the infighting in the Janata Party, its government should be remembered for the historical amendment it made to the Constitution to make “internal emergency” next to impossible.
The right to undertake civil disobedience, or satyagraha, in any parliamentary democracy by a citizen is a fundamental right. To criticise this right is to negate the basic democratic system.
Monday, October 30, 2017
(Registered under the Trade Unions Act 1926, Registration No.:3427/Delhi)
State Bank of India Officers’ Association
04th Floor, SBI Administrative Unit, No. 86, Rajaji Salai, Chennai- 600 001
Phone: 044-25227170 Tel/Fax 044 25227170
Linkage of Aadhar with the bank accounts and other financial transactions is a clear case of the violation of basic human rights of the citizens of this country. In spite of this, the Govt of India made mandatory the unique identification project (UID Project) through Rule 9 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Rules, 2017 as amended by the Prevention of Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Rules, 2017 for the purpose of opening and maintaining bank accounts and for carrying any financial transactions.
As per the amended rules, an Aadhaar Number has been made mandatory for opening of bank accounts; making any financial transactions of and above Rs. 50,000; and foreign remittance to be credited even to small accounts. Further, the existing bank account holders have been directed to furnish Aadhaar Number before and non-compliance of the same will result in the concerned bank accounts being ceased. Consequently, every citizen is being compelled to possess an Aadhaar Number for not only opening of a new bank account, but also for maintaining the existing bank accounts and making transactions through such bank accounts.
Thursday, October 26, 2017
[During the open Rebellion of 1942-43 against British-rule, when socialists were in prison or being hunted and communists waged their peoples’ war in - companionship with foreign masters, the doctrine of Marxism ■ appalled me with its wide range of contradictory applications. To recover its truth and demolish its untruth became one of my desires. Of the four aspects planned, economics, politics, history and philosophy, I was halfway through the economic when the police got me. Since then, this style of enquiry and expression has ceased to interest me. No man’s thought should be made the centre of a political action; it should help but not. control. Acceptance and rejection are varying forms of blind worship. I believe that it is silly to be a Gandhian or Marxist and it is equally so to be an anti-Gandhian or anti-Marxist. There are priceless treasures to learn from Gandhi as from Marx, but the learning can only be done when the frame of reference derives not from an age or a person. Researchists must still enquire into a man’s thought, parti- cularly if the man is Marx or Gandhi. The pages that follow are thoroughly incomplete and no change has been made since they were written. But error is also a source of knowledge. I only hope that I have made some significant statements so as to titillate some man of greater talent and industry into further enquiry. In any event, these pages, I hope, show the need of an economic thought different from any that exists today that will turn the whole world into the gay unity of equal welfare.] Communism began as a programme of social justice. Its basis was the achieving of a classless society. Like other pro- grammes of social justice, it was early faced with greed and ignorance and the sarcasm of those who denounce everything great as unpractical and impossible. It, therefore, elaborated a whole system of philosophy, history and economy. The fact that its first philosopher was a German of the nineteenth century might 172 ECONOMICS AFTER MARX have played a part. In any case the elaboration of an entire system of thought in furtherance of a concrete programme of human improvement is nothing new to history; Vedism, Buddhism, Christianity, Liberalism have gone through a similar phase. What was new in the elaboration of Communism was its claim to being scientific, its assertion that it was not a moral law but a causal law. Communism, so claims its philosophy, is a necessary conclusion of the development of capitalism; the classless society must come. Around this claim has arisen a whole code of laws. This code formulated by Marx, has produced such powerful effect that Communism and Marxism* have become synonymous, that all Socialists and Communists are in various degrees influenced by it. A study of this system of laws should preferably begin in the realm of capitalist economy, to which it is nearest in scope and where it is likely to have made the least errors. A summary of the principle and laws of capitalist development as formulated by Marxism must first be made. The principle of capitalist development lies in the fact that labour is a commodity like any other commodity. Capitalists buy labour in order that they may with its help produce other commodities for sale. But labour, unlike other commodities, carries within itself two contradictory values. Every other com- modity has a single consistent value, the time that is socially necessary to produce it. Labour has indeed this value, Avhich is measured by such food and clothing and other requirements of the labourer as are effective in a given capitalist phase. The labourer works and is given his feed so that he may work again. What is given as his “feed” in any particular period is his wages. This is one value of labour, its exchange value, the value of its reproduction, its wages. But labour has another value, its use- value to the capitalist who buys it. The capitalist pays for the labour power of the worker but receives in return all the goods produced by it. From among these goods, a part goes towards the wages of the worker but another remains as the profit of the [* Sometimes known as Marxism-Leninism, as Lenin was the first man to put Marxism into the practice of a State apd also made partial additions to its general theory. ] capitalist; the labourer’s day is split up into t\yo parts, one of which produces wages and another profits. Herein lies the source of all capitalist profits and not in other transactions, for labour, is the sole creator of value. In his drive for profits, the capitalist, indeed, tries to make use of machines and improve them in order that he may turn labour-power to better account. Machines do not produce better profits; it is mechanised labour that does so. Clearly, therefore, the dynamic of capitalist development lies in the contradiction between the value and the use-value of labour, between .wages and produce. This contradiction is the source of surplus value, which makes up the entire profits* of the capitalist system. In the career of surplus value can be discerned a whole series of laws of capitalist production and development. Capital leads to further accumulation of capital. Surplus value or capitalist profits are used for improved machinery and joint labour, which in their turn produce increased surplus value. This is the law of capitalist accumulation. Under capitalism, however, production and circulation cannot keep pace with each other. More is produced than can be bought, because productivity of labour and profits continually increase while wages remain comparatively fixed. There is thus a lag between the production and the purchasing power of a population, which causes crisis in industry. This is the law of the periodic crises of capitalism. More capital is put into making heavy and intricate machinery, into building the means of production. This tides over the crisis for a while, for it does not immediately lead to increased produc- tion, but it lays the basis for a higher productivity in the near future. The organic composition of capital increases, the rate of profit falls, large-scale production increases, smaller capitalists are thrown out and capitalism changes into monopoly capitalism. This is the law of concentration of capital or of large-scale and monopoly production. *Not to be confused with the profits of the entrepreneur. These are the sum of the rent, interest and high earnings of the entire system. , While capital accumulates and concentrates, large sections are turned into the workless, the reserves of industry, and the workers themselves become increasingly poorer. This is the law pauperisation and of accumulation of poverty. At the same time, the working class is increasingly unified and becomes conscious of itself, by virtue of the fact that it works co-operatively and in large numbers in the big-scale monopolist industries. This is the law of socialisation of labour. Passing through these laws of development, the contradiction between the price of labour and its produce assumes sharp forms. It becomes the contradiction between capitalist appropriation and socialised production, between old relations and expanding forces, between monopoly capitalists and an angry, numerous, socialised working-class. The class-struggle enters its last phase, when the capitalist husk is burst asunder by the working-class. This is known as the law of the class-struggle leading to the dictatorship of the proletariat. To these laws must be added yet another on the general crisis of capitalism, when there are no longer any alternating periods of boom and depression in industry. In this period of general and continuing crisis, there are imperialist wars, general exhaus- tion of capitalism and the victory of the world working-class. This is the law of the general crisis of capitalism leading to im- perialist wars and the law of the World Revolution.* In his well-known passage establishing how “the expropria- tors are expropriated," Marx has in a broad sweep defined these “immanent laws of capitalist production" as the “centralisation of capital, — ^purposive application of science to the improvement * In the elaboration of this law, Engels and Lenin have played a greater part than Marx. Although twenty six years before the 1914 war, Engels foresaw “the creation of the conditions for the final victory of the working-class” through the "general exhaustion” of capitalism in a war, it was left to Lenin and his theoreticians to deepen the law of the periodic crisis into the general crisis of capitalism and of the World Revolution. Should the World Revolution not materialise sixty years after Engels’ prediction and thirty years after Lenin’s and should world capitalism recover sufficiently from its exhaustion to be able to wage a third world war, what further laws would be elaborated is difficult to tell. of technique, means of production— economised— by social labour, a progressive diminution in the number of the capitalist magnates and a corresponding increase in the mass of poverty, oppression^ enslavement a working-class which grows ever more numerous, and ‘is disciplined, unified and organised h}"^ the very mechanism of the capitalist mode of production.” These Marxist laws of capitalist development do not merely possess an interest for the scholar. Although only a few care to read them except as catechisms and fewer still to understand them as a whole, Social- ists of all description, ]\Marxists, neo-Marxists, anti-Marxists, base their thinking and action on one or the other of these laws, parti- cularly on their source, the general history of the contradiction between the value and the use-value of labour-power. A vast literature, confirming or refuting these laws, .has arisen. It is largely a literature of barren controversy. We must approach these laws, not to confirm nor to deny, but to understand the process of capitalist development. Let us see how far these laws have been unable to include or have gone against major facts of capitalist development The first casualty is the law of pauperisation and of accumulating poverty It would be useless to dem* that, until well after seventy years of the formulation of this law b}’ Marx and twenty years after the first formations of the big concentrations of capital, the proletariat in capitalist countries was not only not pauperised ; not growing poorer, but was steadily improving its conditions of lifting. In fact, German economists were able to assert that, in place of the proletarianisation of the middle-class and the pauperi- sation of large sections, which Marx had predicted, a steady bourgeoisification of the proletariat was ta kin g place.* British economists could point to the black-coated worker. Communists tried to denj* these facts and formulas by the astrologer s wait-and- see. There was no such astrological hocus-pocus in Marx’s formulations. Pauperisation was a necessaxy consequence of =^The reader must pardon the tkc of these terms which coi^unism and the German language hare put into the inouth of large numbeis but which hare no further use except as means of re-education. 176 ECONOMICS AFTER MARX capital accumulation; accumulating poverty was a necessary con- sequence of monopoly capital: why should thirty years or even ten elapse before the necessary consequences appear; there must be a reason for it. In fact, sectional poverty and pauperisation did appear in the capitalist countries ten years after the end of the 1914 war, but it was again partly overcome. To say that capitalist governments overcame poverty by works-programmes and war-industries is to state a moral fact, but it is no answer to the “immanent” ability of capitalism to preserve itself from pauperisation. Socialist theory must be able to pick up these loose ends, find them a formula and reconcile itself with facts. This weakness of Marxist theorj' in explaining the absence of povert}' under capital accumulation has tended to blunt its understanding of what is otherwise a correct description of the industrial crises in capitalism. Industry throughout the nineteenth centurj' suffered from periodic crises, but, quite as periodically, got out of them. The main Marxist explanation for these crises as also for their overcoming lies in the internal structure of capi- talism, the conflict between the improving means of production and the constant purchasing power.* Is it not possible that, on *A vast lore has been written on these crises, their periodicity and nature, their causes and so forth. Attempts have been made to number these crises and the regular intervals at which they have occured. We may also not worry overmuch with the University professors’ characterisa- tion of these as monetary crises, production crisis, crisis in confidence and so forth, for such categories express external forms and do not go to the root of the matter. Marx partly goes to the root when be traces these crises to the conflict between production and consumption, between the higher yield of mechanised labour-power and the constant or decreasing total wages of the working-class. But then Mar.x traces the overcoming of these crises to the same source which is their cause. He and his disciples emphasise the period of improvement in the means of production, building better machinefy and so forth, during which goods of consumption do not immediately appear on the market but wages are still paid. They indeed drop phrases about the pressing of the peasantry, improvement in agricul- ture, enmeshing of the whole world in the capitalist net, but these facts have not been properly digested in the general Marxist theory on industrial crises. In fact, capitalist politicians and economists have elaborated a medicine-book for industrial crises and this is none other than the New Deal, works-programmes, war-industries and, perhaps in an unwilling measure, war, followed by post-war reconstruction. Quite a few of these W'orks-programmes like draining of marshes, fighting malaria, building of town-halls for assemblies do not at all enter the consumption market but add to the health and entertainment of the people and also pay out wages 177 fragments of a world mind this basis, capitalism which is said now to have entered its general crisis may endure in this state as it endured in its periodic crises and may possibly, while dying out in one country, reappear in another ? As to the law of socialised production, it must be admitted that monopoly capital and large-scale enterprises have appeared, what has not taken place is the wiping out of the small capitalist. In fact, the number of small capitalists, either as share-holders in the large undertakings or as owner-managers of their own, has in- creased. In the same manner, although socialisation of labour in the limited sense of thousands of workers working co-operatively in a single establishment has taken place, what has not taken place is their unification. Aside from the technical and managerial classes, the free professions and the clerical classes, the workers themselves are cut up into a hierarchy of skilled workers, un- skilled workers, seasonally employed and their differing wages have turned the predicted solidarity of the working-class into a piety-reality.* The worst trick played by history on the Marxist laws of capitalist development lies in the fact that the Revolution took place not in Germany,f where it was expected, nor in anjy other to the labourers. Even among the means of production, a distinction is made between the machines to manufacture machines which enter into consumption at a late stage and the machines which do so earlier. The industry of housing on a capitalist-cum-municipal _ basis can also tide over a crisis for some time, as it does not immediately enter the market. Capitalism is groping towards various combinations of industries which produce no or slow effect on the market. Unless the undigested facts of socialist theory on crises are properly understood, we are forced to look upon the capitalist crises, periodic or general, as upon the simple cold, highly unpleasant but not fatal. * Of late, books from the Marxist angle have appeared on the treason of the technical and free professions, salaried classes, the white-collared worker. Unable to understand as to why they should ty so numerous or powerful, Marxism in Europe alternates between looking upon them as an annexe of the bourgeoisie and wooing them as its own allies. j For seventy years from the publication of the Communist Manifesto to the Russian Revolution, Marxists including _ Lenin expected the revolu- tion to take place in western Europe, particularly Germanp An odd reference by Marx or Lenin to the possibility of a revolution hrst in Russia or elsewhere is no more than a side-remark. The prophecy was about Germany and western Europe. For seventj' ye^s, Marxists me on this prophecy and, after a brief interlude of the Russian revolution, returned to it again. 178 ECONOMICS AFTER MARX developed country of western Europe, but in Russia. According to the “immanent laws of capitalist development,” the capitalist husk was to burst asunder where it proved incompatible with the socialisation of labour and the concentration of capital. How this law of the class struggle made an arbitrary leap still remains unex- plained and undigested by Marxist theory. Trotsky’s explanation that the capitalist chain snapped at its weakest link is indeed a graphic phrase, perhaps true, but an entire deriial of the communist teaching on capitalism. Where is the capitalist chain to break? At its most developed link, says Marx; at its weakest link, says Trotsky; and, between these two with various other shades, com- munism will of course always be right. Lenin’s explanation denies Marx as much as Trotsky’s does. Lenin explains the Russian Revolution with the active role of the Bolshevik Party. With a slight change, in that the Party is now called the Party of Lenin- Stalin, Marxists have memorised this explanation. How this final activity of the class struggle flew out of its iron laws, nobody has cared to explain on any scientific basis. In fact, this was not necessary, for Soviet Russia and the Third International soon enough turned their attention again to western Europe as the centre of the World Revolution. The master’s teaching proved greater than the big fact of the revolution. Marxists are ap- parently determined to prove, even at the cost of the World Revolution itself, that humanity will reach its highest foreseeable development first in Europe. Marxism is quite accurate in its findings on capital accu- mulation, correct from one angle on questions of industrial crises, of monopoly and socialisation of labour, but factually wrong in the spheres of accumulating poverty, causal class-struggle and the World Revolution. Whence comes this conflict between its insight into production and the blind spots regarding circulation? It is not as if poverty and pauperism did not arise or that the centres of class-struggle and world revolution could not be located; it is also not that Marx and his disciples were unaware of the relevant facts ; it is this that Marxism was not strong enough to digest these facts and weave them into its general theory on capitalism. Let us first get at the relevant facts. 179 FRAGMENTS OF A WORLD MIND Capitalism first arose in England during the second half of the eighteenth century. The pre-capitalist massings of silver were due as much to the plunder of Spanish ships and Bengal revenues as to the throwing out of farmers from common lands in Britain herself. The first industry to employ machiner)’', which is the technical basis of capitalism, was textiles. Hardly had this Lancashire industry begun, when it had to look out for a dynamic outside its own country and found it in India. British textiles did not overcome Indian textiles in an economic way. When one of the British parliamentary commissions pointed out that “the wares of Lancashire were bleached with the dry bones of Indian weavers,” it did not mean that Indian artisans could not stand competition with British manufacturers. Aside from whatever measures were adopted for direct attack upon Indian weavers, the East India Company and its servants, by taking over the monopoly of internal trade in their own hands, were able to dictate what goods shall or shall not flow in the normal trade channels.* The victory of British textiles over Indian textiles was political; the dynamic that Lancashire industry, at its very start, got out of India was due to Britain’s rule. Once again, as soon as the first heavy industry of rail-and-engine manufacture is set up in England around the middle of the nineteenth centurj'^, it has to get an immediate dynamic from India. It gets that not only by way of the large numbers of engines, rails and other materials used in India but also by way of capital investments in Indian railways which beat’ a guaranteed minimum interest.j This dynamic of *To suggest that machine-manufactuTers must inevitably drive out hand-manufacturers is here irrelevant. We are concerned with the course of history as it has actually developed and not as one or the other theoreti- cian can conceive it to do so. History's record shows that, unsupported by British rule over India, not the Indian artisans, but the Lancashire industry would have died in its infancy. ^ _ f This is perhaps the most remarkable piece of financial transaction in world history, unless another one is in the making, according to which British investors got a guaranteed half-yearly interest and, whenever profits rose above this, got them too. Incidentally, the problem is not as to whether railway development was a boon to India; the fact is that, without .British-ruled Indian railways, the British railroad industrj" could 180 ECONOMICS AFTER MARX Indian railways has continued to act on British engineering in- dustries, in fact, on all of British capitalism, through manifold ways. It need hardly be pointed out that the immense growth of commercial agriculture in India during the latter part of the nineteenth century and after, in the shape of jute, tea, cotton, oilseeds and the by-product of hides, pumped a much-needed impetus into British capitalism, sometimes by way of the German and Japanese capitalisms. This commercialisation of agriculture took place on the imperial-colonial level, on the level of pauper- wages to landless labour as in Assam and poverty earnings to farmers as in Bengal, U.P. and Bihar, except in the very limited case of some cotton farmers. Once again when British capitalism was faced at the end of the 1914 war with what has come to be known as a general crisis, Indian railroads alone rushed to its rescue by ordering goods worth a billion rupees and more.f This rapid survey of British capitalism has brought us to the conclusion that imperialism and capitalism are of joint origin and development. A similar development can be traced through the career of German capitalism, either by way of sharing in the Austrian, British and French imperial expansion or on its own.* On the surface, the American development will seem to have gone a different way. Actually, capitalist development in the United States has needed an identical imperial dynamic, has made use of the same elements as Britain. England used already popu- hardly have gone beyond an infantile stage. Britain did not give railways to India; India gave Britain her railways and the engineering industry. History is full of such truths which seem to go counter to outward appearances. t Already, in the midst of the 1939 war, orders for locomotives worth Rs. 42 crores have been placed and, unless something goes wrong, more will of course follow. * The commercial activity of the Hansa towns like Hamburg, as of the East India Company or of the crafts and guilds is pre-capitalism. Mar.xists emphasise, and quite properly, that capitalism should not be confused with other forms of exploitation which might bear some resem- blance to it. German capitalism begins around the middle of the nineteenth century with the Customs Union and the Listian economy according to which free trade has meaning only after unequal historical conditions have been removed, (to the European, German or British, western Europe is his world), and it really comes into shape with the Bismarckian unifica- tion of Germany. 181 Fragments of a world mind lated countries like India for her • capitalist development. These two elements, a population and a territory, were similarly made use of by American capitalism. The territory was new and conti- g-uous and the population was got from Europe. This territorial expansion took place over the larger part of the nineteenth century. To understand this, one has only to look at a map of the United States as it stood at the beginning and as it got to be at the end of the nineteenth century. All the Mid- Western States, the Prairie States, the Border States, the Eastern States, a territory larger than India, were the result of this expansion.f The problem of man-power for these large territories was also solved in an imperial way. No less than thirty million European paupers! came into the United States during the century and settled in its factories or on its lands. Each fresh batch of immigrants stood, at least for a generation, in an imperial-colonial relationship with the older inhabitants, until it got Americanised. That imperialism and capitalism have jointly developed in capi- talist history is clearly established by the American case. The results of this joint development inside the frontiers of what is now a single country and a single nation are indeed fundamentally different from those of the British. How American capitalism overcame its twin is a brave story of the Jeffersons, Jacksons and Lincolns, but, whether this was due to the new and robust American nationality or to the fullness of natural resources and a corresponding labour yield, and whether this may not yet lead to an imperial-colonial relationship on a world-scale is not within our present scope. It need hardly be added that Japanese capi- talism began as a system of industries rapidly built chiefly out t The old inhabitants of these territories, the Red Indians, were almost exterminated in wars and skirmishes. For one big chunk, which was finally acquired by purchase, the United States President had sent his negotiators armed, quite in the modem style, with two sets of orders, to buy if possible, else, to wage a shooting war. ^ . ... JThe story of these paupers goes counter to Marx’s analysis. Until capitalism arose in England and France, paupers came prindpally “9^ these two countries. Graphic stories are told of how .British men kid- napped British women in the streets of London and of marriage-a_t-nrst- sight bargainings on the New Work Harbour. The growth of rapitalism in England put an end to it. Then came the turn of Germany, Italy and Ireland before they turned capitalist. Last came the Slavs. Negro labour had been brought as slaves in the earlier century. 182 ECONOMICS AFTER MARX of government revenues and it could tlierefoTe wait for two decades or so before it too went the imperial way. In face of this wide wealth of facts, how anyone could have suggested that imperialism is the last stage of capitalism is beyond comprehension.* Imperialism not only appears at the first stage of capitalism but goes on developing with it. Capitalism seeks its external dynamic, one might say, even before it is born and, unsatiable in this search, it gobbles up one country after another. First Bengal and the Americas, then the whole of India, and on to China and Egypt, thence to South America and Malaya and Java and Burma and the great continent of Africa; the limits of the world are reached. No single dynamic lasts capitalism for long; it is soon stabilised and, with an almost magic resourceful- ness, it uses the old dynamic for the conquest of a new one, Bengal for United Provinces, India for China and Burma and so forth. * Lenin has devoted a whole book to the thesis that imperialism is the last stage of <apitalism. This astounding phrase is meant to convey the fact of increasing capital investments in the colonies and semi-colonies. If we limit imperialism to capital investments, what of the factory goods that capitalism right at its start forced on the colonies and has been doing so ever since, not to talk of the other tribute of salaries and pensions and currency tricks. Moreover, even as capital investments go, Britain had already made the first of these in India around 1850, very much in the middle stage of her capitalism. Lenin’s tables of statistics of increasing capital investments in the colonies from decade to decade have no more than a book-keeping significanc on this issue, for, if colonial investments have increased, so has capitalist production. Keener students will find it worth their while to publish the respective ratios of Britain’s total industrial production to her colonial investments and to her exports in the decade 1850-60 or 60-70 and also in the decade 1900-10. If Lenin had made such a study, he would have found that the total volumes of each of the three categories increase but the ratios are not vastly altered. Such a misuse of the term imperialism has greatly obscured the fact of the joint capitalist-imperialist development and, instead of correcting Iklarx’s theory on capitalism, has further confused it. As a Russian, Lenin was probably influenced by the fact that his nation’s first contact with capitalism was by way of west-European investments and he might also have wanted to give a clever turn to the phrase finance-capital popularised by Hilferding. Curiously enough, Indian Socialists have also unthinkingly repeated this phrase. What Lenin and these have probably meant to convey is that capitalism has already covered the whole world in its net and, therefore, it must either war and die or find a new dynamic in the more intensive exploitation of the colonies. It is also possible that, in their anxiety to discover a proletariat in every country on Marx’s pattern of the class struggle, they have tended to equate imperialism with large imperialist , investments. 183 FRAGMENTS OF A WORLD MIND Not only does an old dynamic continue to give capitalism a part of the needed surplus .for home-production; not only does it produce armies and war-chests; it also yields labour-power, for instance, Chinese and Indians in Malaya, Indians in East Africa, Fiji and such far-off lands as Trinidad. If ever the world is able to look back upon capitalism and its play-time— the nineteenth century and after, without the heat of battle, it will contemplate with wonder this cruel and unscrupulous, nevertheless, the cleverest scoundrel of all history. But now the limits of the world are reached. Its unsatiable expansiveness has come up against a dead wall. How -will it, or can it at all, solve this contradiction between its expansive need and a limited world ? But that is a question of its recentmost development and its future, which we will take up at the proper place. Meanwhile, let us look at another aspect of the career of capitalism through history, which is sharply related to this contradiction. Once upon a time, there was but one capitalism in the world, Britain’s, for the five decades or so of the 18th and 19th centuries. In its herrscher gait through the world, it showed its superiority in war and its wealth in peace. It was also willing to help in the birth of cousins. Culture-capitalisms were born.* By the first decade of our century, there were four such major capitalisms besides Britain’s, German, American Japanese and French. This growth of culture-capitalisms has further sharpened the conflict between capitalist expansiveness and the limited world. * Like a culture-pearl, Avhich incidentally is not an artificial pearl, Capitalism is sterile on colonial soil, whatever be the volume of its trade with or investments in the colonies ; if this were not so, we should have had a capitalism much sooner in India than we had it in Japan or Germany or even the U.S.A. Capitalism sells the machines to manufacture machines to cousins, that is, to such free countries as have the forces for capitalist growth; one might almost say that it is conscious of pedigree and wants no nonsense of half-breeds. That these cousins alternate between being partners and enemies of each other is rather unfortunate; but it is better than having a litter of children who might all come of age. But this isct of culture-capitalisms opens out vistas' of enquiry. Is it possible that any new system of economy that establishes its superiority in war and obvious wealth has a tendency to produce cousins? Is it possible that the submerged countries in any world-phase yearn to produce such_ culture system? Is it finally possible that even opposing systems, for instancy the socialist to the capitalist tend to produce culture-pearl traits of each other ? 184 ECONOMICS AFTER MARX We are thus living in an age which has come to be known as the epoch of imperialist wars and which, with greater appropriateness, can be called the epoch of capitalist wars. Can capitalism scotch the birth of new culture-cousins, can it lay low some of its existing ones, can the world, instead of going socialist, remain capitalistic by a process of stagnation or see-saw, are some of the intriguing questions of future development. For the present, let us weave the results of our enquiry into a correct theory of capitalist development. We have found the fact of the joint capitalist- imperialist development. We have found the fact of the growdh of culture-capitalisms. We have finally found the fact of multi- plying capitalisms within a territorially limited imperialism. The question as to whether capitalism is at all possible without imperialism may be briefly answered with the strict understanding that, in history so far, there has been no capitalism without im- perialism and that, therefore, it relates to the problematic future and asks for prophesy. Clearly, capitalism, depending upon an exclusive internal dynamic, theoretically improbable in a vast country with a vast population, will have to bear two burdens at the same time, the joint capitalist-imperialist ^burdens. Most likely, it will crash under these burdens; most certainly, it will cause an impoverishment on a hitherto unknown scale. Let us now reconstruct the theory of capitalist development. Marx’s initial fallacy was to have examined capitalism in the abstract, to have wrenched it outside of its imperialist context. Marx was not unaware of imperialist exploitation and his disciple, Lenin, was even more keenly aware of it. But imperialism is with either a tumour of capitalism, an odorous after-growth and this has at best awakened an unintelligent concern for the colonial races. Marxism has therefore not been able to give a consistent theory of capitalist development. Its picture of capitalism is that of a west European entity, with the later additions of the American and Japanese ones, more or less wrenched out of the world, more or less developing internally. All the dynamic of capitalism is placed within its internal structure, in the contradiction between the value and the use-value of labour-power, between the working- 185 KRAGilEXTS OF A V.'OEI-D class and the capitalist-class of the self-same structure. Slarx’s capitalism -was that of a self-moidng- west-European circle, no doubt causing- great repercussions in the outside -vrorld, but the principle and lav,'S of its ov,-n movement vrere exclusivel_v internal. Marxism to this da}- remains stuck in this picture, no doubt formulating lavrs about these outside repurcussions, but is v,-holl}- unable to state the basic interacting principle of the tK'o, internal and external, movements of capital. Socialism must forever shatter this unreal Marxist picture. In its place must arise a picture of two circles, one placed inside the other, the inner circle representing the free capitalist structures with their d}'namic in the contradiction bebveen capitalist profits and mechanised labour, the other circle representing the colonial econom\' of the rest of the world with its dj-namic between imperial exploitation and colonial labour, the rim of the inner circle possessing an enor- mously porous capacit}' to suck into itself the dj-namic of the outer. This is the onl}- way in which we can join up the capital-labour d3'iiamic with the empire-colony dynamic and arrive at a consistent understanding of the development of capitalism.* The Communist theorj' of capitalist development starts -with the contradictio?! between the value and the use-value of lahom and with the surplus value thus generated. The career of this surplus value reveals the further laws of capitalist development All this needs to be restated, in the light of our investigations, both as to labour’s value and its use-value. Labom is not an abstract something, although Marx made it so. In spite ot their horror of idealistic concepts. Communists have continued to treat labour as an ideal, abstract entit}*. Actually, labour under capi- talism has shov.-n two forms, which differ so -^ridely irom each other, that lumping them up imder one category can never give * Sonie persons will here remark that the two dynamics are present in Marxist studies of capitalism. Nobody questions that. The issue is whether the tivo dj-namics are so inter-^nnected pd the basic laws or this interconnection so discovered as to give a consistent understandmg or the world. It is this interconnection that socialism must stuay. tor a type of intellect which can only be satisfied bj* crude evalu<iiJons, Ct i be said here that, among- all other Europeans, Karl Marx is the g-ea economist of European history. But -we must not be satisfied -wii-h tnat, for we need the economics of vrorld history. 186 ECONOMICS AFTER MARX US a proper understanding. Labour has been either imperial or colonial and there have been vast divergences in their values. It is for these divergences that communism has had to evolve the concept of the socially effective requirements of labour. But its basic concept of the necessary requirements of labour* has stood * University economics has tried to understand the present distribution of wealth among various countries of the world and is preserving this understanding with the help of a few concepts. Let us examine the major concepts. (a) Necessary Requirements of Labourl The requirements of labour are supposed to vary from country to country. Colder climates like those of England and Germany are believed to necessitate richer food, better housing, more numerous clothing and so forth than tropical climates like in Africa and India. As a result of these higher calories of food and so forth, labour in colder climates is also believed to be more productive. Thus, the teaching has sprung up of the greater productivity as also the greater requirements of labour in colder climates. This teaching is wholly erroneous. There is no reason why the German should not be able to do with the food of the Tibetan and carry a charcoal-firestove bound to his back or live the winters of his entire life-time in a single Eskimo coat. There is likewise no reason why the Indian can naturally labour without electric fans and air-conditioning and fruit juice and such like nourishing food to fight the rigours of a tropical sun. If climate has any economic relevance, the coal fire and central heating of colder climates has its opposite number in the fans and air-conditioning of warmer climates, the heavy meat-and-drink diet, in the fruit-and-milk diet, so that one might legitimately say that the requirements of labour in warmer climates arc naturally higher than those in colder climates. But, to be able to say that, one would require an excess of political power in warmer climates as compared to that in colder. In fact, Europeans have in the past been able to do with Eskimo coats and without baths and the like. Quite obviously, therefore, there is no such thing as the necessary requirements of labour; there are only such requirements as varying political fortunes have bestowed upon this country or that. The Indian peasant who is today supposed naturally to sleep in the open and work may as naturally be supposed, in a different political climate, to require for his labour a pucca house lighted and ventilated by electricity. This brings us on to the question of what labour produces. (b) Productivity of Labour: The teaching that credited labour in colder countries with a higher productivity by virtue of the climate itself is so patently untrue that it has almost been given up. It is now clothed in different garments. Such concepts as the lack of proper food or of training and skill are introduced to explain the low produce of colonial labour. Indian economists and businessmen make free use of these con- cepts. When, for instance, the low yield of the Indian steel worker is compared with the high yield of the British steel worker, this is naturally put down to the ill-fed and ill-trained condition of the former. Tlius do our capitalists and economists hide their own shame and dishonour. For the west-European capitalist cconomj’, Karl Marx proved conclu- sively, that the concepts of skilled and unskilled labour are highly transitory, what is skilled today ma3' become unskilled tomorrow and the 187 FRAGMENTS OF A WORLD MIND labour that can be got dirt-cheap todaj- mas' require good rrages tomorrow Let us look at our own_ nckshaw-driver. It is difficult to imagine a more exacting or a more skilled labour. In like manner, if there were =ome way to me^me the labour power spent b3- the Indian metal-worker'' and by bis Bnbsh opposite number, it will be found that the former has ^ e.xacting labour. The economic fact is that the ill-fed Indian worker or peasant has to do as exacting a labour, in <: aria-haspopup="true" class="goog-spellcheck-word" id=":dh.2679" role="menuitem" span="" style="background: yellow;" tabindex="-1">ome
to tlie time-lag between the exhaustion of an old imperial d^mamic and the discover}* of a new one. An old technique of producing goods with a given o^'erseas area for imperialist exploitation tends to produce crisis, until a new overseas area is conquered to enable the use of a new invention.* Thus wzs it possible for capitahsm * If an attempt were made to pair off Stephenson’s steam-engine or the Bessemer process or the internal comb'astion engine with such events as the conquest of Bengal or the opening of the Suez canal and the consequent commercialisation of Indian agriculture or the conquest _ of Atrica. the results would prove that a crisis set in largely as old colonial areas started proving inadequate and capitalism got restored to health with pey political or economic ^annexations. Incidentallj*, this _ theorv* of cypitahst might mean that such hea^w capitalisation as in_ European industry wo*a-d, even under socialist conditions, be impossible without imperialist exploita- tion. We would consider this question later. _ P;S . — 1 have now come to belie\*e in the utter impossibihty m suca heai*y capitalisation for the whole world, not alone because of Jie ua- 194 ECONOMICS AFTER MARX to survive its first crisis and its later periodic crises, for, the inter- nal purchasing power could in no event have sufficed for its produce. Thus is it that, with the complete conquest of the world and the impossibility of a new imperial dynamic, capitalism has entered the phase of general crisis. It is wholly unable to get out of this phase. Whether it will as a result break asunder or stabilise itself at low levels of wealth will be considered later. Capitalist crises are often sought to be understood in terms of the rise or fall in the rate of interest. As an outward ap- pearance, it is incontestable that crisis is a period of very low outturns on capital, that is, almost negligible rates of interest, while boom is a period of high outturns. It is also true that, after a period of abnormally low outturns, a new invention for the production of goods used to bring a higher yield on capital. A new composition of capital and labour took place. But this is merely touching the surface of the problem of crises or, even, of the rate of interest. Going deeper, we are offered such explana- tions as that new inventions caused a fall in the costs of production and the price of goods and, with the increase in population, this gave higher profits to capitalists and thus restored equilibrium. This is yet not a full explanation. Each boom-making utilisation of new inventions and the consequent fall in the costs of produc- tion was possible only with the fresh markets of large overseas populations for trade as well as investments. It was this that restored capitalist equilibrium and profits and the new restorations tended to be on lower levels of interest. With the possibility of such new restorations now blocked, capital is faced with the problem of a zero or a minus rate of interest. Capital is faced with its own extinction. This is the' problem of the general crisis of capitalism. While capitalism has progressed through periodic crises in its homelands, it has brought devastating paupery and increasing poverty to the colonies. Landless and starving labour in agricul- availability of imperialist exploitation, but also because most of the retarded two-thirds of the world possesses a tremendous density of population. 1952. 195 FRAGMENTS OF A WORLD MIND With this instrument of an interwoven inner and outer dynamic, we are in a position to understand the other appearances of capitalist development. In particular, the high capitalisation of west-European industrj^ is made intelligible. This industry has not only continually got the larger part of its capital from - overseas profits, but it has continuall}'^ found overseas outlets for its produce in goods as well as its capital accumulations. Thanks to the fact that' corresponding industries could not be established in the major part of the world, west-European industry could capitalise itself so highly, could become unmistakably monopolistic. The west-European population could never have borne the burden of this heavy capitalisation, could neither have created it nor carried it through, not even if they could have distributed their produce on a communist basis. Just as this heavy capitalisation is the outcome largely of overseas dynamic, the overcoming of the periodic crises is to be traced to the same source. To say that industrial crises are caused by the lag between a people’s production and their purchasing power or that they are overcome by inventions and hea.vier capitalisation is to state some half-truths and outward appearances. Industrial crises, in addition to. being a partial result of the capi- talist distribution of internal incomes, have more largely been due to the time-lag betw'een the exhaustion of an old imperial dynamic and the discovery of a new one. An old technique of producing goods -with a given overseas area for imperialist exploitation tends to produce crisis, until a new overseas area is conquered to enable the use of a new invention.* Thus was it possible for capitalism * If an attempt were made to pair off Stephenson’s steam-engine or the Bessemer process or the internal combustion engine with such events as the conquest of Bengal or the opening of the Suez canal and the consequent commercialisation of Indian agriculture or the conquest _ of Africa, the results would prove that a crisis set in largely as old colonial areas started proving inadequate and capitalism got restored to health with new political or economic /annexations. Incidentally, this; .theory' of rapitalist crises might mean that such heavy capitalisation as in European mdustry would, even under socialist conditions, be impossible without imperialist exploita- tion. We would consider this question later. _ p,S. — I have now come to believe in the utter impossibility' ch such hea\'y capitalisation for the whole world, not alone because of the un- 194 - ECONOMICS AFTER MARX to survive its first crisis and its later periodic crises, for, the inter- nal purchasing power could in no event have sufficed for its produce. Thus is it that, with the complete conquest of the world and the impossibility of a new imperial dynamic, capitalism has entered the phase of general crisis. It is wholly unable to get out of this phase. Whether it will as a result break asunder or stabilise itself at low levels of wealth will be considered later. Capitalist crises are often sought to be understood in terms of the rise or fall in the rate of interest. As an outward ap- pearance, it is incontestable that crisis is a period of very low outturns on capital, that is, almost negligible rates of interest, while boom is a period of high outturns. It is also true that, after a period of abnormally low outturns, a new invention for the production of goods used to bring a higher yield on capital. A new composition of capital and labour took place. But this is merely touching the surface of the problem of crises or, even, of the rate of interest. Going deeper, we are offered such explana- tions as that new inventions caused a fall in the costs of production and the price of goods and, with the increase in population, this gave higher profits to capitalists and thus restored equilibrium. This is yet not a full explanation. Each boom-making utilisation of new inventions and the consequent fall in the costs of produc- tion was possible only with the fresh markets of large overseas populations for trade as well as investments. It was this that restored capitalist equilibrium and profits and the new restorations tended to be on lower levels of interest. With the possibility of such new restorations now blocked, capital is faced with the problem of a zero or a minus rate of interest. Capital is faced with its own extinction. This is the problem of the general crisis of capitalism. While capitalism has progressed through periodic crises in its homelands, it has brought devastating paupery and increasing poverty to the colonies. Landless and starving labour in agricul- availability of imperialist c.^ploitation, but also because most of the retarded two-thirds of the world possesses a tremcridous density of population. 1952. 195 :XTS OF A WORLD iriND tare hzs claimed an increasingly higher percentage in the total population. Because of their basic misunderstanding- of the dy i: Sm iC ox capicalism. ^larxists have looked lor increasing impoverishment among imperial labour, vrhereas they should have looked for it in colonial labour. The histoxv' of capitalist develop- ment is the history- of the increasing poverty of colonial masses and their reduction into starving and landless labour.* The worst sufferers under capitalism are the colonial masses. Presuming the validity ot the Communist law of class-struggle, there is obvious need to change its basis. Xot the worldng class in capitalist countries, but the colonial masses are the princiosl * J~zr.( 2 l£Indian agricalture has risen frcm beine less than ZCO _cf eacii iKO k agricnlWrists at the end of the last centnr:.- to neariv -M in ^ch 1C'>3. i his is the most hnportant result of the ccnnnerdalisatiGn of agriculture. Xe".‘ertheles$, men can stiit talk that India has been enriched unrcugh ccmme.'rial agriculture. It would be hard to Snd a more obvious stream of blood that has Sown from a huge mass of popula- tion to a foreign economy or to a section in its own. Tne receivers of this stream alone can talk of the enriching of 'the people free: whom it is talien. mere is no greater collapse of hum.an intelligence than when an Indian or any ether colonial repeats parrot-ISie the Ifarxist formtda that capitalism was at one time progressive but has now ceased to be so. Capitalism has at no time been progressive to the colonial masses; it has increasingly vrasted their economic and spiritual welfare. If only so-me one with s:.-mpathy and a historical sense could write “the Kistety of Colonial Labour in India”, it would not only be a service to knowledge but would read like a thriller. The materiais of such a history may have to be found in the indenture records of such far-ori lands as Fiji and Trinidad; th^ vriii teve to be ferreted out of the numerous British commissions and reports; old budgets and prices will have to be discovered and. in part, the;.- may have to be reconstructed out of such evidence as is available frem men who are before our eyes fading into skeletons. This might take a whole lifetim.e. but it will be a great w-ork. Such a history will relate the rec-eated auctionings of Bengal lands by Hastings, the speedy reduction of craftsmen into landless labourers, the cry for salt and oil. labour's work on rail embanlunents and roads to be followed b;,- successive gazes cn its hc-eded fields and its own creation, the story of its fascinating women Guickiy fading into wvinkles and gawlnness or o* a rare Sower picked vp by the zamindar's son and tl:e indigo saheb only to be thrown away, tae occasional revclts, the resignaticn and pain ot indenture slaves c-n ramsnackle ships and cn lands thousands of miles atvay. the arrival of jute and tea and cotton with -Bessemer and the Suez canal wttn^ them — fee piteous cry for food, famines, the stiSed moan, the wondrous victory ^of rite Icfn doth over naJiedness. the background o; the huge lactones tn loreign lanos s^d tlisir' sos.vrn5 in SomLjs'v. CslcnttH. sun i2kcr toxviis 'tnrousn dl story of vanishing fc-cd and vanishine doth, rnnnmg Ime a red thread, tim disgrace of caste and the songs of Paltu ana other Bnagats feat spOKe of the dissolving hatrainess in the Great Aosolute, 196 ECONOMICS AFTER MARX grave-diggers of capitalism. Imperial labour can at best be an ally of colonial toilers in the destruction of capitalism. The class of colonial toilers’*" pours its life-blood into the capitalist system from its birth, carries it along through its various phsases and is itself steadily impoverished, until it reaches a stage when its own extinction spells the decay of capitalism, while its purposeful rise into manhood ushers a new world. Whether the class of colonial toilers will do its work well or ill, whether it will allow itself to stay in decay or rise into manhood, will be discussed under the recentmost development of capitalism. Suffice it here to say that the future of capitalism depends not so much on the behaviour of labour in capitalist countries as on the behaviour of colonial masses. The student of capitalist future will have his eyes pre- eminently on the political action of colonial toilers. The Russian Revolution fits in very well with this theory of the class-struggle. As a country which by no means formed part of the inner capitalist circle of world-economy but was being gradually brought into the outer colonial circle of the west- Europeans, its semi-colonial toilers were yet powerful enough to overthrow the foreign and native systems that spelt their ser\’itude. The capitalist chain snapped where the colonial masses supplied their strongest link. Those desirous of seeing the capitalist chain break again will do well to look for the now strongest link in the class of colonial toilers. Such a breaking may perhaps usher in a real new world, as the snapping link is now no longer semi- colonial but wholly colonial and vitally necessary to capitalist continuance. Before we go on to consider the recentmost development of capitalism, let us ask ourselves how Marx could have made an inadequate use of his own instrument and have considered capita- lism in its west-European isolation. One is tempted to answer in the Marxian way that, as a limb of European economy, Marx \ * Whatever Marxists may say about the impossibility of regarding the colonial toilers as a single class, even under Marx's tests of community, political consciousness and national organisation, the colonial toilers as a whole are more justifiably a class than is the working class of capitalist countries. 197 FRAGMENTS OF A WORLD MIND could not see beyond the interests of the European working-class. As a philanthropist, lie vaguely wanted the.whole world to prosper, but the centre of his world with its deciding movements for eco- nomic and spiritual welfare was placed in west-Europe. This view is further confirmed by the attitude of Marx’s critics. They have attacked Marx’s theorj’- of capitalist development from various •angles such as marginal utilit)<- a="" alike="" also="" always="" an="" and="" argument="" aria-haspopup="true" as="" asiatic="" be="" been="" but="" call="" can="" capitalism="" capitalist="" capitalists="" class="goog-spellcheck-word" colonial="" communists="" consequences="" conspiracy="" costs="" creator="" development="" division="" down="" economic="" error="" even="" factories.="" forces.="" great="" has="" have="" id=":dh.5387" imperial="" in="" interests="" into="" it="" its="" labour="" lapses="" laws="" looking="" maintained="" marx="" need="" none="" not="" of="" one="" only="" or="" out="" over="" own="" party="" perhaps="" phases.="" pointed="" preference="" production="" proves="" put="" recent="" reflection="" role="menuitem" scales="" self-interest="" silence="" singular="" socialists="" sole="" span="" style="background: yellow;" tabindex="-1" tempted="" that="" the="" them="" thinking="" this="" thought="" through="" to="" upon="" value="" various="" west-europe="" working="" would="">appropriately-> studied by analysing west-European economy after the first decade of our centur3^ Apart from the fact that west-Europe until recently decided the destiny of more than half of the human race and was consequently the main determinant in affairs of capitalism, it has, during this period, had the strength to involve the whole world in two major Avars. In the study of west- European economy, Ave Avill be concerned Avith economic facts, as the thoughts and motives of men, except in so far as they are of economic consequence, Avill be studied in another connection. The main source of Avest-European economic movement m this period has lain in the extremely heaA'y capitalisation of industry and in the fact of multiplying capitalisms Avithin a territorially blocked imperialism. The capitalisation of Avest-European in- dustr}^ had, until the first decade of our century, proceeded on the basis of CA^er-available large chunks of colonial masses and their territories; it needed an expanding AA’’orld on Avhich to operate. The source of such an expansion, is noAv completely blocked. 198 ECONOMICS AFTER MARX There are no more new worlds whose colonial masses can act as a dynamic to west-European capitalisation. On the contrary, a kind of diminishing returns has begun to operate in the available spheres because of the increasing poverty of colonial masses as well as their obstruction and opposition. All this has produced a chronic condition in west-European capitalisation; not only has industry reached the summit of its capacity and can no longer expand but it cannot make use of whatever capacity it has already reached. The use of productive capacity fell in the five years of the 1929 depression to nearly three-fourths and, in certain indus- tries, it was as low as fifty per cent. Even in the five years immediately preceding the 1939 war, Britain and France could not make full use of their productive capacities. This downward trend in the use of productive capacity was accompanied by downward trends in world trade and employment.* West-European capi- talism has thus been faced by three kinds of insecurities to its existence; insecurity due to colonial poverty and obstruction, insecurity of internal disorders and insecurity as a result of competition within its own ranks and from extra-European lands. Due perhaps to a doom that will not release^ it from its coils, west-Europe has been wholly unable to meet, except in a hand- yo-mouth fashion, the insecurity of colonial poverty and obstruc- tion that most threatens its existence. Out of fear and a kind of obsessed thinking, its conscious talk has been largely influenced by the internal conflict bet^veen capital and labour. In actual practice, however, and so far as vital consequences are concerned, the insecurity that has moved west-European capitalism in its entire being is the competition within its own ranks. Twice in the course of a generation, it has sought to master this insecurity by wanting to reduce its members in war. The downward trend in productive capacity, world-trade and unemployment has been followed by the upward trend in arms-industries and war. * At the peak of the 1929-33 depressions, nearly 10 per cent of the British and nearly 17 per cent of the German populations were the unemployed and their dependents. -At the time, world trade also fell to about half its pre-depression size. 199 FRAGMENTS OF A WORLD MIND Back of the two wars in this period, in so far as economic issues are involved, is the clash of productive capacities, the fact that the productive capacity of one capitalist structure cannot be fully used until that of another is laid low. This clash is overlaid by a number of cultural issues and men might for all kinds of reasons ranging from narrow interests to democratic welfare, and even whole nations, get dragged into the war as a measure of national freedom. All these reasons are perhaps important in the very long run; some are even economically important and we will presently consider them in their bearing on west-Europe. But both as to economic origin and consequences, the wars of tliis period are predominantly wars of productive capacities. The biggest economic dissimilarity in the two wars lies in the fact that the 1914 world-war was almost wholly of west-European origin and making, while the 1939 war is only slightly more of a west-European character than it is of Pacific set-up. Whatever else this might denote, it unmistakably shows that the spheres of economic vitality and arising disorders are shifting and that, comparatively speaking, west-Europe is stepping back in histor}^ This steppinf' back is not occasioned by the destruction caused in the two wars. The direct destruction caused to a powerful country by war is seldom such that it cannot be made good by replacements. Rarely do the killings, however large they may be, outnumber the births, so that a war produces little effect on the numerical strength of west-European populations except with regard to the ratios between the age-groups. In like manner, the west-European productive capacity, whatever be the extent of destruction b)'^ land, sea and air, is continually renewed and even expanded in the midst of war, so that the end of a war finds a west-European power at a slightly higher productive level in certain directions than at the beginning. It is possible that the 1939 war, before it has ended, will have caused vast destruction; even so, unless they fight it out to the last factories, the productive capacity of west-European capitalisms will not have been appreciably reduced. Not war-destruction. but post-war incapacities reduce a people’s strength. The morale of 200 ECOXOMICS AFTER JfARX the peoples, however, is quite another question. There is no saying when a people might fade out of histoiy as a result of repeated wars; the German example of a beaten people coming back soon to war-like vitality makes such calculations extremely hazardous. It might be said with caution that repeated and long wars may at some stage turn a people from the zest of this life to the bliss of the hereafter. Ne%-ertheless, it is safe to treat the factor of people’s morale as an unknown variable. West-Europe is stepping back in histor}' as a result not of the destruction but of the shifts caused by war. The necessities of war cause such a disturbance in the ratios of the productive capacities, and their use, of the rvorld’s Great Powers that conti- nents and hemispheres gain and lose at each other’s expense. The end of the 1939 war will probably have achieved a greater disturbance than the 1914 war did.* Impelled by the urge to ♦ Of the world’s seven Great Powers, at the beginning' of the 1914 war, the ratio in favour of Europe was 5 : 2, Of the five European powers, the three west-European lands, England, Germany and France, were, in view of their developed economies and pro- ductive capacities, genuinely Great Porvers, while, of the two east-Europcan powers, Czarist Russia fell something short of a Great Power and the Austrian Empire was only nominally so. The end of the 1914 war saw no visible alteration in the world ratio, except that the nominally great role of A.ustria was taken up by Italy while Russia started making strides towards being a genuine Great Power. But back of this seeming stability in the world ratio, a great change had taken place. The two c.\'tra-European powers, U.S.A. and Japan, were so rapidly e.xpanding their productive capacities and influence that one of them was preparing to be the world’s greatest power while the other was amassing quite handsome chunks of power. At the beginning of the 1939 war, the ratio of world powers was nominally maintained, as before, at 5: 2 in favour of Europe, although real strength could best be measured by the ratio 3 : 2. The progress of the 1939 war has already seen Italy knocked down so badly that she may not again find it possible to strut about in peace-time as a Great Power on pretence. France is, in view of her defeat and other reasons, unlikely to regain her productive, or world-power position. Whatever may be the outcome of this war and whatever shifts may yet take place, Europe will have, with the most favourable ending, two Great Powers against two of the rest of the world. If Soviet Russia is to be one of these powers, her inter- vention in world affairs may continue in the political sphere, but is hardly likely, at least for some time, to spread over to foreign trade and investments. That leaves just one Great Power for the whole of Europe, whose productive capacity is relevant to the future of capitalism. Whichever this power may be, it will not only have defeated its other west-Europcan competitors in war but will take care to see, at the end of tiie war, that not alone the militarj’ possibilities but more so the industrial possibilities of its defeated foes arc 201 FRAGMENTS OF A WORLD MIND eliminate the insecurity of each other’s competition, west- European capitalisms achieve through their wars a far greater measure of insecurity. The increasing insecurities of colonial poverty and obstruction, of competition from extra-European capitalisms and, perhaps also, of internal disorders are causing west-European capitalisms through their various wars to step back in the affairs of man. The west-European populations have lost their former rate of increase. Some are constant, while others have a very slow increase and all are showing unmistakable tendencies towards great reduction b}' the end of the century. A reduction in population, however, does not necessarily imply a reduction in its capacity to dominate over colonial economies or to wage war. destroyed, at least considerably curtailed. What this may mean to Europe’s share in world trade is not difficult to foresee. Although competing with each other, west-European capiatlisms, in their clustering, were able to dominate world-trade. Europe took over 51 per cent of world trade. The three west-European powers, England, Germany and France, took over 35 per cent of world trade. West-Europe, before the 1939 war, was undoubtedly the economic centre and, therefore, also the military and political centre of the world. West-Europe has irretrievably lost this position. This is so, not only because one west-European power has already lost its productive position and one more must follow suit, but also because the American hemisphere is coming up. The productive capacity of the U.S.A. has gone on expanding ev'en in the midst of war, as illustrated by its fantastic aircraft production and Henry Kaiser’s a ship a day programme. This expanded productive capacity is already manoeuvering for a corresponding position in the world’s trade, air traffic, oil and other arrangements. Furthermore, U.S. economy has now used up its internal djmamic and must have recourse to an expanded world-trade. The pre-war ratio in world-trade between Europe and the Americas that stood at 51 per cent to 23 per cent in favour of Europe is likely in the post-war period to be reversed in America's favour, though perhaps not immediately to the same extent. At the same time, the position of Asia in world economy might perhaps improve slightly. K Japan loses the war, the legacv of her productive capacity will to a considerable extent be taken over by China and, so, in any case, there will be one great power in Asia. A number of other economic and political movements are maturing, whose course will to a large extent determine Asiatic development. The pre-war share of Asia in world-trade was around 14 per cent and, whether it greatly improves or not, depends very much on extra-economic and unknown considerations. What these great continental drifts in world economy may mean to the future of capitalism will in some measure be considered else- where. -Before we enquire into their significance, let us be_ aware of their existence. Suffice it here to say, therefore, that great continental drifts in world economy are taking place. 202 ECONOMICS AFTER MARX What a population may lose in numbers, it may gain in technique. Actually, however, it is not so in view of the fact that the technique of extra-European free economies is quite as advanced, if not more, and, furthermore cultural and scientific stagnation does under capitalist conditions seem to go with a constant or declining population. The exact connection behveen cultural stagnation and a declining population is difficult to determine, except in so far as capitalism, because of a falling birth-rate, is denied a very vital internal dynamic, which, in a variety of ways, also causes it to lose its control over external dynamics.* West-European inventiveness is also on the decline. With the- rapidly increasing importance of electrical engineering and the internal combustion engine, west-Europe is slipping back from the unquestioned leadership in applied sciences which it held in the age of steam and steel. The German effort at substitute and synthetic industries is indeed a brave attempt at recovering by technique what is not naturally available ; it is valuable for a closed economy but can hardly determine the world’s economic career. * West-Europe nearly trebled itself during the 19th century, exclusive of the paupers who went to the U.S..^.; Britain quadrupled her population; Germany trebled herself; France more than doubled herself. These vast increases in population were helpful to west-European capitalisms to tide over their industrial crises, as they offered enlarged markets and also supplied man-power for heae-j- capitalisation. France’s population has remained cons- tant for over two decades now. The failure of Germany’s deliberate effort to reverse population trends indicates that statistical calculations putting Britain’s population at around 25 millions in place of the present 45 millions and Germany’s at 35 millions by the end of the 20th centurj- may not prove entirely unfounded. There seems to be a great deal of truth in a British novelist’s suggestion made about the imagined Forsyte family that the birth- rate under capitalist conditions corresponds to the rate of interest. The falling rate of interest is threatening to become negative and it seems hardly possible to check the accomjianying decline in population. This reduction in population, however, dees not by itself imply a reduction in west-Europe's economic power against the colonial masses, .^s it is, in terms of the horse- power used, the German population is greatly in excess of India’s and so is Britain’s. Horse-power is a great determinant in existing forms of eco- nomic and political power. Nevertheless, one has to beware of the concen- tration of horse-power in the British or German style, for concentrated horse-power is a reason among others of population decline and so forth. If the age that is passing belonged to concentrated horse-power, the age that is coming will belong to diffused, perhaps increased, horse-power. 203 FRAGMENTS OF A WORLD MIND It is more in the nature of a heroic effort to delay as far as possible west-Europe’s appointment with destiny.* Colonial poverty and obstruction, more than any other factor, are forcing a contracting rigidity into west-European economy. From Peking to Kahira and beyond, over Calcutta and Bombay, nationalism, at least with regard to consumption goods, is becoming the dominant spring of action. Except some small and semi-fashionable sections of city-dwellers, colonial masses show greater interest in where their goods are made than in questions of quality and price. Such an attitude is likely to grow and ramify with the passage of time and its effect on west-European economy can already be seen in the unlifting depression that ,has set upon Lancashire and Lyons. At the same time, colonial obstruction has been unable to produce any appreciable effect on west-European investments and production goods industries.' With the exception of Mexico where the British owned Eagle Oil Company was confiscated, such attempts made elsewhere in this period, as for instance in Iran, have come to naught. Nor have any industries for the making of machines and machine-tools been set up in the colonies, that may reduce the use of west- European capacity in production goods. While colonial obstruc- tion, therefore, has great effect on west-European industries of consumers’ goods, it has little appreciable effect on producers’ goods industries.f * Whether the accoustic torpedoes, radio-directed bombs and such like of west-Europe’s war machine are indicative of continuing^ scientific vigour or are the achievements of an old craft is difficult to tell. Perhaps Europe may yet take the lead in the sciences of small-unit horse-power and low- wattage electricity. As it is, U.S.A. was alreadj’' before the war the leading country in industries of electrical engineering and the new science of electro- nics seems to be making great headway there. As the Asiatic countries are not burdened with the heavy capitalisation of an old technique, there seems to be no reason why Asian scientists should not take the lead in the new sciences of dispersed technics of electronics, plastics and so forth. .They have, however, not yet shown adequate scientific vigour and are dominated by the urge to ape European technics of the industrial sciences. All this however should not in any way obscure the outstanding fact that west- Europe is still the leader in the highest branch of science, that of mathematical physics. fA colonial population can determine the origin of consumers’ goods even while it may be politically enslaved, but it cannot do that with regard 204 ECONOMICS AFTER MARX Much more than their deliberate obstruction, the increasing povertj' of colonial masses is causing rigidit}' and contraction in west-European economy. Through successive repetitions of the town-village relationship, over decades in some areas and over a century and more in certain others, colonial masses are no longer able to act as adequate life-givers to capitalist economies. They may yet delay west-Europe’s final stepping back in world affairs by their replacements of requirements for railways, public works and consumers' goods industries, but these requirements are showing a tendency to contract. Unless prevailing economic trends are reversed and that does not seem very likely, the increasing poverty of colonial masses will be the greatest single factor towards the undoing of west-European economy. Continental shifts in the use of productive capacity, tenden- cies to declining population and to loss of inventive vigour and colonial poverty and obstruction are relegating west-European economy to a back-seat in the affairs of men. Let us now see if the purposive activity of west-Europeans is such as may stem their relegation to a back-seat. We will be concerned here with that aspect of purposive activity which produces tangible economic results; questions relating to motives, secondary aims, moral worth, errors and of what ought to be done will be discussed when we take up the general problem of history. The purposive activity of west-Europeans with regard to their greatest insecurity has tended, with the increase in colonial to producers’ goods, as the capitalisation under existing technics is lieavy and the market is almost entirely confined to a foreign government and native capitalists so that it is influenced more by considerations of risks and prices and non-national interests than by national sentiment or interest. The repair and loco shops of India, for instance, have, in spite of thirty years’ talk, remained assembly and repair shops nor arc they likely to become effective manufacturing centres for locomotives and automobiles. However, the economic movement in producers’ goods industries begins when political movements have matured into success and, therefore, this is hardly the place to predict as to iiow soon or how late colonial obstruction may start affecting the west-European industries in producers' goods. Incidentally, the Mexican confiscation with some compensation to American and British oil companies, although the result largely of Mexico's own national vigour, was partly facilitated by the attitude of certain influential interests in U.S.A. 205 FRAGMENTS OF A WORLD MIND poverty and obstruction, to be more political than economic. This’ tendency is likely to grow, not so much because colonial obstruction will become increasingly active, but, more so, because the problems of colonial poverty are too baffling to admit of an economic solution by west-Europeans. Events no longer wait upon capitalist activity in the colonies and it has very often to go counter to them, so that it is almost always left behind. West- European capitalisms are frightened of the development of cousin- capitalisms in the colonies and they have even less vigour to work out a new system of techm'cs that may bring, wealth to colonial masses and impetus to their own economies. Retention, not development, is become the colonial key action of west-Europeans. With each repetition of the town-village relationship, the retainable volume will lessen and west-European capitalisms will shrink with the shrinking of colonial economies.* * Recent west-European. activitj- in the colonies has been of little economic consequence. The recent expenditure on canals, for instance, in Sind, Rajputana and the Punjab, although big in its own way, has in no way given a new dj-namic either to Indian or to British economy. If there is any increased agricultural production, it is either just sufficient to cover the canal rates, that is, the interest and profits on government-owned canal capital, or it flows into tlie pockets of a verj- small section of big landowners wdthout further productive use. At the same time, west-European actmtj* in the colonies is assuming more and more a luxurj’ character, as, for instance, the Bombay Backbay Reclamation, the new HowTah Bridge, the Tanganyika Hunting Preserves, the Kenya Highlands and so forth. These may make life more pleasant and beautiful for the west-Europeans and a section of the native rich; they may even give a little retentive support to the west- European engineering industries; but they are absolutely powerless to revive capitalist or colonial economies. There is no likelihood of west-European economic activity acquiring a different character. Recent trends indicate that the west-European drift towards public works, transport and what is now becoming known as agricultural mechanisation will continue. Whatever their value as political or propagandist expedients, these measures of road- making, canal-making, electrified agriculture and the like cannot revive colonial economies nor can they assist capitalist economies beyond making a small demand on the engineering industries. Until the internal relationships of colonial agriculture, among landless labour, poor_ peasantrj* and_ big land- owners are radically altered and, what is more important, until colonial villages can undertake certain co-operative activities without much capital expenditure and can also xeinvigorate themselves by some new tj'pe of small- unit technics, there is no hope for colonial economies. All_ this is beyond the reach of a foreign authority. There has indeed been some straj' talk of a vigorous colonial policy, as, for instance, when a Secretarv of the British Federation of Industries, speaking at a meeting of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, proposed the development ot 206 ECONOMICS AFTER IIARX West-European political activity- in the colonies is simple. If colonial poverty is an insoluble problem, colonial obstruction is not quite that. By virtue of their political power, west- Europeans have to date been able to prevent a sudden cessation of the colonial dynamic through the revolutionar)' action of colonial masses. They have also tried to appease colonial obstruction to the extent that is possible without danger to their own economies. ^^^hen therefore, west European political activitv in the colonies is not based on repression, it is infonned by the tactics of investi- gating commissions, enquiry committees, reports and piece-meal reforms. This is so not only when conser\'atives are in office, but also when popular front governments, such as those in France and Spain to which Socialists and Marxian communists were party, held office. Nor is this condition likely to change. The liberal conscience of west-Europe, whatever its moral worth, is too uninformed economically to be able to direct the future of capitalism. Its solution to let the colonies develop themselves in freedom and to depend on their goodwill for such dynamic as they may choose to give has never been worked out in its economic details and, even if it were, there is no guarantee that it would Africa and other colonies at a negative rate of interest. In the first place, such talk is more an adventure in thought than a working policy, for west- European capitalisms will far sooner battle against the inevitable than accept such a vigorous policy- full of grave and unknown risks ; in the second place, it shows that even the most fore-sighted of wcst-Europcan economists can only think of colonial development on the basis of old technics and, therefore, on the basis of diminishing capital. West-European capitalism, therefore, is likely to continue fighting a rearguard action on the colonial front ; even more in the economic than in the political sphere, must it forego all positive ideas and stick to the negative policy of non-liquidation. It can at best trj' to prevent the deterioration of the colonial dynamic to the extent that is possible by the employment of political methods. This will be so, whether conservatives are in office or communists or any other variety between these trvo extremes. Marxism has no solution for the heasT capitalisation of west-European industrj'. Its ready-made answers that, with the socialisation of industry, everything will be all right, must appear strikingly irresponsible not only to the owners and managers of wcst-Europcan industiy- but also to imperial labour with its sub-conscious insight into the need for colonial annexes. That is why Marxism has so far proved unacceptable to west- Europeans and their working class and, should it under some stress capture power, it must, with its present understanding of the class-struggle and technics, stick to the economic policy- of colonial non-liquidation or, else, if it chose to fulfil its loosely held ideals, send wcst-Europcan economy hurtling along the path of relegation, of low production and unemployment. 207 FRAGMENTS OF A WORLD MIND prove acceptable to west-European governments* Unless, therefore, some severe stress occurs as a result either of successful colonial obstruction or of great continental shifts in the ratios of . productive capacit}--, west-European political activity in the colonies will continue to be based on the policy of retention. In the midst of slirinking economies, this political policj'^ to retain whatever is possible can only mean the attempt to stabilise colonial masses into the lowest caste of capitalism much in the same manner in which Hindus of a disreputable period stabilised one of their own limbs into the caste of untouchables. With regard to the insecurity presented by the clash of productive capacities, west-European purposive activity has been able to evolve nothing be}'ond international understandings on technical processes and certain quotas of production and trade. Such understandings open or secret are arrived at among the capitalists of deciding nations and they have operated in spheres like oil, chemicals and sugar. While they last, they are helpful in removing various sources of friction among different capitalisms but they are wholly unable to prevent war. As, however, west-Europeans have no economic remedy other than this against war, these international understandings, when they are set up once again, are likely to cover extensive spheres such as foreign exchange and currenc3L They will undoubtedly help in delaying another outbreak of open hostilities among nations, not only because of the wide tie-up they will introduce among important national economies but more so because of the lessened competition due to the post-war destruction of a few substantial economies. Nevertheless, these understandings can hardly prove enduring, as they will be strained, on the one hand, by the diminishing yield of colonial dynamic and, on the other, by the pressure of continental shifts on their stable systems of quotas of * Incidental!}', this liberal conscience of freedom and justice is not to be confused with west-European communism. On account of its mistaken understanding of the world struggle, west-European communism, when it is not irritating its own nationals, is busy exasperating the colonial masses whose struggles it chooses to look upon as the e.xpression of bourgeois and petit-bourgeois interests. It is thus ineffective and, to the extent that, it befogs men’s minds, somewhat harmful. 208 ECONOMICS AFTER MARX production and foreign trade. They can delay war, but they cannot prevent it. It is even possible that the var that comes after' the operation of these very loose international agreements on production, currency and trade may be genuinely deadly. Nevertheless, world capitalisms must pursue this policj’ of inter- national understandings, for they have no other economic preventive against war. * * * * The U.S. and Hindustan are graduating themselves into the two polarities of the rest of our world. If the U.S. has become the leader of the capitalist system, what happens there might yet deflect the sequel being worked out in west-Europe ; so is Hindustan become the chief arena for the shaping of an alternative economy.* The U.S. productive capacity is higher than that of the three west-European lands, Germany, France and Britain put together. Its productive capacity in mining and manufacturing, and that is what matters in the international relationships of world economy, is higher than that of the whole of Europe. But, with this economic expansion, the U.S. has fully exhausted its internal dynamic and used up such a dynamic as it could get- from the other countries of the American hemisphere. There is now little question of further expansion ; the U.S. is faced with the problem of preventing a set-back into lower levels of production.f But * The study of west-European economics has disclosed the main direc- tions in which the capitalist system is developing, among which is the shift in favour of the North American continent. 'Wc have now to find out if this shift alters or modifies any of the main directions. There is not much need for our purposes to study in detail the remaining major capi- talism, that of Japan, as it is developing more or less along west-Europcan lines, only that the caste-stratification is easier and tlie relegation slower. With respect to the two-thirds of the human race, the colonial adjunct of the capitalist system, our study of Hindustan will apply more or less to Oiina, .to practically the whole of Asia, to Africa, to the broad masses in the South and Central American Republics. Hindustan has become so to say a mirror to these other economics. The chief among the colonial adjuncts has come to such a point of saturation that it reveals the many facets of colonial economy better than any other. t The enormous production of the U.S. A., as reflected in its ycnrly national income, which, with round Rs. 1,400 per head in a population of 13 crores, works out at one and three-fourths of the total in the three west- European lands, Britain, France and Germany, with an average of Rs. 750 14 209 FRAGMENTS OF A WORU) MIND per head in a population of 16 crores. It may be suggested that a higher cost of living and the greater range of ser\'ices in the U.SA. vitiates these figures and tlie productive capacity of the country should be assessed on firmer grounds. _ Of tlie world’s entire primary produce in 1937, Europe shared- 21 billion dollars, Europe including the U.S-S.R. shared 28 billion dollars, while North America comprising U.S. and Canada shared 15 billion dollars. These figures, however, do not give an adequate idea, as they are made up largely of food and other agricultural products. Confining oupelves to non-agricultural products, we find that Europe in- cluding Russia produced 39 per cent, Europe excluding Russia produced 30 per cent, while North America shared 40 per cent of the world’s total. These non-agricultural products used in industry and manufacture give a true idea of the U.S. productive capacity, which is thus shown to outstrip that of the whole of Europe including Russia. That the Canadian productive capacity is here merged in that of the United States does not introduce a new factor, as it is comparatively small and is more or less an annexe of the U.S. Further evidence of the preponderance of U.S. productive capacity in world economy can be had from certain figures of production in 1937 ; it may be remembered that this year was particularlj- favourable to Europe in view of its hectic rearmament. Europe minus Russia Europe plus Russia North America Raw Material .. 24% 34% 35% Fuels & Power .. 30% 38% 47% Metals .. 24% 36% 34% It is well known that the U.S. produced over 65 per cent of the world’s petroleum in 1929 and has not allowed the ratio to fall very much lower; at one time, it produced nearly 80 per cent of the world’s automobiles; its production of steel and cotton was almost half of the world’s. The 1939 war must have further expanded U.S. productive capacitj" U.S. leadership in world economy must now be without parallel. If U.S. productive capacitj- has on the one hand reached such amazing heights, it has, on the other, arrived at its peaks from where the downward passage is already showing. On the basis of 1929 being 100, the North American mining and manufacturing position had deteriorated to 93 in 1937 and 73 in 1938, automobiles had sunk to 89 and 4^, while the index of producers’ investment goods fell to 87 in 1939 and 54 in 1938. The U.S. has exhausted its internal dynamic. The expansion in rail-roads and allied industries, in internal roads and the automobile industry appeap to have reached its limits; the 1929 production of 50 lakhs automobiles in a world total of 63 lakhs is an all-time record. Even the production of electricity can only be extended more with a view to tide over a depression than to satisfy real needs of expansion. There is also not much scope for expansion in the internal consumption of food or cloth. It may be remembered ftat the U.S. has used up whatever d>-namic it could get from the South American Republics without going too far in the vi-ay of west-European empire-colony relationshios. What stares U.S. in the face is that, despite almost ten years between 1929 and 1938 of increased population and scientific improvements, its production-index of capital goo^ fell to 87 while that of Europe rose to 111 It would appear that the leader of capitalist economies is fated even more thdh the other members to suffer speedy contraction and relegation. When the 1939 war has ended, some of the west-European capitalisms at any rate will have a lot of internal reconstruction to put through while the U.S. will 210 ECONOMICS AFTER MARX the world is limited and imperialism is territorially blocked. Increasing jwverty in the colonies is causing a contraction in such capitalist economies as have so far been using them up. The leader of all capitalist economies will thus have to discover fairly soon whether it can enlarge an external dynamic in the process of using it to its own advantage. Is it at all possible to shunt world-trade from its empire-colony rails to a new road which leads to expansion in the production equipment and consumption of all trading countries? U.S. economy will have to tackle this question, not for the good of the world, not for the good of the colonies, but for its own survival and for full use of its own productive capacity. If there is no answer to this question, U.S. capitalism must suffer the same tendencies to relegation and to transformation of class into caste, which we detected in west- European capitalisms. We have therefore to find if there is any additional strength in U.S. capitalism, which marks it off from' its west-European cousins. Before we do so, let us broadly go over the entire scope of dangers to which we have found world economy to be subject. The severest danger to world economy consists in the productive equipment of two-thirds of the human race. Denied the advantages of science and improving technics, this equipment has been knuckling under the weight of foreign capitalisms and labour done with its help is getting increasingly barren of yield. 5000 crores of labour-hours under this equipment are of equal have no such additional incentives in repairing war-destruction. There may be few years of animated demand, in consumption and in the produce of limited new industries. The United States will thus be wholly unable to ‘ make use of its expanded productive capacity unless it chooses to utilise for post-war world-trade the shifts caused in mid-war. Herein lies a reason for the decay of U.S. isolationism stronger than any articles of faith. The U.S. productive capacity demands involvement in world-trade. It demands a world in which trade shall freclj' grow. Aside from the question of what a largely self-sufficient economy can excliange for its produce, the United States will have a still greater menace in the poverty and obstruction of two-thirds of the human race. If colonial poverty is primarily causing the relegation of west-European capitalism, it also re- mains to cause a lower use of the U.S. productive capacity. The most outstanding question, for capitalist survival, therefore, is whether the leader of capitalist economies will be able to face any better than west- European capitalisms the issue of cojonial poverty. 211 FRAGMENTS OF A WORLD MIND money-yield to 250 crore labour-hours in free capitalist economies. This great unbalance in the productive equipment of the human race goes with the equally great unbalance in its political and armed power. There are three major aspects of this unbalance. One aspect is whether the world’s productive equipment at all its geographical points could be brought to the efficiency of yield that has been attained at any favoured point. If that were not possible, can tlie productive equipment of the retarded nations be in the alternative so remodelled as to give an average per- worker yield ,of the world’s production? These t^vo aspects, however, relate essentially to the creative activity of the retarded peoples themselves and the existing capitalisms can have nothing to do with them except in so far as to support the activit}' when necessar}A But there is a third aspect with which the continuance of the existing capitalisms is bound up. This is the aspect of the decreasing yield of colonial labour-hours in a world where no new ones can be annexed and those that have been are jockeying to get into their own. This decreasing yield of the retarded peoples is depressing the highl}' mechanised industries of the free economies. Time there was when this mechanisation proceeded triumphantly with each new annexation, but the reverse process, going on all the time, is now become irresistible ; larger and larger masses of men are getting thrown on the rubble of the outermost rings of the colonial circle. These men just do not exist either as market for foreign manufactures or as field of investment for foreign capital. To raise their consumption has always been a o moral and a human need, it has now become an economic need of the free capitalist economies. This can only be done by improving the productive equipment of the retarded peoples and by so reshaping their internal distribution that larger masses may get a share at least of the increased production. We have found the west-European capitalisms wholly unable to face this issue of the productive and distributive equipment of the retarded peoples and the Japanese capitalism has also no solution except the short expedient of cheap-selling goods. The closed Russian economy is not yet concerned in an economic way with this world issue. It will now be' our task to find out how far, if at all, the leading 212. ECONOJriCS AFTER MARX capitalism of the U.S.A. may give a new twist to this paramount issue of world economy and, in what manner, the retarded peoples themselves, as mirrored in Hindustan, may attempt to refashion their productive and distributive equipment. Second only to this danger of retarded equipment in two- thirds of the world is the danger of prevailing technics. Heary and large-unit technics have been the mode of a world in v.'hich application of science to industry' is the exclusive privilege of a few powerful nations. These same technics cannot be spread throughout the world without being in some measure an act of simple displacement. If Hindustan and China are to build ship- y'ards and make turbines and textile machinery of their own, they' will no doubt add to their own wealth and, in the process, may' add somewhat to the wealth of the world but will also take away considerably from the productivity' of the Japanese and British capitalisms that have so far supplied these needs for them. This, however, is a question which we may set down as insoluble in any foreseeable human future ; no free nation would ever reduce its own wealth in order that another’s may not be reduced nor would all the nations of the world agree to share equally in the fruits of human toil. Simple displacement in the application of prevailing technics to economy and, with it, displacements in the wealth of nations are therefore bound to occur. The more serious aspect of the danger of prevailing technics lies elsewhere. It consists in the unequal application of science and mass-production to man’s various demands. If it were possible to produce unlimited quantities of all ty'pes of goods, this danger would not exist. But that is impossible in any economy of any age or type. Even for such first demands as bread and milk, man has not yet found the means for their free municipal supply'. Perhaps in a very intelligently managed economy under social ownership, he may make of bread and milk. free supplies as of water, although in fixed equal quotas, but that too will take a very' long time to come. The economy as a whole, whatever the ownership and management, must remain an economy' of scarcity and price, unless a benevolent God gives us again a Kamdhenu or 213 FRAGIIESTS OF A V,'02LD places U5 back in Adam's paradise. We cannot escape the price mechanism. In capitalist economies, this price mechanism coupled v.'ith the needs of ymr has made for a block-use of sdence, not an all-round use. Sdence and mass-production explore in any period a special bit of the territor}’ of men’s demands, this particular demand becomes most profitable to supply and productiTe cz-pzdty in this sphere is pushed into great expansion. This is the basis of heavy mechanism, large-imit technics and mass-production. The Sodet econom}' of Russia has indeed eliminated the profit motive, but has taken over the technical basis of capitah'sm, its block-use of sdence, its lop-sided large-unit technics. The problem of teclmics is therefore independent of the form of ownership in an econom}* and must be tackled separateh*. Otherwise, it majv' make for specific industries, expanding and depressed by turn, for obstruction in changing oi'er to better processes and materials, for foreign exploitation, for chimerical expansion, for concentrated destruction in time of v/ar and, abo%-e all, for hopeless mal- distribution of sodal understanding and intel%ence and for an unequal distribution of wealth. An economy with large-imit technics and block-use of sdence cannot achieve balance. This problem of technics is not to be confused with the demand to return to a simple life with few wants. Nor is it to be taken as an advocac}' for simple spatial decentralisation, now becoming quite a fashionable idea, in which all that is done is to break up prevailing technics into its several processes and to specialise these in different factories over different areas. It is as little to be taken for a denial of the machine or, of mechanical and electncai power; it is not an advocacy of handicrafts. AH these aspects are diversioneiy* offshoots of the current problems of technics; the basic problem is not to cut down the use of mechamcal or electncai power but to make it available for production in the same small units in the manner it is today a^’ailable for consumption in pros- perous economies as light, ventilation or heating. This may increase the total wattage and horse-power in use, most certainly it would do so among the retarded peoples, and this power would be a kind of maid-of-all-work and, there would be corresponding 214 ECONOMICS AFTER MARX small-unit machines to process not one bit of an article but to produce the whole article. This •will require an almost new beginning in science, a kind of flexible small-unit technics. It cannot be achieved at once, nor does it toda}' seem at all possible in spheres such as those of turbine and automobile manufacture. But an economy must steadily aim to realise flexible technics wherever possible. Only so can an economy hope to achieve real and undepressing expansion and an equal distribution of wealth and social understanding. Only so can an economy acquire balance, in which man’s various demands are orchestrated in a harmony of all-round application of science. So ma5' perhaps culture and economy become joint partners in an enterprise of all-round and unhurried development in place of the order where culture is subject to an economy of piece-meal but fevered expansion. We have found privileged and imperialist west- Europe burdened too much with its own past of heavy mechanisa- tion to take up fle.xible technics and Soviet Russia does not seem inclined to experiment with any new patterns of science. It will be our task now to find out if the U.S. has any contribution to make in this direction, more particularly, if the retarded peoples can summon up enough understanding and courage to show a new way of technics. The third danger to world economy consists in private ownership and the corresponding forms of distribution. Critics of capitalism have fi.xed this danger in such well-known phrases as ‘the clash between forces of production and relations of production' or ‘the lag between production and purchasing-power' or consumption. Even those who reject the theoretical scaffolding of these phrases, namely, the labour theory of value and the theory of surplus value, continue to talk of the main malady of capitalism, as the clash between expansive production and con- tractive consumption. Actually, however, there is no reason why there should be contracting consumption even in a society where a considerable part of the annual wealth is usurped by the small class of capitalists and landowners. Such a differentiation of consumption will take place that luxury goods play an unduly large 215 fragments of a world mind part m the economy. The purchasing power of wage-earners and little men is restricted, not so of the owners, so that there will be a greater consumption of luxury goods and no necessary lag between production and consumption. It is, of course, possible that not all the earnings of capita! are consumed and a large part of these are saved. These savings may be larger than what is possible to invest in further production. In such a case, there will be a falling-off in consumption. But, then, this will be under- investment or the inability of production to expand. Actually, this is how the apologists of capitalism, with the reason or unreason of its traditional critics, are styling the trade cycles and slumps. They maintain that, during periods when an old demand exhausts itself, a scientific impulse runs out and no major inventions take place, production cannot absorb savings. In other words, the forces of production are weakened. What thus started as the theory of low purchasing-power and contracting consump- tion in the hands of the traditional critics of capitalism has now made its full circle as the theory of under-investment and weakened forces of production in the hands of its upholders. This is the fate of all theories which contain a partial truth. For a time, they appear so true and brilliant, and then they are shown to be too wide a generalization. We know the origin of these errors and how wrong it is to think of production, consumption and savings in abstract or as entities of an isolated capitalist economy. We have found them to be highly complex categories of a duality consisting of an inner capitalist circle and an outer colonial circle. The basis of capitalist development has lain in the clash between expanding equipment of the free economies and contracting equipment of the annexed economies, between imperial production and colonial production,* *We must continue to avoid all questions relating to the general theory of value. If, in earlier parts of this study, the term, value, has been used, it was more with a view to explain Marx’s econonne though . And where the conception of surplus value has been attempted to _oe se right, it has stood for nothing else but the source and extent of ^ploitatwr that takes place in a world of political and armed inequality, une ot tn< most prolific subjects of economic enquiry is value and its measurement But the results attained are hardly in keeping with the enormous laboui 216 ECONOMICS AFTER MARX As such, the dangerous consequences of capitalist ownership can- not be fixed in such abstract phrases as the clash between forces of production and forms of distribution. These dangers have to be viewed separately. The most important among these is the •level of consumption among two-thirds of the human race. It is a consequence of the productive and distributive equipment of the retarded peoples, which is itself a consequence of capitalist rule over the world. We may merely note it here as, one, the fact of colonial starvation and, two, the fact of blocked and falling consumption of quality goods of foreign manufacture. spent on the subject. All the current theories of value arc variations cither of the labour theory or of the supply and demand theory. No formula- tion helps us to understand life’s economic substance, for the formulation is rigid and eternal, while the substance is fluid and, historical. We have seen how Marx’s socially necessary labour-hour as the measurement of value is all upside down in view of the imperial-colonial inequality in the application of science. The only thing really worthwhile in this thcor>- is its ideal, its norm, that the labour-hour should be enabled to produce approximately equally, whether in Timbuctoo or in Sydney, and that it should be given appro.ximately equal consumption. In like manner, the supply and demand theory, also in its form of marginal units and preference- scales, deliberately ignores the forced conditions within which the narrow act 'of buying and selling takes place. This theory is perhaps pood enough as a principle of accounting and industrial management, but, as a mirror to value in changing economies based on changing forms of ownership and rule, it is hopelessly anaemic.. All this discussion has perhaps pro- ceeded from a question that docs not exist ; what 1s value is like asking what is God. This may be a good enough question for metaphysics, but, for economics, the proper question relates to the price-mechanism through which a set of historical conditions translates itself into money-expressions. We must therefore avoid this discussion on value and retrieve from its debris the only article of value, that labour-hour, whatever its land, should be enabled to produce approximately equally .and, whatever its form, should be assisted to consume approximately equally. For the rest, economics must study man as a producer under certain conditions and as a consumer under certain conditions. Our enquirj' has related to the conditions of capitalist development. We have studied capitalism as a process in time. This has yielded certain results both as to the past and. as to the current tendencies that run into the future, but more so is it important as a method of enquiry. It may be possible, and perhaps worthwhile, to erect a logic of theoretical economics based on this method and the results, but that would be a vast and independent undertaking. Such a logic w'ould presumably deal in detail with five entities, man in in’s economic dealings, productive equipment in its relative yield, world- relationships, political rule and economic ownership. Essentially these would be the two entities of labour and the productive equipment and they would act and react upon each other in the context of the three other entities. 217 FRAGMENTS OF A WORLD MIND When we confine our study to the distributive mechanism within the inner capitalist circle, recentmost development discloses an increasing emphasis on luxury consumption in contrast to the consumption of necessities. In the measure that capitalist economies are unable to expand or even to make full use of their available productive capacity, there take place unemployment, seasonal employment and price fluctuations that affect the wage- earners adversely. All this leads to under-consumption, both in quantity and quality, of the necessities of food, clothing and housing ; around-the-poverty-line consumption in the case of nearly twenty percent of west-European population. It is hardly likely that, so long as the profit-structure and the world-relationships of empire-colony production remain intact, any schemes of minimum wage and social security may offer an enduring solution of this vexed question. There is also a certain amount of voluntary foregoing of necessities in favour of fashion or enter- tainment, as in the case of the west-European girl who would deny herself a meal a day for a whole week so that she could get her dress laundered for the next ball. One can depend on capitalist civilization to keep up such expenditure. Essentially, however, the enormous earnings of capital in the highly-capitalised economies must partly spend themselves in luxury, as this is encouraged by the lack of new fields of investment and by tax-policies and also, because, in its absence, there would be a further fall in production and slumps would grow acuter. The structure of over-capitalised profits in the context of contracting economies turns luxury- expenditure almost into a kind of national virtue. There are, of course, various grades of luxury-expenditure as of the low expenditure on necessities, but we may broadly describe this dangerous feature of capitalist distribution as the under-consump- tion of necessities and the growth of luxury-consumption. But the distributive dangers of late-capitalism go deeper than the increased expenditure on luxury and the blocked expenditure on necessities. The enormous earnings of late-capitalism cannot be wholly reinvested nor spent, and the larger part of these must perforce remain idle. It must be remembered that these earnings 218 ECONOMICS AFTER 5IARX are the genii of a system by which the three west-European, U.S. and Japanese capitalisms meet almost wholly the world’s demand in machine-tools, machines, transport and power engines and in a considerable range of manufactures. There is thus a concentric force that pushes the world’s capitalist profits into these centres. But there is now no pushing back of these as profit-yielding new investments or manufactures. We are already familiar with the main argument of this increasing exhaustion of the external dynamic and we will yet have to straighten out some tangles ; we will here confine ourselves to that aspect of the external dynamic which does not permit the reinvestment of its profits. Let us take one by one the fields of investment in the retarded economies. It would be a highly dangerous undertaking to equip retarded economies with the industry of machine-tools, for, whatever the initial investment, Western capitalisms may thereby choke the way to their own sales of machines and engines. Except under irresistible competitive and political pressure from a stronger cousin, no capitalism can ever want to sell machine-tools where it can sell their products, locomotives, textile-machines, turbines, printing-presses, autos, dynamos and so forth. It would be the turning of an annual demand into a twenty-yearly demand, if even that.* Likewise, imperial capital except of the U.S. has got so mixed up with the sale of manufactures to retarded economies that it would seriously depress itself if it chose to sell machines instead or invest in them ; this danger has got fixed into the well- known phrase of the clash between Birmingham and Lancashire. Only such machines have been installed in the retarded countries as followed a long and bitter fight or as were not competitive with manufactures. Imperial capital would have preferred to sell electricity rather than turbines, if it could somehow, on cables or elseway, ship the current with profit ; it prefers to sell continually the electrical accessories of bulbs, radios, refrigerators and the like to a limited clientele rather than risk supplying them with the * In the year 1942, of around 1000 per cent machine-tools e.xpansion, the U.S. produced less than 2000 million dollars worth of machine-tiols against a total machine production thirty to forty times as much. The U.S. machine-tools industry is likely to slump severely in the post-war period, for machine tools last 10 to 40 years. 219 FIGMENTS OF A WORLD MIND machines to manufacture these. Along the entire gamut of machine-tools, machines, engines and manufactures, there is an internal competition and imperial capital therefore exerts its utmost to retain its areas of consumer’s goods rather than seek investment in new fields of colonial production. This rearguard and fear-stricken policy of retention is further encouraged by the fact that major capitalisms including the U.S. have little capacity to absorb an increased produce from retarded economies. Their demand for food and raw materials is not capable of great expansion and such developments as increased food production in England and the U.S. quest in Arabia in pursuance of its oil-conservation policy are likely to cancel each other in their effects on world trade. Unless, therefore, the breath of freedom fructifies the science and technics of retarded economies so as to produce raw materials or quality goods, the problem of increasing their food and their primary produce remains an inter- nal question, without effect on world trade. To increase the food and cloth supply of two-thirds of mankind may be man’s greatest economic task, but world-capitalism must remain indifferent to it as long as it offers no commodities for international exchange nor return on investments. The colonial masses have interested imperial capital as low-wage producers of limited raw materials, as rate-payers on its transport and public utility installations, as consumers of its manufactures and all this range of interest provides no scope for new investments. World capitalism has come to a dead end where new investments in the retarded economies threaten to choke off the source ,of its profits. The greatest distributive danger of late-capitalism is thus the enormous accumulation of unproductive savings and the continued depression of the colonial equipment. Aside from the distributive dangers, late-capitalism continues the tradition of waste and deceit in production and, what is worse, deepens the element of chaos. As a principle we are already familiar with the industrial crisis and trade cycles that are as old as capitalism itself and we have also traced how the territorial blocking. of the external dynamic has thrown it into a condition 220 ECONOMICS AFTER MARX of general crisis. But, even, in this condition, there is no gradual decline, but general disorderliness and ups and downs Unable to find new profits in the industries of life’s staple substance, the methods of capitalist production lead themselves profitably to new industries of tenuous living on a mass scale. It is not for nothing that the industries that could still greatly expand in the decade before the 1939 war were those of films, radio, alcohol and low- price fashions. Air-travel and televised entertainment seem now to be on the list and, though’ various pep foods and vitamins might yet effect some improvement, the staple demand that capitalism seems yet able to tackle and mass-produce is that of pre-fabricated houses. This will probably have been capitalism’s last useful contribution, not to the world, but to its favoured peoples. Capitalism goes where it finds profits and this productive impulse must further exaggerate the importance of luxury-consumption, not alone of the high-income groups but also of the low-price mass-scale variety. In addition to this specific chaos of tenous production, the general chaos of the regulation of an entire economy by the blind motive of profit remains. This motive expands the supply of certain demands beyond supportable dimensions, there is a scramble to contract just as there was a scramble to expand, and the sensitiveness of markets assisted by highly speculative expectations produces serious ups and downs. A serious fall in the use of late-capitalism’s productive capa- city makes of war an almost irresistible temptation. When demand in producers’ goods and transport falls very much below the supply arrangements, there is a temptation to shunt to war; if steel, autos, electrical equipment and such like are not suffi- ciently purchasable for civilian use, their rate of consumption as tanks, jeeps, shots and shells can be feverishly fast. The insecurity emanating from the unemployed millions disappears for a time, the victor hopes for enlarged exports to retarded peoples at the expense of the defeated capitalisms and rationed consump- tion during the war serves to animate the post-war civilian demand just as it helps an imperial population to key up its war-effort to a total pitch. If the index of producers’ investment goods in a 221 FRAGMENTS OF A WORLD MIND major capitalism is falling too far low, an experience to which late-capitalism must be increasing!)' subject, and if it is elsewhere shooting up so high that armaments alone could have done this, the cunning of rulers has discovered no means other than -war and its preparations as the way out. The greatest danger of late- capitalist production to world economy is its general and special chaos and its escape-mechanism in war. It is surprising how late-capitalism with its surfeit of sawngs and the comparative lack of nev.' investment-fields can still preserve a handsomely positive rate of profits. Should not capital flow into the available fields of investment and increase earnings or bring down prices and expand production, although, in the process, the rate of profit may fall so low that the rate or interest reaches the zero or the near zero-level? Against this natural development are operating the forces of monopol)', such monopoly as is the result of concentrated production as well as that which depends on the political rule of one country' over another. The monopoly in production operates because of the huge amount of capital necessary' to start rival and risk}' enterprises in the industries of producers’ goods, because of government assistance and of the national and international understandings of capitalists in the same industry'. The monopoly in the foreign trade and invest- ments of subject peoples can operate either nakedly or through the. currency', tariff, purchase and other policies through which an imperial government can easily shut out inconvenient competitors. These monopolies, arising out of imperial rule as also out of heavy mechanisation, shut out rival capital, keep production low and prices high. Their aim is to maximise profits, while, if they had not e.xisted, there would be expanding production, particularly among retarded peoples, at levels of nominal rate of interest. In fact, interest has about ceased its productive fimction in the major capitalisms. It still continues its distributive function of making the rich richer or of maintaining a rentier class. But its produc- tive function is restricted to an expanding economy, when enterprises of old and new wants are continually added and interest serves as a regulator. In an over-capitahsed economy that can- 222 ECONOMICS AFTER MARX not further expand, interest is a deadweight and an obstruction to production. That the monopolies keep it up artificially prevents in particular the expansion of colonial equipment and does not allow late-capitalism to face its distributive dangers. But such an artificial maintaining of interest is bound to lead to a clash between capital that is being used and capital that is idle, capital that is tending towards extinction and capital that is artificially propped up to continue. This monopolistic maintaining of interest and profits as a productive factor in late-capitalist economies is thus a serious interference with normal development and the source and aggravation of the many dangers to which world economy is subjected. The dangers of private ownership in late-capitalism may now be enumerated as, in the sphere of colonial economies,* the fact of starvation, the fact of falling consumption of foreign quality goods, the fact of enforced depression of the productive equipment and, in the sphere of developed economies, the fact of under- consumption of necessities, the fact of growth of luxury- consumption, the fact of unproductive savings, the fact of chaotic and war-making production, the fact of monopolist continuance * The concepts, “retarded economies,” "colonial economies,” “outer circles,” on the one hand and “major capitalisms,” “imperial economies,” “capitalist economies,” on the other have been here used more or less synonymously. It might appear somewhat extravagant to lump together Hindustan, China, Iran, Sinhal, Misrc or Congo under one category, in view of their varying political status. But, on the deciding issue of capitalist development, their status is similar, that of a retarded, colonial equipment which acts as an external dynamic to the major capitalisms. Without a doubt, there are two main economic camps in the world today and the basis of the division lies in the use of science and technics and in the yield and fruits of the labour-hour. Such an economy as that of South Africa is obviously colonial, with this difference that there is a very' numerous middle class in the’ shape of the South African whites. The Australian economy, however, has slipped out of the colonial field, not because it is rapidly industrialising itself, but because the free application of science to its agriculture and sheep-rearing has enabled it to enter the world market with a raised status of the labour-hour. Nevertheless, it has certain mixed features, not the least important of which is its imperial- istic exclusion of new settlers from a land, almost twice as big as Hindustan with less than l/40th of its population, and a corresponding dependence on a stronger capitalism, that used to be .Britain but is now changing into the U.S. 223 FRAGMENTS OF A WORLD MIND of interest in an unexpansive economy. Some of these facts overlap each other and, in particular, the productive equipment of the retarded peoples. West-Europe has been found to be wholly unable to overcome any of these dangers with the result that its classes are being transformed into castes and its economies are being relegated. By the abolition of private ownership, Russia has eliminated such of these dangers as have arisen in the inner circle of late-capitalism but, by virtue of being a self- sufficient closed economy, has remained unconcerned with the outer circle of two-thirds of mankind. It will now be our task to find out how far the U.S., as the leader of late-capitalism, and Hindustan, as the mirror and leader of the retarded economies, are likely to overcome these dangers in a constructive way. Can the leader of late-capitalism assist in rewving the productive equipment of the retarded peoples? In one essential, it is differently placed from its west-European or Japanese cousins. While .these have acquired a peiA^ading interest in retarded eco- nomies so that they can sell their machines only at the expense of their manufactures and their machine-tools at the expense of their macliines, U.S. capitalism has no such burdensome past except to some extent in the American hemisphere. Its trade in manufactured goods with the retarded peoples of Asia and Africa does not pla}' a vital role in its economy. It is free to sell them machines and machine-tools. It is thus unfettered enough to transact such trade and investments with the retarded economies as would increase the yield of their labour-hour. This introduces a new factor in the fortunes of capitalism. The prospect is opened out of restoring, perhaps temporaril)’-, the imperial dynamic, which has ceased to expand with the enmeshing of the whole world and which has started contracting due to colonial poverty and obstruction. In making such sales and investments to retarded economies as they need and not as are forced on them by westrEuropean and Japanese capitalisms, U.S. economy can develop their productive capacity, can assist them , in producing a very much larger- volume of goods. There is thus a theoretical possibility that capitalism may yet be able to expand 224 ECONOMICS after MARX through re-equipping the colonial economies, where alone expan- sion is still possible. Against this theoretical possibility must be set the peculiarly self-sufficient character of U.S. economy, which distinguishes it from that of its west-European and Japanese cousins. The U.S. has much to give, but it can take very little. It is the leading producer in the world not only of producer’s goods and manu- factures but also of food and raw materials. The other capital- isms are great consumers of food and processors of raw materials extracted from retarded economies; they thus maintain the gigantic town-village relationship between themselves and tivo thirds of mankind. U.S. econom}"^ has worked out this relation- ship largely within its own frontiers, beaten it into a land of balance in the use of science, so that its great industrial production is matched by an equally great agricultural and mining production. The U.S. may be willing to sell machine-tools for the manufacture of locomotives or small dynamos and also it may be wanting to increase its export in radios or fountain-pens; in this quest, it would want an expansive economy in the retarded areas, but what would it talce in exchange, not food-crops, not fruit, not meat, not cotton, not iron, not petrol, no manufacture of mass-use, not any kind of the staple goods that are the bulk of world-trade. U.S. can give, but it cannot take; this hamstrings the leader of late- capitalism in its effort to shunt world-trade to the new rails of two-way expansion. If other capitalisms are unable to expand world economy for fear that this would hurt them, the leader of late-capitalism may find that, w'hile it had little to fear, its hopes were also ill-founded. It is, however, possible to exaggerate the inability of U.S. economy to take, as it appears to us in the immediate present. With an expanding equipment in the retarded areas, the furs of Sinkiang, the silks of China, the brocades of Hindustan may come into such mass-use of the U.S. population as to become articles of bulk-trade.* * It wouldn’t be such a fanciful thing if the U.S. handed out scrips to its citizens for travel and stay in those areas from which it would not otherwise receive payment. Such travciships could be granted on the close 225 15 FRAGMENTS OF A WORLD MIND It is also possible that the retarded peoples, through theit scientific ingenuit}’’ and collective effort, may yet produce new g’oods and raw materials to enliven world trade, but that can only come out of their free endeavour and no outside agency can awaken it. The leader of late-capitalism would, in addition, be unable to use to the full its capacity to re-equip the retarded economies. To U.S, has fallen the leadership of an economic system that has reached maturity and, as such, it would be unable to interfere too much with the existing arrangements. The west-European capi- talisms, ably supported and rivalled by the Japanese, have knit up the larger part of the retarded world into a political rule that guarantees the working out of the town-village relationship. The U.S. must accept these different imperialisms as so many agents of stabilitj' and, when it is not at war with one or the other, it must work in collaboration with them. There may be an under- current of hostile competition, there may at times be bitter clashes and wars may not al\\'a3's be avoidable, but, as a general measure, the U.S. must accept these imperialisms as stabilising agents in an otherwise uncertain and unforseeable world. The retarded peoples themselves may hold quite another view of what would really constitute a stable world, but the leader of late-capitalism would need an incalculable courage to experiment with a stability that is yet to emerge. Calculably, therefore, the U.S, would have to compromise with imperialistic trade policies and its supply of of secondarj' studies or marriage or some such general occasion applying to all citizens and the internal arrangements between the U.S. government and the investors and exporters would not be impossible to make. It is however doubtful if even the U.S. could summon up sufficient courage to do this for the mass of its citizens. Likelier it is that the U.S, would want to become monopolist, the collector of old treasures and the user of new luxuries of the wide world. That travelships or treasures would raise the U.S. so infamously above the rest of the world in luxury and in what is kmown as culture is a moral fact with which we are not here concerned. But, while we may think out ail the possible ways in which U.S. could receive payment from other economies, let us not forget that the debts and reparations owed by post-1919 Europe were defaulted, partly because Britain and Germany were not over-particular about their credit, hut more so because the U.S. had no use for their manufactures or raw materials. 226 , ECONOMICS AFTER MARX producer’s goods to retarded economies would be limited. In addition, U.S. capitalists would prefer to transact their sales and investments with groups of capitalists among the retarded peoples, rather than encourage a socialist reconstruction. Although this is a question which we will yet examine in greater detail, it is cx- tremel}' doubtful if the re-equipping of retarded economies can be carried out by their capitalist classes. But U.S. economy will be forced, to whatever extent it can, to expand its dealings with retarded economies. Its state of continued slump will force it to do so. It cannot continue on a basis which compelled its index of producer’s goods to fall from 100 in 1927 to 87 in 1937 and 54 in 1938, and certain inteirening years were worse, while that of Britain rose to 133 in 1937 and 199 in 1938. Not all of America’s fall or Britain’s rise could be explained by the arms industries ; a considerable part of it was due to the same conditions, which made the rate of industrial profits in the U.S. fall from 12-8 per cent in 1929 to 2 per cent in 1932, 6-7 per cent in 1937 and 3*8 per cent in 1938, while that in Britain was maintained at the comparatively steady levels of 10*5 per cent, 8-5 per cent, 11*2 per cent and 12 per cent in the same years. It is significant that the majority of U.S, manufacturing com- panies registered negative rates of profit for the years 1931 and 32. The U.S. cannot fail to notice that Britain is able to steady its fall by the use of the external dynamic, which, although deterio- rating, is still capable of providing replacement orders and limited quality consumption. U.S. economy, however, has completely exhausted its internal dynamic and also such as it could get from the American hemisphere, with the result that, if it is to save itself, it must hit out for an e.xternal dynamic, which may, be enlarged while being used. Recent developments are arousing a kind of vigour, albeit naive, that aspires to cope with this task.* * Let us first acquaint ourselves with the vast increase in U.S. pro- ductive capacity that has taken place as a result of the war. A Federal Reserve Board inde.x places industrial production in 1943 at 2-4 times the average of 1933-39. It is tlius roughly, three-quarters over again of the 1929 production. Less than 30 per cent of this production is for civilian use, while the rest is war-goods, which have gone to different pans of the world. What will happen to this enormous productive capacity when it is 227 ECONOMICS AFTER MARX collaborate with existing imperialisms for being agents of stability and the comparative inability to receive a large volume of goods from other economies. It is easy to see that this is an exceedingly divided position. The only positive results that may be expected from it are some displacements of the existing volume of world- trade* and soihe expansion of the retarded economy of China as is not politically enslaved. The pressure of TJ.S. economy may also compel its capitalist-imperialist cousins to permit or undertake a very limited expansion of the colonial equipment. For the rest, the TJ.S. will play a pervadingly obstructive role. If it will obstruct the west-European and Japanese capitalisms in stabilising 'the colonial peoples as the untouchables of the capitalist system, it will also obstruct the retarded peoples in availing such oppor- tunities as make for a sharp break wdth the past. That it will thereby be unable to prevent successive fall in the use of its own productive capacity or genuinely exjiand the productive equipment of the retarded peoples can be said without hesitation. It will not have provided a positive dissipation of the severest danger to world economy. How long it will be able to delay the hardening of declining capitalism into a world-wide caste-structure or the advent of a wholly liberated world economy is another question. The world-index of production and its tendencies would show that either the one or the other must happen well before our century is out. Capitalism must either harden into a world-hierarchy of castes or it must be blown up with the advent of liberated eco- nomies and the U.S. will meanwhile obstruct either solution and be generally negative. In its recentmqst development with regard * In an earlier chapter, we have seen how the war is causing shifts in world trade and productive capacities and how this, combined with other factors, is causing the relegation of wcst-Europcan economy. There seems hardly a doubt that the U.S. will try to make full use of these shifts for its post-war economy; its world-shipping, air-traffic, trade in machines and goods, foreign investments arc bound to grow at the expense of tlic west-Europcan economies. At the same time, this growth will be unequal to the needs of American economy, so that, inspitc of the continental shifts in favour of the U.S., the major fact of colonial poverty and obstruction in conjunction with the hca\'y mechanisation of capitalist economics will he there to cause the relegation of U.S. economy. That the process of this relegation will be different and will produce different consequences has already been indicated. 229 FRAGMENTS OF A WORLD MIND to retarded equipment, U.S. economy is showing a tendencj' to divided interests and delaying action. The leader of late-capitalism has, thus, about already relinquished its leadership of the colonial peoples ; will they submit by becoming increasingly star\'ed helots of- a declining capitalism or will they rise into manhood? The technical danger in the U.S. can be assessed from the fact that, while' the index of total production fell from 100 in 1929 to 73 in 1938, the output per man-hour rose from 100 in the earlier to 116 in the later year. Scientific and organizational im- provements are continually increasing the yield of the labour-hour, but there cannot obviously be a corresponding and unceasing increase in the production of known goods. The hours of work must therefore be reduced or men thrown out of work and it is usually the second alternative which materialises. The shock of conti- nuous improvement in the known lines of hea\ 7 - mechanisation and mass-produced goods can only be observ'-ed if scientific vigour can at the same time create new mass-wants and the means to satisfy them. Aside from the question whether each continuous expansion of wants is desirable, the U.S. experience shows that it is no longer possible. The great new line of which much is being made today is air-traffic. According to a U.S. statement, the air-craft industr}^ and the traffic personnel would in coming years give work to anjwhere between 6 per cent and 10 per cent of the entire population This appears a highly inflated estimate, but, were it true, it could only be effected largely at the expense of rail and ship traffic. As such, it would not be the creation of a wholly new work. Although scientific vigour is abundantly improving known lines and synthetics, there is not adequate ew- dence that U.S. economy could match it by hitting out into wholly new venues. This will cause a forced depression in technical progress from one industr)’^ to another ; there will be no unhurried and balanced use of science and stability -will not come. U.S. science is, how'ever, not oblivious to the problem of flexible and small-unit technics. The w'ar has, for instance, given it the jeep. This is a kind of maid-of-all-work; it can plough the fields, furnish power for milking, in addition to being 230 ECOKOMICS AFTER MARX an auto. The U.S. Department o£ Agriculture has calculated that the jeep can do the job of a heavy tractor with the petrol con- sumption of a half gallon to the acre, in place of the tractor’s 3-3 gallons. There can be no better illustration than the jeep of the new technics that we must strive for ; all-purpose, small capitalisa- tion, low running expenses. In like manner, U.S. exporters are • reported to be busy perfecting small dynamos for use in retarded economies, which would cost 15 dollars to the horse-power in place of the former 40 dollars. All these experiments in small-unit technics are, indeed, offshoots of an economy that promises to remain predominantly large-scale and heavily mechanised. The U.S. can no more make a sharp break with traditional technics than west-Europe can. Nevertheless, these experiments and • others being made on the uses of low-watt units may inspire •retarded economies to base their industrial renovation on a pur- poseful striving after small-unit technics. U.S. science will yet add to the amenities of life, it will give gas that heats and also cools, it will give new materials like plastics and new fibres to wear, new drugs and surgery and, of course, new weapons of war when needed and, on the whole, it will make life more comfortable, at least, for the majority of its citizens. But, beyond grazing the problem of small-unit technics and thus maturing it slightly, U.S. science will not have provided a new technical base that can sustain a more purposeful production, distribution and defence. 231