Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Future of India--Part 1

These are some thoughts which occurred to me while preparing my forthcoming speech at Stephens College, Delhi on Friday, 25th January at 4.30 p.m

1. I need not labour on what I have said earlier in various posts on fb ( e.g. in my speech at Hindu College, Delhi which can be seen on my fb page ). that our national goal must be to abolish poverty, unemployment, lack of healthcare, good education, nutritious food, housing etc for the Indian masses, and to attain this objective we must rapidly industrialize on a widespread scale, and spread scientific thinking and destroy casteism, communalism and superstitions.

2. This objective cannot be attained within the present system. The present Indian Constitution provides for parliamentary democracy, whereas such democracy is a feature of industrial society, not a feudal or semi feudal society. Our society is still largely semi feudal, with rampant casteism and communalism. The result is that our politics largely relies on caste and communal vote banks. most people vote for candidates of their own caste or community, or for parties representing them, rather than on the merit of the candidate.

The politicians' aim is thus directly contrary to the national aim. The politicians' aim is to win the next elections, and for that they have to appease, and thereby perpetuate casteism and communalism, which are essentially feudal forces . The national aim, on the other hand, must be to destroy the feudal forces in our country and rapidly modernize. Thus the aim of our politicians and the national aim are poles apart. How, then can the country progress under the present system ? Our Constitution has exhausted itself, and all our state institutions have largely become hollow and empty shells, while on the other hand the people's distress is rising, with massive unemployment, corruption, price rise, etc.

3. As I had said earlier, our national goal must be to rapidly industrialize, and make India a modern, powerful, highly industrialized country, for only then will we able to generate the wealth needed for the welfare of our people and give them decent lives, with a high standard of living.
There has therefore be a revolution in India, though that may take several years. What form it will take cannot be predicted.

After this revolution a new Constitution will have to be framed, which guarantees the Indian people the economic rights mentioned in the speech of American President Franklin Roosevelt of 1944 called ' The Second Bill of Rights ' ( see online and in Youtube ), i.e. employment with good incomes, healthcare, nutritious food, good education. housing, all.

But providing these rights on paper alone will be meaningless. They have to be provided in reality. How can that be done ? We have to provide employment, free healthcare, free education, free housing, etc to over 1.25 billion people. Where will the money for all this come from ? Money does not fall from the sky. Even setting up one primary school costs a lot of money, for land, building, etc and recurring salaries to teachers and other staff. For higher educational institutions we also need libraries, laboratories with scientific apparatus and equipment, etc. And we have set up tens of thousands of such schools, colleges, engineering and medical colleges, hospitals, scientific institutes, etc.

This will require a huge amount of money, and this money can only be generated by a highly developed industry. In other words, we have to industrialize on a massive scale.
Now industrialization on a large scale is no problem. India today has a huge pool of competent engineers, managers, technicians and scientists. We have also huge natural resources ( India is not a small country like England or Japan, but is amost a continent. )

The problem, however, is this : how will the goods produced be sold ? Our people are mostly poor and have very little purchasing power.

Therefore the real problem is not how to increase production ( that can easily be done with our huge technical talent and natural resources ) but how to increase the purchasing power of our masses ?
In socialist countries the method of raising the purchasing power of the masses, and thereby rapidly expanding the economy and consequently abolishing unemployment, was broadly this :

a. Prices of commodities were fixed by the government.
b. These prices were reduced by 5-10% every 2 years or so
c. This resulted in steadily increasing the purchasing power of the masses, because with the same income people could buy more goods. In other words, the real income of the masses went up, even if nominally it remained the same ( since real wage is relative to the price index ).
d. Simultaneously, production was stepped up, and this increased production could be sold in the domestic market, as the purchasing power of people was steadily rising.
e. This led to rapid expansion of the economy, leading to creation of millions of jobs and thereby abolition of unemployment.

During the Great Depression which hit the Western economies in 1929 after the Wall Street Crash ( it continued till the breakout of the Second World War in 1939 ) when about one third or more people in Western countries were unemployed and factories were shutting down, the Soviet economy was rapidly expanding and unemployed abolished by following the above methodology.

Of course this was only possible in a socialist economy, where the problem was solved by state action.

I am not saying that we must necessarily follow the method adopted by socialist countries. We can adopt any other method if thereby we can raise the purchasing power of the Indian masses and thereby rapidly expand the Indian economy, which is the only way of abolishing unemployment in India and generate the wealth we need for the welfare of our people

The central point, and therefore the main problem before India, is how to raise the purchasing power of the masses ? Unless we solve that problem, our new Constitution guaranteeing economic rights to the Indian people will be illusory

. 4. All the developed countries in the world, including the latest, China, have ganged up against us and are determined that India must not be allowed to become a highly industrialized country, like themselves. On the other hand, our national goal must be to become highly industrialized ( for the reasons given above ). Let me explain this point.

There is competition in the market, and so if one businessman can sell the same product which his business rival is manufacturing at a cheaper price, he can win over the latter's customers by underselling him. To do so he has to lower his cost of production. Now, cost of labour is a big chunk of the total cost of production, and if labour is cheaper the cost of production goes down, and one can sell at a cheaper price and eliminate his business rival.

To illustrate, after its revolution in 1949, China set up a massive industrial base, and with the cheap labour available in China, the Chinese are underselling the whole world in consumer goods. Most of the supermarkets in the Western countries are packed with Chinese goods, because they sell at less than half the price at which the Western manufacturer can sell ( because the Western labour is expensive ).

Now Indian labour is even cheaper than Chinese labour. And the India of today is not the India of 1947. In 1947 we had very few industries and very few engineers and technicians, because the British policy was broadly to keep us inindustrialized and feudal ( they permitted only some light industries e.g. textiles, plantations, etc which too were for a long period under British ownership, but no heavy industries ). But today India has a certain heavy industrial base, and thousands of competent engineers, technicians, managers, scientists, etc. ( our I.T. engineers are manning Silicon valley, and many of the Professors in the Maths and Science Departments in American Universities and many doctors in the West are Indians ) And we also have immense natural resources ( India is not a small country like England or Japan, but is almost a continent ).

So now we have the potential of becoming a highly industrialized country in 15-20 years. But then what will happen to the industries of the developed countries ? They will not be able to face our competition, because with our cheap labour we will be able to undersell them. Will they allow their industries to be destroyed ? Already China has become a Franken stein monster for the Western economies. Will they permit a second Frankenstein monster to arise ?

5. So what will the developed countries ( including China ) do to prevent this ? Since we have tremendous diversity in India--so many religions, castes, lingual, ethnic and regional groups ( India has perhaps more diversity than any other country in the world ), the developed countries will, through their agents, instigate religious, caste, ethnic and regional conflicts among Indians I am pretty sure that China is supporting through its surrogate Pakistan, the Kashmir militancy, and also the militancy in the North East.

So all Indians must beware of this, and expose such agents. We must maintain our unity at all costs, and block the designs of our enemies to fan communal, caste, ethnic and regional strife, otherwise we are heading for a terrible period in our history

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