- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Acknowledged, but...

Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on September 28, 1999 at 12:21:24:

In Reply to: Kerala and statistics posted by Darcy Carter on September 27, 1999 at 01:25:07:

You made several goof points, which i'd like to respond to. Indeed, you hit the achilles heel of the Kerala model. However, there are additional factors which were not mentioned in your post. I don't know if this is true in Kerala, but it is certainly true that in Bangla (formerly west Bengal), the other major Communist-ruled state, the state has not gotten their deserved share of funds from teh central governmnet that other states receive. This is due to corruption in the central government; the ruling Congress party has historically been pissed off that West Bengal is ruled by a different party, so they have cut funding for development. I wouldn't be surprised if a similar situtaion existed in Kerala.

Also while Kerala has not eben registering the same economic growth as many other Indian states, it's worth bearing in mind that it has achieved population stability, and so any growth it achieves is likely to be sustainable in the long term. thsi si not the case in other Indian states, which may be heading for a major crisis in the near future as their population explodes. In other words, kerala's more modest economic growth may prove more sustainable in the long run than the more flashy growth in other states. And by the way, the economic growth in states like Karnataka ('the Silicon Valley of Asia' has been achieved at a cost of horrible pollution and human suffering.)

Namibia, unfortunately has not had long enough to make too much progress on teh road to socialism, especially since they had no international sponsors who promoted socialism. However, president Sam Nujoma has declared his intention to fight against capitalism, and has nationalized some factories and other industries.

On the Burkina Faso example, I woun't repeat the statistics that I already laid down. What I said was true, so was what you said; it's simply a matter of which you think is more important and noteworthy. I mean, it's as clear-cut an example as i can think of- little progress previou to teh socialist revolution, rapid progress during teh four eyars of communism, then slow progress during the pseudo-socialist regime since then. Burkina Faso, by the way, is perhaps somewhat better off in some ways than other African countries; it has little tribal conflict, recently achieved self-sfficiency in food, and has a spirit of hope and social responsibilty awakened by Sankara, as well as a cultural tradition of working together in village collectives.

Finally, while the points you raised in this post were valid, how about Nicaragua, the African island states, and Zimbabwe, my other examples. Also, I must take exception to your discussion of Sweden below. You say that Sweden is capitalist, but why? Is it because of the amount of state ownership is relatively low? Well, many 'Marxist-Leninist' states, e.g. Benin, had relatively small state sectors. While Sweden may have a large private sector, it has a heavily unionized workforce, and effectively divorces your access to helath, food, shelter, and otehr social goods from your welath. Since the basic premise of capitalism is that goods, including social goods, ought to be paid for,
Sweden's society does not fulfil this premise, and so I wouldn't label it capitalist, rather something between capiatlism and socialism (= 'social democracy').

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