By Krishna Jha
It is not wanderlust that drives people to places, these days it is replaced by hunger, a force that cannot be staved off. Some time back, the number of migratory labour, retrenched, pushed out, had shocked us with their growing number as thousands of men and women, children and the old, had walked through the long, bumpy stretches to arrive at, oh no, not at the green pastures of their dreams, but somewhere with bread. The spectre of hunger still haunts, taking its toll. Jobs are getting fewer every day. Openings are limited, choices scant, and never according to one’s skills. One could have done business management and apply for a gardener’s job or if one has done a doctorate, one can be a peon in a school. System refuses to open up for those skilled for their expertise, it prefers to let them waste.
Unemployment rate has hit the four month high in December at 7.91 according to CMIE. It has in fact gone up even above the great recession years. But that does not lead to rich getting less rich. They continue to get richer at the same rate. John Sherman, the US senator who got Antitrust Act passed in 1890 had observed that if people today would not accept a king to occupy the seat of power, there can not be any king for production, for transportation, and finally for the market.
Despite this popular creed that led countries some time cut to size those who rise to challenge its autonomy as they get close to power, efforts are made to tame them. Fall of Ali baba was an example of monopoly restrictive practice in China. In United States, there was the instance about Standard Oil and AT and T. In recent past there were in 2020 and 2021 steps taken against Microsoft and Qualcomm for violating the provisions of Sherman Anti Trust Act in US.
These steps were taken not to let the corporate have absolute power over the economy which is anti investment, anti production and hence stands opposite to capitalism. In our country too in 1969, Monopolistic and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, popularly known as MRTP Act “…was brought to provide that operation of the economic system does not result in concentration of economic power in hands of few. It was later repealed and came in its place Competition Act in 2002
It was dilution of MRTP Act that resulted in promotion of corporates like Ambanis and Adanis. But the MRTP remained the first anti-monopoly legislation in the country, to prohibit monopolistic and restrictive trade practices. Today, in contrast to it, in our democracy, we have nursed a king. It is not only the political power he wields, but also that which is inherent in the very basics, the economics. They are no more the invisible rulers, up and above board, they have shielded all the openings, hence they are no more of the people or from them, though by the people they are.
They belong to a whole new class that has swallowed up our all public sector units, small and medium level production units, got hold of banks, and now eying the relatively bigger public sector units, and thus, creating a new setting which is not a form of pure capitalism, since it never goes for investment, and also never needs pluralism, that is democracy. All the major decisions are taken unilaterally. Examples are multiple. Three agrarian laws were passed the same way and after 13 months were repealed also the same way. But MSP and several others have been withheld. They are deeply concerned about the elections, hence the hurry, though they never considered Parliament the summit of people’s power. It is their own class interest that ran supreme. And that is now exclusively financialisation.
The recent steps taken by the government towards monetisation prove the same. It is dilution of public sector units, which is now almost over. Each of the units are facing the same. In last seven decades, many heavy industries were built up to cater to the needs of the country like steel units, mining for coal and other essentials. For transportation, roads were built, and for fuel, oil refineries were set up.
All these steps were taken to develop the country’s infrastructure, to cater to the basic needs to evolve economy. With public money, the basics of industrial development were built. The tax money of the vast masses were spent to build roads, improve power sector, energy sector, health services, education, and many such initiatives. The selling of these basics mean fragmentation of the economy itself. It does not stop there. With each sale, the government intends to usurp the entire revenue also.
Imperialism today has moved in a big way against the very productive capacities that sustain it and also the society. So far capitalism had exploited mainly the workers and peasants. For the first time in 20th century, and in particular 21st century, financial capitalism is moving against big, small and medium entrepreneurs also on a massive scale, exploiting them to the maximum. Finance capital is going against the very mode of production which created it.
Contemporary capitalism is characterized by a historical split between productive and finance capital, central to contemporary crisis of imperialism, creating new bases for the program of democratic shifts in society. (IPA Service)