Capitalism here to stay,to last long really long
Not many of us are aware, but this is very significant year for communism. The ardent followers of communism are celebrating the bicentenary of Karl Marx, the German philosopher and thinker who laid foundation for communism through his popular writings like Das Kapital.
Not many of us are aware, but this is very significant year for communism. The ardent followers of communism are celebrating the bicentenary of Karl Marx, the German philosopher and thinker who laid foundation for communism through his popular writings like Das Kapital. His bicentenary was marked by exhibitions, conferences on May 5 this year- the day he was born two hundred years ago in 1818 in the German city of Trier. But how relevant is the communism today?
I am not an expert on communism though I have read a number of books on the ideology thanks to the availability of overly-subsidised communist literature during the USSR era. Of course, weighed down by the idealistic ideology of communism, the USSR disintegrated in 1991, making way for many small countries the biggest being Russia.
Nevertheless, my understanding of communism is that people generate wealth collectively and share it equally irrespective of education and talent one has. That only happens in the utopian world, not in the real world. That's why communism has more or less failed to last long in many places, not only in the USSR. I don't think it's relevant even in China today.
Frankly speaking, China of today is not a communist country in true sense of the term. It is a capitalist country ruled by a communist party (the Communist Part of China) which has unchallenged monopoly over power and political process there. We don't know what happens to its monopoly if democratic process takes roots in that country and free elections are held. According to Boston Consulting Group’s latest global wealth report released earlier this week, China ranks second after the US in financial wealth and the communist country’s affluent segment with investible assets ranging from $250,000 to $1 million is driving the growth. In 2016, China had 1.6 million dollar millionaires, another study showed.
In India too, the number of millionaires is growing. The BCG study shows that 50 people who have more than $1 billion in fortune control 16 per cent of the country’s wealth. Out of curiosity, I went to the public meeting of Communist Part of India (Marxist) in Hyderabad a couple of months ago. It organised the meeting after a three-day brainstorming session called National Conclave. Sitaram Yechury elated after being re-elected as Secretary-General of the party for second term arrived at the meeting in a rally guarded by volunteers sporting ‘red shirts’ and holding sticks. But perplexing looks from onlookers and passers-by indicate where the communist ideology is heading now. Capitalism seems to be the way forward now and it’s here to stay and last long.
It's not that communism is bad. It's an excellent ideology. It did a world of good to the working class. Most of the perks and working conditions that working people enjoy around the world these days are because of communist ideology and struggles. With the world shifting towards knowledge-based economy, people are getting decent salaries and perks without even asking for it. Look at the IT sector in India. Trade unions affiliated to communist parties tried but failed to gain foothold in the sunrise sector. That explains changing nature of the work culture. Today's working class dominated by private employees doesn't need communism. Thanks to populist schemes and freebies of the governments in power, the poor are no longer enamoured by the leftist ideology. And that's the problem! Is capitalist communism the answer?
BY P Madhusudhan Reddy