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Monday, Nov 29, 2021
Outlook.com
book extract

In A Global Can

Left to capitalist devices and sans human intervention, we'll head for chaos, argues Prem Shankar Jha.

In A Global Can
R. Prasad
In A Global Can
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

The potential for conflict, and therefore the need for conscious human intervention, arises from a profound asymmetry at the very core of capitalism: while markets tend to restore economic equilibrium after each external shock, they are blind to the distributive effects of their own working. Left to themselves, they tend to widen income differences as profits accumulate in some hands while labour-saving technology keeps incomes at the bottom of the pyramid from rising in equal measure. Competition also creates redundancy as technology and tastes change. Those who fail to keep up are driven out of business. Capitalism therefore constantly creates new gainers and new losers. But the market economy contains no mechanism for minimising or reconciling the conflict between the two.

In The Age of Extremes, Eric Hobsbawm described the last three decades of the 20th century as "crisis decades" that saw the re-emergence of disorder in human society and concluded with the observation that he felt "less reason to feel hopeful about the future than in the middle '80s". My book attempts to explore the causes of his instinctive pessimism. It suggests that the root cause of the growing disorder is that in these decades capitalism burst the confines of the nation state, and began, inexorably, to convert a large part (although as yet not the whole) of the globe into its new 'container'. The process is highly destructive and fraught with violence. This is the process we refer to as globalisation....

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