Sunday, August 20, 2017

Was hard-work of the West helped to create her wealth, or the plundered wealth from the Colonies?

Modern world seems  totally unaware of, or even ignorant of the foundation-roots of capitalism: how did such huge surplus capital got accumulated in Europe and America that made industrial revolution possible ? Was that the fruit of man’s free enterprise and liberal freedom ? The clear answer is a firm NO ! That huge capital accumulation was the result of plain and atrocious PLUNDER of European nations upon the new world colonies like India, Africa and the native America !

Irfan Habib’s paper ‘ Capitalism in history’
 describes the horror of this story as follows:

Three major components of colonial exploitation from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century must be distinguished: the Spanish mining of silver with forced labour in the Americas; the forcible transfer of millions of Africans as slaves across the Atlantic; and the levying of tribute on Asian shipping and land. England came in time to be the major beneficiary from all these three practically simultaneous processes of forcible subjugation and destruction of non-European economies.

Between 1500 and 1650 nearly 112.5metric tons of silver were annually transported into Spain through official channels. E.J. Hamilton, who gave this estimate, speculated about its influence on prices in Europe—the so-called price revolution—and the redistributive consequences of such inflation, benefiting mainly the employers and the merchants, at the cost of wage-labourers and custom-bound rentiers. This, he thought, generated capital in Western Europe that could ultimately ignite the industrial-revolution. It must be remembered that the crucial link here is not between the rise of capitalism and some incidental monetary process, but between it and the reckless exploitation of the Amerindian peoples, who because of deficiencies in their instruments of war, were absolutely helpless victims of their rapacious conquerors.

There is yet another aspect of silver influx which Hamilton and his critics do not consider. As silver stocks rose in Western Europe, and silver prices in terms of gold plummeted year after year. Western Europe gained a continuous advantage over the rest of the world in the transactions of trade. By 1600 Western Europe exported possibly 100 tons of silver annually; during the seventeenth, the annual average rose to 150-160 tons. There was a wholesale diversion of Asian exports of manufactures, especially textiles, and drugs and spices from interregional traditional commerce to Western Europe in return for bullion. The new trade was largely controlled by European merchant-capital, spearheaded by the Dutch and English East India Companies; and its continuous expansion from silver exports greatly enlarged the size of European commercial capital.

Carl Marx adds his version of the said story  in his ‘Das Capital’ : "The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the indigenous population of that continent, the beginnings of the conquest and plunder of India, and the conversion of Africa into a preserve for the commercial hunting of black-skins, are all things which characterize the dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief moments of primitive accumulation’

'The Guardian' Article ( August 2005)  by Richard Drayton gives the finishing touch to the story: See link:

"For the colonial Americas were more Africa's creation than Europe's: before 1800, far more Africans than Europeans crossed the Atlantic. New World slaves were vital too, strangely enough, for European trade in the east. For merchants needed precious metals to buy Asian luxuries, returning home with profits in the form of textiles; only through exchanging these cloths in Africa for slaves to be sold in the New World could Europe obtain new gold and silver to keep the system moving. East Indian companies led ultimately to Europe's domination of Asia and its 19th-century humiliation of China.
Africa not only underpinned Europe's earlier development. Its palm oil, petroleum, copper, chromium, platinum and in particular gold were and are crucial to the later world economy"

Please share another narrative by Erik Flanagan, from link: ( The Dream Library, article 'Black struggle in Colonization')

At the time of the Spanish infiltration, the island of Jamaica was inhabited by hundreds of native people known as the Arawak Indians. These people were gentle and peaceful people and were virtually unprepared for the onslaught by the Spanish settlers. Explorers set out across the island in search of gold and jewels, which proved no avail, but did realize the profit that could be made from the natives as free workers for them. Soon almost all of the Arawaks were under the blanket of slavery with no defense against the powerful white oppressors. Columbus observed a natural landscape with a tone of awe and wonderment, a land of unmatchable beauty. The Arawaks, however, provided a tone that contrasted powerfully and give a real account of the passions of these white men.

" Vast numbers died as a result and thousands more committed suicide by hanging themselves or drinking poisonous cassava juice to escape from their bondage. Mothers are said to have murdered their children rather then let them grow up and suffer the slavery they had known." (Floyd, 1979, p. 31)
The Spanish settlers of the time used every ounce of available resource (the Arawaks) that they could get their hands upon for their own profit. Although this time in European history is noted for it's vast leaps in exploration and prosperity, this quote explains the means by which they achieved their goals. This exploitation of the native people of Jamaica by the white man displays the framework that was so deeply grained in to the minds of the future white rulers that effected the treatment of Blacks. By the mid seventeenth century there was not a drop of pure Arawak blood left on the island of Jamaica (Carley, 1963, p. 23). African slaves were brought in by the Spanish as laborers over the years, but the majority came with the new British rule over Jamaica."

Though we can not decry 'colonization' at this stage, as it was simply another major event of the past that shaped the destiny of mankind, a proper study can help us to recheck false claims; that it was pure hard-work that helped the West to amass her present day huge wealth and quality of life! The wealth she plundered from colonies, and the labor-force from these colonies she had forcibly employed to create such wealth had definitely played a major role.

Authored by: Abraham J. Palakudy

He is a researcher and seeker of knowledge, especially in fields like Mind&Reason, self&world, metaphysics, Spirituality, men&societies, and finally Democracy and general polity.

Twitter: Voice of Philosophy@jopan1

His profile and other blog-posts:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The 5th factor of modern industrial production

The 5th factor of modern industrial production

Classical industrial studies in text books had 4 factors essential for industrial production, for students to study:

Land, labour, capital, and raw materials.

But in the modern context, a new ,inevitable factor of industrial enterprises is self evident - -ie. governmental support, or the policy factor of the government in power. This 5th factor is the central factor that every successful, giant industrial houses care to lay hand first, before venturing into any large investment. Without having a firm grip in the political power sector, a link often equal to a partnership, no sensible industrial house can confidently invest money in the industry. If any one  takes the risk without this pre-arrangement, it would be to his peril ! 

Such partnerships are often in the form of huge contributions towards party fund of political parties. Or, an offer of  directorship to some close relations of the minister concerned. This new face of capitalism, and business is the hallmark of the modern DEMOCRACY. It is clearly a partnership affair between industrial houses and professional political parties and leaders, which is famously known in the pet name of 'crony-capitalism' today. 

At lower level, it thrives on such understandings and sharing of profits between the political power holder and the entrepreneur.( Member of Legislative assembly level, or a police chief level, or a political party secretary level. Even at still lower levels, it can take place as an understanding with a factory owner and an electricity Jr.Engineer for power theft )  It is an un-refutable reality of modern day politics involving democracy ! But the mainstream world, chiefly led by the industry owned media houses, pretends to be unaware of it, and present to the people the beautiful images of an OPEN, FREE world !

People are merely a means to cater to the institutionalized, electoral  form of government formation in democracies. Elections are plain commodities , which need to be  strategically managed using sophisticated propaganda techniques -- - -there are electoral market -specialists who first decide the effective ‘electoral issues’, popular slogans and catch-words for people,media and communities to consume, and then turn their mandate in the desired direction. It is a virtual war ,wherein results are the only the justifying factor for any means adopted. Hence any anti-social, irrational tactics could be used to woo public attention, and the final product, the vote. Millions of black-money are invested into this unique venture because the asset in question is an unprecedented one; ie. Throne of power in the country, an unheard product in the past world ! If the past history was full with stories of wars and coups for the throne, today, the story leads to unheard marketing stories of political leaders and groups !

In the above scenario, the concept of an OPEN WORLD is a mere fantasy ! Those who keep such utopian dreams are foolish and na├»ve. But media are in the game of making the world appear open and transparent as possible, in tune with such images any average man has learned in his school text books.

Media was the only strata in  modern human societies who could have safe-guarded public interest, in a world of above seen silent secret pacts and understandings. But this sector  has, as said earlier,  mostly been bought over by the industrial houses, hence the traditional media interference and activism to save the world, also remains a fantasy and an impossible dream !

Would it be trickling down of the surplus among the poor, or sieving out the poor in capitalistic societies ? 

If the TRICKLING DOWN theory was true,( belief that the surplus wealth created by the capitalists would slowly but surely trickle down through all economic layers of society   till it reaches the bottom poor one day, freeing everyone from hunger and thirst) the  rich-poor ratio of  75% of the world’s wealth in the hands of  25% rich- a quarter century ago, would not have been moved to 85% -15% ratio as of now ! So, it is a sieving out the poor and the un-desired is what actually takes place in capitalism. Those who can not take part in the process of business is dead-wood for industry and hence declared useless. Those who can not take blind orders from up, and obey the authority of the neo ‘high castes’ ( the more and more useful for the entrepreneur class) also are discarded as outcastes in modern capitalistic societies.

But nature is kind to all. She directs the such discarded ones against their one-time oppressors and enemies, in the form of purse snatchers, high-way robbers, burglars and even as sophisticated underworld characters ! Terrorism is also an after effect f the same cause , but as a different face of the same  sieving out from the mainstream society. It has rather a larger geographical dimension than caused  directly by  localized issues. 

Sustainable peace will erode mankind till the world collectively learn the natural lesson of  not institutionalizing relevance and the importance of any one native ability of man, over that of any other man. If  those who were in the profession of serving God had an upper hand in society in the olden times, followed by the institutionalized authority of the most well-armed and well trained in warfare later on, now it is the turn of the entrepreneur in the
world ! Equality is yet to be defined on newer grounds. Those interested to know more on this new dimension of equality are invited to our blog link:

(Authored by Abraham J.Palakudy, a researcher and seeker of PHILOSOPHY,mind, Reason,Spiritual and Polity related truth.)

Twitter: Voice of Philososophy@jopan1

Blogs and profile:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Influx of capitalistic values into democracy

Sad influx of capitalistic values into democracy

In most of the countries in the world, irrespective of the political system, capitalism is the reigning economic system. Freedom of enterprise is its hallmark. Competition to sell more, or create high demand for own products over that of others is also its inevitable feature. Maximum efficiency, by way of avoidance of wastage, optimum utilization of the resources in hand, whether raw-material,labor or the Time factor, do also form the integral aspects of Capitalistic way of doing things most efficiently!

One of capitalism’s great champions of our century, Ayn Rand wrote, Capitalism is the very symbol of man’s ultimate freedom. It gives the entrepreneur the ultimate expression of his creativity. It gives the same freedom to his customer, as well as employees too. They are also free to choose their products from the open market, or their preferred employer from the job market! An atmosphere  of complete freedom!

But when the reigning political system of modern day- Democracy- has also adopted the above principles of capitalism for upholding freedom of man, it should make an interesting subject of study! It is a plain truth, that modern democracy has adopted many of the 'values' and 'lessons' from the Capitalistic system to perfect the former's working principles and the hold on their 'markets' etc.

Though their products are different, markets are different, targets are different, Capitalism's base Values on efficiency, her absolute fixation on her well defined goals etc, turned good lessons for Democracy. If Capitalism's field is producing WEALTH, Democracy has her similar goal; creating maximum Political power! If selling maximum goods makes capitalism work most efficiently, creating larger and larger electorate is Democracy's success mantra. Explore all available ploys to gain maximum voters, let it be a Caste-equation, economic class identities, religions, language, culture, and even economic class identities like poor class, working class, middle class etc. Political parties routinely exploit such class or communal strategies to divide the people and woo them to certain VOTE-POCKETS. In every respect, such high-skilled strategies matched, or even exceeded similar marketing strategies of modern industry leaders! 

In a way, Democracy has more financial planning (wealth) involved in their profession than that in Capitalism; it is very clearly a commercial investment, perhaps much more larger a scale than that of typical industrialists! Huge amounts are to be spent on election-propaganda; they are not only for direct payments to specialized consultants ( we know, both in US, India etc,there are specialized election campaign and planning consultants, whose fee is hefty!) but also for party workers at all the nook and corner of the big countries. In many Federal States in India, candidates often bribe voters with alcohol, gifts and even plain cash! Election commission in India deploy special squads during election times, to check the movement of large volume of cash and alcohol!

Election time or not, political donations from Industrialists are routine. It makes the base capital, as well as running capital of political parties. Industrialists get rewarded by way of helpful licence laws and rules when the party comes to power. Crony capitalism is nothing but Political entities and industrialists turning close cronies for common  good.! Now, this relation is famously known as 'Neo-Liberalism'.

Organizational efficiency is where Democracy has learned much from Capitalism; It not only involves the financial efficiency, but also the meticulous development and deployment of party cadres, their local,district,State and Central level management.

So, in every respect, management of modern Democracies is much complex an entrepreneural task than that of plain industrial management.

We say, Democracy learned the tricks from Capitalism because, Capitalism originated bit earlier than Democracy.  It was the unfortunate shift of the basic concept of 'Human freedom' ( 'inalienable', according to American Founding fathers) to 'economic freedom of man',that caused the maximum damage to man's freedom!  The so called 'development or progress' of State had suddenly turned ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT and PROGRESS  of the States. States had adopted 'economic development of man' as the whole and sole motto, than what the American Founding fathers had envisaged as the primary purpose of a democratic State, ie to PROTECT RIGHTS VIOLATION OF MAN, especially FROM THE hands OF THE STATE and her apparatus!

The early-stage, primary mission of typical State as envisaged by American Founding fathers had died down, but their new motto, the economic development of all men, also hasn't picked up. One will wonder why; was it due to the basic faults of capitalism, or due to the new development of 'neo-liberalism'? 

 Perhaps, it was due to the predominance given to 'equality of opportunity' to all citizens to create wealth, instead of giving them unconditional EQUALITY in the arena of State governance. A very few only could utilize their 'opportunity' well, and create great wealth. The rest majority had to turn, or even degenerate into the status of 'resources' for the former minority's exercise of 'wealth making, and for their turning into ELITES in the society. 

This turn out has directly eroded the underlying sacred goals of democracy, and transformed it into a matter of entrepreneural task for political parties collectively, and its leaders individually - -for capture of the governmental power, and relishing its fruits by those entrepreneurs!

Both democracy and Capitalism shares more common tasks: in the matter of  competition:  winning is not the  only game, but pinning down the competitor too forms integral part of the game. It often moves beyond mere counter propaganda in Democracy; it turns nasty, and at times bloodier than the battles for the throne that once Kings had fought in older times. Political killings are not something new in democracy. 

Though under capitalism man stands reduced to his primordial jungle elements,thanks to Darwin's theory that might have influenced Adam Smith, the theory of the survival of the fittest. In Democracy too, every player knows that, it is a fierce fight for survival; here it is not a matter of making wealth and survive in the market, but the Prize in question is the proverbial realm of KINGS, the realm of RULING people and their lives and assets, a goal that is the pinnacle of every man's dream!

Capitalism gives all the care to keep the mainstream world look like the well decorated lobby of a star hotel; the PR factor is central for big business. Similarly, the PR factor is much central in Democracy too; Media institution has emerged as a means to cater to this need exclusively! PAID NEWS phenomenon is now tarnishing the image of modern media, as they meet the PR need of Political parties and their individual leaders, don't know out of professional responsibility, or for huge payments received under the table!

Capitalism pre-fixes each one’s place in the society as it was during the old caste ridden times. In democracy too, it is similar.  Citizen has a place, a pre-defined value, and a State provided identity. Any one who dares to assert one’s individuality over and above such pre-fixed role will court trouble. He will run the risk of being branded a trouble maker, an odd man out. Hence, one has to bury his individuality within, to make a typically good, law-abiding citizen of the country, willing to carry flags of his masters and leaders, when ever called for.  

We know that, in modern factories and work places too, a same atmosphere prevails; if any employee acts beyond his role, against his role as useful aid in the production and profit making process, he will be thrown out sooner than later!

Democracy, thus has become a meek and obliging maid in the capitalist society. It is the MASTER in the books, but plain reality of the day reveals, that actual masters are the industrialists! Political leadership comes and goes,but Capitalists will always be there, without altering the subject matter of this small deliberation, ie. it is Capitalism's values that helped Democracy to organize herself, and sustain.

Is it not time for us to revisit democracy’s  foundation- principles? Can we, man's sense of Reason permit the above degeneration of the People's from of govt as a commercial enterprise? 

Would love to share with the readers, this author's series of blog-posts on the theme of 'reinventing democracy', at link:

By : Abraham J.Palakudy  
An independent researcher and seeker in fields like mind, Reason, philosophy,Spirituality and Polity

Twitter: Voice of Philosophy@jopan1
Other Blogs and profile: