Eminent economist Professor, Prabhat Patnaik, delivered a lecture on ‘Late Arrival of Capitalist Mode of Production’ at Institute for Development and Communication, Chandigarh, on Saturday. The lecture was organised to commemorate Professor Randhir Singh, who was an iconic figure and the professor of Political Theory at the University of Delhi. Randhir Singh has also authored many books such as ‘Revolution’ and ‘Political Theory’.
Professor Patnaik, who taught at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, while delivering lecture, said the Left had adopted a productionist perspective and has seen a sharp decline in its fortunes, He enunciated the example of Communist Party of India, which lost its strongest base after losing support of the peasantry, in its drive towards industrialisation within the neo-liberal regime.
The Left must overcome its ambiguity towards neo-liberalism and it cannot do so unless it overcomes the ‘productionist perspective’, he said. He further stated that the opportunity for more effective intervention from the Left was increasing as globalisation had run into a dead end, producing protracted economic stagnation in the capitalist world on one hand and a tendency towards fascism on the other.
While taking into account Donald Trump’s “Nation First” policy, Patnaik said, “Donald Trump’s resort to protectionism for boosting employment in US is indicative of the dead end which the neo-liberal regime has reached.”
Questioning whether globalization is progressive, he said the hunger index in rural India had risen from 58 per cent in 1993-94 to 68 per cent in 2011-12. ”The middle class has benefited the most from globalisation” Patnaik said.
According to Patnaik, fascism is an outgrowth of capitalism. “Fascists are supported by capitalists or big businesses.” He said the role of Left is to defend democracy. He stated that trade unions were very weak because of privatisation. “The plight of trade unions is evident and they are very weak now. It is because of privatisation and another reason is capitalisation,” Professor told the gathering.
In a question to Patnaik, an economics student said the syllabus taught in colleges is far from real-world economics.
Much of the syllabus is designed in a manner that obscures imperialistic economics. The whole idea is that you do not see economic imperialism,” replied Professor Patnaik.