A Recapitulation

May 22

There is general recognition that the dire poverty of the vast millions in the country is the major reality of our economic life. The general tendency has been to assume that the problem of poverty will be or should be solved as a by product of the pursuit of economic growth. Even where it is recognised that this is not a valid assumption, policy measures aimed at the eradication of poverty have gone only as far as to insist that the poor must get a fair deal and that special distributive measures or some minor changes in the production pattern would achieve that objective. Underlying these approaches is the notion that poverty is essentially a matter of material destitution and that therefore its solution lies in increasing output and ensuring that what is produced is then more equitably distributed.

Mass poverty is basically a societal problem, and that it is not only an aberration of our economic system but one of its major characteristics. Taking into account the pattern of ownership of resources (means of production) and the working arrangement of the economy (whereby resources are utilised primarily to satisfy the growing wants of those who have command over resources and to further increase their command over resources through accumulation) it has been demonstrated that the system is one that can only ensure the growing affluence of the few and the continuing misery of the many. Hence the need for a societal and systematic approach to poverty has been emphasised and a frame of analysis to understand the multi dimensionality of the problem has been developed. The frame of analysis has been used to concentrate on the dynamics of the development which has been traced as the interaction of an aggressive and expansionist want-based economy on a traditional and static need-based economy. The examination of the dynamics of development has shown how poverty became an institutionalised component of the economic system in the past and how the operation of the system not only perpetuates the inequities of the past, but continuously re-creates them and replenishes them.

Against such an analytical background, a critique of planning in the country and policy measures adopted has been undertaken to show how they have not countered the natural proclivities of the system, but have only reinforced its pernicious tendencies.

The task of an alternative planning procedure and policy frame, therefore, is to reverse these tendencies and to give a radically different direction to the social processes in the country. The alternative must aim at going to the roots of the problem – the structure of the economy and its working arrangements – and thus is a question of bringing about a social transformation.

One comment

  1. Oakley Limited Editions /

    Credit unions exist to serve precisely this kind of person: I simply don’t believe that any credit union would turn her away and deliberately send her to a usurious lender.

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