The one-eyed king
In the last 250 years, just 5 countries succeeded with Republican democracy without a significant breakdown in their first 50 years. Of the five, Switzerland (pop. 80 lakhs), Israel (pop. 75 lakhs) and Singapore (pop. 50 lakhs) are tiny countries to generate any valuable data, models, norms or precedents. In any other day, age and society, the Republican-Democracy model would have been laughed off – and not studied by millions.
Global media in the last 12 months used Tiger Woods as a punching bag for his sex ‘crimes’. Hank Paulson, in the last days of the Bush regime, ensured the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the subsequent acquisition by Goldman Sachs.
Across South West India to the North-East, deep in the jungles of Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar to Bengal, a swath of red terror is making life difficult for the Indian state.
Strange as it may seem, all these ‘events’ are related.
Indian transformation – from Saraswati-Indus to the Indo-Gangetic plains
Nearly 5000 years ago, the Saraswati River started drying up. In fits and bursts, over the next 1000 years, it completely dried up – coinciding with a global drought. Many cultures declined and some perished altogether. How could Indians sustain their culture over a period of 1000 years, while the Saraswati was drying up? And the Ganga’s riverine system was yet to develop!
Even mostly objective historians, find it difficult to understand how the Saraswati-Indus Basin cities could have been related to the later Indo-Gangetic cities. To allow that new sites, for so many settlements could be set up, without war or conflict! To Indians, this is something possible – at the most difficult. Western historians find it difficult to believe that in such trying times, spread over 1,000 years, India was able to sustain and grow its culture. This inability to comprehend is possibly why (some) Western historians deny the linkage between the Saraswati and the Indo-Gangetic cultures.
Behind this ability to transcend a 1000 year natural calamity, is the secret of Indian socio-political system – which I have termed as भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra.
Factors of production
भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra, the Indic socio-political system, addresses three basic human aspirations. If humans are deprived of these basic ‘wants’, these aspirations, it is cause for war – as per India’s wisdom narrative. These aspirations are ज़र zar (meaning gold), जन jan (meaning people) and ज़मीन jameen (meaning land).
This makes the basis भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra different from Western politico-economic systems, that are based on four factors of production (land, labour, capital and enterprise). भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra treats these three elements as ‘aspirational’ while Western theory sees these four factors as ‘exploitative’.
Modern Western economies revolve around Veblen’s models – owner of capital (capitalists) own businesses that buy and sell businesses; businesses compete with widget makers (enterprise) who use land, labour and capital; or commandeer of labour, capital and enterprise (communists) who will annihilate both the capitalist and the entrepreneur. In all the four Western systems (viz. feudalism, capitalism, socialism, communism) the concentration of political, economic, social, intellectual power remains!
No difference, at all.
भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra system works to deliver these three elements to all its members. For centuries भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra was known as dharma. Modern etymology has completely derailed the meaning of dharma – which has now been reduced to mean religion. Religion was something India never had – and has now made it an integral part of itself.
Neil Young can see it
One sunny afternoon, in a Delhi winter, I landed Neil Young’s album containing, Crime in the City. For the next few months, this album remained high on my play list. One part of the lyrics stuck in my memory – the part about the producer wanting a hungry and single artist.
The artist looked at the producer, The producer sat back
He said, What we have got here, Is a perfect track
But we don’t have a vocal, And we don’t have a song
If we could get these things accomplished, Nothin’ else could go wrong.
So he balanced the ashtray, As he picked up the phone
And said, Send me a songwriter, Who’s drifted far from home
And make sure that he’s hungry, Make sure he’s alone
Send me a cheeseburger, And a new Rolling Stone.
Why this producer’s preference for someone alone – akin to single? Was this an aberration? Or a trend! Looking inside out, from India, which has a strong bias towards getting married, this was a revelation. It raised a number of questions in my mind, when strangely “there are very few accessible cross-national studies that have data on both marital status and well-being at the individual level for the general.”
The ideal of universal marriage
Measuring simple marital status of the broad population may give a crude confirmation of this social bias. At any point, 35%-45% of the adult population in the US and UK, for whom data is available, are unmarried. That is 1000% more than India’s unmarried population. How will it affect women and children when projections show that “the population of unmarried women will soon surpass the number of married women”.
Man is a social animal, said Aristotle. If that is true, why this anti-social bias then in the ‘Desert Bloc’? As Neil Young grimly points out. As we will see below, भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra worked out a system of ‘negotiated’ marriages, which achieved near universal marriage for the population.
Given a choice between a slave and a wife, who would want a wife? In slave societies, daughters and sisters of only the rich and powerful could marry. To make marriage attractive, for the rich and powerful people, handsome dowries were given and taken. For instance, the site for current Mumbai was bought by the Portuguese king from Gujarati king, Sultan Muhamed Begada in 1534. Subsequently, it was given in dowry to the British Queen, Catherine of Braganza, sister of the Portuguese king, as dowry when she married King Charles II in 1661.
On the other hand, in India, even the poorest share the cost of stabilizing the start of a new family, formed after marriage.
Behind universal marriage is gold
Indian marriages are solidly anchored in gold. Every marriage has a significant amount of exchange of gold.
Rather an anomaly, since India has never in been, in its 5000 year history, a significant gold producer. Yet Indian citizenry has the largest private reserves of gold in the world – 500% of US private reserves of gold. Indian ‘despots’ could not control large gold reserves due to भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra.
Unlike the rest of the world, Indian rulers had less than 20% of the gross Indian gold reserves – instead of 80% in the rest of the world. Without vast reserves of gold, the concentration of wealth and power did not happen. As a result, Indian rulers could not create vast marauding, pillaging armies.
Yet, with huge domestic private-sector experts, made of armoured elephant corps, expert cavalry troops (inventors of the stirrup), largest producers of gunpowder, producers of the most-sought after Wootz steel, Indian rulers kept India free of foreign invaders – for most of history.
Junkers, Kulaks, Lords and Plantation owners
Europe started with land reforms between 1800 to 1900. German junkers, Russian Kulaks, English lords resisted, many successfully, from giving up their lands. Spain was an early mover with land sales in 1798-1808. The rest of Europe followed.
With vanishing of slaves, serfs and tenants, in 19th century, mechanization of farming was introduced with State support in Germany. German Junkers could maintain their hold and power right upto the Weimar Republic. Britain dragged its feet on land reform till the end of 19th century – especially in Ireland.
Land rights in India
In India, centralization of power increased from Qutubuddin Aibak (1206) onwards and introduction of iqtadari system – when a king’s pleasure amounted to land title. The 200 years foreign, Islāmic rule in India, by Turko-Persian offshoots, changed Indian property holding patterns. The Mughals modified this system into the jagirdari system.
The British in India went a step further. They dispossessed crores of Indians and created a uniquely oppressive system – the zamindari system. The British introduced another strain of this virus – public purpose. Peasants and tribals could be dispossessed of their land for a vague ‘public’ purpose – a policy that the modern Indian government continues.
In India, till the 12th century, vested property rights with the producer, upto the advent of the Islamic iqtadari system. Manusmriti states that ‘land is the property of him who cut away the wood or who tilled or cleared it’. To prevent concentration of landholdings in the hands of the few, sale, resale and purchase of property was not legal. Combined with the absence of slavery, it set up a unique situation – a virtuous circle.
With abundant food supply, since slaves were not available, and as land was not for sale, what would drive greed? What would make people want more gold?
Modern political theory
Indian thinkers responded with unique mechanisms to systematize the achievement of these three aspirations – ज़र, zar (gold), जन jan (people) and ज़मीन jameen (land). Desert Bloc administrators and usurpers of Indian polity inverted many of these systems and vilified these mechanisms, opposite of original design.
One important mechanism to achieve these aims was the चातर वर्णाश्रम chatar-varnashram (which the English misrepresented as the caste system). The other mechanism was the Indian marriage system. As Indian society started seeing greater flux, family and community started arranging marriages. The father commits the bride with dahej, community commits the husband to the future of the family. An interesting third element is how Indians were empowered to buy gold by the establishment of lakhs of dharamkantas. Dharamkantas, set up by by gold smiths, fully subsidized the cost of assaying gold.
Even the swastika, is tie-in with भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra. A mnemonic (reminder) against collusion and collaboration by (any of the) three parts of the society (intellectuals, polity, finance and labour) against a fourth. Or how trade and logistics, was separated into two parts, to prevent collusion and exploitation. Trade was handled by the vaishya community and logistics handled by the Banjara community – of whom the Roma Gypsies are an off shoot.
It was Parag Tope, (a regular reader of 2ndlook; co-writer of Operation Red Lotus) who first pointed out to me the possible linkage between Swastika and भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra. According to Parag Tope,
The Swastika represented a four way split in how functions in an organized society were separated to maintain a balance of power. This balance was maintained by preventing collusion or “collaboration” by any of the two or more parts of the society. The four functions were 1. production, 2. retail, 3. defence and implementation of polity, 4. knowledge of polity. Agrarian output belonged to the production value chain and landownership was therefore associated with production. Retail was separated from trade and transportation, to prevent collusion and exploitation. The knowledge of polity was separated from the implementation to maintain the balance of power.
The rights of man
Indian thought saw access to ज़र zar (gold), जन jan (people) and ज़मीन jameen (land) as pre-conditions, means if you will, for social equity. After ensuring access to these three essentials, भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra also defined four freedoms through these means.
These four freedoms are काम kaam (desire, including sexual) अर्थ arth (wealth), मोक्ष moksh (liberty) and धर्मं dharma (justice). Agnipurana mentions धर्मार्थकाममोक्षाश्च पुरुषार्था उदाहृताः Agni P.; H. Pr.35.-3 something which when done results in the satisfaction of the performer.
The power to tax was limited. Some of the common terms and methods were (from Vaman Apte’s Sanskrit Dictionary; search by Parag Tope) were: –
- बलिषड्भाग – the sixth part as a tribute;
- चतुर्थभाज् a. receiving a fourth part of every source of income from the subjects, as a king; (this is allowed only in times of financial embarrassments, the usual share being a sixth;
- षष्ठअंशः 1 a sixth part in general. -2 particularly, the sixth part of the produce of fields &c., which the king takes from his subjects as land-tax;
- प्रतिभागः – A share, portion (given to a king as a tax) of one’s income, generally a sixth part:
- उद्धारः – The sixth part of booty taken in war which belongs to the king; राज्ञश्च दद्युरुद्धारमित्येषा वैदिकी श्रुतिः Ms.7.97.
Modern Western polity promise different ‘freedoms’ that mean little. These ‘modern’ systems have made it either impossible (now) or unacceptable (earlier) to make money. Earlier, Christian ethics did not allow any economic activity. Except and unless it benefitted God, King and Country. Result, Jews captured vast sections of Christian economies. Now we have the capture of the economy by 0.5% of the population which makes all of us into employees.
Instead of real rights, काम kaam (desire, including sexual) अर्थ arth (wealth), मोक्ष moksh (liberty)and धर्मं dharma (justice), people were fobbed off with ‘free’ speech (in your drawing room, to yourself), ‘free’ press, (mortgaged to banks and advertisers), religious freedom,(subject to population planning), etc.
Say what you want! Does it matter? Mass media has always been under some kind of State control and direction. How free can any press be, anyway, if Big Advertisers control the business.
Witness, The Hounding of Tiger Woods. His crime? Sex with willing women.
What made Buddhism so attractive?
An early interpreter of this system was Gautama Buddha. In the Sutta Pitaka, Majjhima Nikaya, Book:2 (thanks for the link Parag Tope), Gautama explains to the novice, Asslaayana, the risk of dual-mode, slave-master societies, like Yavana-Khamboja (Greece-Cambodiya) compared to a चातर वर्णाश्रम chatar-varnashram society like India.
Taṃ kiṃ maññasi assalāyana, sutaṃ te: ‘yonakambojesu4 aññesu ca paccantimesu janapadesu dveva vaṇṇā, ayyo ceva dāso ca. Ayyo hutvā dāso hoti, dāso hutvā ayyo hotī’ti.
Assalàyana, have you heard of Greece, Cambodiya, and certain other bordering states. They have only two castes, masters and slaves. One becomes a master and then a slave, and a slave becomes a master?
Evaṃ bho sutaṃ me yonakambojesu aññesu ca paccantimesu janapadesu dveva vaṇṇā ayyo ceva dāso ca. Ayyo hutvā dāso hoti, dāso hutvā ayyo hoti’ti.
Good one, I have heard of Greece, Cambodiya, and certain other bordering states. They have only two castes, masters and slaves. One becomes a master and then a slave, and a slave becomes a master.
Till भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra became popular, the axis of Confucian-Platonic authoritarian, ‘wise’ rulers, who were not accountable, was (and again) the overwhelming model for the world. Property rights remained with less than 0.1% of the people.
Buddhism changed that.
Buddhism gained not because Buddha’s statues were prettier than the statues of previous deities. Or because Buddhist chants sounded better. If that, anyway, was the reason, the statues of previous divinities could have been prettified.
Resettling India – and law
In the post-Saraswati India, after thousands of cities were abandoned, and millions of people were resettled over a period of 1000 years, the principles of Indian polity were probably weakened. Buddha in India was one in the long line of many teachers, who continued the development of भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra – then known as dharma. Buddhism recognizes more than a 100 Boddhisatvas and Jainism recognizes some 24 tirthankaras. Chandragupta Maurya after his reign long reign, took vaanprastha and retired to a monastery in Karnataka as per Jain historiography.
Contextually, dharma itself was sub-divided deśadharma, dharma for different regions, jātidharma, dharma based on professional and social groups, and kuladharma, for different families and lineages. Many political and legal treatises were written. There are hundreds of original works, digests, compendiums, commentaries, expansions, developments dharmasutras, dharmashstras and nitishastra treatises in India. Major ideas of Āpastamba, Baudhāyana, Gautama (not Buddha), Manu, Shukra, Vasiṣṭha and Yagnavalkya were developed and expounded. Shantiparva in Mahabharata, Chanakya’s Arthashastra, are well-known among the lay public. Kautilya’s Arthshastra is hardly the most or even important.
Yājñavalkyasmṛti, the Dharmasutras of Āpastamba and Baudhayana (a part of the Kalpasūtra) are an important part of the dharmic laws. Various smritis were later hardened into written form – some of them being Manu-smṛti, Yājñavalkya-smṛti, Nārada-smṛti, Viṣṇu-smṛti, Bṛhaspati-smṛti, Kātyāyana-smṛti et al. Various bhashyas and nibandhas, tikas were written and used.
On Manusmriti by like Bhāruchi (of Bharuch, Gujarat, probably 7th century), Medhātithi, Manvartha-muktavali by Kullūka, Govindarāja, Nārāyaṇa, Raghavananda, Nandana. Bālakrīḍā by Viśvarupa, Mitākṣarā by Vijñāneśvara, Aparārka, Dīpakalikā by Śūlapāṇi, Vīramitrodaya by Mitramiśra on Yājñavalkya Smṛti. Two related works on Naradasmriti are by Asahāya, whose commentary was further expanded by Kalyāṇbhaṭṭa. On Vishnusmriti, Nandapaṇḍita wrote the Vaijayantī.
There are extensive compendiums like Krtyakalpatara by Lakṣmīdhara, Smṛticandrikā by Devaṇṇa-bhaṭṭan, Dāyabhāga by Jīmūtavāhana, Caturvagacintāmani by Hemādri, by Caṇḍeśvara. Raja Todar Mal, one of Akbar’s navratna wrote the Ṭoḍarāndanda.
In the more recent history, from the Mithila school, we have Chandeshwara (also Caṇḍeśvara , Chandes(h)vara, Chandes(h)wara; early 14th century) who is most known for Rāja-nīti-ratnākara and Vivāda-ratnākara. From the same Mithila school, we also have Vachaspati Mishra (also Vacaspati Misra) who wrote the chintamani series, Vivāda-cintāmani on 18 litigation-types. and a procedural text called the Vyavahara–Chintamani.
Two Deccani scholars, from Paithan, settled in Benares, rivals and cousins, one of whom was Kamalākara-bhatta (from 22 books), wrote Vivāda-tāṇḍava and Nirnaya-sindhu and his cousin Nīlakaṇṭha’s treatises (early and middle 17th century) Vyavahāra-mayūkha and Bhagavanta-bhāskara are the most known. Dattaka-mīmāmsā by Nanda-paṇḍita (late 16th – early 17th century) was used by colonial British authorities as Hindu law topic of judicial procedure.
Pratāparudra-deva, Gajapati dynasty king from Orissa, commissioned a group of brahmins and pandits to make a comprehensive digest of Indic Law, which came to be known as the Saraswati-vilasa (also Saraswati-vilasa). Vīrasiṃha, the king of Orccha (1605-1627) appointed Mitra-miśra (Early 17th century) leading to a comprehensive legal digest, the Vīramitrodaya.
Lessons in भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra are delivered through the twenty-five Vikram and Vetal case-studies; many Buddhist Jatakas; Panchatantra and the Hitopdesa.
The real battle
In contrast to भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra, under the cuius regio, eius religio, principle (meaning whose land, his religion; CRER) even the most personal religious beliefs of the individual were subject to State approval, as per law.
Why is the Chinese Communist Government afraid of Buddhist monks. Why does Lee Kuan Yew promote Confucianism. Or the Japanese are trying to revive Shintoism? Faced with a reality of ‘warm-bodies-shortage’ in the 19th century, the West invented ‘liberalism’, ‘secular’ Governments, Marxism, Socialism et al. It is these principles which accounts for the low levels of diversity in the West – and which also accounts for the shrillness with which the West proclaims its ‘liberalism’ – facts being otherwise.
Sterile asuric systems always looked to India for their illegitimate needs of ज़र, zar, (gold), जन jan (people) and ज़मीन jameen (land). When the African continent could no longer accept further population reductions, combined with slave revolts, the British turned to India for जन jan – people as indentured labour. When the British needed money to repay America for WWI debt, it is India which bailed out USA – and Britain.
The fruits of democracy
In ‘modern’ India, European thought dominates academic and intellectual discourse. One such example is democracy – which lulls us into a stupor of inaction, while it gives us an illusion of being powerful. Instead of being involved in our societies, localities and communities on a daily basis, it wakes us up once in five years at election time. After five years of stupor and laziness, this political device makes us talk loudly, rudely.
And we go to sleep again.
The device of democracy also corrupts our mind. Instead of focusing on the behavior of rulers and politicians, it diverts our minds to believe that the solution is to replace one bad ruler with another. It creates a collusive polity where bad rulers conspire with each other, against us.
This fruit of democracy is a strange poison.
Understanding भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra
The principles of भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra remain a part of mixed and corrupted, oral history. Over the last two years, many 2ndlook posts have identified the principles – but भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra has been never presented as a complete body of polity system.
That is now being done in the table below. Given below is a comparison table detailing how asuric polity from the Desert Bloc is different from भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra. Each point is linked to a post that further elaborates on the subject. Clicking on that link will open the post in a new window /tab.
Law and jurisprudence
|Description||दुरातंत्र (duratantra)||सुरातंत्र (suratantra)||Remarks|
|Ideology||Western political systems: –
||Indic political system
|Last court of appeal||
|Case load||Large volume of||
||Indians low on crime|
|Description||दुरातंत्र (duratantra)||सुरातंत्र (suratantra)||Remarks|
|Integration of Business Activity||
|Economic opportunities||People given choice
|Currency and coinage||
|Trade and logistics||
||Split between (for insance)
|Ecological footprint||Social design based on
||Built in ‘green’ agenda using
||To study and build on how Indians corporations: –|
|Description||दुरातंत्र (duratantra)||सुरातंत्र (suratantra)||Remarks|
||Commitment to marital stability
|Social identity||Derived from The One
||Bharat-ah, Aryavart, were about shared values –
Educations, arts, science and technology
|Description||दुरातंत्र (duratantra)||सुरातंत्र (suratantra)||Remarks|
|Arts||State commissioned projects||Private patronage of arts|
|Technology & Innovation||
|City and Town Planning||
|History and Historiography||Focuses on: –
||Focuses on: –
Military and defense systems and technology
|Description||दुरातंत्र (duratantra)||सुरातंत्र (suratantra)||Remarks|
|Military||Preference for standing armies||Volunteer armies|
|Armies||Primogeniture funnels officers into armies||Military markets|
|Government size||Maximum government||Minimum government|
|Head of State||
Political Evolution In Europe
Europe, long used to slavery (as were other large parts of the world), has tried to invent political systems that give them the ‘benefits’ of slavery without the accompanying corollaries. Apart from linguistic and cultural factors, the significant factor in all these ‘different political’ systems is approach to labour.
Western political discourse stems from the fractured and fissured European history. As a comment on the 2ndlookblog said,
“Western notions of a nation evolved from their tribal roots, where linguistic and cultural identities eventually defined their political units as nations … Since the late twentieth century Europe is making an attempt to politically unite these disparate nations.” (comment by Parag Tope, 2ndlook blog reader).
Contemporary discussions on political systems centre around Western academic terms and theories. While, these are true (partly or completely) for most countries in the world, they are of little relevance in India.
Rulers gave large land tracts to feudal lords – who in turn provided kings with tax revenues, soldiers and administered laws in their fiefdoms. With the rise of nationalism, authority became centralized. And the economy passed into the hands of land owners. Farm workers and tenants lived under paternalistic land owner-employers. Employer change was not allowed.
In return, the serfs and tenants received ‘protection’ from slave raiders, invaders, the king’s soldiers and the Church authorities. Extremely rigid social structures and static social status in feudal societies increased resentment among ‘farm’ workers. Increase in tithes, taxes, wreaked havoc in farming – reducing trade, farm productivity. Demand for labour was thus also fluctuating.
Primogeniture ensured that feudal titles passed from father to eldest son in most European societies. Primogeniture led to high unemployment among the upper classes with two options – employment with the Church or a mercenary soldier. This gave rise to an increase of members in the Church service and a large mercenary class of knight-soldiers, who fought for the spoils of war. The rich Roman Church gave lifelong employment and a comfortable standard of living – with prestige. Mercenaries were used in the crusades, for waging colonial wars, capture of slaves. The effects of primogeniture were widespread and a cause for concern.
…disinherited sons, victims of the law of primogeniture, victimised others in turn: they became, as we shall presently see, public robbers; … In our own time, much of the corruption in church and state, and not a little of the vice festering in the bosom of society, are traceable to the same cause (primogeniture). (Bold letters, ellipsis, brackets mine)
The decline in feudalism and primogeniture coincided with the rise of capitalism.
By the seventeenth century a number of factors have begun to undermine primogeniture as a system of inheritance. The most important is the development of capitalism and the concomitant rise of the bourgeoisie which challenges the hegemony of the landed aristocracy …
Russia provides an interesting case study. Due to its vibrant agricultural sector, lack of access to slaves and colonies, Russia’s industrialization was delayed. Post-slavery Europe, with a shortage of labour was a ready market for agricultural output. Russia used its agricultural output to finance Russian industrialization.
The abolition of feudal serfdom was designed to accelerate the industrialization of the economy by compelling the peasantry to raise crops on a commercial basis, the idea being that the profits from exporting grain would be used to import foreign technology and machinery. In many ways, the strategy seems to have been successful: grain exports increased fivefold between 1860 and 1900, while manufacturing activity expanded rapidly. Further measures in 1906, known as the Stolypin Agrarian Reform, helped to establish large, consolidated farms in place of some of the many small-scale peasant holdings.
As a NYT article notes,
Russia occupies an unusual niche in the global food chain. Before the Russian Revolution and the subsequent forced collectivization of farming under Stalin, it was the largest grain exporting nation in the world.
Wandering Gypsies increased discontent with ‘free’ lifestyle. Result – persecution of the Gypsies. This discontent paved the way for the communist ‘revolution’. Lenin happened to be there.
Feudal employers reacted to demands for greater labour freedom with increased imports of slaves. In turn, slavery created labour surplus – leading to depressed wages for labour. Free labour moved to cities where industry could absorb this low-cost labour. Capitalists wanted and got ‘laissez faire’ capitalism – which was a ‘coda’ for unlimited slavery. The restrictions on laissez faire were actually restrictions on slaves.
Decreasing demand for agricultural labour due to slavery led to depressed wages. Unemployed peasants entered the trades – and revolutions.
Slavery depressed wages and increased unemployment – giving rise to a new class of journeymen. Possibly, even freemasons cults were born in similar manner – where ‘free’ masons withheld knowledge to stay free from serfdom. This unified organization was the object of both envy and resentment – resulting in persecution by the Church and authorities.
This lessened responsibility for land-owner employers and increased the number of employers – with greater freedom to exploit foreign markets. Lowered entry barriers with lesser labour welfare responsibility increased competition levels among the employers.
Colonial loot from South America and India, Canada and Australia reduced cost of capital to hasten industrialization. Thus ‘zero’ cost capital from colonial loot and ‘zero’ cost slave labour drove the engines of industrial Europe. Patronage by large land owners, financial backing by emerging ‘industrialists’ gave the educated and qualified, the resources to focus on innovation and invention.
This was the ‘Golden Age of Capitalism.’ As slavery receded (due to many revolts and rebellions) in 19th century, Capitalism also faded. Slavery and colonialism allowed creation greater concentration of wealth – in exchange for greater perceived freedom. Two aspects led to decline of capitalism. One, was receding slavery, and secondly lack of new colonies and peoples to loot, pillage, and commit genocides.
After the eclipse of Capitalism, the West needed a new economic model.
A popular writer waxing nostalgic for this ‘golden age’ was Ayn Rand. Her glossing over slavery, her token objections to segregation were reminiscent of an age gone by. Her disregard for family structures was her contribution to ‘modernizing’ capitalism. The economic contribution of slavery to the wealth of the West, the creation of patronage structures for ‘innovation and invention’ and the loot from the colonies were all absent from Ayn Rand’s hagiography on capitalism.
Faced with a crisis of labour due to abolition of slavery, Europe (specially England) started looking at alternatives for a new economic model. They selected a fugitive theorist, whose theories were creating unrest in mainland Europe.
Communism awarded a monopoly over slavery to one employer – the State. Single employer, total monopoly (on labour, political power, economic resources), impress the slaves with the glory and future – were the elements of the new political system that Europe devised. This was the only Western ideology that was born out of design. With the demise of slave trafficking, 1832 in Britain; slavery re-introduced in 1802 by France) Europe was concerned about labour and industry.
France, Brussels, Britain etc. took the lead and provided patronage to Karl Marx and Frederick Engels to devise another system – an alternate to slavery. In the next few years, their publications found eager publishers and sold well. Their books, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, The Communist Manifesto (published in) 1848 laid the basis for an alternative to capitalism. Marx and Engels received significant royalties from the sale of their books – and could survive on earnings from their writing careers.
Obviously, Communism could not be ‘sold’ to the designated victims, that they were the new slaves. It had to be ‘bought’ willingly by the ‘target audience’ as yet another ‘level of freedom’. Slavery sold as a promise of freedom – You have nothing to lose but your chains.
Most European countries moved away from the slavery-capitalism-colonialism model during the 1900-1950 period. The new political construct was Socialism – which gave freedom to labor to change employers. This was a major improvement for labour – from earlier slavery and serfdom model, where employer change was not possible.
In turn, the number of employers was restricted, so that there was not too much competition for labour or markets. The burden of labour welfare was imposed on the limited number of employers – in return for limited competition for customers and employees. This resulted in a high tax burden on employers – in return for lesser competition, high trade barriers, non-tariff barriers.
A twist in this socialist model was the Bretton Woods mechanism. At one stroke this created ‘invisible’ reverse flows from the poor to the rich countries – with minuscule but ‘visible’ show of flows from the rich to the poor.
There are individual variations in each country – based on its own history. Some countries, like Russia, China, Vietnam, Albania moved directly from feudal system to Communist State model. Japan, Germany and Italy managed to move faster to socialism, directly from feudalism – with a short period of capitalism.
Non European Models
These political structures were propagated very aggressively by their respective adherents. Modern academia touted these structures as the only matrix in which countries can be slotted.
India for instance is very different – where non-State reform has played a very major role in crime, policing (JP’s dacoit reform), land reform (Vinoba Bhave’s Bhoodan movement), political change (JP’s Sampoorna Kranti movement). After the economic buffer from Bombay High oil discovery in 1974, the Indian State has certainly, steadily shed various aspects of its colonial legacy. More importantly, India did not go through the slavery-colonialism-capitalism route at all.
It has instead inching towards a republican, (largely) market driven, democratic, declining role of State, multi-ethnic-religion-linguistic political model which is unique in modern history. What India needs to do is to one decrease the colonial inheritances further and two, give this country model a name. The lack of an academic name, slots India as a socialist country – where as it has been reducing the features of a socialist State.