The Total Failure of Indian Capitalism


In India, 44% of those under 3 suffer from malnutrition, as opposed to an average of 25% for sub-Saharan Africa. India has the most malnourished people on Earth, and malnutrition and starvation in India is twice as bad as in Africa.

In North Korea in the mid-1990’s, there was a terrible famine that killed 600,000 people . At the very worst of the famine, the malnutrition rate in North Korea was only as bad as it is year in and year out in India. Yet the MSM never tells you about starvation and malnutrition in India, only in North Korea. In 1986, 14 million people a year were dying from the effects of malnutrition, mostly in the South Asia region of which India is the most prominent part. There’s no reason that think that figure has improved with time.

Tens of million Indians live on the streets of India! Yes, that is right, they do not have homes, and they are homeless, living on the streets. This where they eat, drink, bathe, fuck, shit and piss. This is India: millions up millions live, camped out like animals, on the streets of the cities.

Even if you can get a place to live in the slums of Indian cities, it is little better than the streets. Raw sewage flows in the streets and during floods, often fills the homes in the slums. People end up standing in ankle deep sewage water that has filled their home. This is India, every day of every year.

More facts:

60% of children under 5 in India are malnourished, and the vast majority of women are anemic. The majority do not have access to clean water, so they drink dirty and polluted water that can and does give them all manner of diseases.

Indian health care is a failure. State health care exists, but a friend of mine said that if you have money, you get out of a state hospital and into a private hospital. Why? State hospitals may well be a death sentence. You will get treated little if at all. If you have money to bribe the doctors to actually treat your loved one, you stand a better chance. In most rural areas, there is no health care period.

In many rural areas, there are no schools. The state may build a schoolhouse, but the teacher never shows up, and he still gets paid anyway. Many villages have no schools period. In those that do, they are ridiculously underfunded, and most drop out as very young children to go to work. Child labor is everywhere in India, as is out and out slavery. The state does nothing to stop it.

Untouchables in India.

The life of the untouchables or Dalits in India is so horrible that it virtually beggars description. This state of affairs is mandated by the Hindu religion, and there is no hope in sight. If you get rid of caste, you get rid of Hinduism. Hinduism probably cannot exist without caste. Hindu ideologues like to argue that a casteless Hinduism can exist, but it seems dubious. No caste, no Hinduism. Since caste is an integral part of Hinduism, one wonders exactly what good this religion is, and why it should even exist at all.

Any thoughts? Why should Hinduism exist?

Almost as bad as caste oppression, mostly in the rural areas, is the opposite, caste based affirmative action. Dalits and other low castes now have affirmative action policies mandated by the state. This would not be so bad, but things at the university level are not positive. For instance, Dalit and low caste gangs at universities threaten professors to pass Dalits and low castes or at least give them passing grades. Those teachers who refuse to comply may be attacked and beaten. Increasingly, a diploma from an Indian university has dubious value.

100 million excess deaths in Indian 1947-1979.

Lately 4 million excess deaths per year. People are always saying what a failure Communism is.

One way to test this theory is to look at China and India. In 1949, their developmental figures were nearly identical. Since then, China has completely surpassed India in every way. This was true even during the Mao era. In fact, by 1979, Indian capitalism was causing 4 million excess deaths a year as opposed to the alternative model in China. In other words, the Chinese “murderous” Communist model, if adopted by India, would have saved 4 million lives per year.

Failure to adopt the Chinese model resulted in 4 million deaths per year in India above and beyond the Chinese model. Note that the 4 million excess deaths even holds after the numerous excess deaths caused by Chinese Communism. So, the Indian model had killed about 100 million Indians by 1979 since 1949 – this is above and beyond the deaths in China, including famine deaths in the Great Leap Forward.

Extrapolating from 1979-2010, we can estimate another 100 million deaths in India, for a total of 200 million excess deaths in India (above and beyond deaths caused by Maoists in China) since 1949, directly as a result of Indian capitalism.

There are proponents of the Indian capitalist model on this site. They urge to “just give us some time.” With a bit of time, Indian capitalism will soon develop and provide a great standard of living for everyone. Look, you guys have had your chance. 60 years is long enough. You had your day in the sun, you blew it, and it’s time to try something new.

True, India is getting some great economic growth these days. But during the period of this wild economic growth, from 1995-present or the past 15 years, the malnutrition rate in India has been flat at 51%. Essentially, 0% of this economic growth is trickling down to those who so need it most desperately. Time to try something new!

Some wonder why I support the Indian Maoists. A stark look at the figures above ought to tell you why. The Maoists are the only folks in India who have a plan to even begin to deal with these issues. Let’s give them a chance.

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21 thoughts on “The Total Failure of Indian Capitalism”

  1. Dear Robert
    I wonder whether some of your figures are exaggerated. For instance, the figure of 200 million homeless strikes me as too high. According to the CIA World Factbook, 30% of India’s population is urban. That is a total urban population of 345 million, and of those 345 million 200 million live in the street?
    India’s infant mortality is 50/1000, which is lower than that of most African countries, and its life expectancy is 66, which is higher than that of all sub-Saharan countries. India is not China, but it isn’t Africa either.
    According to the National Gographic article that you linked to, there are 160 million Dalits in India and 25000 crimes are committed against them per year. Even if we quintuple that figure, then fewer than one Dalit per thousand is a victim of crime per year. We shouldn’t judge by headlines. On average, over 40 Americans are murdered per day, but only one American per 20,000 gets bumped off in a given year.
    You forgot to mention that India now has many billionaires and that some of them are global players. One Indian billionaire owns Jaguar. Is that not splendid capitalist success?

    Cheers. James

    1. Some of my figures are probably exaggerated.

      I don’t really care how many Indians are billionaires. As long as 50% of the population doesn’t even have enough food to eat, arguing about how many billionaires are in India seems silly.

      Sure, billionaires are a rubric of capitalist success, but that’s precisely the problem. What do I care how many billionaires are in my country, or how much money they have? Are they cutting me a check every month. Sure, capitalism is good at creating billionaires, but what does your average starving and sick Indian, wading through raw sewage flooding their hovel, care about the number or net worth of your Indian billionaires. Indian billionaires are as irrelevant to your average Indian as the outrageous wealth of the royalty of old was to your average serf.

    1. Thx. I was starting to wonder about you there for a bit.

      I would like to see the Maoists, if they get power, develop some sort of “socialism with Indian characteristics” along the line of the Chinese socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

  2. Indians are a dirty people.
    When the Chinese were just as poor, they didn’t live between filth and shit and wear rags – no, the Chinese are too proud for that.
    It is likely that the Aryan invaders of India instituted the caste system not only because they found the physical appearance of the Indian indigenes revolting (Robert would probably claim that a Vedda or a Khol looks ‘just like an Italian’), but they also found the physical habits of the native Indians disgusting.
    Curiously 4000 years have done nothing to change these disgusting habits.

    1. Dravdian speaking people in the South are Caucasoid too, especially the upper caste. Also, it is the Dravidian that built the greatest early civilisation in Harappa Mohendro-daro (current day Pakistan). In all likelihood the Aryans were savages who used force to defeat the Dravidians and pushed them down into South India. No change there then. Look at the last 4-5 centuries. The Europeans have been savages who have only conquered through might. And I say this as someone who has very Caucasoid features and come from North India.

      1. This Professor is repeating the often trumped up notion of “BRIC,” which I am sure you are well aware of. In truth, it makes little sense went put under the microscope. No doubt India and Brazil will be the de facto regional powers in their areas, shear poverty aside. As such, regional powers get to play politics on a global scale to some extent. Just look at Turkey and Brazil’s deal brokering with Iran’s nuclear program today. That could not have happened three years ago. In effect, three either actual or potential regional powers bypassed a superpower or two, being the USA and EU.

        Russia, well…It WAS a superpower not too long ago, so writing it off as just a regional power might be too simplistic. China, on the other hand, is in a class of it’s own, as this next decade will show. There is no “BRIC” century before us. Only a century of perhaps as many as a dozen regional powers coming an going. I would not even label China an emerging superpower, so much as a hugely powerful regional power. Their take on world influence will be very different from that of the U.S, and U.K before it, I suspect.

        On a side note, I just love how India tries to tag itself onto China’s phenomenal success. Very popular amongst Indian ex-pats and Indian nationalist types. They are not on the same playing field. Not even in the same game. Wishful thinking at it’s finest.

        1. I know he is repeating the BRIC report, but that report is now backed up by other investment houses and some actually consider it quite conservative. If you grow at 7% a year for 2 decades it equates to an economy that will be 4 times bigger. Well, India should grow at that level pretty easily over the next 2 decades and more. In the next few years you should see India topping 10%. This year it grew in excess of 7.2% when most other economies saw negative growth or barley any growth at all and this fiscal (which started April) should see 8.5% or thereabouts.

          India’s current nominal GDP is $1.33 trillion and the PPP is roughly $4 trillion. The latter which is a better comparison between countries puts India roughly the same size as Japan, currently third biggest.

          You haven’t seen the development that’s going on in India. If you want to see some evidence, type in Gurgaon. This city which is an extension of Delhi has been built up in the last 10 years from scratch and has seen tons f MNCs come in. There are great developments happening all over India. Even the Eastern states like West Bengal and Bihar are seeing major growth now Much of the major growth in the last 10 years have happened in the West, Northwest and the South.

          Just to give you an indication of the growth, trade between India and China was a measly $5 billion around 6 years ago and now it stands at $50 billion and growing very fast.

          India was the source of early scientific and mathematical achievements, including the concept of Zero and the modern number system. India is where the first surgeries were carried out.

          The fact is Indians have always been great mathematicians hence one of the reasons they dominate engineering and IT.

          GDP in the last 2,000 years.

        2. I see this time and time again. Indian nationalists trying to latch onto the back of China’s success. Comparing India’s infrastructure and development to that of China over the last decade or two is a farce. Take a trip to China. See what I mean. More importantly, see reality for what it is, not what you wish it to be…Or what you want to fool everybody else into thinking.

      2. Yah, as I listen to this video, I can’t help but think how full of crap this guy. India AND China controlling half the world’s resources by 2012? Not India…

        1. Even as recently as 1870 – which was just 140 years ago – India was richer than the US, albeit it was under the British at the time.

        2. India’s “Indians” was dirt poor in 1870. It’s wealth, all of it, was in the hands of the British. It was a colonized continent, for God’s sake…

  3. Excellent read. I am in fact going to re-read it again.

    I actually have a concern. I have been around and worked around many Indian ex-pats and Indian-Americans, and I have a genuine concern that they are actively importing their own economic and societal model into our very own culture. Even worse, it seems to have clicked, at least with folks on the right in this country. Strange but true. Bobby Jindal, anyone?

    I have on more that one occasion had a notion explained to me that really creeps me out. Young Indian-Americans stating that they, and their parents of course, are actively copying something they see as a “Jewish model.” Now, that is insane. I grew up around Jewish folks, and have Jews marry into my family. The Jewish-American cultural model is simple. Get educated to make a good living, and do the same for your kids. Simple concept. Better to be a doctor than a janitor.

    These Indian “nationalist” types though, see it very differently. It is as though they took every negative stereotype out of Nazi Germany about Jews, and intend to make those stereotype a reality for themselves. What in the hell is that all about? Is this how, at least a powerful and rich segment of Indian society and Indian Americans, see the world? Is this what they teach their kids?

  4. I agree Hindus are very self-oriented people, largely owed to the repressive caste system that endorses the belief that some are born with God given rights while others must suffer. The lower caste are supposedly people who have done wrong in a past-life and therefore must suffer the consequences in this.

    I wish my fellow Indians weren’t so cruel. But happily, things are changing fast. Some school, university, jobs positions are reserved for lower caste and we have had Chief Ministers of states and other high ranking positions in local and national government as well business who have come from the untouchables.

    As a Muslim Indian, what I find really puzzling is that the lower castes are not really racially any different to the middle or upper caste. So, I really don’t know where this superiority stems from.

      1. Though I dislike the attitude of Hindu upper caste towards the lower castes (though very much improving), there is remarkable cordiaity between different religions.

        I know Muslims are disliked by Hindu fundamentalists, but India does not have many fanatics of any religion. Yes, sometimes Muslims are barred from purchasing property in very posh areas through discrimination, its not very widespread.

        India is actually very good when it comes to relationship between different religions and sects (I know you can point to sporadic violence in rural areas against Muslims and Christians by Hindus), I can tell you both us and Hindus and people of other faith actually get on very well. Sure, you rarely see intermarriages other than people at the very top of society, but most people in India are secular and people of each faith hate the hardliners, whether they are Muslim or the Shiv Sena, RSS, etc of the Hindus.

        1. You seem to be white-washing things here a bit. India has violent riots every few years, where folks are literally pulled out of their homes, and burned alive in the streets.

  5. By the way, Robert, I am getting sick of your anti-India posts. They are becoming rather frequent. The Maoists are nothing but idiots. Don’t they realise that violence is only hindering progress. They are stopping development of rural areas and yet they say they represent the poor. These Maoists in India are funded by China which wants to see India split into pieces.

    1. Yeah, but I don’t agree, ok? Indian capitalism has failed in the worst possible way. There’s never been any development in the rural areas anyway and there never will be any either. It’s not that they say they represent the poor, it’s that they are the poor. That’s the fact. The Maoists *are* the Adivasis.

      As a supporter (reluctant) of the Maoists, you are going to see a lot more of these posts in the future. I’m on a mailing list that gives me updates on the situation in India, Nepal, Peru, etc.

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