A COMMON lesson from the experience of* a number of underdeveloped capitalist countries has been that a so-called "liberalization" of the economic regime, which ensure^ unfettered activity and generous incentives to the monopolists and the multinationals, which removes control over prices, over imports of foreign goods and technology and over monopoly' action, which allows "freer play" of the market forces, not only entails a greater squeeze on the people, but also requires for its sustenance a more authoritarian political regime. The tendency towards "liberalization," which has characterized India's economic policy for some time now and which is going to be immensely strengthened as a consequence of the IMF's diktat, has therefore extremely serious economic as well as political implications. The working people, already squeezed by rising prices and unemployment, are facing the threat of a further drastic squeeze as well as a loss of their democratic rights, of which the Essential Services Maintenance Act is only the first, but a significant, instance.
Against this drift of events, working class resistance has been growing. The joint rally held by a number of trade unions on November 23 in Delhi to coincide with the opening of the winter session of Parliament was an impressive demonstration of working class unity and combativeness. The rally has given a call for a one day all-India general strike on January 19. 1982, which marks an important step forward along the path of resistance. The moment calls for a greater awareness on a number of questions — about the predatory role of the multinationals whose champion the IMF ultimately is, about the nature of the IMF intervention itself, about the possible ideological threats to the growing unity of the working people, about our own revolutionary tradition, as well as about contemporary revolutionary experience elsewhere in the world. The current issue of Social Scientist is organized around these themes.
The predatoriness of the multinationals manifests itself, inter alia, in a substantial drain of surplus value out of the country, of which a much larger proportion is concealed. Concealed outflows occur mainly through the mechanism of "transfer pricing", that is, the systematic over-pricing of purchases from and under-pricing of sales to affiliates abroad. The isolated estimates^ which