FIDEL CASTRO, THE WORLD ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CRISIS:
ITS IMPACT ON THE UNDERDEVELOPED COUNTRIES, ITS SOMBER PROSPECTS AND THE NEED TO STRUGGLE IF WE ARE TO SURVIVE. (Report to the Seventh Summit Conference of Non-Aligned Countries), People's Publishing House, New Delhi, 1983 p 224, Rs 25.00
THE NEO-COLONIAL methods adopted by Imperialism to maintain its strangle-hold over the Third World countries, even after the latter have attained formal political independence, are vividly described by Fidel Castro in the book under review, which is the text of his report to the seventh non-aligned summit conference. The book has been divided into eleven chapters. The first three chapters trace the historical evolution of the world economic and social crisis and its impact on the Third World countries. The next three chapters throw light upon the functioning of the international financial system and its implications for the growth of agriculture and industry in the Third World. The remaining chapters deal with the growing role of transnational corporations (TNC) with the deteriorating social, cultural and ecological conditions in Third World countries, and with arms race, and ultimately stress the need for cooperation among underdeveloped countries.
At persent, all the developed capitalist countries of the world are passing through a stage of recession. The crisis which started during the late seventies, deepened during the eighties, and, notwithstanding the current feeble recovery, is going to be with us in the foreseable future. The average rate of growth which was 5 to 7 per cent in the seventies has declined to less than one per cent in the eighties. Unemployment which had crossed 10 per cent some time ago is still ruling at levels which are comparable to what was observed only during the great world wide depression of the thirties. Although the crisis originally effected the developed capitalist countries (DCC) it has had its repercussions on the rest of the world too, owing to the strong hold of DCCs over the world economy. The worst hit are the underdeveloped countries (UDC). On account of their very low technological level, productivity in the UDGs is very low which gives rise to a vicious circle of less surplus, less investment and lesser opportunities for employment. The burden of the oil crisis which started in 1973 is again mainly shared by the oil importing UDCs. The worsening terms of trade, rising debts, growing control by TNCs over their economies, all these have further aggravated the crisis of these countries. The big conglomerates of the United States, Western