Social Scientist. v 13, no. 142 (March 1985) p. 49.


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B. RAJENDEy G.K. UETEN**

The Sovereign Power of Philips in India

THE ECONOMIC POLICY of the government of India in the field of industrialisation in the past has been characterised by a regulatory framework. The various policy resolutions, planning blueprints and acts of parliament were intended to regulate the contribution of the four entrepreneurial agents, namely, the state, the non-monopoly sector, and the indigenous and foreign monopoly houses. It should be obvious that the policy which has been followed has not delivered the goods. It has neither pushed the Indian economy onwards on the path of rapid and equitable development, nor has it weakened the stranglehold of the monopoly sector. The visible failure has in recent years induced a rethinking in government policy. For, indeed, if the policy framework, linked with the names of Nehru, Mahalanobis and Indira Gandhi in her initial years, has misfired, a new solution should be found in the attempt to lead not only India but its population as well into the 21st century.

On the basis of one case study, we shall argue that no valid conclusions on the effectiveness of the past policy framework can be drawn. Indeed, the policy may have been initiated by the government and approved by parliament, but has in essence not been the guiding principle in economic practice. With particular reference to the balance of payments regulations and the restrictions on monopoly activities, the inference from the case study will unambiguously establish that the power of foreign monopoly capital has overruled the well-intended government prescriptions. On the basis of this particular case study, the hypothesis of a dual sovereignty, shared by the Indian nation and the foreign multinational companies, may be further developed. The company choosen for testing our case is Philips which not only has been "a household name for the last fifty years", but has also, despite its minimal labour force (9000 workers), established a prominent position on the stock market.

Philips started its activity in India as a trading company, and subsequently turned into a major producer of electrical goods. In the list of the biggest companies in the Indian private corporate sector (1982), Peico1 occupies the

* Lecturer, New Government Degree College, Hyderabad

* * University of "Amsterdam, Holland:



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