Social Scientist. v 17, no. 198-99 (Nov-Dec 1989) p. 1.


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Editorial

Few would deny that the area in which President Gorbachev's 'new thinking1 has had the most dramatic and lasting impact is the realm of international security. The peace initiatives launched by him, including his unilateral declarations in periods when negotiations reach an impasse, have not only offered the promise of denuclearization, but of the closure of theatres of war in the less developed world, which has been the scene of all but one of the 170 armed conflicts in the period after the Second World War. Jn his lead article in this issue C. Rajamohan provides an assessment of the distance the world has traveled on all mSajor issues of world peace, the role played by Gorbachev in that process, the diverse intellectual sources of his 'new thinking' and above all the threats of subversion of the peace process emanating from the conservative establishment in the developed world in general and the United States in particular. While arguing that the objective situation in the capitalist and socialist worlds provides a real basis for the transition to a more peaceful world, he suggests that unless it is possible to transform or defeat traditional modes of thinkinf on questions of securing in the -developed capitalist and socialist worlds and also the developing world, the battle would remain half won.

The two subsequent articles are concerned with questions of industrial performance and the role of international subcontracting. In the first of these, Ananya Mukherjee addresses the question of the role of labour in explaining the accumulating losses in the public sector coal industry. Disputing the argument that the observed association between rising money wages and absenteeism in the nationalised coal industry is adequate to argue that it is labour that accounts for rising costs and declining surpluses, she proceeds to establish that even at the prevailing money wag^ rate, a mine worker is not able to afford the minimum nutritional ^requirement that the average work load demands. This fact renders short but frequent absenteeism the only rational solution to the overstrained-undeffed worker. Combined with the inadequate attention to safety in the mining sector this results in an overall reduction n the supply of work effort.

In the following article, A.J.C. Bose provides a brief survey of trends in international subcontracting between transnational production and



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