Social Scientist. v 19, no. 221-22 (Oct-Nov 1991) p. 27.

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Swaraj and Jiefang: Freedom Discourse in India and China


The contemporary world process is characterised by a paradox. On the one hand, there is an apparent victory of the paradigm of capitalist modernisation on world scale. The collapse of most of the socialist regimes and crisis in centrally planned economies gave rise to this impression. On the other hand, it has been realised that all over the world the model of capitalist modernisation was in operation in various forms and had resulted in serious problems like environmental degradation, social tensions and alienation of communities. In other words, the basic orientation of the Western industrial revolution which aimed at promoting growth with the help of modern technology was at the root of the development process of not only the Western capitalist countries but also of the socialist and other Third World countries. And these countries as well as the Western societies have experienced acute problems of alienation and violence in modern times. Seen from the vantage point of the people of the Third World this paradox is most vivid. The Third World regimes and elites in general have been almost persuaded to adopt the paradigm of capitalist modernisation. They have accepted the creed of 'market friendly growth', 'integrating their economies with the world economy', emphasising 'productivity and efficiency' and 'disciplining labour'. Yet these countries are faced with serious demands of people for basic human needs, political autonomy and cultural rights, fulfilment of which requires moving away from the dominant world paradigm.

The force of the global trend now compells all political and intellectual perspectives to fit themselves into its parameters. Political leaders of the Third World seek economic assistance of the World Bank or the Western powers to overcome their domestic crisis. Even the critics of the ruling parties at best question the 'conditionality' of aid rather than the submergence into the paradigm

Department of Political Science, Delhi University, Delhi

Social Scientist, Vol. 19, Nos. 9-10, October-November, 1991

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