Distant View of the East
NIGEL HARRIS, INDIA-CHINA: UNDERDEVELOPMENT AND REVOLUTION, Vikas Publications, Delhi 1974.
NIGEL Harris belongs to the group of British Trotskyists who publish their analyses of international affairs in the monthly journal International Socialism, The author claims that in the last couple of decades his group "has put down roots among British industrial militants. It is now already in a position to contest with the Communist Party for leadership of the most militant section of the working class." 1 The essays presented in the book deal with certain basic questions of revolutionary perspective and strategy in India and some aspects of the economic development and political alignments in China.
It is becoming increasingly evident that Indian planning is more an exercise in political rhetoric than a serious attempt at developing the resources of the country. Nigel Harris seems to recognize this, when on the general question of the economic development of backward countries, including India and China, he advances his central thesis: "All the popular claptrap about 'take off/ 'sustained growth' and a permanent prospect of rising standards of living for all was a confidence trick to induce acceptance of a permanently unequal world. The millenium is not for the majority of the world's people."2 There is likely to be general agreement among the ranks of the Indian Left with Harris's analysis of the contemporary economic scene in the country and with his bleak forebodings. He justly points out that the "size and rapid growth of black money make all financial statistics in India suspect.'53 According to him, a stage will soon be reached when even a 20 per cent rate of growth will not absorb the reserve army of labour. To him, the 'Green Revolution' is "almost a textbook example of the paradox of capitalism—each increase in output seems only to make conditions worse'\4 He exposes the lopsided nature of our development by pointing out the increase in the production