How did the British exploit Indian agriculture

Colonialism 2.0 (.1.2): Will the Indian people be deprived of their resources again?

For centuries, even millennia, today's India generated between 20 and 30 percent of global economic output - until the beginning of the industrial revolution, which began in the “mother country” of England in the second half of the 18th century.

The Industrial Revolution 1.0

The industrial revolution is the profound and lasting transformation of economic and social conditions, working and living conditions that began in the second half of the 18th century and intensified in the 19th century, first in England, then throughout Western Europe and the USA. has led to the transition from an agrarian to an industrial society in Japan and other parts of Europe and Asia since the late 19th century. As the most important social classes involved in this upheaval, capitalist entrepreneurs and wage-dependent proletarians faced each other. (Wikipedia)

There are many reasons and guesses why the Industrial Revolution started in England - and not anywhere else in the world. England enjoyed a period of peace that lasted many decades, comprised a unified economic area without customs barriers, a relatively productive agriculture based on large estates and thus a surplus of labor, abundant coal deposits, certain technical innovations in precision mechanics and toolmaking as well as a colonial property and trade that took care of importing raw materials and sales markets, especially with India. Or maybe it was just a coincidence of fate or luck that England was industrialized and was subsequently able to subdue large parts of the world.

Industrialization - combined with capitalism - had a tremendous devastating impact on the entire colonized world. Colonies like India became pure raw material suppliers for the English industry, while they themselves were not allowed to participate in the added value. Despite all the negative consequences (environmental pollution, overexploitation, exploitation of workers, temporary impoverishment; in short, the social question), industrialization ultimately contributed (mainly through the political organization of the workers) socio-economic "development" of nations
. Mass production led to the supply of clothing, food, medicine and consumer goods to the broader population, which led to increasing life expectancy, and later also mobility and living space for the masses. These developments did not take place in the then agricultural society of India.

The first multinational company in the world

Over the centuries India has been resource-wise exploited. The British controlled trade in cooperation with the Indian elite, but at the expense of the people. This becomes very clear using the example of textile production. The raw cotton was harvested in India and exported to England, where it was processed into textiles, fabrics and clothing. The end products were then sold to India again at high prices. India's share of value added was minimal. No wonder that India was financially drained and robbed of its raw materials, labor and freedom - purely for the benefit of the capitalist (mostly foreign) masters. It should be noted at this point that the East India Company was first and foremost a company (and indeed the first multinational), and only then a part of the British Kingdom.

In India the Industrial Revolution - with all its advantages and disadvantages - did not take place until 1991, so that by the 1970s India's contribution to global economic output (GDP) sank to around 3 percent (from 20-30%, see above ).

Industrial revolution 2012 and its fatal consequences

India has been independent since 1947 and has been increasingly integrated into global markets since 1991. Goods, capital and in some cases also workers are freely traded. India is seen as an economic hope for the future and a potential growth engine for the world economy. Since growth is stagnating in the western world, capital is looking for attractive investments with high return promises. This is why foreign investors are now letting their money work for them in so-called “emerging markets” such as India. Profits there are higher (and workers' rights lower) than in industrialized countries. Of course, money per se does not work, only the people who receive the money in the form of loans or FDIs (Foreign Direct Investment) and have to pay it back with interest or returns (= non-working income). Therefore, I have a very strong suspicion that the fate of the proletarians of the 19th century in India is repeated today, especially when I walk the slums in Bombay. These slums are probably comparable to the working-class neighborhoods of London of yesteryear. We also know environmental pollution, exploitation and child labor from our own history and are not phenomena specific to India.

I fear that this time too (similar to during colonialism) many resources of the Indian people will again be privatized and fall into the hands of the global capitalists. (Privare comes from Latin and means deprive) I therefore fully understand the Indian government, which is only opening the markets very cautiously, in other words only under international pressure and threats of consequences. See standard article from July 29, 2012:

In an interview recently, US President Barack Obama warned India to finally tackle further reforms. The climate for investment is deteriorating, he criticized the second most populous country, which he had flattered as a superpower in 2010.

Do not get me wrong. Industrialization is not bad per se. It must be clearly recognized that there has been some added value built in India over the past twenty years. Today India already contributes seven percent to global economic output, and the trend is rapidly increasing. It just depends on who gets the wages for all this hard work. Capitalism at least solves the question of production. For cultural reasons, however, India has never been really good at solving the issue of distribution fairly. Liberalization and investment will not solve this problem for India either.


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