In this essay, I am looking to analyze on what India would look like under a communist government and why certain aspects of communism might help India and its people.
Communism is a political idea where the government owns most of the property and extensively controls the industrial sector so that all classes of labor are paid to their needs and abilities and control the means of production equally. This idea was originally formulated by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. People have always branded communism as bad and unhealthy to the world. This is evident when Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union an ‘evil empire’. This is because communism is always taken in the same context as totalitarianism or anarchism. People always take the example of Mao Zedong, Nikita Khrushchev and how they created more of an authoritarian government which resulted in the loss of lives of thousands of innocent civilians. Similarly, people take the example of Nicaragua, North Korea, Vietnam etc., as instances where communism has been a bad influence on the rest of the world. People argue that communism more often than not results in bad and evil governance which fails to achieve the very purpose it was constructed for. However, before we completely disregard communism as negative it is important to understand that communism merely advocates equity among social hierarchies and a greater government role in regulating economics. Just because a dictator or a bad leader chooses to employ communist policies, he does not become the epitome of communism. Before we progress through this essay it is important to get that misconception out of our heads for a broader analysis.
There is a communist party of India (CPI) which split into two factions in 1964. The head of the Marxist faction is Sitaram Yechury and the non-Marxist is Sudhakar Reddy. at the present. While BJP and the Indian National Congress from the governments in India every election it is easy to forget the CPI. So, what are the goals and proposed policies of the CPI? It’s party constitution clearly states that – “Revolutionary vanguard of the working class of India. Its aim is socialism and communism through the establishment of the state of dictatorship of the proletariat. In all its activities the Party is guided by the philosophy and principles of Marxism–Leninism which shows to the toiling masses the correct way to the ending of exploitation of man by man, their complete emancipation. The Party keeps high the banner of proletarian internationalism”. It also states that – “The Communist Party of India (Marxist) shall bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established and to the principles of socialism, secularism and democracy and would uphold the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India.” It is important to note the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ which means dictatorship by the common people. Their political programme certainly does not involve authoritarian, fascist propaganda as falsely interpreted by the advocates of capitalist.
It is estimated that the top 10% of income earners in India own 55% of the income in India. Economists still back capitalism because they feel under capitalism even the poor people are generally richer than the middle classes in other countries. For example, a poor person in America would fall into the middle class category in India. Unfortunately, the situation in India is not as great as some of the other capitalist countries. The per capita GDP in India is roughly $1900 which means that with the current levels of income inequality the majority of people are living well under $1000 of income. People who live under $1.50 per day are considered extremely poor and by this standard 22% of India’s population are extremely poor. But why is poverty in India so high? India has a population of about 1.2 billion people and still increasing. The capitalist system existing in India isn’t fixing the poverty problem in India but in turn is increasing it because big firms in India enjoy the possession of a large volume of resources which aren’t efficiently employed due to a lack of regulation and corruption resulting in a loss of jobs. Furthermore, it is estimated that India loses about a trillion dollars due to corruption annually which is nearly half the size of the GDP of India. This drainage of money from the hands of the government merely increases the disparity between the rich and the poor. For a country as big as India, a capitalist system creates an increase in inefficiencies within the economy and the lack of regulation leads to mismanagement within the government resulting in illiteracy, unemployment and ultimately poverty. It is impossible for a government to find out who’s corrupt and who’s not inside such a vast legislative body in India.
This is why communism may be the solution to India’s ongoing problems. The equal distribution of resources among the people provides everyone with equal economic power. India can still retain its democratic aspects such as elections but once a party is elected, communist power can be given to the elected government which could help introduce a system where the responsibility of economic management is taken off the shoulders of the government and given to the people. The opportunity cost to communism is economic growth but yet again an important question which needs to be asked is – Is it okay to forgo economic growth if all sections of society are assured economic equality and poverty is eliminated? For communist policies to work, there has to be democratic ideals such as election to prevent fascist tendencies, high level of education for people to efficiently manage resources given to them and a judicial body which is independent of the legislature.
Communism as an economic ideal requires democratic ideals backing it up to create a better working political system. Communism can be seen as a political experiment with odds backing its failure rather than success. However, if used right it could be an answer to several of India’s problems such as population management, corruption, and poverty.