New Meme from Nepalese Maoists?

“We need capitalism before socialism” says Prachanda, the head of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), according to a report in the The Independent .

This is one of those old Marxist ideas that must take off again if a genuine left is to re-emerge from the ether. It has to become a new meme.

What Prachanda is referring to is the fact that a system based on social ownership can only be built on the conditions created by capitalism. This means eliminating the conditions that are the basis of class society – routine labor, low levels of education, a general lack of sophistication and economic backwardness.

Look at it this way. A society based on sharing is only viable when we are generally sharing good things, in particular interesting jobs and affluence. Sharing poverty and jobs that should be done by machines is a no show. Furthermore, we need average people who can do most of the thinking and deciding, and when they cannot, are at least able to monitor and hold accountable those with special knowledge and ability.

In poor countries a major obstacle to progress is statism in its various (including “socialist”) guises which has allowed those in power to plunder the economy and to hold back the development of an entrepreneurial capitalist class. This has usually been assisted by agencies such as the World Bank [1]

Another obstacle is the pseudo left in the rich countries who do not want poor countries to become rich. That would require lots of power plants, roads, railway lines, modern housing and factories. Instead, they just want to make subsistence agriculture more viable by things like donating goats, digging wells and “fair trade”. [2]

Anyway getting back to Nepal. It needs land reform (land to the tiller) and an institutional/legal environment which encourages local business. It also needs lots of foreign investment in hydo and tourism while ensuring adequate royalties (resource rents), and the development of infrastructure such as roads, cable cars, mobile phone networks, hospitals and schools.


[1] The writings of the economist Deepak Lal are a good place to start on the problems of development. And a good place to start on the World Bank is this article from the Cato Institute. Also see this section of Bright Future which explains why Africa went backwards.

[2] On “Fair Trade” may I suggest the following pieces from Spiked-Online, Andrew Norton, Cafe Hayek and Cato at Liberty.

4 Responses to “New Meme from Nepalese Maoists?”

  1. 1 Doug1943

    Readers of Strange Times who would like to explore one of the issues raised by Dave — how should Marxists deal with a country which is ready for revolution, but not ready for socialism — may be interested in a book written about sixty years ago, by Bertrand Wolfe, called Three Who Made a Revolution: A Biographical History of Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin. Wolfe, a founder member of the CPUSA, became a supporter of Bukharin, and was expelled from the Party. (Details here.) This book has a very accessible description of the discussions among the Russian Marxists, at the end of the 19th Century, on the character of the coming revolution, and what the role of Marxists in it should be. The Bolshevik, Menshevik and Trotskyist lines are explained very well. And the relevance to today is obvious.

  2. 2 davidmc

    Thanks for that Doug1943. I’ll check out a library copy of the Wolfe book sometime soon.

  3. 3 Steve Owens
  4. 4 steve owens
  1. 1 Prachanda is Nepal’s new PM! at STRANGE TIMES

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