All entries for Sunday 11 September 2005

September 11, 2005

Which Way to Go?

The Telegraph, 09.09.2005

Debashis Bhattacharyya’s “Is the left turning right?” (Sept 4) is no more than a journalistic summary of the acrimonious and somewhat misleading debate over the wooing of foreign capital into West Bengal. It also makes certain swooping assumptions that need to be put in the right perspective. First, there is the tendency to believe that “the interests of global capital with the interests of marginal farmers or factory workers” have to be welded together. But labour regulations, apparently the cornerstone policy for this welding to happen, has always been seen to tie down growth. The more relaxed the regulations, the greater the rise in wages, productivity and disposable incomes. Two, it is a common fallacy to see the hire-and-fire regime as necessarily bad. But if a worker is not good enough, he has to go. If the company is not making enough profits, it has to let go of some of its workers to restructure, or risk going bankrupt entirely. All economic activity has some positive impact on the poor, but this is constantly ignored, both by politicians and journalists.

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