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In the developed countries this transition towards financial hegemony was the result of the inflationary crisis and stagnation that affected the OECD countries after the late s. The contractionary fiscal and monetary policy response to inflation intensified the deceleration in real growth. This together with the low real interest rates on bank deposits adversely affected banking business and profits.
These developments triggered a process of deregulation and liberalisation in the financial sector, ostensibly to allow banks the freedom to reduce losses and find new means to profit. The deregulation led to an expansion and diversification of the financial sector. Securitisation, by making credit assets tradable, allowing for the transfer of risk, and freeing the creators of credit of the underlying risk encouraged a massive expansion in the volume of credit provided.
The required expansion of the universe of borrowers, who being driven to borrow, often became willing victims of the drive to transfer surpluses from their incomes directly to financial firms. Available figures do point to galloping growth in the global operations of financial firms. This trend characterised countries that reported on both dates as well.
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One consequence of the posts expansion of liquidity in the international financial system was the need on the part of international finance capital to find new avenues to lend and invest. Having to keep money moving to earn returns, and running out of options within the developed world, private international finance that had excluded most developing countries from its ambit because they were perceived to be too risky both economically and politically, chose to target some developing countries that were soon identified as emerging markets.
To exploit this option, developing countries needed to dilute controls that had been imposed on flows of foreign capital, especially foreign financial capital wanting to enter their equity, debt and insurance markets. With hindsight we know that almost all developing countries chose to exploit this option at different points of time starting in the s in the Southern Cone countries of Latin America.
The reasons differed across countries. To fathom the explanation for those differences, we need to turn to the dissimilar developmental strategies that were adopted by developing countries in the aftermath of the period that saw two World Wars, an agricultural depression, the Great Depression, and decolonisation. In some countries the wars and the movement against colonialism led to the institution of governments led by socialist forces that opted for development within the framework of central planning.
But most countries, including India, came under governments that opted for a capitalist path of development, starting from a situation where their societies were characterised by substantial semi-feudal remnants. Among those that opted for a capitalist path, most countries, on the basis of their experience with being predominantly agricultural producers and exporters of primary products, chose to adopt a strategy of import substituting industrialisation.
Pursuing import-substituting industrialisation required the strengthening of indigenous industry, not just with protection, but by control and regulation that restricted the role of large and predatory foreign capital and disciplined domestic business to behave in ways that served national development. The degree to which this was done varied across countries.
For historical reasons, though the Indian State represented an alliance of the domestic bourgeoisie and landlords, the Indian government adopted a development strategy that involved substantial state intervention. Thus, even among underdeveloped countries launching on development after World War II, India was in many senses unique. In terms of choice of the mix in terms of emphasis on industrialisation based on the domestic market and that driven or facilitated by exports it was focused almost wholly on an internally oriented growth strategy.
This did seem warranted for a number of reasons. At independence in , India was a country that showed much promise as a potential candidate for successful industrial development.
It already had considerable experience with factory production, with the first successful factory established within the country dated to In the event, after the Second World War, India was among the more industrialised of the underdeveloped countries, especially those that had had just come out of colonial domination.
This historical legacy did favour India when the development experiments of the post-War, decolonisation years began. Further, despite the low level of its per capita income in India at that time, the sheer size of the country as defined by its geographical area and its population meant that it had a reasonably large sized market for manufactures.
Moreover, the substantially unequal distribution of income ensured that there existed a significant number of people with income levels that implied a rather diversified demand for manufactures. Even though this section was proportionately small, the large size of the population made their numbers significant. These factors provided the foundation for a reasonably large and diversified domestic market. However, growth based on the domestic or home market was not easy to realise and had been achieved in practice by very few countries since the Industrial Revolution.
A prerequisite for sustained growth was the growth of the mass market for manufactures. This required land reform that broke down semi-feudal relations in the agricultural sector, so as to accelerate productivity and output growth by providing the actual cultivators—whether tenants or peasants—with the means and incentive to invest and by distributing more equally the benefits of that growth so that those benefits could translate into demand for manufactured goods that have a mass market that can support industrialisation.
Ensuring these prerequisites was an extremely difficult proposition, given the alliance between the capitalists and landlords.
Not surprisingly, many countries, often after initial attempts at import substituting industrialisation, soon turned to the export market as a potential alternative stimulus to growth. A few sought to do this on the basis of investment by indigenous capitalists Republic of Korea and Taiwan supported by developed country governments, while others attempted it by attracting foreign investment that would use local labour reserves and establish capacities aimed at production for the international market.
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Among these the only underdeveloped country of reasonable size among the delayed late-industrialisers that managed to achieve developed country status was South Korea. Some, like the newly industrialising countries of Southeast Asia in the s and after, experienced rapid growth for significantly long periods and registered a rise in the share of manufacturing production and in per capita incomes.
- Communication Yearbook 34.
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All countries that adopted export-led strategies, despite their different growth trajectories and degrees of success, remained dependent upon and subordinate to foreign capital. In the case of those that had experienced export success, this was partly because they were under pressure to open their financial borders as a quid pro quo for continued access to markets in the developed capitalist countries on which they were dependent. In others, dependence on foreign capital with control over international markets was needed for export success.
As a result, in course of time those choosing export-oriented strategies had to open their international economic borders by diluting or dismantling capital controls to allow for inflows of foreign investors seeking new investment avenues in the Age of Finance. Thus, development that strengthened the political independence gained by countries after World War II by ensuring independence from predatory foreign capital was only possible in countries that ensure successful growth based on the domestic market. So it was significant that at independence India saw the accession to power of a government that had the social sanction needed to formulate and implement a domestic market-oriented national development strategy.
Its emergence out of a national movement against colonial rule gave it that sanction.
The initial dynamism, especially of industry, displayed during the decade and a half after , gave way to a period of secular stagnation that stretched between and the late s. The share of manufacturing in GDP did rise from around 9 per cent in to 13 per cent in But it did not cross the 14 per cent mark for a little more than a decade after that, and touched The contribution of manufacturing to employment was even more dismal.
In , industry contributed 37 per cent of GDP in Brazil, 45 per cent in China, 19 per cent in India, 19 per cent in Indonesia, around 25 per cent in South Korea, 19 per cent in Malaysia and 19 per cent in Thailand. By , the figures were 45 per cent in Brazil, 43 per cent in China, 26 per cent in India, 36 per cent in Indonesia, 39 per cent in South Korea, 39 per cent in Malaysia, and 32 per cent in Thailand. Thus, the to period was one in which in most developing countries rapid diversification in favour of manufacturing was occurring, but India had not shown the same tendency.
The long-term, slow growth and subsequent near-stagnation of the share of industry in GDP in India was more the exception than the rule among developing countries. And while the worst forms of monopolistic practices were curbed, asset concentration in the industrial sector was never really challenged. One consequence of the persistence of asset and income inequality was that there were definite limits to the expansion of the market for mass consumption goods in the country. The large mass of peasantry, faced with insecure conditions of tenure and often obtaining a small share in the outputs they produced, had neither the means not the incentive to invest.
The prospect of increasing productivity and incomes in rural India, which was home to the majority of its population, in order to stimulate domestic demand was therefore limited.