Panel 7: Social and Political Implications of Economic Liberalization in South Asia
Panel No. 7
Panel Title: Social and Political Implications of Economic Liberalization in South Asia
Convenor: S.T. Hettige, Dept of Sociology, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
Co-convenors: Dr. Markus Meyer, South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg; and Dr K Ravi Raman, Associate Fellow, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, India
Wednesday 7 July, 8–12
Panel Abstract: The wave of economic liberalization that has sweft across South Asia over the last two decades has not only altered economic structures in several countries in the region but has resulted in significant social structural changes there as well. The changes in occupational structures, formation of new classes, status and ideological groups, increasing spatial mobility of people and labour and rapidly changing life-styles and consumption patterns are some of the phenomena associated with the economic and social structural changes.
How do we make sense of the above changes? There are two competing ideological positions against which the changes are often analysed and understood. The first is the dominant, neo-liberal position that provides a rationalization of the liberalization programme suggesting that it will eventually lead to greater prosperity for all, freedom, human rights, and democracy. The alternative position that is increasingly associated with the anti - globalization movement paints a different picture in terms of the outcomes of economic liberalization on national and global levels. The two positions are clearly contradictory in terms of their respective diagnoses of the emergent situation. How can we take the debate beyond a contentious ideological dispute? Is it possible to make use of the tools available in the social sciences to reach certain conclusions which can withstand intense ideological confrontations? To what extent should such conclusions be based on theory and empirical evidence? Is it possible to agree on a set of indicators that can provide a basis for a comparative analysis?
The conveners solicit papers for the session from scholars in the field of South Asian Studies dealing with one or more issues mentioned above. Papers with a strong empirical orientation will be given preference over those that deal with issues only on a conceptual level.
Papers accepted for presentation in the panel:
Paper Giver 1: Taberez Neyazi, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
Paper 1 Title: Political Economy of Foreign Direct Investment: A Case of Orissa
Paper Abstract: Since the liberalisation of Indian economy in 1991 states have been conferred considerable freedom in the matter of economic policy. The earlier centrally planned economy has given way to a federal market economy where states enjoy larger share in economic sovereignty. Government of Orissa has also taken the advantages of new opportunities and designed polices in such a way to attract foreign investment and forge ahead with its policy of economic reforms. Though the State Government is determined to take full advantage of the sweeping changes in the national and international scenario and forge ahead with its programme of economic reforms by removing bottlenecks to shackle the vicious circle of backwardness which has plagued Orissa since independence, but there is no respite form the old image of Orissa as backward and underdeveloped region in India and the total inflow of foreign investment is meager compared to other states. Its because as pointed out by Pederson (2000), sustainability of any reforms or policies depends upon the support provided by the matrix of forces operating in every society. Thus the state is “embedded” in and reflects the configuration of articulated interests in its own society. Therefore, it may be possible on the part of the state to autonomously initiate a substantial reform measures or at the behest of foreign agencies, but it would be successful only when supported by strong and organized social interests.
After examining the theories of foreign direct investment the paper makes an attempt to empirically study the nature, trend and pattern of foreign direct investment in one of the resource rich state of India, Orissa. The paper argues that though Orissa is predominantly an agro-based economy, a major source of augmenting economic activity as well as generating greater income with high degree of employment, eventually lies in the growth of industrial sector which can be done with the help of foreign capital because of the absence of viable indigenous capital. It also aims at analyzing the impact of foreign direct investment in the state economy. It tries to look at the experience of Orissa in comparison to other major states and to find out the reasons for failure of reforms measures in the state. In the process it will examine the role of government in attracting foreign direct investment and how far the state government has been able to cash on new vistas opened up because of the transformation towards federal market economy.
Paper 2 Title: Economic Liberation and Labour Migration in Sri Lanka
Paper Abstract: The migration for the employment from Sri Lanka to Middle Eastern countries began in the period just before the free-market economy was introduced in Sri Lanka in 1970s. The early migration to the Middle East was an ad hoc programme, and statistics were not fully available on the nature of migrant people during this period. According to official sources the flow of migrant workers from low-income countries to high-income countries and regions accelerated in the 1980s and early 1990s. Particularly, after the free market economy introduced to Sri Lanka, the women migration has started to increased (Fernando 1998).
Migration from Sri Lanka to other Countries especially to the Middle East Countries has played an important role in gross national production of the government, which has been the main factor that has driven the attention of the government towards the Middle East migrants. Income from migrants by way of foreign exchange earned has contributed over hundred billion rupees annually, which amounts to 5% of the GDP of the Country. The total number of Middle East workers, both men and women, amounts to ten lacks. The estimates of the SLBFE indicate that this number could be increased by year by year (SLBFE 2002).
The present study focuses on the following problem. Why is that there is a wide variation in socio cultural impact on the family and the community of the returnee women when a massive increase in the economic sphere of the villages and households of the returnees has taken place? To understand this dilemma, the present study seeks to explain why some returnee families consider themselves as ‘successful’ while some others consider them as ‘failures’. It is assumed in this study that failures and successes are widely reflected in the socio cultural variables than in the variables that are associated with the economy of Middle East employment
The study covers the entire administrative district of Kurunegala in Sri Lanka. Quantitative data for the study are collected from a sample of 60 families chosen from the villages in Maho, which is one of the DS divisions in Kurunegala, while the qualitative data were obtained from 16 households (eight from each group of successful and failed cases). The women are chosen to represent the successful and failed cases of returnee women, as perceived by the women themselves. The data for both types are collected to understand the situation of the returnee families before migration and after migration.
Data Collection was carried out during three months from January 2001. The quantitative data were collected using survey methodology in sociology while the qualitative data were collected using interview technique in the main. Field notes and extensive interview notes were coded and classified manually for the use in the final analysis. The quantitative data were entered in to the computer using SPSS program where the data were finally analyzed.
Paper Giver 3: Lynne Ciochetto, Massy University, New Zealand
Paper 3 Title: Advertising and globalisation in India
Paper Abstract: This study explores the profile of contemporary advertising in India in the wider context of trends in international advertising, the recent changes in Indian economy and society, and issues concerning the cultural impact foreign advertising in India. Findings are illustrated through a case study of outdoor advertising collected in two visits to India in 2000/2001 and
2001/2002. The 1990s have witnessed a massive expansion of advertising in India, and the advertising sector has quickly been taken over by foreign advertisers and agencies that are affiliated with foreign advertising agencies. The whole advertising sector demonstrates a remarkable degree of concentration. There has been a rapid expansion of the television and satellite television in the 1990s but print is still the dominant media. The profile of most advertised products is dominated by advertising for personal products. The strategies used have undergone significant change in recent years, and there has been increased customization to the local culture, alongside a major intensification of strategies aimed at targeting rural markets and bringing about cultural change, in order to stimulate the purchase of foreign products.
Full paper to be downloaded (as a pdf-file)
Paper Giver 4: Jonathan Pattenden, Department of Development Studies, SOAS, London, UK
Paper 4 Title: Globalization and Rural Agriculture in India
Paper Abstract: N.A.
Paper Giver 5: Elvira Graner, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University, Germany
Paper 5 Title: Labour Migration within and from Nepal. Analyzing “fragmentating developments“
Paper Abstract: The global division of labour is an often discussed issue among various social sciences. While some scholars point out the “win-win” situation of various actors involved, others, as for instance Bolaria, rather indicate the ephemeral nature of such”integration”. Similarly, Fred Scholz, one of the most renowned geographers working on development issues, has recently suggested what he calls “fragmentating development”, where some places (regional focus) as well as some groups (social focus) are being integrated into what is generally called the “global economy”. Yet, he points out to particular patterns of this integration, and raises questions about “sustainability”.
This paper applies these conceptual ideas to labour migration within and from Nepal. The paper provides an analysis of household economies and addresses changes from agricultural households to ones where labour migration gradually evolved as a crucial component. It also identifies a chronology of labour markets and labour migration. Carpet manufactories of the Kathmandu valley were a prime destination during the early 1990s, when Nepal was “integrated” into the global economy, and thus the paper provides a brief political economy of different actors involved in setting-up, promoting, as well as “ruining” the industry. It then identifies different new types of labour migration, particularly the one to the Gulf States. Yet, while carpet production was an option for both men and women, the later his highly gender selective, favouring men but virtually blocking women, bringing about vast gender gaps in income opportunities.
Paper Giver 6: Siri Hettige, Department of Sociology, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
Paper 6 Title: From Social Justice to Market Competition: Impact of Globalization on Education in Sri Lanka
Paper Abstract: Provision of education at all levels remained a virtual state monopoly in Sri Lanka for several decades from the early 1940’s. Rapid expansion of the formal education system in the recent past and the emergent policy regimes that discouraged private sector involvement in education did not leave much room for the emergence of a parallel system of private education.
The above situation began to change in the late 1970’s when a package of liberal economic reforms was introduced. The participation of a few pre-existing and many newly established private institutions in the education sector has increased rapidly, in proportion to the growing demand for private education. Private educational institutions in general provide instruction in the English medium while the public school system continues to provide instructions in the two main local languages. Meanwhile the expanding corporate sector employers use English as their business language and continues to favor English educated youth when they recruit white color employees. This situation has increased the demand for English language skills in the country, which the general education system does not provide. Even though many school children turn to private instructors in English outside the school system, incurring considerable expenditure, most of them do not succeed in their endeavor. This situation has created a wide gap between those who rely on the public school system and those who make use of private educational institutions, the latter option available for children from affluent families. In other words, education, which was widely considered as the most significant avenue of upward social mobility irrespective of one’s class position, has come under the influence of a competitive market that naturally favors the well to do. Social justice seems to be the casualty of increasing market competition in the education sector, as indeed is the case in other social sectors like health. The paper is based on field research carried out by the author over the last three years.
Full paper to be downloaded (as a pdf-file)
Paper Giver 7: Ravi Raman, Institute of Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, India
Paper 7 Title: Politics of Policy Reforms in south India: Kerala Model
Paper Abstract: the southernmost state in india, Kerala, has been a subject of academic analysis down the years. This owes largely to the remarkable levels of social achievement – universal literacy, low mortality, low child mortality, and high life expectancy at birth social security net works – attained by the state, which is even comparable to the west. But the neo- liberal reforms in the crucial sectors such as public resources, power, urban development, Environmental improvement and poverty reduction with ADB policy loan has brought into focus mixed responses.
In the paper, the following research questions would be addressed:
• What were the material and political circumstances- at the global, national and sub national levels- that left the state open to the Advent of the ADB and its policy-induced reforms?
• What exactly would be the sequence of the restructuring processes proposed by the ADB and in what way would they connect with the second-generation reforms launched by the national government?
• What are the likely implications/ramifications of the policy restructuring insisted upon by the ADB and in terms of social security, employment, debt servicing and transfer of wealth?
• What cogent alternatives could be offered against the unilateral pushing of the neo-liberal agenda at the sub-national level, sustaining/modifying/rejecting the Kerala model of development by contextualizing the very model itself in the critique of (global) developmentalism?
Full paper to be downloaded (as a pdf-file)
Paper Giver 8: Mallika Shakya, London School of Economics and Politics, UK
Paper 8 Title: Role of Cultural Capital in the Globalised Industries in Nepal
Paper Abstract: Globalization has brought with it a remarkable convergence of institutions and policies, yet the opportunities and challenges for one ethnic /cultural group vary enormously from those of others. My study of the ready-made garment manufacturers in Nepal brings forward the role of cultural capital in explaining such differences. The terms consists of (i) knowledge of production, (ii) business organization skills and (iii) commercial networks developed over generations, often seen to spread through family and kin-based institutions, as opposed to those acquired over a period of five years in formal educational institutions.
The ready-made garment industry contributes 25% of Nepal’s exports and is closely integrated into the global economy. My unit of analysis is, first the factory, which is the largest production unit, and second, ethnicity, which is the most visible social identity of an individual in multi-ethnic and multi-lingual country like Nepal. My hypotheses are;
(i) It is the cultural capital that primarily determines the nature and content of production in a given production unit,
(ii) The labour structure depends on the nature/content of production in the production unit,
(iii) The type of labour and production system chosen, in turn determine the profitability and sustainability of the business venture against the changing global and local contexts.
My research brings forth a number of policy implications for developing countries. It brings forth that what is needed is not protection of one faction of industry over another, but the integration of the success factors from the micro-level studies into a wider picture in which cultural capital seen in a dynamic and interactive way, is one important factor among many others. The lies in carrying out cautious, case-by-case analysis of strengths and weaknesses of local industries against the broader global scenario, rather than through haphazard imitation of macro models, be it towards globalisation or against.
Full paper to be downloaded (as a pdf-file)
Paper Giver 9 : Alina M Zapalsa, Marshall University, USA & Wali M. Mondal, Redlands University, USA
Paper 9 Title: Micro-credit and Micro-entrepreneurship in Bangladesh economy
Paper Abstract: the purpose of this paper is to analyze common characteristics of family owned and operated entrepreneurial businesses in Bangladesh to suggest that entrepreneurs having these characteristics have a probability of success as entrepreneurs. The Kazanjian model is used to examine how environmental conditions influence development and growth of entrepreneurial activities in family operated small businesses. The goal is to identify and describe the environmental factors that have major impact on the development of family businesses in Bangladesh’s economy. The paper recognizes that Bangladesh’s economy is not the same as the other economies in the region. As it represents a perfect example of how poverty can be alleviated with the use of “micro-credit”. The paper also focuses on the social cognitive variables that may meditate the impact of the environmental focuses on entrepreneurial development to suggest new directions for future research and practice.
Paper Giver 10: S.K. Mohanty & Nizammudin Khan, International Institute for population sciences, Mumbai, India
Paper 10 Title: Impact of economic reform on employment structure in urban India
Paper Abstract: Indian economy had experienced major policy changes in early 190s to improve the working f he economy. The new economic reform, popularly known as, liberalization, privatization and globalization (LPG model) aimed at making the Indian economy more efficient and globally competitive. As a result the economy had experienced about 6% growth rate in GDP in 1990’s, foreign exchange reserve exceeded 100 billion US Dollars (as of December 2003) and India became the 10th fastest growing economy in recent years. However, all these feel good factors failed in growth of employment.
This paper has the twin objective of assessing the levels, trends and differential in work participation rate in urban India, particularly on the eve of economic liberalization in the 1990’s. The analysis has been focused on urban India with emphasis on large cities and small towns using NFHS 1 and NFHS 2 data.
Preliminary analysis has shown that work participation rate had declined during the period. The largest decline is observed in the age group of 45 years and above. On the other and, female participation rate has increased in prime working age group in urban India.
However the occupational differential by sex, caste and religion is quite distinct. In large cities of India, the widely practiced work among females is domestic work followed by clerical and related work. Moreover the work participation is more among households belonging to low standard of living. Occupational patterns also vary by caste and religion.
Full paper to be downloaded (as a pdf-file)
Paper Giver 11: V. Upadhyay, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, India, and Arvind Chaturvedi, Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad, India
Paper 11 Title: India’s Economic Reforms: Impact on Poverty
Paper Abstract: India adopted economic planning in 1952. Even after nearly four decades , in 1991, when planning did not yield considerable economic progress and development, economic reform process was set in motion. Since then the policies of Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization (LPG) have been followed by various governments with varied pace. The reform process has shown significant improvements in all spheres of economy with impact of different degree in different sectors.
This paper attempts to study the impact of economic reforms in reducing poverty and disparities in India. In the first part of the study the impact of reform process on growth indicators is analyzed using multivariate regression analysis. In the second part of the study three measures have been analyzed to examine whether the Indian society is relatively better off now ( as compared to the pre-reform period) or not. These are: Per Capita Income, Gini coefficients and UN Human Development Index( HDI).We have attempted to identify the relevant variables( macro economic variables as well as human development variables ) by finding out the coefficient of Correlation and rank correlation. Through semi-log functions of growth, we have compared the growth rates in two periods-pre and post reform periods.
The last part of this research paper deals with an analysis of changes in regional disparity by examining the National Sample Survey (NSS) data. The States and territories of the Indian Union are ranked and then the analysis is carried out using the following, to measure consistencies of ranks of different regions (towns) & / or states.
Full paper to be downloaded (as a pdf-file)
There were 11 confirmed papers to be presented to the panel as at July 5, 2004. However, one paper presenter did not show up at the conference, and this made the total number of papers presented to 10. Since only one morning session was allocated to this panel, the time available for the presentation and discussion of papers was not sufficient. Panel session was well attended by participants, indicating a very high interest in most of the papers presented. Following the discussion, the participants present felt that those who presented papers and or participated in the session should stay in touch, in the form of an informal network so that they can continue to exchange ideas and material. The panel coordinators informed the participants that they would explore the possibility of publishing a volume containing the revised papers. Panel coordinators hope to get in touch with paper presenters soon in the above regard.