The Retreat to Unfreedom

Prabhat Patnaik

The Retreat to Unfreedom

Economic and Political Philosophy

For the first two decades after World War II, it appeared as if mankind was embarking on a remarkable journey towards freedom. The socialist world underwent a rapid expansion, advanced capitalist countries restructured themselves, ushering in the golden age of capitalism which saw unprecedented employment, technological progress and rising real wages for workers.The world today, however, presents a totally changed scenario. With the collapse of the Soviet Union the socialist project regressed, and the hope of freedom that underlay the loss of support for extant socialism has been completely belied. On the other side, the golden age of capitalism has become a distant memory, with pervasive unemployment. Above all, there has been a veritable rolling back of decolonization , with the third world once again being pushed back under metropolitan hegemony. Poverty has increased over much of the third world. Almost everywhere, there is a growth of fascism of different hues.An important factor underlying this substantial change is the emergence of a new form of international finance capital. This has undermined the capacity of the nation-state the only agency hitherto available that could, in principle, intervene to improve the human condition. If progress along the road to freedom has come to a halt and has, in fact, been reversed, if there is a retreat to unfreedom, as the title of this book suggests, then, the analysis of the causes of this retreat requires an exploration of the immanent logic of this new form of international finance capital. The essays in this book constitute a preliminary attempt at such an exploration.Prabhat Patnaik is Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is the author of Time, Inflation and Growth (1998), Economics and Egalitarianism (1991), Whatever Happened to Imperialism and Other Essays (1995), Accumulation and Stability under Capitalism (1997), and has edited Lenin and Imperialism: An Appraisal of Theories and Contemporary Reality (1986) and Macroeconomics (1995).The essays, covering a range of topics varying from the political economy of globalization and its implications for development of poor countries through the political economy of Indian development to the current conjuncture and future prospects of socialism as a historical project, are truly remarkable for their coherence and consistency of perspective.

Patnaik, Prabhat. The retreat to unfreedom: Essays on the emerging world order. Tulika, 2003.