Dear All Post Capitalist and Mr. Mason,
While this article deals very much with UK internal matter, but I do think my post is related tangentially to the title “Priorities for the UK Left”. I am a Bangladeshi development practitioner, working and residing in my country; new to this Medium ! To be frank, I was attracted to this platform by Paul’s book on post-capitalism and his other writings. My interest lies with the predicament of my country and other LDCs or developing countries in the globe. I wanted to share with you all, an extension of Paul’s idea as I believe applies to developing countries (hopefully a priority for the left?): My proposition is that ushering a post capitalist society in developing country is easier, can be engineered faster and is likely to happen anyway, before developed world. My reasons for this notion are:
1. Leapfrogging: In case technology, it has often been the case that developing countries adopted new technology faster than developed country precisely because they did not invest in the previous technology. E.g. In LDCs like Bangladesh, land-phones never took off and so moving to cellular technology was that much easier. For South Korea it was easier to move to fast moving train than USA which already had invested huge amount on traditional railroad. So we can move to post capitalism faster because the technology is here and we have not invested significantly in industrial capitalism anyway (we already see in LDCs service sector is bigger while in OECD countries it was industry which led the economic growth spurt). Another example, in Bangladesh we had around 500,000 internet users in 2010–11 but by 2016 had over 30 million thanks to introduction of 3G technology.
2. Transition Cost: Related to above concept, taking Michael Sandel’s terminology, the developed world has Market or Capitalist Society whereas developing countries or more precisely LDCs have market or capitalist economy; for us capitalism is still a tool and the individualistic norm is still not as entranced; whereas in OECD countries the non-market norms have already been crowded out significantly by market or capitalist norms. Therefore, we have fewer and smaller losers if we gradually transition to post-capitalist society with social knowledge rather than OECD countries where info-monopolies like Apple, Facebook or others already exists.
3. Historical Evidence USSR: I am not an expert in Marxism although I am fascinated by it. As far as I know socialism was supposed to appear in developed or advanced economy first, like UK or Germany, but instead appeared in the semi-feudal society of Czarist Russia. That took many Marxist by surprised, I wonder whether this is likely to happen now.
If you guys agree with my notion, then I think it is crucial for all of us to focus not only in the discourse of the developed world but put our energy behind developing countries (I have my selfish reasons of course) and engage in Aid and Development Discourse. May be we can test these ideas in countries like Bangladesh, Nepal or Nigeria much more easily!