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Tuesday, October 28, 2003

The flight to India

The flight to India

George Monbiot argues that the jobs that are fleeing from the developed nations to developing ones like India are nothing but the jobs that were snatched from these very developing countries by Britain and other imperialist regimes at the height of colonization in the 18th and the 19th centuries.

And even though, I detect a leftist tinge to the whole article, I do agree on most of the points raised by the author of the article.
There is a profound historical irony here. Indian workers can outcompete British workers today because Britain smashed their ability to compete in the past. Having destroyed India's own industries, the East India Company and the colonial authorities obliged its people to speak our language, adopt our working practices and surrender their labour to multinational corporations. Workers in call centres in Germany and Holland are less vulnerable than ours, as Germany and Holland were less successful colonists, with the result that fewer people in the poor world now speak their languages.
Quite true! The vast spread of the British empire all over the world for nearly two centuries ensured that English was the dominant language in the world. To add to this, the servility to which Indians were reduced under the British rule also ensured that any Indian wanting to rise above his peers and countrymen looked up to his white-skinned masters and learnt their language. The ability to speak English was considered to be a differentiating factor and almost a status symbol. This trend, albeit in a milder avatar, continues to this day.

[the article via Manju's journal]


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Sameer/Male/27. Hails from India/Maharashtra/Mumbai/Prabhadevi, speaks Marathi, English and Hindi. Spends 60% of daytime online. Uses a Faster (1M+) connection. And likes Reading/Computers.