Caste isn't efficient or capable

Kuffir

Aakar Patel explains why Brahmins and Vaishyas dominate India's corporate boardrooms:

My view has long been that these are our only two capable castes. It is largely from merit that they dominate.

Pitted against such sheer unabashed racism, the arguments of the Sangh Parivar ideologue Gurumurthy, who has long been an advocate of caste as a 'development vehicle', seem like refreshing, unbiased wisdom. In fact, Gurumurthy's oft repeated paeans to caste based enterprises offer the most efficient refutation of Patel's Two Supercastes theory.

donor_brahmin

Gurumurthy has been studying industrial clusters in India for over a decade and one conclusion that can definitely be drawn from his observations is that individuals from castes across the varna divides are capable of becoming 'capable' entrepreneurs, not just those from an elite group or two. He says, in this article from The Hindu:

An empirical study was conducted in some 25 caste-based industrial clusters in different places in India by a team of academics and professionals trained in modern business under the aegis of the Tamil Nadu Swadeshi Academic Council. It showed that whether it is the Jatavs of Agra and Kanpur, or the Nadars, Naidus, or Goundars of Tamil Nadu, or the Patels of Gujarat, or the artisan Ramgadiyas of Punjab, they have risen as competent entrepreneurs – many at the global level – mostly by leveraging on their kinship-based social capital. Most of them have had very little education. It is the community that has acted as the knowledge provider thorough kinship and social network.

Jatavs, Nadars, Naidus, Gounders, Ramgadiyas, Patels: Dalits, backward and intermediate shudra castes. Who isn't capable? 

Patel should read Gurumurthy a little. And Gurumurthy should also read a little about research that doesn't agree with his views. For instance, Abhijeet Banerjee and Kaivan Munshi, in their paper 'How Efficiently is Capital Allocated? Evidence from the Knitted Garment Industry in Tirupur', presenting some of the evidence (page 20) from a study of Gounder and non-Gounder (or 'Outsiders', as the study calls them) garment manufacturers in Tirupur, say:

(1) The average Gounder firm that was set up during our sample period (1991–1994) started with almost three times as much fixed capital as a comparable Outsider firm.

(2) At all levels of experience (by which we mean the number of years since the firm went into business as an exporter), the average Gounder firm owns more fixed capital than the average Outsider firm that was started in the same year, though the difference is small for firms that have been exporting for more than 6 years.

(3) At all levels of experience, the capital intensity of production in an average Gounder firm (measured both by the ratio of fixed capital to exports and the ratio of fixed capital to total production) is between 1·5 and 2·5 times that of an average Outsider firm that was started in the same year.

(4) Output (measured both by exports and by total production) is initially lower in firms owned by Outsiders compared with firms owned by Gounders that were started in the same year, but grows faster with experience and crosses that of the Gounders after about 5 years.

(5) In contrast with the cross-community comparison, within each community, firms that invest more maintain higher levels of output at every level of experience.

To sum up, roughly, the Gounders employ more capital than the Outsiders but dont get better results than them. Caste isn't efficient.

But the Gounders can start garment units more easily, get easier access to capital and labour, rely on better co-operation from local authorities, and can stick around longer (even if they are not as efficient as the Outsiders) because of what the researchers call the 'community effect' (or plain old caste loyalty, in other words). But despite all those advantages:

In our data the Outsiders seem to outperform the Gounders. This is easiest to see by comparing the Gounders and Outsiders who have more than 5 years of experience. The Outsiders in this category own less capital stock than the corresponding Gounders. Yet they produce significantly more. Moreover, the growth rate of output is higher for the Outsiders with more than 5 years of experience compared with the corresponding Gounders, which rules out the possibility that the Gounders are trading off current productivity for future growth. Finally, these Gounders use more capital per unit of output and own more capital stock at every level of experience: everything else being the same, this should give them a higher growth rate. The slower growth of the Gounders is therefore in spite of this additional advantage.

And so on. How truly capable is the corporate Brahmin or Bania? India's share in world trade now hovers at less than 2%. Despite all their advantages, built over a two millennia old foundation of education, land, wealth and power, the very 'capable' Brahmins and Baniyas leading all the organized capital of India don't seem to be so very capable, after all.

The Gounders ('80 per cent of whom are not even matriculates', as Gurumurthy says, but 'compete at the global level, exporting knitwear garments valued at over $2 billion'), representing less organized capital, seem more efficient than the Brahmins; and the Outsiders in Tirupur seem more productive than the Gounders. India's economy definitely needs more and more doses of Outsiders, in boardrooms and classrooms, to make it truly efficient or capable.

~~~

Cartoon by Unnamati Syama Sundar

Other Related Articles

"I don't have much belief in the system": Actor Vinayakan talks to the Media
Thursday, 23 March 2017
  Rakesh Ram S Vinayakan, a Dalit actor from Kerala, began his career as a dancer and has been an actor for more than 20 years now in Malayalam and other south Indian movies. Initially he played... Read More...
Interview with Dr Manisha Bangar on Current Issues & the Mulnivasi Bahujan movement
Wednesday, 22 March 2017
  Round Table India In this episode of the Ambedkar Age series, Round Table India talks to Dr Manisha Bangar, Vice President, BAMCEF. In the interview, Dr Manisha Bangar talks about a wide... Read More...
Brahminical Patriarchy and Social Media
Friday, 27 January 2017
 Bhagyesha Kurane Social media has become an integral part of our lives these days. There are various notions prevalent about whether one should use social media, and if at all it is to be used,... Read More...
ब्राम्हणी पितृसत्ता आणि सोशल मीडिया
Thursday, 26 January 2017
  Bhagyesha Kurane सोशल मीडिया हा आपल्या जीवनाचा सध्या एक अविभाज्य घटक झालेला आहे.... Read More...
A short history of media as a tool of cultural hegemony
Wednesday, 18 January 2017
  Anshul Kumar "He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past" ~ George Orwell in 1984. Ever since the inception and evolution of mankind into a... Read More...

Recent Popular Articles

Media – The oppressor’s tool to divide and rule
Tuesday, 04 October 2016
  Vikas Bagde The media not only has a mass reach in the country, but is also able to influence this large population according to its wishes. Most of the time (or rather, all the time), the... Read More...
Post-Truth Politics and Dalit Question
Thursday, 22 December 2016
  Vinod Kumar The world is moving in a new direction in its political spectrum. Most of the old, developed democracies have come under the influence of the right wing forces with populist images... Read More...
ब्राम्हणी पितृसत्ता आणि सोशल मीडिया
Thursday, 26 January 2017
  Bhagyesha Kurane सोशल मीडिया हा आपल्या जीवनाचा सध्या एक अविभाज्य घटक झालेला आहे.... Read More...
War: Win Win Time for the Ruling Class
Friday, 14 October 2016
  Vikas Bagde To unite a diverse mass, one must create an external enemy, so that by considering such an enemy as a severe threat to their interests, those diverse people can be united. After... Read More...
ना जाती साठी ना मातीसाठी....आमचा लढा संविधानाच्या सन्मानासाठी....
Sunday, 18 December 2016
  Bhagyesha Kurane लाखोंच्या संख्येने येथे उपस्थित असणाऱ्या सर्व भगिनी व बंधूंना... Read More...

Recent Articles in Hindi

पेरियार से हम क्या सीखें?

पेरियार से हम क्या सीखें?

  संजय जोठे  इस देश में भेदभाव और शोषण से भरी परम्पराओं का विरोध करने वाले अनेक विचारक और क्रांतिकारी हुए हैं जिनके बारे में हमें बार-बार पढ़ना और समझना चाहिए. दुर्भाग्य से इस देश के शोषक वर्गों के षड्यंत्र के कारण इन क्रांतिकारियों का जीवन परिचय और समग्र कर्तृत्व छुपाकर रखा जाता है. हमारी अनेकों पीढियां इसी षड्यंत्र में जीती आयीं हैं. किसी देश के उद्भट विचारकों और क्रान्तिकारियों को इस...

Read more

कृष्ण: भारतीय मर्द का एक आम चेहरा...!

कृष्ण: भारतीय मर्द का एक आम चेहरा...!

(कृष्ण की लोक लुभावन छवि का पुनर्पाठ!)मानुषी आखिर ये मिथकीय कहानियां किस तरह की परवरिश और शिक्षा देती हैं, जहां पुरुषों को सारे अधिकार हैं, चाहे वह स्त्री को अपमानित करे या दंडित, उसे स्त्री पलट कर कुछ नहीं कहती। फिर आज हम रोना रोते हैं कि हमारे बच्चे इतने हिंसक और कुंठित क्यों हो रहे हैं। सारा दोष हम इंटरनेट और टेलीविजन को देकर मुक्त होना चाहते हैं। जबकि स्त्री...

Read more

राष्ट्रवाद और देशभक्ति

राष्ट्रवाद और देशभक्ति

संजय जोठे धर्म जो काम शास्त्र लिखकर करता है वही काम राष्ट्र अब फ़िल्में और विडिओ गेम्स बनाकर बनाकर करते हैं. इसी के साथ सुविधाभोगी पीढ़ी को मौत से बचाने के लिए टेक्नालाजी पर भयानक खर्च भी करना पड़ता है ताकि दूर बैठकर ही देशों का सफाया किया जा सके, और यही असल में उस तथाकथित “स्पेस रिसर्च” और “अक्षय ऊर्जा की खोज” की मूल प्रेरणा है, यूं तो सबको...

Read more