[Marxism] RE: Rural India Goes Digital (WSJ)

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Wed Oct 5 01:26:08 MDT 2005

I can understand Louis’s (and others’) reaction, but I do see some
relevance for Marxists in this passage:

>>Nearly three-quarters of India's 1.1 billion people live in villages like
Lodra, making it one of the world's least-urbanized countries. While
India's cable connections have tripled over the past decade to 61 million,
rural households have missed out as cable companies see no profit in
stringing kilometers of wire to reach remote locations.

>>Enter digital television. Relying on signals transmitted from a satellite
to a receiving dish and from there to a set-top signal-decoding box, rather
than through cables, digital TV can transmit anywhere, delivering more
channels and better picture quality.<<

This appears to be an interesting modern example of “combined and uneven
development”. Capitalism can’t afford to invest in hard infrastructure so
previously backward areas leap over stages and go to digital technology. I
believe in some parts of India, phone users have gone from no phone at all
directly to cell phones, for the same reason.

To note this fact doesn't have to mean celebrating capitalist development,
any more than Trotsky was doing so when he wrote about Russia’s
contradictory industrialisation. On the contrary, combined development
opens up opportunities to challenge capitalism.

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