The interconnectedness of capitalism, polity, social policy and education

Familism and, on a broader scale, clanism have been the principal orders of social grouping that defined political structures, processes and functions over a long period, and in their time, those arms of technology that are today responsible for what we know to be modernization were underdeveloped and insignificant in terms of their political impact. With the onset of industrialization, there was an unprecedented necessitation of the nationalization of economic structures in order to benefit from the rewards of capitalism–which, in turn, borrowed from an increased capacity for production and storage.

Consequently, it also became necessary for a change in social order to accommodate the volumes of employment generated by the widespread establishment of industries, the principles of free market capitalism and, eventually, globalization itself, finally bringing a conclusion to the traditional familism. They disintegrated into smaller units and migrated out of the countryside and into urban regions, possibly never returning again to an agro-centric way of life.

However, in countries such as India, the process of modernization was never exhaustive enough to effectuate a complete transformation; in fact, the inability for associated technology to completely permeate the agrarian sector precipitated a massive economic gap between itself and the industrial sector, later bridged by a Green Revolution. While this lag may be attributed to a variety of causes, the adherence to old traditions – perhaps in response to an ineffective political institutionalization that permitted the persistence of cultural and social barriers – played and continues to play a prominent but, at times, detrimental role in shaping the perspectives of the rural citizenry.

While the formation of nuclear families resulted in a greater possibility of man-to-man conflict while supplanting increased political representation, the quantum of political obligation continued to stagnate amongst the people in villages and small towns because familial obligations superseded national obligations. Therefore, a central authority such as the national-level democratic government found it impossible to draw upon the loyalties of a farmer, and if such loyalties had to be commanded, education provided the only sensible way out.

However, because of the backward nature of the rural family, where husbands, fathers, brothers and sons went to work on the farm and wives, mothers, sisters and daughters remained at home cooking and cleaning, education was not only deficient but was also presented with a barrier: as dictated by the needs of the central government, the existing and forthcoming needs of the nation could be best satisfied by the learned and the academic, thereby causing a shift of power from the labour class to the scholastic class.

Teachers and scholars in villages, in whose hands the national authority placed any responsibility, were perceived as threats by the existing occupants of the “leaders’ community”. Therefore, the modernization of the rural sectors not only involved the education of the people residing therein but a constant reintegration of them into a society that was being constantly reshaped by new forces.

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