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Mainstream, VOL 60 No 47 November 12, 2022

Birth of an Alternative Development paradigm: Unfolding of Transformative mode of Production | Sunil Ray

Saturday 12 November 2022, by Sunil Roy


by Sunil Ray *



The 21st century made its beginning with a shift of geographies of reasons for reorganizing the principles of the economic and social life of humanity in the world. It is a new site in the making, unparallel in the history of the contemporary world, in the wake of the social movements against globalization that have been shaking several parts of the world for the past two decades or so. While epistemic disobedience (Mignolo, 2011: 44) is built into these movements, most of which are  anti-systemic (Fotopoulos,2010:4: 59), they take us to a different beginning with a different cosmic vision, ‘it is delinking from the modern, political episteme articulated as right, left or center, it is an opening towards another thing... searching for itself in the difference’ (ibid.: 50). It is no less than Polanyi’s double movement that resonates to trigger the process of self-protection of the communities against the onslaught of the single globalized model of development rooted in the capital system (Polanyi, 1944: 76). The unbridled capital system that separates humans from nature based on its instrumental rationality and self-regulating market doctrine is now faltered with its inherent fallacious logic of expansion. Its falling tendency, which is inevitable and was not as imminent earlier as it is today, is reinforced by its sharp internal contradictions. The pathological symptoms of the capital system that designs devastating acts against humanity and nature indicate an entropic disorderly stalemated post- capitalist interregnum society (Streeck, 2017: 35).

The crisis of the capital system is deepening, as it is being entrapped by its own logic and is unable to find any escape route except the one shown by Keynes in the wake of the Great Depression in the 1930s. However, its repetitious application to get the economy out of the ‘Great Recession’ has proved futile in the present context of the global economy. Besides centralization and concentration of capital that have crossed all limits at the cost of dispossession and deprivation of the vast majority of people around the world, the incessant commodification of nature is another source of the crisis, making the production conditions so feeble so as to respond to the expansionary move of the capital system.

Methodological individualism, private property and representative democracy that lend credibility to the theoretical legitimacy of the mainstream development paradigm rooted in the same capital system are increasingly proved to be the enemies of the civilization. Having unmasked these theoretical moorings, resistance movements (anti-systemic movements) have embraced an epistemological battle against the old one such that humanity can escape from the catastrophic end through the creation of another world.

In this paper, I make a modest attempt to examine how the alternative development paradigm unfolds with a new epistemological base emerging out of anti-systemic resistance movements and other radical transformative initiatives around the world and argue how the rise of another world from within the metabolism of the capital system is a historical inevitability.

The paper is divided into five parts. Part II learns a few lessons from the anti- systemic social movements witnessed around the world and several radical transformative initiatives in order to construct the alternative framework. The fundamental premises of the alternative development framework, what I call ‘Cohesive Development’, as opposed to that of the mainstream development paradigm is spelt out in Part III. Part IV shows how transformative mode of production, which is solidaristic, is forming and gradually emerging based on the forces of cohesive development beyond Marxian analytics in the post-development (post-capitalist) stage of social evolution. The paper ends in Part V with the presentation of a few remarks.


Lessons from Social Movements

‘Interregnum’ Gramsci’s disquiet almost a century ago, ‘The old is dying and the new cannot be born’ (Gramsci, 1971: 276), does not hold anymore. The contemporary counter-narratives of social disobedience against the dominant development paradigm testifies it. The old is indeed dying, but the new is also born now, maturing and expanding the horizon of its mass acceptability. Its passage for expansion is gradually widened by the radical alternatives, as demonstrated by the resistance movements, most of which are anti-systemic. These movements have devitalized the reasons for the old to stay and decide the fate of humanity. A new society is germinating from these movements as an outcome of the inexorable forces of history.

Several such movements took place in the recent past, both at the national and international level. While most of them were directed against globalization, environmental degradation and racial and gender discrimination, etc., they all opposed the exploitative system. They were anti-systemic. Of course, several resistance movements were organized in different parts of the world that went against global capitalism, while some others not.1 Similarly, an immense variety of radical alternatives to the mainstream development regime emerged during the past two decades around the globe( Kothari, et al, 2019: 339) show that they range from sector- specific such as sustainable and holistic agriculture, community —led water/energy/food sovereignty to more holistic or rounded transformation attempted by Zapatistas in Chipas in Mexico.

As I have argued elsewhere, this suggests that the coordinates of transformation must change from the parts to the whole (Ray et al., 2020). Unlike the dominant paradigm that explains the dynamics of the system based on the properties of the parts, it is now between the parts on the one hand and between parts and whole on the other (Capra, 1996). It also suggests a radically different social metabolic order that corresponds to the reproductive order of the society which is sustainable and based on the principle of substantive equality and freedom (Mészáros, 2017: 8). The process of substantive freedom finds its expression only when the development paradigm rests on cooperation and solidarity between humans and humans and nature (Honneth, 2015; Ray, 2012). The coordinates of transformation must arise from cooperation, not competition. The dialectics of progress of human society are then governed by the law of reciprocal altruism, not methodological individualism. Cohesive development arises as an alternative development paradigm based on these new coordinates of transformation.

Cohesive Development

The primary condition for cohesive development is social cohesion among the individuals with a sense of community and commitment to the common objective based on collective understanding and shared consciousness. It is this common objective that binds individuals together despite differences that might exist between them. However, this can happen onlyif the common objective never falls in line with the existing power structure which is undemocratic and exploitative, and yields powerlessness and deprivation of the majority. In other words, no social cohesion can ensure cohesive development as an alternative development paradigm if it fails to recognize the debilitating impact of the existing power structure on it. It is not that powerlessness is confined to the economic aspect of human life alone and hence the talk about monolithic class division. It is equally important to recognize how in other aspects of life, including social, cultural, political, environmental, etc., subordinate groups are excluded from various forms of power. The unifying element of all subordinate groups who develop a shared consciousness is exclusion from the various forms of power (Fotopoulos, 2010: 62). The task of the subordinate groups, therefore, is to overcome the cultural hegemony of the dominant groups, preserve cultural diversity and ensure all social groups have a voice through democratic means such as participation, dialogue, etc., as ruling by obeying comes into play.

Hence, cohesive development, in the present context, is conceived as an alternative development paradigm that replaces the logic of capital as it works in the capital system with the new one that seeks to establish radically different social metabolic order based on the principle of solidarity between humans on the one hand and humans and nature on the other. Reciprocal altruism, contrary to the methodological individualism of the mainstream development paradigm, directs here to shape the development paradigm. While holding the people, the deprived, together based on reciprocal altruism, it seeks to achieve a common objective, a common world view, based on their collective understanding with substantive freedom or actual freedom whose key resides in the ‘apolitical’ network of social relations from market to family (Žižek, 2017: 29).

This holds good equally at all levels, including local, national and international. Besides, it institutionalizes fulfilment of all necessities of life and creates equal space of all aspects of life for everyone to harness their full potential and live with dignity. A new development paradigm is thus conceived, suggesting a deep structural change from the grassroots to bring about equity and justice while maintaining relational totality. Besides, it does not allow natural resources, the very base of the productive forces of the economy, to be exhausted beyond the limit where coevolution of both human and nature stops. It is only within this framework that one may have reasons to argue why sustainable development is realizable. Further, no economic development is sustainable if it is understood based only on the notion of unlimited quantitative growth. It is more than a purely economic process in that it is associated with qualitative growth that includes social, ecological and spiritual dimensions (Capra & Henderson, 2009: 41).

Hence, the fundamental tenets of the epistemological base of cohesive development as emerging from radical movements and transformative initiatives are (1) holistic cosmovision with diversity; (2) solidarity between humans and humans and nature;( (3) Equity and justice for harmony; (3) principle of sufficiency; (4) new logic of capital; (5) participatory democracy and communal self-management; (6) reciprocal altruism (Trivers (1971: 46, Roughgarden 2009; Rilling et al., 2002), (7) expansion of commons; and (8) qualitative metamorphosis. It is needless to mention that each of these tenets is interdependent as a relational totality and reinforce one another for constructing an alternative paradigm. The emerging transformative mode of production, as discussed in Part IV, grows out of the close interaction between these tenets.

Transformative Mode of Production

The transformative mode of production, which is solidaristic, grows out of a close interaction between the fundamental tenets of the new epistemological base of development that have emerged from the radical alternatives to the dominant regime. These fundamental tenets, as observed earlier, grow outside the capital system and create an alternative development paradigm with an alternative cosmovision. It is neither a capitalistic mode of production, primarily driven by profit and capital accumulation, nor a socialistic mode of production as envisaged by the traditional Marxists. While unfolding from within the metabolism of the capital system, it never overshadows Marxian materialist conception of history that stems from the principle of production and exchange. But, I argue, it certainly goes beyond it. It is not the social ability to transform nature into production of commodities alone. It is equally or more important to underline the ability of nature to withstand the social pressure on it for its transformation into commodities. Its fall out is discernible with growing commodification at the present stage of the development of capitalism. This phenomenon seems to have been downplayed by the traditional Marxist account of historical change and development until, of course, its retrogressive impact on human existence is accounted for in recent years in view of the growing metabolic rift between humans and nature as nature is used beyond the point of its resilience for commodity production (O’Connor, 1988: 38; Foster, 2013: 4).

Within the Marxian analytics of epochal change of mode of production, social relations come in conflict with the forces of production. For social relations that organize and direct the forces of production in the transformation of nature face the adverse consequences of metabolic rift or environmental disaster. However, it happens not necessarily because of the incompatibility of the old social structure (social relations) with the improved technology. The argument is that once technology, which is one of the productive forces, improves, obsolete social arrangements of the old social structure (social relations) fail to rearrange themselves to appropriately respond to its increasing requirement of a higher level of internal efficiencies. It is then left with no choice but to prevent further social progress. It leads to developing contradiction to the point that social revolution takes place to allow the emergence of new forms of social relations that are compatible with the improved level of technology (Wikipedia, mode of production: 7, 92—93). It gives birth to a new mode of production.

The transition, however, to the post-capitalist mode of production through technological development to a higher level, as explained above, finds limited justification in view of the depleting production condition caused by environmental degeneration. In other words, a technology-centric explanation of the forces of production is theoretically handicapped to define the transition of the mode of production from capitalistic to post-capitalistic (post-development) unless other productive forces are considered. The significant one is the environment and its resources that have limited production possibilities through their conversion. To clarify this point further, let us assume that there is no technological improvement. Does it imply that production possibilities will not be exhausted? Or can one rule out the retrogressive effect of conversion of nature into commodity production beyond a limit? The answer is negative.

Profit-making is the primary goal of capitalism, one that determines its expansionary moves. Hence, with the same level of technology and at the same level of efficiency, the hunt for profit continues through the conversion of nature into commodity production. Natural resources like productive forces come under severe pressure even in such a situation, leading to a conflict with the social relations of production. Hence, once the limit of its exploitation exceeds, a contradiction between the forces and relations of production develops not because of technological incompatibility with old social order, as has been the traditional Marxist account of historical change, but through nature. The social struggle may be an outcome of the contradiction in this case also. However, it is beyond being endemic to class societies.

How principle of sufficiency works

It is here that the principle of sufficiency that never separates means (technology) from the end (meeting basic needs of the people) as one of the basic tenets of the new epistemological base of development comes out as a means to resolve such contradiction. It fairly indicates compatibility between all productive forces, including technology, human skill, knowledge, organizational forms and cooperation under the influence of new logic of capital with nature’s response for its conversion into commodity production. The compatibility issue is complex since cooperation, specifically the mode of cooperation, is culture- centric that sets in new metabolic order and goes beyond ‘technological determinism’ or cooperation for technical necessity as a tendency within Marxism (O’Connor, 1988: 38).

It is a conflict between the development of the productive forces and its fettering nature of the current production relations with the growing aspiration for its rational use to meet the basic needs of the people, the deprived (Wright, 2019: 6). The principle of sufficiency unfetters the productive forces that struggle against the economic relations or irrational mode of production. In other words, it produces alternative development narratives without being a fetish for economic growth (Martinez-Alier, 2010:1743). The rational allocation of resources for the transformation of nature into commodities and their mode of exchange are then determined by other factors than profitability. This gives rise to the emergence of the transformative mode of production that determines what Engel writes ‘what is to be produced, how it is to be produced and finally how it is exchanged’ (Engels, 1880: 1).The transformative mode of production that has been developing in the interstices of capitalist society has enormous potential to grow and reject the dysfunctional dominant mode of production (Wright, 2019: 5). While the dysfunctionality is visibly large against the backdrop of limits to the conversion of nature into commodity production, it is reinforced further by the growing contradiction between the logic of capital and the interest of the majority of the people (Linden, 2017: 184). It has yielded economic stagnation to an unbelievable proportion and severe crisis that the capital system has ever faced after the Great Depression. The transformative mode of production could resolve the crisis only if the principle of sufficiency is complemented by four other constituents.

These constituents are (1) new logic of capital; (2) the culture of cooperation, new organizational form and expansion of common; (3) reciprocal altruism; and (4) qualitative metamorphosis. While the first indicates a new role being assigned to capital within the framework of cohesive development, the second defies the control of production relations over the forces of production. The third seeks to shift to an alternative mode of transaction of goods and services based on the principles of solidarity. And the fourth stresses the importance of qualitative aspects of human life and shows how it can harmonize material with the spiritual domain of human survival. It is within the framework of comprehensive cooperation that stems from solidarity that these constituent elements of the transformative mode of production set civilizational progress in motion without being detrimental to the coevolution of both humans and nature.

New logic of capital

While the post-capitalist new logic of capital originates outside the capital system, its operational moorings are determined by several factors that reinforce together to bring about cohesive development. The principle  of sufficiency is one of those that gives new logic to capital, which is decommodification or a shift from commodification, the logic of capital of the capital system. The new logic also advocates a shift from alienation tointegration that facilitates social metabolic exchange between labour and nature and between labour (or deprived sections of all social groups) that underscores achieving real solidarity (Ray, 2012: 45).

The new logic of capital will not valorise capital but recognize the ‘self- valorisation ‘of the workers. One can see then, as Negri (1984) argues, the theoretical possibility of proletarian independence within capital. Self- valorisation subordinates the power of capital of the capital system to give precedence to use value over the creation of exchange value. It defies the capitalist mechanisms of accumulation and development (Negri, 2005).
However, one may ask how ‘capital’ in-its-being for-itself could allow such integration to take place? (Mészáros, 2008: 43). It is a theoretical puzzle that may be resolved by assigning it a different role in the changed relational context as the framework of cohesive development suggests. For example, once it is seen as being separate from the capitalist mode of production that controls labour, it fosters cohesion between the deprived, including humans and nature, and contributes to the emergence of the transformative mode of production.

Culture of cooperation, neworganizational form and expansion Of common

It is inconceivable why the concept of culture, which is downplayed by the traditional Marxist account of historical change and development (O’Connor, 1988: 38), should not be weaved into the discussion on the growth of post-capitalist mode of production that reifies ‘cooperation’. Essentially, it is a culture of cooperation or comprehensive cooperation which is the cornerstone of the post-development mode of production for new organizing principles of society and economy. The new logic of capital originates from this ontological basis of the real-world experience. The dialectics of progress of human society is then governed by the law of reciprocal altruism, not methodological individualism. Under the vision of economic democracy and with the emergence of a culture of shared identity, production relations lose their control over the productive forces in the transformative mode of production.

Production relations are three-sided in capitalist formation: first between the exploited and exploiting classes; second within the exploiting classes and third within the exploited classes. The first pertains to extraction of surplus-labour, the second to distribution and utilization of surplus product within the exploiters and the third to the mode of cooperation within the exploited classes in production (O’Connor, 1988: 7, 40, 105). The mode of cooperation is never derived from technical necessity in production, but it springs from the culture of shared identity (Johnson, 2013: 1). This is what promotes different production relations or social relations with a definite mode of cooperation. It is here that one must recognize that this definite mode of cooperation is itself a productive force (Korsch, 1938: 146).

It is different from cooperation arising from the technological determinism of Marx, as mentioned earlier, or Smithian division of labour that gives us the concept of ‘social’ productive forces (Korsch, 1938: 146). Here also, it is a social productive force, but the difference is that it is created by cooperation based on the culture of shared identity. While the former category of social productive force represents the technologically determined mode of cooperation that aims at maximizing profit, the latter aims at setting up a process of collective production and culture based on value practices that are participatory and democratic and whose horizons are the welfare of the commoners and environmental sustainability. Actually, it is the difference between the logic of capital of two different modes of production. The emerging transformative mode of production captures the essentiality of the social organization with a definite mode of cooperation and culture of shared identity and counts it as a productive force in addition to science and technology.

In other words, new productive forces based on shared identity aim to expand the commons that benefits everyone at nobody’s cost. This is, of course, different from state-controlled commons that are far from being democratic and provide no scope for the accumulation of social capital that plays a crucial role as assigned by the transformative mode of production. One can cite worker-run cooperatives that have emerged in several parts of the world with the new logic of capital as commons that formulates new relations and extends the principles of conviviality.  It is regenerative solidarity economics based on sharing that makes them possible not only to produce commodities but also ‘reverse social disintegration, environmental devastation as well as working on a new model of expropriation and appropriation’ (Barkin, 2019: 137).

It is a ‘new kind of interdependence and group mindedness, Tomasello argues, that went well beyond the joint intentionality of small-scale co-operation to a kind of collective intentionality at the level of entire society’ (Johnson, 2013: 2). It indicates new organizational forms of production as the constituent of the productive force of the post-capitalist mode of production. It is promoted by way of, for example, reinventing workers’ cooperatives, as indicated earlier, producers’ group or community based organization engaged in the production of goods and services and their exchange. The mode of ownership, if at all is granted, is determined by the cohesive forces of the workers and remains an independent creation of the workers. In any case, what is non-negotiable is that the enterprise/organization remains fully under the control of the workers in the transformative mode of production. The new form of organization as a productive force promotes the culture of integration, not alienation. It is, in other words, the emergence of self-organization with new cultural practices that require the creation of a niche structure as part of the structural transformation. There may, however, be serious challenges of restructuration of the organizational forms in the early stage of evolution of the transformative mode of production. For example, the tendency to move towards the growth of more material production than what the principle sufficiency allows may pervade these organizations. Such kind of deviation may be tackled by new institutions and social organizations that develop based on new productive forces and production relations and their complementarity. The state as an institution, as the outgrowth of the latter, can provide a regulatory mechanism or some policy of restraint to be followed by such organizational forms (Blauwhof, 2012: 260).

Their goal is to maximize utility by attaining self-sufficiency of all group members, although they may partially depend on market exchange (Valentinov, 2008: 479). Be that as it may. It all depends upon whether these types of organizational forms are able to meet the basic consumption needs of the people.

Reciprocal altruism

Exchange relations are primarily governed by reciprocal altruism in the transformative mode of production. The new logic of capital that originates from the principle of solidarity never allows the sphere of exchange to be the source of accumulation of profit at the cost of misery of both humans and nature. It serves the interest of the majority, the deprived, contrary to what it does for capitalists. It promotes exchange only to facilitate the interest of both the parties engaged in it such that no loss is inflicted on the other. And exchange benefits both self and others. In other words, the exchange is simultaneously both self-serving and solidaristic. Here self- interest is never allowed to be maximized at the cost of equity (Ray, 2012: 45). It is not necessarily true that profit-making at the cost of others is the only source of motivation and the individual needs to excel accordingly.

The new forms of organizations that grow based on economics of solidarity may open up the space for innovating other means than profit and design incentive structures to motivate the individual or the community to excel. It promotes a culture of mutual insurance for any transaction to materialize. If the non-price component of any transaction ranges from 5% to 95% in the market economy that functions at the dictate of the logic of capital (Ekins, 1986: 275), one can comprehend how large could be the space for mutual insurance if the logic of capital changes based on the principles of solidarity. Reciprocal altruism then determines the mode of exchange in that the transformative mode of production gives rise to a system of production, consumption and transaction that, in turn, allows mutual growth of X and Y at no cost to Z (nature) or anyone else (Ray, 2012: 45).

 Since capital owes a different logic here and has allegiance to reciprocal altruism, it may not be detrimental to the operation of the system of transaction, production and consumption as desired by the transformative mode of production. These tenets are complementary to each other in this mode of production. This is unlikely in the capitalist mode of production, where relations of production are determined by capital or what capital desires by virtue of having its control over the production relations. However, since no such control is exercised by capital and a complementary relationship exists between the forces and relations of production, emergent transformative mode of production ensures mutual growth with a new rationale of investment, production and consumption. It opens up the possibility for thwarting a civilizational crisis and stopping the coevolution of humans and nature. The deprived could then discover the route for their emancipation.

Qualitative metamorphosis

The emerging transformative mode of production sees no reason why the role of qualitative growth in explaining the evolution of the society and economy is downplayed. It is the growth of the non-materialist aspect of human life that originates from human instinct and influences human activity. While analyzing Marx’s key link to human potential and productivity, it is called the human product or social product (Lebowitz, 2017: 43).
According to Marx, the human product is ‘rich human beings’ expressed in terms of the enlargement of human capacity. If enlargement of human capacity represents the richness of human beings, there are other forms too through which the latter can manifest. It can do so in the form of altruism (Trivers, 1971), empathy (Jahanbegloo, 2017: xxxi), compassion and consciousness of oneness with nature and other humans, both in the practices of Buddhism and Buen Vivir (Prayukvong, 2005: 1174; Chuji et al., 2019: 113) and communitarianism of Marx (Chakrabarti et al., 2016). All these forms reflect deeper tenets of the human species that foregrounds the interconnectedness and interdependence of all other species. Discounting the impact of these forms that originate in  the spiritual domain of human beings on the evolution of the society and economy is tantamount to underestimating the evolutionary processes. Hence, the transition to the post-capitalist mode of production accounts for these non-material aspects of social life too.

It is here that one must go beyond Marxian thought and praxis that have chosen to side with ‘materialism’ alone to explain the transition to take place. One might assess the decisive impact of the non-material forces on the qualitative metamorphosis of the mode of production in the light of the lessons that one learns from the anti-systemic movements around the world. While in Marxian scheme of things, ‘spirit’ is completely separated from ‘matter’ as against their overdetermination, having had its tilt towards materialism, the essentiality of their mutual constitutivity in instituting social transformation is relegated to the background (Chakrabarti et al., 2016). Buen Vivir, the ontology of the indigenous people, however, brings mutual constitutivity back (Villalba, 2013: 1434) to the centre of the emergent mode of production and shows how it can explain alternative organizing principles of economy and society. The qualitative growth that may not differ from the ‘social humanity’ of Marx (Chakrabarti et al., 2016) stems, I argue, from mutual constitutivity that conceives material progress of the society towards being more humanistic, focusing on the individual and enhancement of quality of life (Walsh, 2010: 16). The ‘this-worldly’ spirituality of Dalai Lama echoes the same and explains how Marxian materialism and praxis of equal distribution and social transformation are not totally stripped off compassion, empathy and love (Chakrabarti et al., 2016: 6, 223).

 It demands reworking on the notion of economic progress based on the ineluctable fact of its alliance with all other spheres of life, including social, political and environmental. Hence, it suggests going beyond the technology-centric explanation of social transition and accepting the importance of emotions and their relational nature that creates room for a variety of sensitivities to co-exist.

The quality of life, as Buen Vivir asserts, must be defined within these spiritual parameters that go beyond satisfying the basic needs of life and fix an individual’s well-being in the total relational context between humans on the one hand and humans and nature on the other. Capra argues that a new science of qualities is slowly emerging in that creativity and the constant emergence of novelty are the driving forces for human evolution, which is no longer seen as a competitive struggle but as a product of cooperation (Capra & Henderson, 2009: 39). Hence, it is mutual constitutivity, a new productive force of the emergent transformative mode of production that draws on both qualitative growth that resides in the spiritual domain of human action and quantitative growth that embodies material production being guided by the principle of sufficiency.

The decline in well-being because of the decline of employment opportunities within the value creation of limited material production, as apprehended, is countered here by way of calibrating utilization of materials and job creation (Weiss & Cattaneo, 2017: 227). For instance, ‘good’ growth can be promoted against ‘bad’ growth. In other words, such production processes and services are encouraged to grow that ‘fully internalize costs, involve renewable energies, zero emission, continued recycling of natural resources and restoration of the Earth’s ecosystem’ (Capra & Henderson, 2009: 42). The society and economy could benefit from it in two ways. On the one hand, they are small-scale projects but energy-efficient, non-polluting and community-oriented; on the other, they have the potential to create local jobs through investment in green technologies that decouples growth from the material need. The best way to achieve it is to follow the principle of utilizing human capabilities to meet human needs (Burton & Somerville, 2019: 103).

The alignment of this new praxis reifies improvement in the quality of life that promotes happiness in which wealth acquisition has no role to play (Easterlin et al., 2010). Its implication for reorganizing the economy and society is immense. Since the emerging mode of production is not driven by capital accumulation and profitability, its values and institutions and productive forces can be reorganized to scale up the quality of life and bring happiness to all, especially the deprived ones from all wakes of life based on the principles of cohesive development.


In Place of Conclusion

The questions that the human race encounters today are: why have the vast majority of the people on Earth been disenfranchised? What evolutionary transformative process society and economy must choose that leads them towards enfranchisement? While no evolutionary process is independent of the course through which it chooses to evolve, the paper argues against the course that architected the organizing principles of the economy and society in 16th-century Europe for the advancement of the capitalist world economy. The calamitous impact of its organizing principles manifesting in the form of vast disenfranchisement of humanity, the paper argues, can be fought back only by changing the course of evolution. This is a powerful assertion and is not merely notional lacking empirical support. The paper counts the dialectical process of change that suggests an infusion of a new course of evolution based on social movements and radical transformative initiatives taken around the globe for the past few decades or so.

The characteristic features of the new course of evolution described in this paper can be explicated by the phenomenon called ‘Quantum entanglement’ discovered by physicists. According to this theory, in an entangled system, two or more objects have to be described with reference to each other. They behave as an inseparable whole even though they are spatially separated. Theoretically, if one separates the two entangled objects (particles), one would find that their velocity of spin is identical but in opposite directions. In other words, they are non-separable halves of the same entangled entity (Sanghi, 2020) [1]. Reciprocal altruism, which says humans are both self-serving and solidaristic, may be understood as a manifestation of such entanglement. This is what represents human behaviour as an axiomatic truth, which is fundamentally against methodological individualism. The significant aspect is that it is in no way different from what evolutionary biology understands about human behaviour.

Similarly, one has reasons to admit how quantitative growth is entangled with qualitative growth and how together they could be the source of development. Further, one does not see hostility between spirit and matter, provided that their relations are viewed within the same quantum perspective. The mutual constitutivity between them demonstrates their entanglement, an intersection where mind, matter and love in the form of compassion, empathy and consciousness collude. It is this point of intersection that conceives transformative mode of production in the post-capitalist era. It is here that holistic and non-dualistic worldviews exist as quantum social theory suggests while emphasizing non-local entanglements. Consciousness and free will would then influence structure and systems and ‘reconfigure the world in its becoming’ with alternative social order (O’Brien, 2016; Barad, 2007)

Now humanity is left with no choice but to accept it to replace the old one and reconstruct the development paradigm with alternative organizing principles of society and economy. It is this that the paper finds its engagement to respond to meet this incontestable need. The inexorable forces of history stand to witness how the incongruous evolutionary process is corrected by cohesive development as the alternative development paradigm in the 21st century.

* (Author: Former Director of A.N. Sinha institute of social studies, Patna (Bihar). This paper is an abridged version of occasional paper brought out by ICAS MP Max Weber Stiftung, India Branch office, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Government of Germany)


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[1Alexander Wendt argues that this truth is discovered in the field of quantum mechanics that shows how the assumptions of classical physics (Newtonian) break down at the subatomic level. According to classical physics, human beings are atomistic and, therefore, separate. The mainstream development paradigm draws inspiration from it. But the subatomic systems can be entangled, which means that they can’t be defined as being separate from each other. This is the quantum perspective that suggests we are holistic and we are entangled. Cooperation is much easier to achieve in this situation. However, if we start with the premise that social life is atomistic, Wendt argues further, then every organism is out for itself, we are all selfish, and it’s all about survival of the fittest. Cooperation is very difficult to achieve in such a situation, for we all are separate and trying to survive in our own way (Wendt, 2014—15).

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