Capitalism Finally Dismantling Indian Feudalism

This is a great story:

Karl Marx was wrong about many things but right about one thing: the revolutionary way capitalism attacks and destroys feudalism. As I explain in a new study,  in India, the rise of capitalism since the economic reforms of 1991 has also attacked and eroded casteism, a social hierarchy that placed four castes on top with a fifth caste—dalits—like dirt beneath the feet of others. Dalits, once called untouchables, were traditionally denied any livelihood save virtual serfdom to landowners and the filthiest, most disease-ridden tasks, such as cleaning toilets and handling dead humans and animals. Remarkably, the opening up of the Indian economy has enabled dalits to break out of their traditional low occupations and start businesses. The Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI) now boasts over 3,000 millionaire members. This revolution is still in its early stages, but is now unstoppable.


  1. SamWah:

    I believe the world you should have used is "outstanding", not great.

  2. ColoComment:

    Did you see the City Journal's story on Hanoi?

  3. mesocyclone:

    Also, India has a very western set of Affirmative Action laws and policies.

  4. Corky Boyd:

    With India's drift away from stifling bureaucratic socialism, economic gains have created a much tighter job market benefitting the Dalits far more than affirmative action.. The NY Times carried a story on back in 2008 entitled "Crusader Sees Wealth as Cure for Caste Bias." Capitalism works. Google the headline to read the story.:

  5. hcunn:

    During India's socialist period they reserved a substantial quota of government jobs and services {eg college admissions) to Dalits. Democratic interest-group politics being what they are, intermediate castes, who themselves despised Dalits, demanded and got their own caste quotas, which eventually covered more than 50% of college admissions.

  6. markm:

    Why call the Indian caste system "feudalism"? Feudal Europe did not have untouchables.