Global capitalism keeps communist Kerala alive

Pardoxical as it may seem, the glitzy television commercials call communist Kerala, “God’s Own Country”.

Keralites (74 years) live as long as the Americans (77 years) because it spends 46 per cent more than the average Indian state on health. The state’s literacy rate (91 per cent) almost kisses America’s (99 per cent) because it spends 36 per cent more than the average Indian state on education.

Left wing economists like Amartya Sen, Jean Dreze and Prabhat Patnaik love to talk of the “Kerala Model”.

But given the chronic 20 per cent unemployment, one in six Keralites work abroad. Its 1.8 million migrants send home $5 billion a year, mostly by working long hours in the scorching temperatures of the Gulf, and away from home and their families.

“Remittances from global capitalism are carrying the whole Kerala economy,” S. Irudaya Rajan, a demographer at the Center for Development Studies, a local research group, tells the New York Times. “There would have been starvation deaths in Kerala if there had been no migration. The Kerala model is good to read about but not practically applicable to any part of the world, including Kerala.”

Read the full story: Jobs abroad support ‘model’ state in India