Sarup: Will Social Transformation Reduce Conflict?
Will Social Transformation Reduce Conflict?
By Kamala Sarup
Social transformations will reduce conflicts. If the leaders and the government of Nepal promote education and values that emphasize national and international identification rather than ethnic, religious, tribal or clan identification, then the ethnic, religious, tribal and clan conflicts will diminish, in the long run. If they promote sufficient economic, judicial and political equality, then the people at the bottom of the ladder will not want to topple those at the top. The results of reducing conflict are that when people engage in production and art rather than war, then the killing and maiming are reduced and the general living standards are increased and people are more satisfied.
The geography, culture, and leadership are against improving the economic conditions very much for the reasons given. To move up the ladder economically compared to other countries, Nepal would have to import technology, including technical knowledge, but it has little to offer in exchange for it, just tourism and some articles requiring cheap, unskilled or semiskilled labor, which do not buy very much. To make matters worse, tourism has not expanded and maybe even declined because of the ongoing internal war, which has also drained the economy of money that could be used more productively.
The Nepalese government could, like other S. Asian countries, e.g., India, devote money (= financial capital) to technical education, like programming, which is labor-intensive, and requiring little capital equipment, and export that knowledge, but that requires spending lots of money providing technical educations. However, Nepal does not seem to have sufficient money to improve the technical competence of its people either internally or by sending them to foreign schools in sufficient numbers to make a difference economically to the entire country.
Nepal does have sufficient money to start down the road towards economic improvement. It would be a major contribution to the study of this problem if some Nepalese scholars would make a cash flow analysis of the Nepalese economy to determine with some precision where Nepal's money comes from and where it goes. That analysis might suggest some social transformations that would accumulate it in sufficient quantities to spend on improving its technology. A cash flow analysis of Nepal's economy might be a start to determine whether or not Nepal is able to move up the economic ladder or remain on the lower rungs.
"The maoist "social transformation" would get Nepal nowhere, in my opinion, because (1) dictatorships spend a disproportionate amount of money on those who rule and (2) the rich capitalist-democratic countries would not be supportive of their undemocratic reforms". An economist Sophia Roy from Delhi argued.
How to contribute to social transformation, it is helpful to have an idea of how fundamental social change can come about? What role do social movements or organizations play? What about protest, education, public policy, personal growth, alternative institutions, reform?