Page images
PDF
EPUB

and thus frustrating the changing standards of youthful recruits (Chapter 7).

Questions regarding the required degree and sequence of social change involve the moot issue of historical repetition. The precise form of the query is the possible advantage of late starters. It is commonly noted that growing countries do not have to recapitulate either the rate or the sequence of technological developments in the older industrial countries. (It is of course also noted that advanced productive technologies do not necessarily fit the functional context of newly developing areas-labor abundance and capital shortage, lack of skilled operators and maintenance men, readily available replacement parts, etc.) It may also be unnecessary to repeat the gradual evolution of large-scale administrative organizations in finance, manufacturing, and distribution, and especially unnecessary to segregate and depersonalize work roles to the extent indicated by the formal model of a rational bureaucracy, only to reinstitute more functionally diffuse relations.

The alternative line of argument maintains that recapitulation of the sequence is required in order to break the traditional network of relationships, since the gradual “humanization" of the industrial structure is by no means a return to the status quo ante, but rather rests on the productive efficiencies made possible by a radical technical and organizational transformation. Apter notes that native political leaders themselves often accept a doctrine of recapitulation, but perhaps with the Soviet Union rather than capitalistic countries as historical models (Chapter 18).

Although nobody maintains that an exact recapitulation of the European experience is necessary, some argue that viable variations are likely to be peripheral to the central core of industrial institutions. Variations that are central to the developing economy are perceived as aberrations that are likely to be destructive of industrial development in the long run. Holton argues this position with regard to deviations from the sequence of industrial development (Chapter 11). Kerr stresses the homogenizing properties of industrialization, which is a view insistently presented in Part 1.

The interdependence within industrial systems, whether viewed in terms of structure or in terms of commitment, thus has temporal dimensions also. One principal manifestation of this is a dynamic pattern of evolution that is simultaneously cumulative and retroactive. Change is cumulative in that multiple involvements reinforce one another and yield an increased general level of commitment. It is retroactive in that

a high level of commitment may be dependent on previous commitments in other contexts, but further involvement in these contexts may depend in turn on the intermediate step.

An example of this evolutionary pattern may be found in the sequence of development between the commodity market and factory employment. Because of the culture of the hypothetical society in the preindustrial phase, commitment starts in the market. Once a market has at least started and developed to some extent, commitment can start in factory employment, in that the nature of commitment in the market was such as to remove the previous cultural blocks to commitment to wage labor. However, full commitment in the market in turn may depend on the development of a high level of commitment to factory work. Thus the sequence between these two loci reverses itself and is "retroactive." The theory is not a determinism of "prime movers" and rectilinear sequences, nor simply a functional correlation, but a sequence with alternating directions. Now, interestingly enough, this hypothetical illustration has a precise confirmation in Gregory's data on Puerto Rico (Chapter 9). An analogous pattern of change operates in economic systems, as where an initial agricultural revolution makes possible a diversion of productive factors to manufacturing, which in turn makes possible agricultural mechanization, chemical fertilizers, and rapid delivery of agricultural products.

Thus we conclude that the initial feasible variations in paths and sequences of industrialization are fairly restricted and tend to converge substantially short of infinity.

The Problematics of Commitment

We come now to the final moot issue: given the radical processes of change that accompany industrialization of newly developing areas, how problematical will labor force commitment be? The various chapters contain a number of different answers to this question. Starting from one extreme, there seems to be some support for the position that commitment, as defined, will rarely be problematical. Some subscribe at least partially to the view that as soon as the opportunity for industrial labor presents itself, people will take advantage of it with reasonable promptness. The initial sections of Morris' chapter can be interpreted as providing supportive evidence for this position (Chapter 10).

Morris persuasively argues that various Indian factories were able to recruit a labor force with considerable ease and that once recruited this labor force displayed high levels of stability. He then, quite reasonably,

suggests the broader relevance of his analysis for comparable societies, i.e., China and Japan. At least in regard to these societies, Morris reemphasizes the predictive value of labor surpluses, the lack of alternative opportunities, levels of poverty, etc. As such, his analysis represents a healthy corrective to those that employ such concepts as "the inscrutable Oriental mind," or the mystical irrationalities of ancient beliefs. He also reminds his colleagues that the conditions that obtain in the nonindustrial sectors of many newly developing areas may provide great impetus for change. Knowles, in his general survey of "labor unrest," indicates that displays of dissatisfaction may represent the industrial workers' distress at the slow pace of industrialization, or at his lowly position in the new order (Chapter 16).

Nevertheless, this evidence must be interpreted with great caution. Morris limits the interpretation primarily to India, China, and Japan. The evidence from tribally organized societies (Chapters 7 and 13, by Hammond, and Elkan and Fallers) indicates that a number of factors intervene between the creation of opportunity, its recognition, and labor force commitment. Even for India, a number of crucial questions remain unanswered. How selective is migration? Are new factory workers recruited at random from the total population, or do they represent a selective minority? Is the supply of "easily" committed workers inexhaustible, or are there imminent limits? Given a full-scale industrialization program, how rapidly would such limits be reached? Hoselitz suggests that these questions are not picayune in view of his diagnosis of the Indian labor force.

A second position on the ease or difficulty of gaining commitment is related to the previous argument over structural variability. The students who favor variation hold that since ease of gaining commitment varies inversely with departures from traditional life styles, it is desir able and possible to keep such departures at a minimum. This course of action would presumably minimize commitment problems. The opposite view holds, with Kerr, that industrialization is truly revolutionary and that radical transformation may be easier, as well as more rapid and viable, than patchwork compromises between inconsistent

systems.

Commitment, it has been noted, involves at least for the transitional actor a process of adult socialization. Consistent with the notion that radical change is necessary, it has also been argued that commitment is best maintained when it exists for the total matrix of social involvements. These positions, in turn, are linked to the hypothesis (stated in

Chapter 4) that generalization of a common level of affect is a more tenable position than the competing principle of frustration and diverted activity. That hypothesis provides the possibility of linking theories of social change with theories of individual change. Put in extreme terms, social change is potentially an agency for releasing but also for creating participatory energy. The circle may be enlarged but it remains a circle if we note that deliberate change is itself an important component of industrial systems. When change takes on a moral character, innovation and rapid adaptation are requisite orientations for the committed participant.

THE "PERMANENT REVOLUTION” 3

One reason that problems of economic transition can be identified with some confidence is that they are never solved. The tensions and conflicts of industrialization are also persistent features of industrial societies. A stage of "complete industrialization" or "full commitment" is a theoretical construct rather than an empirical type. For some purposes the construct must be abandoned in favor of dynamic models, lest the continuous tensions and transformations of industrial systems be quietly neglected or discreetly hidden from the scholar's view.

Tensions persist and are "normal." Tumin has highlighted the discontent involved in systems of social inequality, however closely they may approximate the ideal of rewards for differential merit (Chapter 15). Wherever one turns in the observation of industrial societies, the dynamic potential is evident-in the polity and the economy, the family and the work place, and in the inconsistent role demands on fully committed participants.

The present volume has been concerned with developing areas in transition. The conclusions, as well as the unsolved problems, can surely be transported in part to "developed" areas, and thus redress the historic error of supposing that history ends when the industrial revolution occurs.

* The phrase "permanent revolution" was apparently first used by Marx in 1844. See E. H. Carr, A History of Soviet Russia, Vol. I, The Bolshevik Revolution 1917– 1923 (New York: Macmillan Company, 1959). More immediately it is, of course, borrowed from Leon Trotsky; see Permanent Revolution, 1st Indian ed. (Calcutta: Gupta Rahman and Gupta, 1947). The phrase is applied to German National Socialism by Sigmund Neumann in his Permanent Revolution (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1942). It is perhaps needless to add that both Trotsky and Neumann use the term "revolution" primarily in the traditional narrowly political sense, and only indirectly in the sense of transformation of social institutions generally.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »