Quick Edit | The economics of Maoism

Quick Edit | The economics of Maoism
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First Published: Wed, Nov 18 2009. 12 10 AM IST
Updated: Wed, Nov 18 2009. 12 10 AM IST
Large parts of India are under sway of the gun. In states such as Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal, taking up guns against the government is a profitable activity. It makes economic sense. Investment in the technology of?conflict is?cheap: In West Bengal, a pike or a lance is sufficient to keep the police at bay. In Jharkhand, an AK-47 does the job. There are increasing returns to investment in violence.
For the governments, there are diminishing returns to curbing violence. Manpower loss is one issue. Then it makes little sense to assert control in areas that lack industries and agriculture of a productive kind. The sunk costs are so low that they do not come close to the variable costs incurred on a daily basis. The situation is also fair game for the punditry and the commentariat sitting safely in big cities. By their powers of persuasion, they markedly raise the costs of the state in countering Maoist violence.
It is another matter that the language adopted for doing nothing is more sweet and not so stark. But that does not hide the issues at hand.
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First Published: Wed, Nov 18 2009. 12 10 AM IST