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August 21 2013

Late Victorian Holocausts - by MIKE DAVIS

Late Victorian Holocausts - by MIKE DAVIS

Toutes les famines des siecles derniers furent l’oeuvre du capitalisme sauvage.

“Here’s the northeast monsoon at last,” said Hon. Robert Ellis, C.B., junior member of the Governor’s Council, Madras, as a heavy shower of rain fell at Coonoor, on a day towards the end of October 1876, when the members of the Madras Government were returning from their summer sojourn on the hills.

“I am afraid that is not the monsoon,” said the gentleman to whom the remark was made.

“Not the monsoon?” rejoined Mr. Ellis. “Good God! It must be the monsoon. If it is not, and if the monsoon does not come, there will be an awful famine.”

La plus vieille démocratie du monde n’a jamais aidé les plus pauvres.

Like other architects of the Victorian Raj, Salisbury was terrified of setting any precedent for the permanent maintenance of the Indian poor. As the Calcutta Review pointed out in 1877, “In India there is no legal provision made for the poor, either in British territory, or in the native states; [although] the need for it is said by medical men and others, to be exceedingly great.” Both Calcutta and London feared that “enthusiastic prodigality” like Buckingham’s would become a trojan horse for an Indian Poor Law. In its final report, the Famine Commission of 1878-80 approvingly underscored Lord Lytton’s skinflint reasoning: “The doctrine that in time of famine the poor are entitled to demand relief ... would probably lead to the doctrine that they are entitled to such relief at all times, and thus the foundation would be laid of a system of general poor relief, which we cannot contemplate without serious apprehension....” None of the principal players on either side of the House of Commons disagreed with the supreme principle that India was to be governed as a revenue plantation, not an almshouse.
#histoire #capitalisme #crise #famine #colonialisme

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