Autumn Number, 2018
Congratulation for Frontier Autumn Number, 2018. Enriched with a number of reflective articles in fair remembrance of the tumultnous days of the Naxalbari movement and the role Frontier played over the last five decades in heralding the cause it considered justified under the stewardship of the late Samar Sen, the issue is indeed laudable. Laudable also because of the spirit and tenacity its present editor, Timir Basu has retained since 1987 in fighting off not only financial constraints but also accommodation hazards and very recently, the omens of cyber crime.

What is really shocking not only to this writer, but several friends and well wishers of Frontier is, in his article Mr Sandip Bandyopadhyay has taken liberty to hurl mindless invectives against the journal Frontier. Had it been really "outdated in the current context" and that too "showing signs of intellectual blight for the last twenty years or more" it could not have survived the odds till now. Frontier still is committed to the struggle of the toiling and deprived people—no matter what the scoffers opine. That Frontier has published such an article that is lacking susbtance but emitting only blemishes bears testimony to the fact that it still has the courage to provide space for criticism even if it is destructive or disparaging.
Manas Bakshi, Kolkata

...Population Growth
I am aghast at the content of BJ's observation in Calcutta Notebook (Vol 51, No 18, November 4-10, 2018) regarding "The Benefits of Population Growth". BJ, has been a professor of economics at the renowned IIM, Bengaluru. But what he has presented here is, to say the least, warped economics. A high annual growth rate, it appears, is for BJ the be-all and end-all of the whole human civilisation, ergo valid for all societies. That is too bad even for most conventional economists (to which group BJ likely belongs). For since long, in such circles, sustainability is the buzz word. There, not growth, but "sustainable growth/development" is the goal. In this article of BJ, the word "sustainable" does not appear even once.

BJ writes, "Economic growth comes from increased production which requires a bigger work force and higher population." The matter is really not that "simple", as BJ claims. For production, increasing or not, requires also resources, most of which, in any industrial production system, are non-renewable, hence continually dwindling. Another thing that is required for any kind of production is nature's ability to absorb man-made pollution, which too is limited. These two factors, epitomised in terms like "peak oil", "global warming", 'ecological crisis', 'climate crisis' etc., compel us to conclude that there are limits to growth. For BJ, apparently they do not exist. But they do exist. That is why the latest development in economics is the rise of the branch of ecological economics (steady state economics).

In this branch, there is the important equation I = P × A × T
(Negative ecological impact = Population × Affluence × Technology)

Population is seen here as a factor contributing to ecological crisis, climate related destructions, poverty, waves of illegal and unwelcome migration, bread riots, civil wars and various other kinds of conflict.

Economists should not therefore be recommending a policy favouring population growth. On the contrary, they should advocate a policy for curbing this natural tendency.
Saral Sarkar, Germany

Two Red Flags
Jasik workers at Jasik Engineering in Shenzen region of China are waving two red flags in the face of the Xi Jinping regime: independent unions, and workers and students getting together.

In 1989 tanks rolled into Beijing's Tiananmen Square shortly after workers raising banners for autonomous trade unions joined the student-led occupation.

This generation of Chinese workers, going on strike repeatedly to demand wages and benefits they are owed or, as at Jasik, fighting to control their own jobs, and young intellectuals reclaiming Marx's work, may prove to be every bit as threatening to today's Chinese rulers.
Bob McGuire, Chicago

Vol. 51, No.22, Dec 2 - 8, 2018