ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Capital Intervention

State and Capital in Independent India: Institutions and Accumulation by Chirashree Das Gupta,Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016; pp xiv+315,727.

The history of economic development in India has spawned a vast literature as books, and in journal articles and newspapers. While this literature is dominated by mainstream economics along the lines of the Washington Consensus and establishment point of view, there is also a substantial volume of dissident writing spanning the field. Chirashree Das Gupta’s book fortunately cannot be to either genre, to be forgotten after a period of, say, 10 years, if not earlier. There are at least five features which make her book a distinctive contribution to the literature.

First, the “institutions and accumulation” in the subtitle of her book is taken very seriously. She studies the accumulation process in detail from the beginning of the 20th century. At the same time, she studies in detail how institutions have either sustained or hindered the process of capitalist accumulation. The second distinguishing mark of her book is that she focuses on both the accumulation process and the creation of institutions. Third, she has studied in detail, the laws that have gone into the creation of institutions and their changes. Fourth, Das Gupta has always situated Indian developments in the global context, in contrast to those scholars who think that India’s crucial links with the global economy and society were born only with the globalisation process of the 1980s and beyond. Fifth, she has situated the evolution of both the capitalist accumulation process and institutions surrounding it, against their ideological context.

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Updated On : 23rd Aug, 2017
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