Nos. 44-46, April 2008

Nos. 44 - 46
(April 2008):


India’s Runaway ‘Growth’: Distortion, Disarticulation, and Exclusion
Note to Readers

We apologise to our readers for the extraordinary delay in bringing out Aspects. The following issue has been planned for some time. With the recent dramatic growth of the economy, which indeed took us by surprise, we felt the need to investigate what sort of growth this was, and its implications for the present and future of the vast majority of the Indian people. However, as we worked on this subject, we found it necessary to explore various questions more deeply, and indeed to look at the approach itself to these questions. We feel that this would be of use to readers in analysing any new fact or development hereafter.

In the course of spelling out these aspects, however, the scope and bulk of what was to be a short essay became large and unwieldy. Hence we decided to break it up into three sections:

The first chapter describes the approach to the question. In the second chapter, we sketch the emergence of capitalism in Europe, where it first developed; in the third, the process by which India was subjugated by European capitalism, and how India’s economy was shaped by this.

The fourth chapter brings us to the subject proper, namely, the current pattern of corporate sector-led growth, and how distortion, disarticulation, and exclusion are built into it. The chapter begins by describing the distortions and missing links in India’s economy today. It then sketches the global context in which India’s recent upsurge in growth has taken place. This brings us to the end of this issue of Aspects; but the chapter continues into the next issue.  

The next issue (Aspects no. 45) proceeds to describe the current pattern of corporate sector-led growth, providing glimpses of bank credit, ‘enclave’ development (including the SEZs), the capture of natural resources, the growth of various industries that by their very nature exclude the majority, State intervention to transfer surplus to the corporate sector, the growth of inequality as a necessary consequence of all these processes, and finally the financial-speculative summit of the economy.

The following issue (Aspects no. 46) briefly sketches the condition of the people in this ‘booming’ economy. It then explores the agrarian economy, the base on which the entire distorted social-economic structure is constructed. It argues that genuine agricultural development will not come about merely through infusions of technology or capital, nor through increasing commercialisation as such. It describes how the prevailing production relations prevent development in agriculture; and how that in turn prevents broader, evenly spread, pro-people development. Finally, it provides an inkling of the broader economic and social changes that are possible with a change of the fundamental institutions in agriculture – which implies broader social transformation as well.

Readers may find the first section tedious; moreover, they may be anxious to come to matters of immediate relevance. They may skip directly to section II, and return later to section I without losing too much. However, if they plough their way through in the order of presentation, certain connections will become evident.

(NB: For the convenience of our Web readers, we have collapsed No.s 44 through 46 into a single online issue. The divisions between issue numbers are omitted but the contents are in all other respects identical to the printed versions.)

— The Editor.



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