The fact that several third world countries, especially in Asia, have experienced remarkably high rates of GDP growth has been a matter of much discussion. There has been talk of a development of “multi-polarity” in the world, of a shift in the balance of economic power from the West to the East, and of even an overtaking of the traditional metropolitan economies by the newly emerging ones. India has been one of these high-growth economies, and has been branded as an “emerging economic super-power” by many writers both within and outside the country.
But even if we leave aside the very recent slow-down in the Indian economy, which is a result inter alia of the world capitalist crisis and which has nevertheless left the country with a fairly respectable GDP growth rate till date, and focus our attention on the high growth phase that preceded this slow-down, the fact remains that this high growth has been accompanied by such an increase in economic inequality and such a process of “social retrogression” that the country faces a real threat of social disintegration. Those applauding India’s high GDP growth and believing that they are witnessing the arrival of an economic super-power, fail, in my view, to see that this society, if it continues along its present course, is heading towards an “implosion” which makes all this talk of “an emerging economic super-power” somewhat ridiculous.
This proposition may or may not be true of other rapidly growing Asian economies, but, in my view, it is true of India. The “democratic revolution” promised by the anti-colonial struggle which provided the foundation for the emergence of a modern India, is not only being thwarted by the economic policies being pursed of late, the very same policies which generated the high GDP growth during a certain conjuncture in the world economy, but it is being actually rolled back in crucial ways by these policies. And since any return, however partial, to an Indian society of yore characterized by its horrendously inegalitarian pre-modern social institutions is impossible to sustain today, given the fact that the intrusion of capitalism, albeit through the medium of colonial conquest, has caused a break-up of the self-contained isolation of the traditional society, any subversion of the “democratic revolution” promises only social disintegration rather than some new “equilibrium” of social oppression.
Since underlying the high growth of the economy has been a process of consolidation and entrenchment of capitalism, the argument of this paper can be stated more accurately as follows. Capitalism has been often seen, on the basis of the Western experience, as a “revolutionary” and “modernizing” force which breaks up traditional societies that are marked by “communal life” but extreme internal oppression. Early in the twentieth century, however, Lenin had provided in his pamphlet Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution a modification of this argument based on the Russian experience, which was to inform the praxis of the revolutionary Left in the third world for well over a century afterwards. This Left argument, derived from Lenin, stated that the bourgeoisie in societies that came late to capitalism, made an alliance with feudal elements, since any attack on feudal property at that late stage could well rebound into an attack on bourgeois property. It therefore did not play the same revolutionary role of breaking up the old society as its predecessors had done earlier, whence it followed that the working class had to play this role in lieu of the bourgeoisie in the new setting. This role consisted above all in liberating the peasantry from feudal oppression through land redistribution which constituted the essence of the democratic revolution.
This argument however had been developed in a particular context within which it was relevant; and that context was of a society on the threshold of a transition from feudalism where there were both bourgeois-led and working class-led democratic struggles, with each class being relatively small. The point at issue within that context was the relation between the two struggles, in particular the attitude of the latter to the former. And here the argument stated that the democratic revolution got stalled if the bourgeois-led struggle acquired ascendancy, because of which the working class-led democratic struggle had to retain its independence and carry forward the democratic agenda.
But in societies that have gone beyond that stage, where capitalism, even though it has destroyed neither land concentration nor the social institutions of the old society, has already entrenched itself, this very process of entrenching entails not just a stalling of the democratic revolution but an actual roll back of it. And such a roll back is not just ethically objectionable; it actually leads to social disintegration in the absence of a push towards a transcendence of that capitalist arrangement. Capitalism in “newly-emerging societies” in other words does not just arrest the democratic revolution; in a world conjuncture, which facilitates a rapid growth and consolidation of capitalism, it tends actually to roll back the democratic revolution. Hence, advancing the democratic revolution, and even retaining the democratic gains already made requires, in societies like India, a resistance against the capitalism that marks the current conjuncture, i.e. “neo-liberal capitalism”.
The fact that traditional Indian society was marked by a level of institutional inequality, enshrined in the caste system that included even “untouchability” and “unseeability” (which meant that “upper” caste persons were supposed to get “polluted” if they so much as set eyes upon a person belonging to the “lower castes”), which was unparallelled anywhere else in the world, hardly needs reiteration. It is often said that colonial rule with its assertion of juridical equality dealt a blow to this system of institutionalized inequality. But this was scarcely the case. True, there was formal equality before law for everybody under colonialism, but this hardly had any impact in weakening caste discrimination at the ground level, where for instance the “lower castes” were never allowed to draw water from the same well as the “upper castes”, were confined through coercion and the absence of alternative opportunities to the most menial and degrading occupations, and were even prevented over large parts of the country from owning any land.
What is more, the “lower castes” were among the worst victims of the economic exploitation of the country under colonial rule, through the twin processes of “drain of surplus” (which meant a transfer without any quid pro quo of resources to the metropolis) and of “deindustrialization” (which meant the destruction of local craft production by the import of machine-made manufactured goods from the metropolis). The burden of this exploitation greatly increased the pressure of population on land through a process of pauperization of the peasantry, and this growing pressure entailed a lowering of real wages of agricultural labourers (Chandra 1968), among whom of course the “lower castes” had an overwhelming presence.
The real opposition to the social inequities of the old system came not from colonial rule itself but from the resistance that built up against it. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were characterized by two outstanding movements in India: one was the “social reform movement” of the oppressed castes that took off in different parts of the country against the social order of institutionalized inequality; and the other was the anti-colonial struggle. And these two were joined later, in the thirties and the forties of the twentieth century by the Left movement, which in many ways descended from one or the other of these struggles but was inspired by the Bolshevik Revolution.
Since many of the leaders of the anti-colonial struggle, including Mahatma Gandhi himself, professed a belief in the caste-system even as they struggled against its inhumane practices such as untouchability, and since many of the leaders of the social reform movement like Ambedkar and “Periyar” Ramaswamy Naicker kept away from the anti-colonial struggle because of their fear that the place occupied by the British would simply be taken by the local “upper castes” after independence, there is often a tendency among modern authors to see these two struggles as being antithetical to one another.
This however is a facile reading of the situation. No matter what the attitudes of the leaders of each of the two struggles towards the other struggle and its leaders, the two struggles were complementary, and dialectically reinforced one another. They complemented one another in the consciousness of the people and brought about an unprecedented awakening in the country. The social reform movement would not have acquired the sweep it did if a general anti-imperialist struggle that opened up people’s horizons towards a new world had not existed at the same time. And the anti-colonial struggle would not have acquired the sweep it did, if it did not, under the impact of the social reform movement and of the pressure from the Left, present to the people a picture of a “free India” of equal citizens.
The expression of this promise of the anti-colonial struggle was the resolution of the Karachi session of the Indian National Congress in 1931, which for the first time put before the country a picture of what “free India” would look like. And this included inter alia a system of parliamentary democracy based on universal adult franchise; equality before law irrespective of caste, religion, gender, and ethnicity; a set of fundamental rights for all citizens; a separation of the State from all religions; free and compulsory primary education; and the provision of economic security to all. The Karachi resolution, which constituted the first manifesto of India’s democratic revolution, played a major role, in the context, of course, of the acute distress of the peasantry in the 1930s as a consequence of the Great Depression, in increasing the sweep of the anti-colonial struggle; and its key elements were to be incorporated into the Constitution of independent India.
While colonial rule played a role in bringing the outside world and its ideas into the country (for which however it was not necessary, as the case of Japan shows), the attack against the old social structures became a part of the anti-colonial struggle and found expression in the political agenda of this struggle. India’s democratic revolution was as much anti-feudal as it was anti-imperialist. Ambedkar, the outstanding leader of the social reform movement who played a key role as the architect of the new Constitution, had warned the Constituent Assembly while presenting the Constitution that the political equality that the Constitution embodied would be threatened if there was no progress toward socio-economic equality. His warning was most insightful.
Putting the matter differently, the “modern India” that was to emerge was envisaged, and rightly so, as being fundamentally different from what the society had been earlier, and it is the promise of this difference that underlay the implicit “social contract” upon which the new post-colonial order was founded. The crux of this difference lay in the striving towards equality in all spheres in the place of the institutional inequality of the old order. A striving towards equality in other words was central to the “social contract” that underlay the emergence of modern India,not a striving for high GDP growth as such, or a striving for the status of an economic super-power. This is why I believe that the exacerbation of social and economic inequality under the impact of neo-liberalism is a violation of this implicit “social contract” that is not only “unfair” in an ethical sense, but, even more importantly, also inimical to the fragile stability of this society, and hence a potent source of “implosion”.
What was the development strategy that was envisaged for the realization of this vision of “modern India”? While the slogan was of a “socialistic pattern of society”, the idea was not to have social ownership of all the major means of production, because capitalists too were supposed to contribute their mite towards economic development. But clearly the State had to play a key role, not only through a public sector that was to act as a bulwark against the domination and the technological monopoly of foreign capital and as the pioneer in developing long-gestation and high-risk projects that typically characterize basic and capital goods industries, but also through the discipline it exercised over the capitalists, to ensure that their profit-seeking behaviour did not violate the march towards the more egalitarian order that the “socialistic pattern” was supposed to embody. A whole range of controls and licensing requirements were imposed upon them towards this end.
There was something common here between this line of thinking and that of Keynesianism. Both believed in the autonomy of the State as an entity standing above classes which could act disinterestedly for the “social good” and remain impervious to pressures emanating from capital. Both strands of thinking, to be sure, visualized a democratic polity where the government, being elected by the people on the basis of universal suffrage, would be concerned with their interests rather than with the sectional interests of the capitalists. But the problem with such thinking was not so much that it misread the subjective vulnerabilities of the State personnel, which no doubt it did and which no doubt are important, but that it ignored the fact of capitalism being a “spontaneous” system (to use a phrase of Oskar Lange (1963)).
It is driven by a set of immanent tendencies, the State’s interference with which makes the system dysfunctional. Whenever such dysfunctionality arises, the State either has to interfere still further, and hence engage in a recursive process of ever increasing interference until the system itself gets effectively transcended; or it has to pull back from its original interference. This is the dilemma that the State engaged in demand management in accordance with the Keynesian prescription faced in the advanced countries, with the acceleration of inflation in the late-sixties. And this is also the dilemma that the dirigiste economicregime created by the post-colonial Indian State faced, as the economy, facing a narrow domestic mass market in the absence of an egalitarian distribution of land and other assets, and hence dependent crucially upon an expansion of public spending to keep up its momentum, began to atrophy under a growing fiscal crisis of the State.
The mode of resolution of this dilemma was effectively taken out of the hands of the State because the process of centralization of capital at the level of the world economy had brought into being a new actor, “globalized finance capital”. The post-colonial State, lacking the will to resist its pressure, and that of the domestic big capitalists who had by then lost their interest in pursuing a trajectory of capitalist development that was relatively autonomous of metropolitan capital, and had decided instead to get integrated to globalized finance capital, opted for dismantling the dirigiste structure and for following the neo-liberal policies that were being pushed by them.
The result, until the impact of the world capitalist crisis hit the economy somewhat belatedly, was an increase in the growth rate, especially between 2004-05 and 2011-12 and especially of the tertiary sector (the material commodity producing sectors have not witnessed much acceleration in growth compared to the pre-liberalization era), but also a massive increase in income and wealth inequality. No doubt inequality was increasing even during the period of the dirigiste strategy, but the pace of increase was much slower, and any such increase was held to be an undesirable phenomenon. Under neo-liberalism, however, growing inequality is officially accepted and justified as an inevitable accompaniment of higher growth, whose benefits, it is argued, would “trickle down” over time, if not automatically then at least through enlarging the fiscal resources available to the State for redistribution towards the poor in various ways.
Such redistribution through fiscal means of course never materializes, since the need for providing “incentives” to the capitalists to keep this growth process going, and for spending on infrastructure for which an insatiable demand is created by the tendency towards perennial technological and structural change that characterizes a neo-liberal economy, absorbs whatever resources do, or could, come towards the State. This is true to such an extent that even the modest National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, set up against the wishes of the neo-liberal lobby by the Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance government in 2006, when it was dependent upon Left support for its survival, is now being starved of funds, even though it is a rights-based programme the expenditure upon which is supposed to be demand-driven.
But, even assuming that the neo-liberal State cannot effect any redistribution through fiscal means, the question still arises: why should there be an increase in economic, especially income, inequality in a neo-liberal regime even when there is high growth?
The answer to this question lies in the fact that the neo-liberal regime entails a restoration of the “spontaneity” of capitalism as against its being regulated and controlled in some ways which was the case under dirigisme. And this makes a difference in at least two spheres. The first is with regard to peasant agriculture and petty production in general. The tendency of the capitalist sector to encroach upon the traditional petty production sector, and upon peasant agriculture in particular, which was kept in check under the dirigiste regime, now reasserts itself.
The anti-colonial struggle, it has already been noted, had taken off in a big way in India in the 1930s when the Great Depression had inflicted acute distress upon the peasantry. It had done so on the promise that such distress would never again visit the peasantry, and in keeping with this promise the post-colonial State had protected and promoted peasant agriculture in various ways. It had undertaken large public irrigation programmes; it had promoted research in State-funded institutions for improved agricultural practices; the outcome of such research was made available to the agricultural sector through the creation of a massive network of State-sponsored extension services; it had protected agriculture through quantitative restrictions and tariffs from competition from abroad and had thus insulated it against world price fluctuations; it had procured crops domestically at remunerative prices announced each season on the basis of estimates of costs of production by a special Commission set up for the purpose; it had subsidized agricultural inputs, including credit from the banking system which was nationalized for this very purpose inter alia; it had obliged banks to provide a certain percentage of their credit at these lower rates to agriculture which had been designated a “priority sector”; it had prevented the multinational agri-business companies from having any direct dealings with the peasantry; an it had even prevented the domestic big capitalists from entering into any direct deals with the peasantry.
The benefits of all these measures of support of course did not accrue to all sections of the peasantry equally, but were cornered by the well-to-do peasants, who were developing into a class of proto-capitalists, and by that segment of the erstwhile landlords who had taken to direct cultivation, instead of through tenants, and represented the Indian version of “junker capitalism”. Nonetheless these measures brought a halt to the long drawn out agrarian crisis of the colonial period that had become particularly acute during the last two decade of colonial rule.
This fact manifested itself in two ways. The first was a turnaround in the per capita production and availability of foodgrains. The figure for per capita availability which had been around 200 kilogrammes per annum at the beginning of the twentieth century, had declined to 138 kilogrammes in 1946-47 (Blyn 1966); and even if we take the preceding quinquennium as a whole the average annual figure comes to 146 kilogrammes. This started increasing until around the end of the 1980s, i.e. until the introduction of neo-liberal policies in 1991, when it had climbed up to 180 kilogrammes.
The second was that the process of “primitive accumulation of capital” which refers to the capitalist sector’s enriching itself at the expense of the pre-capitalist sector and which had been rampant during the period of colonialism was significantly restricted. Primitive accumulation has a “flow” and a “stock” form. The former consists of the appropriation gratis of a part of the income of the pre-capitalist producers by the capitalist sector; and colonialism was engaged in it from its very inception through the sheer appropriation of the proceeds of the taxes levied upon the people, especially the peasantry (referred to above as the “drain of surplus”). Primitive accumulation in “stock” form which is what Marx had discussed at length in Capital is when the capitalist sector simply expropriates the assets of the pre-capitalist producers, or what comes to the same thing, purchases them at “throwaway” prices.
While there was eviction of tenants in the fifties and the sixties associated with the development of capitalism in Indian agriculture, which also can be said to constitute primitive accumulation in a certain sense, the capitalism that began to develop through such evictions was from within the sector. Primitive accumulation at the expense of the sector itself for the benefit of either the metropolis or the domestic big capitalists was restricted during the dirigiste era, which also meant an end to the earlier agrarian crisis. This is what paved the way for the increase in agricultural output in general, and the output and availability of foodgrains in particular.
What I have said about peasant agriculture is also true of petty production as a whole. Through a policy of “reservation” of certain categories of products for handlooms, through significant subsidies for hand spinning and weaving, through measures of protection of petty producers in fishing, and through the establishment of several commodity boards which marketed cash crops like tea, coffee and rubber and thereby gave succour to petty producers, the dirigiste regime sought to ensure to an extent the viability of petty production.
Neo-liberalism has ended all this. Quantitative restrictions on agricultural imports have been given up and tariff rates too are well below the “bounds” allowed by the WTO, which means that peasants are no longer insulated from world price fluctuations; input subsidies have been cut and even the procurement operations have been abandoned in many crops (there is currently a big question mark over foodgrain procurement because of the WTO); institutional credit to agriculture has dried up forcing the peasantry to turn to a new class of private moneylenders who charge usurious interest rates; multinational seed and fertilizer firms are having a field day selling their products to the peasantry; extension services by the government have been wound up; commodity boards have been shorn of their marketing function; the pro-active role of the State in undertaking research has been whittled down; and public investment in irrigation and rural infrastructure has been curtailed.
Not surprisingly, the agrarian crisis is back with us, with more than 200,000 peasants committing suicide over the last decade and a half. Primitive accumulation of capital is occurring not just in “flow” terms in favour of big capitalists and the multinational corporations, but also in “stock” terms through the take-over of peasant lands at low prices for “industrial” and “infrastructure” projects (many of which are in fact real estate projects).
Exactly in the same manner a process of primitive accumulation of capital is occurring at the expense of other petty producers. A recent measure, of allowing multinationals like Walmart into the retail business, is going to affect hundreds of thousands of petty traders. The effect of the resumption of primitive accumulation of capital, as in the colonial times, though using different instruments, is to throw a large number of displaced petty producers onto the labour market in search of jobs.
And here I come to the second major difference that neo-liberalism has made, compared to the earlier regime, which is to remove restrictions on the pace of technological-cum-structural change. Since the domestic elite wishes to imitate the life-styles prevailing in the West, this removal of restrictions has entailed a shift in the pattern of consumption and production towards newer goods prevalent in the West. And what is more, as product innovation occurs in the West, the tendency has been to imitate such innovation. Given the fact that the production of such goods in the West economizes on labour-use and that new products and processes there have a generally labour-saving character, the removal of restrictions on technological-cum-structural change has raised the rate of growth of labour productivity quite significantly, and meant that even when the GDP growth rate has been high, employment growth has been extremely slow.
The net result of these two changes therefore has been a significant increase in the relative size of the labour reserves, though these do not manifest themselves explicitly as labour reserves since employment- rationing takes the form of greater “casualization”, and “informalization”. Instead of the “active” army of labour and the “reserve army” of labour being two distinct entities, what we observe increasingly is the disappearance of the distinction between them, through the disappearance of a more permanently-employed “active army” as such. And even in sectors where there is some security of employment, in the sense that some notice is required before a worker can be sacked, the effort now is to introduce “labour market flexibility” which would mean unrestricted freedom of employers to “fire” workers.
The effect of all these developments has been a weakening of trade unions and a stagnation of real wage rates even of “organized” workers; for “unorganized” workers matters have been worse. Given the high rate of growth of labour productivity, this has meant a rise in the share of the “economic surplus” in output, which explains basically the increase in income inequality even in the midst of impressive rates of GDP growth.
But it is not just income inequality that has increased. There has been an increase in the incidence of absolute poverty, which is defined in India in terms of a nutritional “norm”, even in the period of high GDP growth. Poverty is officially defined in India as inability to access 2200 calories per person per day in rural India and 2100 calories per person per day in urban India. From data collected by the National Sample Survey the proportion of the rural population that is “poor” by this criterion went up from 69.5 percent in 2004-05 to 76 percent in 2009-10, precisely during the period of high growth, and from 64.5 percent to 73 percent in urban India (U.Patnaik 2013). A subsequent survey commissioned by the government for 2011-12, on the grounds that 2009-10 was a drought year and therefore exceptional, revealed a similar trend though slightly better absolute figures for the terminal year (Krishna Ram 2015).
This is hardly surprising, in view of the fact that the per capita net availability of foodgrains, which we noted earlier had increased to around 180 kilogrammes per year by the end of the 1980s has come down to around 162 by 2011-12 (which is a good crop year). In fact the nutritional deprivation in India today is worse than in sub-Saharan Africa.
Let me turn now to the question of social inequality. Any increase in economic inequality, given the fact that among the labouring poor there is a preponderance of the “lower castes”, of the tribal people, and of other marginalized segments of the population, implies ipso facto an increase in social inequality. There are however three additional factors that contribute towards such an increase in social inequality.
The first is the following. We have noted above that the rate of growth in the number of jobs created by the growth process, even when it is rapid, falls perennially short of the rate of growth in the number of job-seekers, leading to an increase in the relative magnitude of unemployment (which however is camouflaged). But the jobs created are typically in sectors, such as IT-related services, that require some education. These jobs may not be very “creative” but they are not completely unskilled. Historically however the “lower castes” and marginalized groups have been excluded from education. Hence those who are rationed out of employment typically belong to the “lower castes” and marginalized groups, while those who do benefit from such employment as is created by the high GDP growth in the era of neo-liberalism belong to the “upper castes”. This therefore becomes an additional factor contributing to a widening of the social distance between the “upper castes” on the one hand and the “lower castes” and the marginalized groups (which includes Muslims) on the other.
Of course if the education divide between the different social groups was getting narrowed at the same time, then the importance of this fact should decrease over time. But the education distance gets increased over time, and this is my second point. This increase is because of the privatization of important services like education and healthcare which is a feature of neo-liberalism. This raises the cost of such services and puts decent education and quality healthcare out of the reach of the “lower castes” and the marginalized groups.
We mentioned earlier that the magnitude of absolute poverty has increased during the period of high growth. This fact however is not apparent from official poverty estimates which adopt a particular method of estimating poverty. They take a “poverty line” in the base year, as that level of expenditure at which the specified calorie “norms” were accessed; they then bring up this “poverty line” to the current year by using a cost-of-living index; and estimate, finally, how many fall below this updated “poverty line”. The reason why this procedure underestimates poverty is that the rise in cost of living owing to the privatization of essential services, and the concomitant running down of public services, is not taken into account in the index (P.Patnaik 2013). Once this running down of public services is recognized, the increasing vertical distance between different social groups in the matter of education (and also access to healthcare) becomes obvious.
The third point relates to the fact that even such affirmative action as existed earlier ceases to be effective with the growing privatization of the economy. Affirmative action in India took the form of reservations for the “scheduled castes” and “scheduled tribes” in educational institutions and in jobs, but only in the government sector. As the government sector becomes relatively smaller compared to the private sector where no such reservation exists, even such opportunities as were available to this segment of the marginalized population (such opportunities did not even exist for the Muslims) begin to shrink, leading again to a widening of the distance between the different social groups.
For all these reasons, in addition to the general fact of growing income inequality, there is a growing social inequality. But the contribution of neo-liberalism lies not just in this growing social inequality. There is also an additional factor of great importance.
Even for jobs demanding some degree of education and skills there is an excess supply of labour. This creates a general apprehension, in the minds of the socially privileged groups that access these jobs, that if the “lower castes” and other marginalized sections did acquire education and skills, then the opportunities for them would shrink further. They therefore develop a vested interest in a social order that keeps the reach of education restricted, even as the limited opportunities that do come their way make them votaries of neo-liberalism. The neo-liberal regime, even while it increases economic and social inequality, creates a constituency for itself which additionally has also a vested interest in perpetuating the inequities of the social order. Neo-liberal capitalism in other words far from dealing destructive blows on the old social order as is commonly expected actually plays the role of strengthening the inequities of the old social order, of worsening its fault lines.
And the ideological support for such a strengthening of prejudice against the oppressed of the old order is provided through a revival of the Hindu religious right. The appeal of Hindutva to the educated segment in the recent years has surprised many, but it is rooted in the above-mentioned phenomena. Instead of the vision of an egalitarian order which the implicit social contract that formed the basis of India’s modernity had promised and which the dirigiste regime at least expressed its adherence to, we now have an explicit reversion to the older prejudices against the “lower castes” and against Muslims which underlies all the grandiose talk about India being an “emerging superpower”.
Such a social retrogression however will call forth resistance, either of a creative kind for a new socio-economic order transcending neo-liberal capitalism, or of a destructive kind that embodies mere mindless militancy. In either case there would be a tendency for a shift towards a more repressive bourgeois State. This tendency is likely to get strengthened by the persistent world capitalist crisis that is reducing employment opportunities in India even further. The fight for the defence and deepening of democracy in this context has to be accompanied by an alternative agenda that negates the rolling back of the democratic revolution in general under neo-liberal capitalism. Unless in other words a transcendence of neo-liberal capitalism is put on the agenda, and with it the guaranteeing of a set of economic rights that provide economic security to every citizen, i.e. unless the vision of the 1931 Karachi Resolution is carried forward, India is in danger of drifting towards social disintegration, and political authoritarianism which however would not prevent such disintegration.
Bagchi A.K. (1976) “Deindustrialization in India in the Nineteenth Century: Some Theoretical Implications”, Journal of Development Studies, 12 (2), 135-164.
Blyn George (1966) Agricultural Trends in India 1891-1947: Output, Availability, and Productivity, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.
Chandra Bipan (1968) “Reinterpretation of Nineteenth Century Indian Economic History”, The Indian Economic and Social History Review, Number 5, March, 35-37.
Chandrasekhar C.P. and Ghosh J. (2011) “Latest Employment Trends from the NSSO”, Business Line, July 12, 2011.
Lange O. (1963) Political Economy, Volume 1, Pergamon Press, Warsaw.
Patnaik P. (2013) “A Critique of the Welfare-Theoretic Basis of the Measurement of Poverty” Economic and Political Weekly, Volume XLVIII, No.14, April 6, 16-19.
Patnaik U. (2006) “The Free Lunch: Transfers from Tropical Colonies and Their Role in Capital Formation in Britain During the Industrial Revolution”, in K.S.Jomo ed. Globalization Under Hegemony, OUP, Delhi.
Patnaik U. (2013) “Poverty Trends in India 2004-05 to 2009-10”, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. XLVIII, No.40, October 5.
Ram Krishna (2015) The relationship Between Calorie Intake, Real Income and Nutrition: Empirical Study Based On National and International Data Since 1990s, Ph.D. thesis, Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, JNU.
For a discussion of the “drain” see Utsa Patnaik (2006) and of “deindustrialization” Amiya Bagchi (1976)
My reference to a “social contract” here should not be taken to mean an invocation of the theoretical legacy of Hobbes, Locke or Rousseau.
Indeed Chandrasekhar and Ghosh (2011) estimate from the National Sample Survey data that during the quinquennium 2004-05 to 2009-10 which coincided with India’s high growth phase, the annual rate of growth of “usual principal status” employment was a mere 0.8 percent, far below the rate of population growth itself.