Publikation Analysis of Capitalism - Alternatives to Society - Asia - Economic / Social Policy - City / Municipality / Region - Globalization Puzzles of Indian Commodity Production

Capitalist Exploitation and Heterogeneity of Rural and Informal Sectors in the Indian Economy



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Jakob Graf,


Februar 2015


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While the old capitalist countries have to contend with low growth rates, eyes turn to countries like India. High economic growth and corporate profit margins can be observed, enjoyed and expected. Some areas like the IT-sector or the pharma industry are of special interest. But in terms of numbers of employees this capitalist dynamic and accumulation is limited to a small part of the Indian economy. The vast majority of Indians is not part of the highly value adding capitalist economy. 70% of the population are living in rural areas, where subsistence production, public or self-employment is predominant.Also in cities, large capitalist industries are rare compared to the bulk of small producers.

There are various types of modes of production to be found in the different areas of the Indian economy. Notwithstanding the small share of capitalist production, I claim that the capitalist relations of commodity circulation and accumulation clearly dominate the economy on a macroeconomic level. This implies a capitalist state and rule of law. More and more neoliberal policies are directed towards an integration of the Indian economies into the global division of labour, growth of selected industries and characterised by a neglect of agriculture and the various types of excluded economies of the third/typo3/.

This development is not leading to notable job creation and its growing wealth does not benefit the majority of the Indian population. Some authors define different sub-economies in post-colonial countries like India. Rajesh Bhattacharya and Kalyan Sanyal for example speak of an accumulation economy, on the one hand, and a need economy, on the other hand. The former is organised around the logic of accumulation of surplus, whereas the latter is aiming at provisioning sufficient goods or income for subsistence (Bhattacharya/Sanyal 2011). The coexistence of the various types of societies and modes of productions is not at all without conflicts – especially conflicts over the control of land.

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