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The Political Economy of Economic Conservatism in India: From Moral Economy to Pro-business Nationalism


  • Adnan Naseemullah


Economic conservatism in India today is associated with the BJP’s embrace of markets and competition. This article argues that conservatism within the nationalist movement was founded on rejecting both the market and the planned economy, embracing instead ‘moral economy’ principles of economic life guided by social norms, and development founded on small-scale craft production. After independence, conservative nationalists, while acknowledging the need to enhance state power through industrial growth, protected the moral economies of craft-based and agrarian production. But as the Congress party fractured, farmers’ movements asserted interests in market-based agricultural transformation and liberalization shifted the issue space of economic debate, new pro-business conservatives presented a new vision based on enhancing national wealth and strength through capitalist enterprise.

Suggested Citation

  • Adnan Naseemullah, 2017. "The Political Economy of Economic Conservatism in India: From Moral Economy to Pro-business Nationalism," Studies in Indian Politics, , vol. 5(2), pages 233-247, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:indpol:v:5:y:2017:i:2:p:233-247

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