Indian Capitalism: A Case that doesn’t Fit?
Abstract: This paper critically examines the ‘Varieties of Capitalism’ (VoC) School’s approach to constructing typologies of capitalisms with reference to the specific case of Indian capitalism. It emphasizes that two factors related to its origin and initial emergence remain crucial for explaining many of the key and sometimes very specific outcomes being generated by the operation of Indian capitalism in its current stage. These factors are, firstly, that Indian capitalism was born out of the womb of capitalist colonialism, and secondly, that no thoroughgoing agrarian transformation happened in India before or after independence. These have strongly conditioned capitalist development in India after independence, first under a more statist and protectionist regime till 1991 and subsequently under a more open and market‐oriented policy in the era of globalization. The transformational impact of this development has been consequently limited, even in comparison to other late‐industrializing Asian capitalisms, and insufficient to transcend these factors. Yet changes have happened over time, which lie behind the break state economic policy made with the past in 1991. The paper argues that such a combination of continuity and change poses some vexing problems for the characterization of contemporary Indian capitalism as a particular variety.
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