Continuity and Change in Indian Capitalism
This paper explores the elements of continuity and change associated with Indian capitalism’s transition to its liberal phase after 1991. While acknowledging the significant changes since then, it is argued that the origins, nature, and consequences of Indian liberalization cannot be understood without recognizing the important continuities between the pre- and post-liberalization phases. Its colonial origins and the absence of a thoroughgoing agrarian transformation, and other stable features associated with these, remain crucial for explaining the key and sometimes very specific outcomes being generated by Indian capitalism. Indian capitalism after liberalization is less different than what it was before than might appear at first sight, and some of the difference is only a reinforcing of its inherent characteristics. Indian capitalism has always exhibited a strong tendency for generating uneven development. The change implied in that uneven development lay behind the shift from a dirigiste strategy to liberalization, which in turn has made the uneven development tendency stronger. The paper concludes with some reflections on the ‘Varieties of Capitalism’ perspective with reference to the case of Indian capitalism.
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