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  • Cited by 3
  • Print publication year: 2002
  • Online publication date: July 2010

9 - How India works


The economy analysed in this book is not the entire Indian economy, but the non-corporate one in which 88 per cent of Indians live and work. To analyse how social structures of accumulation govern the economy experienced by the remaining 12 per cent who live in metropolitan India, where corporate capital is concentrated, is another urgently needed task. Of course, the two Indias are one and inseparable. Metropolitan cities teem with informalised labour and firms, and with socially regulated markets. Products of the corporate sector (biscuits, soap, cosmetics and drugs) reach the smallest rural periodic marketplaces. However, the weight of the economy of the rural and small-town workforce and the intermediate classes, that we have described here with evidence drawn for the most part from field economics and economic anthropology, has its own significance for the whole edifice.

In analysing the economy as a set of social structures of accumulation we have departed in three ways from the usual focus of the scholars who developed this concept. First, unlike them, we have used it statically, as a way of imposing an analytically useful order on the immense complexity of the Indian economy, rather than with a view to developing any thesis about its historical evolution through eras or stages. Second, whereas most scholars of social structures of accumulation focus on legal-institutional structures belonging to the State, or established by it, the structures of accumulation we have been concerned with lie predominantly outside the State.