ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Gold Mining Institutions in Nilgiri–Wayanad

An exploration of the complex development of gold mining in the Nilgiri–Wayanad region of southern India demonstrates how entwined histories disrupt simple taxonomic structures of “formality” and “informality.” Drawing on the long history of gold mining in the region that dates back to the 1830s, this paper presents a counter-example to the conventional view that institutions develop in a trajectory of informality to formality. To do this, the paper identifies three distinct phases of development in the gold mining industry of this region that mark and encompass shifts in governance of the area, global economic trends, commercial investment, property rights, government funding, influx of repatriate communities, and other social issues in the local economy. The analysis concludes that institutions in the region have evolved from formal–artisanal to formal–industrial, and then to informal–small scale.

Decentring the Fiscal Deficit Target Numbers

Nations, unlike households, do not face budget constraints. Fiscal defi cit targets therefore cannot be the objective of macroeconomic policy. Instead, budget discussions must focus on governance, supply-side bottlenecks and on policies to raise aggregate demand.

Estimating Agricultural Productivity in Mysore and South Canara from Buchanan's Journey (1800-01)

In 1800 and 1801 Francis Buchanan conducted one of the first agricultural surveys in the erstwhile Mysore state and its adjoining regions. By subjecting data contained in his survey to rigorous analytical study, estimates of agricultural productivity in terms of per capita grain output for two regions in Southern India; the erstwhile Mysore state and South Canara district can be obtained. Given that reliable estimates of agricultural productivity for the pre-1800 period outside of North-West Europe are relatively sparse, the present study adds to the archive of known estimates of agricultural productivity so as to enable comparative studies of economic performance. Moreover, since agricultural productivity had a direct bearing on the standard of living in medieval and early modern economies, the findings of this paper have important implications for India's position in the Great Divergence debate.

India's Failed Transition to a Gold Currency in the 1860s

Recent historical research on the emergence of the classical gold standard tends to omit India's failed attempt at moving to a gold currency in the 1860s. Though this was extensively deliberated upon in contemporary studies and in the works of the late 19th and early 20th century economists and historians, it finds almost no mention in the more recent debate. Revisiting this episode from history, this paper aims to draw attention anew to the important role India played in the evolution of the world monetary system.

Unearthing the Roots of Colonial Forest Laws

This paper repositions iron smelting and the smelter at the centre of a revised narrative of pre- and early-colonial forest history and policy. In a medieval war economy the smelter shared a relationship of mutual interdependence with the feudal state as a provider of critical raw material for weapon manufacture. This, however, changed with the advent of the colonial state, interdependence giving way to competition over resources. It is through this multilayered perspective of environmental and military history intertwined with the anthropology of iron smelting that we can unearth one of the roots of statutory forest laws.
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