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

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Rereading Das Kapital in the 21st Century

Marx’s Capital (three volumes) offers a unified framework to make sense of some of the most troubling issues facing humanity today, in particular, rising economic inequality, deepening economic instability, and growing unsustainability of human–nature interactions, signifying a looming planetary crisis. To the extent that the text throws light on capitalism in the abstract that transcends the unique features of the English or European context, it offers us various insights and critiques about how to understand and intervene in societies beyond Europe.

Babu’s Camelot

Three key dynamics have come to the fore in the fresh cycle of capitalism that is unfolding in the new state of Andhra Pradesh. First, capitalist accumulation is happening with a weak articulation and incorporation of labour. Second, capitalist development is being visualised in a city-centric paradigm with a weak vision of integrating the hinterlands. Third, these two dynamics are perceived by the state and the ruling elite to have little opposition, a kind of thesis with a weak antithesis. This paper provides a critique of these emerging dynamics in the hope of imagining a more inclusive Andhra Pradesh.

Beyond Workers and Peasants

Class in Contemporary China by David S G Goodman; New York: Wiley, 2014; pp xvii+233, £15.99

The Dissolution of 'United' Andhra Pradesh

This paper explores the political economy of growth and distribution in Andhra Pradesh by dividing the period since 1956 (when the state was formed) into four different regimes. AP has transformed from an agriculture-based economy at the time of its formation to a service-sector based economy today. A political economy narrative of the process is described with focus on three important cleavages - class, caste and region. It is argued that there has been a crisis for both the idea and materiality of AP for a while that has now led to an imminent dissolution of the "united state". The development of a particular variety of capitalism in AP has happened through the successful wearing down of two major radical mobilisations (during the 1930s-50s and 1970s-90s) and through a counter-radical episode of primitive accumulation that began in the 1980s which continues till today.

Looking Left at a Time of Crisis

In and Out of Crisis: The Global Financial Meltdown and Left Alternatives by Greg Albo, Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch (New Delhi: Aakar), Indian Edition, 2011; pp 140, Rs 325 (hardback).

Understanding Poverty and Inequality in Urban India since Reforms

Having grown considerably in the past two decades, Indian cities have become highly unequal spaces - economically, spatially, socially and culturally. Both quantitative approaches and qualitative methods have been used to study and measure the rising levels of inequality and the extent of poverty of the cities. While both have their problems, this paper claims that notwithstanding their respective limitations, these two approaches have captured different dimensions of the complex Indian urban process, even if they have rarely made an effort to speak to each other. The authors offer their own perspective on how these approaches can learn from each other and move forward.

Tragedy of the Commons Revisited (I)

Despite constitutional and legislative commitments to protect the commons, they are under threat across India. This article on the plight of commons in the peasant economy of Karimnagar in Telangana, which have been endangered by quarrying, argues that the commons are neither properly understood in this country nor are there adequate rules to govern them. Resistance to encroachment of the commons is either seen as illegitimate or lacking in sufficient legal grounding. Such resistance is then overpowered with ease and impunity by a coalition of private entrepreneurs, civil servants, politicians and their scions, all of whom reap enormous profits

Tragedy of the Commons Revisited (II)

Reviewing the manner in which tribal lands in the Araku Valley of Visakhapatnam district have been encroached upon by mining companies, this article argues that the various routes through which the commons are being eroded signal the urgent need for improving our models of the commons. This will help devise better vocabularies and strategies for a livelihoods-based approach to ecological conservation as opposed to an accumulation-based one.

Understanding the Andhra Crop Holiday Movement

Why would farmers keep their own land fallow as part of a voluntary "crop holiday protest movement" in a part of Andhra Pradesh is a question that has puzzled many. A field visit to the Konaseema region reveals that the dynamics of class contradictions in the area are also responsible for the nature of the movement that goes beyond the issue of remunerative prices.

Does Class Matter? Class Structure and Worsening Inequality in India

Does class structure matter in understanding the increasing inequality in India during the period of economic liberalisation? There is now clear evidence from the National Sample Survey quinquennial household consumer expenditure surveys conducted in 1993-94 and 2004-05 that increased distance between urban elites (owners, managers and professionals), rural rentier classes (such as moneylenders and absentee landlords) that are more stratified at the top, and unskilled urban workers, marginal farmers and agricultural workers, who are increasingly more stratified at the bottom, helps us understand the distributional dynamics of the Indian growth story. This paper analyses the class structures in India and decomposes the overall inequality into inter-class and intra-class terms. It explains these changes by analysing the Indian policies during this period.

The Recent Crisis in Global Capitalism: Towards a Marxian Understanding

This paper analyses the current crisis through a Marxian framework. It focuses on the creation of a new regime of accumulation (neoliberalism) since the 1970s as a response to the profitability crisis of the late 1960s and 1970s in global capitalism. The regime, while addressing that crisis, could never fully address it in the sustained realisation of profits/surplus value. What then of the efficacy of a Keynesian fix? From a Marxian viewpoint, the Keynesian solution is also inherently unstable as state-supported capitalism invariably runs into other crises (such as in the 1970s), which would force further changes in the system. Marxian prescriptions would go beyond the market vis-à-vis state debate to focus on the very institutional structures that perpetuate capitalism of one kind or the other.

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