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

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Transfers and De-Industrialisation

Transfers and De-Industrialisation AS a reader of the EPW, I must thank you for the rich fare offered to us in the Annual Number 1991 (Vol XXVI, Nos 11 and 12) which more than compensates for the delay in its publication. I wish to offer in this letter a few brief comments on certain remarks made in the introductory part of the article 'De-Industrialisation without an Import Surplus: A Theoretical Note in the Context of a Stylised Colonial Economy" by Prabhat Patnaik and Jayati Ghosh in this issue, especially relating to "the colonial Indian economy in the 19th century [which) experienced continuous and significant commodity export surpluses" (p 649). The authors state that "some historians.,, argue that de-industrialisation could not have occurred in the economy over this period, and that rather the export surpluses through the mechanism of the foreign trade multiplier would have led to further increases in output and economic activity in the system". They have not identified who these historians may be, and make a reference to K N Chaudhuri's article in the Cambridge Economic History of India, volume 2, without any more specific reference Chaudhuri's reference to this matter is on the last page of his 74-page article, and is a highly confused presentation. What must surprise a reader of the article by Patnaik and Ghosh is their implicit acceptance of what they conceive Chaudhuri's position to be. From "some historians1* the authors next refer to "nationalist historians"

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