India: From Economic Impasse to Political Transformation?

Center for Social Theory and Comparative History

Monday, April 28, 2014
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
History Conference Room, 6275 Bunche

Annual Colloquium Series


Pranab Bardhan, Department of Economics, UC Berkeley
Deepankar Basu, Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts - Amherst


In the decade leading into the world crisis of 2007-2009, India experienced a spectacular economic boom that appeared to vindicate free market perspectives. Recently, as also in China and Brazil, GDP growth in India has slowed, but that is only part of the problem. Gains in wealth and income from economic expansion turn out to have been distributed heavily toward the top.  Under the ideological cover of neoliberalism, there has taken place a massive plunder of formerly state resources by elements of the elite and middle classes, as well as an endless series of land grabs and expropriations by local political officials.  A vast wave of protest has been the result. Mass revulsion against corruption has shaken the political system, manifested most dramatically in the rise of the Party of the Common Man. In rural areas, militant Maoist resistance has gained new life. Our speakers will present the causes and consequences of India’s economic revitalization, specify its winners and losers, and analyze the complex pattern of political transformation and conflict that has ensued, including the national parliamentary electoral process currently taking place.   


Deepankar Basu’s recent articles include "Relations of Production and Modes of Surplus Extraction in India," Economic and Political Weekly (2011), "The Maoist Movement in India: Some Political Economy Considerations," (with Debarshi Das), Journal of Agrarian Change, (forthcoming), and "The Left and the 15th Lok Sabha Election," Economic and Political Weekly, (2009).


Pranab Bardhan is author, among other works, of Awakening Giants, Feet of Clay: Assessing the Economic Rise of China and India (2010), Poverty, Agrarian Structure, and Political Economy in India (2003), and “The Slowing of Two Economic Giants.” New York Times op ed., 14 July 2013.

Tom Mertes

Sponsor(s): Center for India and South Asia

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