By drawing on her extensive fieldwork in India and on the adjacent theoretical literature, Barbara Harriss-White describes the working of the Indian economy through its most important social structures of accumulation. Successive chapters explore a range of topics including labour, capital, the state, gender, religious plurality, caste and space. Despite the complexity of the subject, the book is vivid and compelling. The author's intimate knowledge of the country enables the reader to experience the Indian local scene and to engage with the precariousness of daily life. Her conclusion challenges the prevailing notion that liberalisation releases the economy from political interference and leads to a postscript on the economic base for fascism in India. This is an intelligent book, first published in 2002, by a distinguished scholar, for students of economics, as well as for those studying the region.
• A novel approach to the Indian economy • Drawing on the author's intimate knowledge of the region and the adjacent theoretical literature • Compellingly told despite complexity, for students and scholars in the field
1. Introduction: the character of the Indian economy; 2. Labour, work and its social construction in India; 3. Class: Indian development and the intermediate classes; 4. The local state and the informal economy; 5. Gender, family businesses and business families; 6. India's religious plurality and its implications for the economy; 7. Caste and corporatist capitalism; 8. Space and synergy; 9. How India works; 10. Postscript: Proto-fascist politics and the economy.
'It raises many important issues, and challenges conventional wisdom, forcing the reader to pause and evaluate. It provides a wealth of detail from the author's extensive fieldwork in India. Finally, Harriss-White's trenchant criticisms … of the divisive and destructive forces that seem to be in the ascendance in Indian politics are right on target.' International Journal of Punjab Studies
'Harriss-White is an economist who has, over the past few decades, been engaged in the analysis of the Indian economy, with a concentration of what she calls 'field economics' in south India. she brings to bear all this knowledge in elucidating various social processes of relevance to capital accumulation, outside of the corporate sector, in India.' Economic and Political Weekly
'Barbara Harriss-White … brings an anthropologist's training in fieldwork and her own eye for detail to an examination of aspects of India's economy that are often neglected by economists themselves … an intriguing and interesting book, one that is packed with detailed observations. These observations are the book's strength, and make it worthwhile for professional economists as much as for other social scientists and for general readers.' International Journal of Punjab Studies