Growth and Distribution Regimes in India since Independence

Abstract

The Indian economy has witnessed four qualitatively different regimes of capitalist growth and distribution since independence. The first two regimes in the period (1951–80) operated under the hegemony of the Indian state, the third one under the mixed hegemony of the state and private capital (1980–91), and the last one under the hegemony of private capital (1991–2012). These four regimes are associated with very different growth and distributional dynamics, roles of the state, and ended with crises of diverse kinds that then ushered in new regimes. This paper attempts to show how Indian political economic history after independence is a patchwork of periods of short-lived stability that were in turn shaped and produced by various crises and contingencies. It is certainly the case that through this entire period, even as economic growth was achieved, there was an unmistakable emergence of private capital and professional classes as the dominant (without being hegemonic) classes that have become adept at using markets and the state to further their own interests. The authors argue that this dominance itself has come about through a series of contingent outcomes.

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