Dispossession, Deprivation and Development
Essays for Utsa Patnaik
This volume is a collection of essays on various aspects of development and underdevelopment of India's economy and society. The essays seek to unravel exploitative economic and social relations, and look for sustainable solutions to contemporary social challenges. The topics covered by them include the agrarian question in contemporary India, primitive accumulation, displacement and land rights, macroeconomic policy and employment generation, women's work, environmental sustainability, left politics and secularism. Each essay engages in its own way with the search for a just society, which has been central to the academic work of Utsa Patnaik.
Utsa Patnaik is currently Professor Emerita at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She belongs to that genre of academicians who have relentlessly questioned the conventional body of economic thought received from the North and propagated in countries of the developing world, including India. Her work has been devoted to developing alternative frameworks of analysis, incorporating a more organic understanding of the Indian society and economy. In an academic career spanning nearly five decades, Professor Patnaik's research has engaged with a wide range of issues: agrarian development in post-independent India; the role of rent in economic development; the role of colonies in world capitalist history; land revenue systems and agricultural stagnation; the colonial transfer of tribute; free trade theories and their fallacies; the agrarian crisis in India after liberalization; export-oriented agriculture and food security in developing countries; and poverty and nutrition in India – to mention a few. Many of these engagements have led to fundamental theoretical contributions or triggered debates that have enriched scholarly understanding of these issues. Applying the Marxian framework of analysis, Professor Patnaik has consistently questioned the rationale of economic policies adopted across the world in different phases of capitalism. Through her unflinching defence of the interests of the working poor, she has inspired generations of scholars and activists engaged with the project of human emancipation.