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The Land Question in IndiaState, Dispossession, and Capitalist Transition$
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Anthony P. D'Costa and Achin Chakraborty

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198792444

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198792444.001.0001

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Land Reform in Kerala and West Bengal

Land Reform in Kerala and West Bengal

Two Stories of Left Reformism and Development

(p.242) 10 Land Reform in Kerala and West Bengal
The Land Question in India

Anirban Dasgupta

Oxford University Press

This chapter revisits the experience of land reforms in Kerala and West Bengal to provide a comparative analysis of the impact of left reformism on the nature of capital accumulation in these two states. The chapter builds on a conceptual framework combining a contemporary Marxist reading of the agrarian question and the theoretical justification of land reforms from a developmentalist perspective. The analysis in the chapter shows that land reforms were not able to generate a process of inclusive industrial development in either state. In Kerala, land reforms did not revitalize agricultural production primarily because of a powerful trade union movement leading to overpricing of labor and resistance to technological upgrading while in West Bengal the sharp increase in agricultural productivity could not be transmitted to dynamic process of capital accumulation in the larger economy. This is interpreted as a disarticulation of the accumulation problematic of the agrarian question.

Keywords:   land reform, development, left reformism, agrarian question, Kerala, West Bengal, inclusive industrial development, trade union movement, capital accumulation

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