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Petty Production and India’s Development

  • Muhammad Ali Jan
  • Barbara Harriss-White
Chapter
Part of the Marx, Engels, and Marxisms book series (MAENMA)

Abstract

Although the concept of Petty Commodity Production (PCP) has become extremely important to Marxist political economy analyses of the Global South, it is generally assumed that the concept is not contained in Marx’s own work and is an innovation by later scholars. Going against this established view, this chapter argues that although the term PCP is not found in Marx’s own writings, his writings do contain a rich set of references to the development of small-scale production in pre-capitalist and capitalist societies, albeit in an incoherent manner. It discovers three problematics related to PCP that are found in Marx’s writings—dissolution, conservation, and exploitation-autonomy—and goes on to explain the rationale behind each, arguing that it is the third which ties most closely to the critical Marxist scholarship on petty production developed by future scholars. In the rest of the chapter, the agrarian transformation and trajectory of capitalist development in India is studied with respect to the existence of PCP and it is argued that all three problematics are found to be operating in India’s small-scale property-dominated form of capitalism.

Keywords

Petty commodity production (PCP) Formal and real subsumption India Agrarian transition Disguised wage labour 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammad Ali Jan
    • 1
  • Barbara Harriss-White
    • 1
  1. 1.Wolfson College, University of OxfordOxfordUK

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