Social Scientist. v 9, no. 100 (Nov 1980) p. 96.


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BARBARA HARRISS

Inaction^ Interaction and Action:

Regulated Agricultural Markets in Tamil Nadu

STATE interventions are organized attempts to rearrange the mobilization and distribution of social resources. While interventions in the sphere of exchange have generally been less well researched than those in the sphere of production, those interventions coming under the rubric of state trading and consisting of direct mercantile activity on the part of the state have, in the past, been of greater political importance and have therefore been more exhaustively studied than indirect interventions. Regulated marketing is an example of indirect intervention in trading, where the state encourages changes in the structure of exchange and of production by the control of behaviour in the market place. It is a far older form İf intervention than state trading. Currently the Tamil Nadu government is soliciting international funds for the implementation of a marketing project worth Rs 1020 millions.

This seems justification enough to try to write the political economy of this intervention. We shall consider ihe history of the regulated marketing law and its implementation in Tamil Nadu, examine the assumptions on which it is based, axamine the way it affects and is affected by contemporary exchange relationships in one area of the state, namely, part ofCoimbatore district, and consider the directions of change advocated by three sets of inte-



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