Social Scientist. v 12, no. 132 (May 1984) p. 1.


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Editorial Note

THE FOCUS of the current number of Social Scientist is on the political economy of under development with particular reference to India. Of course, the different pieces dealing with this question do not necessarily add up to one coherent or comprehensive position. But they do touch on a number of aspects of the question, each from its own point of view, so that the issues they raise, between them, belong to the essence of the matter. A recent important book by Atniya Bagchi, bearing this very title, in which the author argues that the necessary conditions for breaking out of the state of underdevelopment in the Third World countries cannot be achieved today by their pursuit of the path of capitalist development, is the subject of a review article by Terry Byres. Themes raised by Bagchi recur also in the articles of this number dealing with the specific Indian situation. The lead article by Saumitra Chaudhury traces the evolution of the Indian bourgeoisie's relationship with and attitude towards foreign capital, and the related evolution of the policy of its political organisation, the Indian National Congress, towards foreign capital, both before and after its assumption of power. Chaudhury's paper is interesting for capturing not only the policy changes, but also the manner in which the changes were effected. The initial formulation of a general radical approach, its simultaneous dilution in the "small print" by providing for "exceptions", the proliferation in practice of such "exceptional" cases, the rationalisation of such proliferation through a modified general approach in the next round and so on: this depressingly familiar sequence is carefully documented by Chaudhury. The volte-face on the part of the leading lights of FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) on the question of foreign capital between 1947 and 1961, underscored in the article, is particularly noteworthy.

Sridhar Krishna's paper discussing theoretical aspects of transfer pricing, and providing empirical estimates of transfer pricing by multinational offshoots in the drugs and pharmaceuticals industry in India is a useful complement to Chaudhury's discussion. While transfer pricing constitutes a significant item of "drain" from the Third World today, it is exceedingly difficult to estimate, and requires painstaking research. Social Scientist has always welcomed such research and made



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