Social Scientist. v 30, no. 344-345 (Jan-Feb 2002) p. 3.


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UTSA PATNAIK"

Agrarian Crisis and Global Deflationism ^5;'

INTRODUCTION

The agrarian sector of India and of many other developing countries, is in crisis. Superimposed on all earlier problems in India related to continuing land concentration and relative failure to implement land reforms, there is a new crisis of rural livelihoods. This had been initiated primarily by neo-liberal economic reforms in the last decade, which led to public expenditure cuts, a credit squeeze and collapse of employment growth in rural areas. The crisis has been intensified by full trade liberalization, which has exposed farmers to the volatility of global commodity markets against a background of recession in the capitalist world. The deepening indebtedness of Indian farmers engaged in export crops production is leading to asset loss and destitution, while more than a thousand farmers have committed suicide in a single state alone, though despair-induced suicides are not confined to that state. During the decade of reforms the foodgrains output growth rate has halved compared to the eighties, yet we see an unprecedented build-up of food stocks (in excess of sixty million tons at present), entailing a large decline in per capita food availability, which is at the same level now as in the hungry nineteen thirties. All these developments are indicative of pervasive agrarian crisis. In order to understand this new crisis of livelihoods, it is necessary to understand first the deflationary impact of the economic agenda of global finance capital.

^ Centre for Economic Studies & Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. ** This paper is a abridged version of a paper titled "Deflation and Deja vu: Indian Agriculture and the World Economy" forthcoming in Agrarian Studies: Essays on Agrarian Relations in Less Developed Countries edited by V K Ramachandran and Madhura Swaminathan (Delhi : Tulika )

Social Scientist, Vol. 30, Nos. 1 - 2, Jan.-Feb. 2002



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