Rural Commercial Capital: Agricultural Markets in West Bengal
Agricultural performance is influenced by agricultural commodity markets. However, the importance of these markets has largely been ignored by agricultural policymakers and mainstream economists. This pioneering study, covering both the pre- and the post-liberalization periods, and West Bengal's transformation from a seriously deficit to a surplus state, conceives of the post-harvest sector as a system of markets. It shows how, while West Bengal enjoyed the results of a reformed agrarian system, the market system remained unreformed until recently. The book sheds light on the role and importance of distribution and commodity markets in shaping and spreading the benefits of higher productivity across society. An original analysis of the regulation of markets by institutions of collective action and social identity, as well as by the state, the book discusses a regulatory policy that could be adopted by any government, irrespective of its ideology. Barbara Harriss-White'squarter-century of field work in West Bengal has yielded new insights into the political economy, where ethno-cultural networks and informal finance have led to a polarization of agro-commercial power on the one hand, and a proliferation of livelihoods for small traders in the post-harvest market system on the other. Challenging many of the claims of orthodox political economy, this well researched volume offers a new interpretation of rural development over three decades of communist rule.
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la Production of Rice in West Bengal by Districts
Figures Maps and Appendices
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accumulation activity agrarian agricultural markets agro-commercial average Bardhaman district behaviour Birbhum district Bolpur bran Calcutta capacity capitalist caste cent chapter co-operative commodity markets competition contracts costs de-regulation distribution economic finance firms Food Department Government of West growth Harriss Harriss-White husking millers husking mills increase institutions investment Katwa Kolkata labour force lakhs land Left Front Government levy licences livelihoods loans lorries market system marketed surplus Marwari Memari merchants mustard operation organization paddy agents paddy and rice paddy purchase parboiling payments petty trade political post-harvest potato poverty line procurement profits Public Distribution System quintal rates region regulation relations rents rice brokers rice markets rice millers rice mills rice prices rice retail rice wholesalers rural Sainthia scale seasonal sector sharecropping social storage structure supplies system of markets Table tonnes transactions transport unlicensed wage labour West Bengal wholesaling