Accumulation by Dispossession in India

Arup Kumar Sen

The eminent Marxist thinker, David Harvey, characterized the process of accumulation in the age of neo-liberalism as “accumulation by dispossession”. Harvey argued that both legal and illegal means are deployed in this process. The illegal means identified by him include fraud and predatory practices being used in recent times (David Harvey, The Enigma of Capital and the Crises of Capitalism, London, 2011).

The case of Nirav Modi fraud in India is still fresh in our mind. Modi, who was accused of Rs. 13,000 crore PNB scam in 2018, appropriated big public money and fled the country. The recent instance of spectacular corporate fraud reported in March 2020 is the Yes Bank scam. Rana Kapoor, the founder of the private bank, Yes Bank, allegedly gave bad loans to big corporate houses and misappropriated big kickback money from the big corporate deals. The top corporate giants involved in the “big bad deals” include Reliance ADAG Group, DHFL and ESSEL Groups. The outstanding “stressed” loans in the loan book of Yes Bank associated with the above corporate giants are reported to be more than Rs. 25,000 crore.

The above cases are not isolated instances. They give us a snapshot of how the public financial institutions in our country are being plundered by the corporate giants.

The coronavirus-induced national lockdown has expropriated a vast mass of industrial workers from their jobs. According to estimates of Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), over 122 million people in India lost their jobs in April, 2020, of whom 75 per cent are wage-labourers and small traders. The wage-labourers will find it difficult to get back their jobs, observed the CMIE.

What is happening in India in recent times is nothing but a predatory accumulation of capital through dispossession of workers.

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Juln 1, 2020

Arup Kumar Sen

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