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Democracy, development, and the countryside [electronic resource] : urban-rural struggles in India /
Ashutosh Varshney.
imprint
Cambridge [England] ; New York, NY, USA : Cambridge University Press, 1995.
description
x, 214 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0521441536
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Cambridge [England] ; New York, NY, USA : Cambridge University Press, 1995.
isbn
0521441536
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
8359842
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1996-02:
Varshney explores the relationship between democracy and agrarian power in India. Using government reports, parliamentary debates, and interviews with policy makers and rural political leaders, Varshney examines the factors shaping Nehru's failed agricultural policies of land reform and cooperatives, the shift to a green revolution strategy of technology and price incentives in the mid-1960s, and increasingly prorural policies since the 1970s. He argues that "democracy preceding an industrial revolution ... has led to the empowerment of the rural sector in the polity." Rural power, however, is constrained by India's poverty and by divisions among peasants based on caste, ethnicity, and religious identities. Varshney focuses on the pressures brought to bear on the government by the nonparty peasant movements and on the conflicts in institutional perspective between the agricultural ministry and the planning commission and finance ministry. He advocates policies of technological and infrastructural improvements instead of price increases and loan waivers. Written from a rational-choice perspective, the book presents economic and political arguments in an extremely clear manner but fails to capture the intensity of the "Bharat-India" debate that goes beyond rationality understood in neoclassical economic terms. Upper-division through faculty. J. G. Everett; University of Colorado at Denver
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 1996
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Summaries
Description for Bookstore
What happens to the rural folk - to their power and economic well-being - when development takes place in a democratic framework? Focusing on India, where an exceptional democratic system has flourished for four decades, this book examines how the rural sector uses its numbers in a democracy to further its economic and political interests.
Description for Library
What happens to the rural population - to their power and economic well-being - when development takes place in a democratic framework? Focusing on India where, unlike most of the developing world, a democratic system has flourished for four decades, this book investigates how the rural sector uses its numbers in a democracy to further its economic and political interests. The book also argues that identities constitute a powerful constraint on the pursuit of economic interests.
Main Description
Several scholars have written about how authoritarian or democratic political systems affect industrialization in the developing countries. There is no literature, however, on whether democracy makes a difference to the power and well-being of the countryside. Using India as a case where the longest-surviving democracy of the developing world exists, this book investigates how the countryside uses the political system to advance its interests. It is first argued that India's countryside has become quite powerful in the political system, exerting remarkable pressure on economic policy. The countryside is typically weak in the early stages of development, becoming powerful when the size of the rural sector defies this historical trend. But an important constraint on rural power stems from the inability of economic interests to overpower the abiding, ascriptive identities, and until an economic construction of politics completely overpowers identities and non-economic interests, farmers' power, though greater than ever before, will remain self-limited.
Main Description
What happens to the rural folk--to their power and economic well-being--when development takes place in a democratic framework? Focusing on India where, unlike most of the developing world, a democratic system has flourished for four decades, this book investigates how the rural sector uses its numbers in a democracy to further its economic and political interests. The book also argues that identities constitute a powerful constraint on the pursuit of economic interests.
Table of Contents
Preface
Introduction
Town-Country struggles in development
Nehru's agricultural policy: a Reconstruction
Policy change in the mid-1960s
Rise of Agrarian power in the 1970s
Organizing the countryside in the 1980s
Has rural India lost out?
Paradoxes of power and the intracacies of economic policy
Conclusion: democracy and the countryside
Endnotes
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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