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This volume presents a unified articulation of decades of theoretical and empirical research on imperialism and capitalist development by Marxian economists Utsa and Prabhat Patnaik. Contesting the notion of capitalist development as a self-sustained/self-contained system, they argue that the stimulus for sustained growth under capitalism relies on what economic theory considers exogenous – innovation, state, or pre-capitalist markets. They argue that capitalism is not an isolated system but co-exists with a pre-capitalist setting and operates in relation to it. And thus, imperialism continues to be the essential mechanism of capitalist accumulation. This is what makes the notion of capitalism as a self-sustained system untenable.
This volume presents a critical engagement with economic theories of capitalism and economic history from the perspective of the Global South, albeit highly dependent on the Indian experience. Mediating between the more abstract theoretical propositions from classical and heterodox schools alongside historical and current day empirical insights, they present an alternative and a highly engaging account of capitalist development. This book is a rich contribution to the role of colonialism and colonial institutions like slavery in making of the current developed world. In doing so, it also rebuts the revisionist accounts that underplay the adverse impacts of colonialism on the Global South, emphasising instead its purported benefits. Read more.