Market Liberalism, Marginalised Citizens and Countermovements in India

How has neo-liberalism transformed the economic structure and policies of India? And what are the politico-economic implications of such policies for marginalised populations?

How has neo-liberalism transformed the economic structure and policies of India? And what are the politico-economic implications of such policies for marginalised populations? Following Karl Polanyi’s theory of “double movement”, this paper argues that while market liberalism has helped India overcome the slow so-called “Hindu rate of growth”, it has adversely affected the economic interests of the poor. It further argues that the expansion of the market (first movement) has led to various social dislocations in the lives of the poor. Such dislocations have generated several countermovements (second movement), which have found expressions not just in electoral politics but also in various grassroots movements. While it may be true that such countermovements have not always been successful in overturning the tide of neo-liberalism, they have certainly influenced the policy priorities of the state in favour of the poor and the marginalised in India.

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