How Poverty Is Generated
Partha Saha
Labour, State And Society In Rural India: A Class-Relational Approach by Jonathan Pattenden Manchester University Press, 2018, 216 pp., $66.86
October 2018, volume 42, No 10

India’s high growth has continued hand in-hand with rising inequality, and almost unchanged absolute level of poverty despite its falling incidence. A lot has been written about multi-dimensional measures of poverty, its impact on growth, its geographical location, its concentration among certain socio-economic groups, and about its causes and possible remedies. The issue of poverty and deprivation has been dealt with in a technocratic manner, and different methods which have been suggested to deal with this problem are based on success stories from different parts of the world. The book under review  is an attempt at filling the vacuum created by the absence of context in the discussions around poverty and the process involved in its generation and regeneration.

The book brings out agrarian social relations in contemporary rural India; it attempts to contextualize contemporary changes in rural India, and investigates how different rural classes interact with each other and in the process how poverty gets generated. Even though most of the analysis is based on what has been happening in the fieldwork locations, the author has tried to place the analysis in a larger political economy framework that takes into account things which are not confined within the fieldwork locations. By analysing specific forms of domination and exploitation, this book sheds light on how poverty is generated and regenerated by capitalism.

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