Paths to International Political Economy (Routledge Revivals): Volume 7
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Sign In or Create an Account. Sign In. Advanced Search. Article Navigation. Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation. Innovation, institutions and development: a critical review and grounded heterodox economic analysis of late-industrialising contexts Keston K Perry. Oxford Academic. Google Scholar. Cite Citation. Permissions Icon Permissions. Abstract This paper critically reviews dominant approaches to the economics of innovation in contemporary developing societies, namely new institutional economics NIE and National Innovation Systems NIS.
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Private Power and Global Authority by A. Claire Cutler
This article is also available for rental through DeepDyve. View Metrics. But unlike many Latin American economies, Indian reforms have allowed the economy to grow at a fast pace. By providing sufficient room for economic growth these policies have benefitted large sections of the propertied elites.
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Thus even though the neoliberal social coalition remains narrow, on a comparative level the pro-capital stance has nonetheless been able to bring together disparate factions of propertied elites thereby providing a greater degree of cohesiveness amongst constituents of the dominant bloc. This in turn has allowed dominant classes to push the state to adopt a highly elitist trajectory benefitting this small privileged minority.
Figure 3 shows a schematic representation of the mechanism. Obviously the difference between the Indian and Brazilian experiences cannot simply be reduced to differences in the rates of economic growth. The distribution of economic gains amongst different factions of the dominant coalition is an important factor, but solving collective action problems requires more than just similar economic interests; it requires shared cultural and ideological values as well. It is here that political parties play an important role. Political parties codify common ideological and cultural values and by doing so, they act as crucial mechanisms through which class interests are constructed and articulated Huber and Stephens, ; Desai, Here again, Brazil and India are striking contrasts.
In Brazil the neoliberal era has witnessed the rise of programmatic leftist parties like the PT which have been successful in consolidating social support in favor of pro-poor policies. In India on the other hand, in the last two decades there has been a shift towards the right in the political sphere. The most important political actor in this regard is the BJP Bharatiya Janata Party which, along with its allies, has successfully combined the rhetoric of religious nationalism with the economics of elitism and has become a crucial vehicle for naturalizing the pro-capital project.
The following section traces out the political economy of growth regimes in Brazil and India and tries to shed light on the questions raised previously. Moreover unlike Brazil, in India inflation rates were stable throughout this period. According to some estimates GDP and productivity growth rates during the s may have even exceeded the growth rates registered in the s Kohli, a , b ; Rodrik and Subramanian, ; McCartney, Added to strong economic performance at the national level, the international context was very favorable. With low levels of foreign debt and a relatively stable economy, foreign finance was easy to come by for India.
Of course it is true that the economy had a balance of payment crisis in but as Patnaik and Chandrasekhar, suggest, the actual dimensions of this crisis never reached threatening proportions and there was actually very little need to resort to liberalization. What all this means is that the neoliberal reforms were not undertaken in response to external shocks as was the case of Brazil; It was a slow and gradual process which by this virtue has succeeded in creating of a strong coalition of support, including not only the big bourgeoisie but also the urban middle class and propertied middle and upper castes of rural India.
As far as big capitalists were concerned, liberalization allowed better access to new technologies and foreign finance. The sequential nature of the process also ensured that the national capitalists were shielded from the sort of denationalization that Brazilian industries were forced to undergo Mazumdar, Further, unlike Brazil where taming inflation created a propensity towards deflationary policies during the s and therefore caused significant losses of jobs for the middle class, in India not only was neoliberal policymaking relatively less conservative but the aforementioned bias towards high-tech services also tipped the scale in favor of skilled labour.
Added to this, the incorporation of agrarian elites, especially those belonging to land-owning, middle-castes within the dominant bloc has played an important role in buttressing support for the new economic stance. This point should be treated with caution because neoliberal policies have undoubtedly been prejudicial to the agricultural sector and there has been severe opposition to liberal policies from various rural classes because of the threats to state subsidies that liberalization entails.
Desai, p. Over time this new provincial propertied elite successfully diversified its investments by investing heavily in educational institutions and a wide variety of urban industries and services Kamat, ; Upadhya, The effect of this, according to Desai, p. The most prominent amongst these parties is the BJP which has been a keen supporter of neoliberal reforms and has gained immense popularity by using its own, indigenous brand of religious nationalism Hindutva. Parties like the BJP have not only coalesced propertied classes around the neoliberal agenda, but they have also been crucial for splintering any potential opposition.
In an insightful study, Varshney, has argued that the introduction of neoliberal policies went ahead without any significant resistance partly because potential opponents were too distracted by ethnic violence perpetrated by communal organizations. Contemporary political changes have confirmed the crucial role played by communalism in pushing ahead with the pro-capital project. Labor unions affiliated with the right-wing have supported core neoliberal programs and have consistently fragmented labor on ethnic lines which has made collective action more difficult Desai, ; Sengupta, The most recent elections in India have voted into power a political alliance of right-wing Hindu outfits headed by the BJP that have openly used ethnic nationalism as a tool for popular mobilization.
What is important to note however, is that the drumming up of nationalistic fervour has gone hand in hand with the promotion of blatantly elitist policies.
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All this suggests that the combination of political obscurantism and neoliberalism is fast becoming the new equilibrium of neoliberal-India. In the case of Brazil neoliberal reforms of the s were preceded by massive economic dislocation due to a dual assault of the debt crisis and a four-digit inflationary upsurge. On the political side the in-egalitarian policies of the military state together with its impotence to control the downward economic slide delegitimized authoritarian rule. Social discontent fueled massive grass root mobilization from across the society. Within this multi-class opposition, labour movements emerged as important players.
Labour militancy was aided by the rise of a novel mode of organization, often termed new-unionism. Representatives of new-unionism viewed the corporatist structure of industrial relations as a major threat to their interests and accordingly demanded greater autonomy of unions from the state Seidman, This however did not prevent them from demanding greater representation in political institutions. The entire transitional process had convinced the working classes that economic transformations in favor of the poor would be impossible without gaining access to the state apparatus.
Not surprisingly representatives of social movements and unions took extensive part in drafting the new constitution and were influential in shaping many social policies during the s Heller, The establishment of a programmatic left party in the form of PT provided a further impetus to the political aspirations of the labour movement. It is undoubtedly true that from the very beginning the Brazilian version of neoliberalism had an unorthodox bent, in the sense that welfare policies were given great importance.
But in terms of actual outcomes the performance of the social sector during the s was disappointing. It was here that the emergence of PT as a national political force was very crucial.
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Established in , PT provided a broad political platform for bringing together various factions of the Brazilian Left. While the party drew heavily from the ranks of industrial labour, it was able to attract individuals from a wide variety of civil society movements and base communities as well French and Fortes, Though it was only in that PT tasted electoral success, its principled criticism of liberalization policies throughout the s earned it support from the poorest and propelled it into a big force in national politics.
Since PT has been instrumental in deepening economic democracy and although it has eschewed a frontal attack on land relations and property rights, under its watch inequalities have declined and opportunities for decent work have increased.
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This brings us to an important feature of the Brazilian neoliberal experience - the neoliberal reforms of the s fell especially hard not only on workers but - at least in a relative sense- also on Brazilian industrialists, agrarian exporters and middle classes. With the crushing debt-cum-inflationary crisis still a part of public memory, the economic regime of the posts period prioritized stability over growth.
This was done by adopting a deflationary economic stance consisting of high-interest rates and uncompetitive exchange rates See Figure 2. Under the guise of restoring macroeconomic stability the high-interest rate regime greatly benefitted financial capital while industrial production and agrarian sectors suffered. The prioritization of rentier interests over the real sector, in turn, created major faults within the ranks of the Brazilian elite Boito, As far as the middle classes were concerned, Saad-Filho, p.
In sum, the deflationary policies of the s prevented the emergence of a stable neoliberal coalition and actually created cleavages even within the Brazilian elites themselves. In the new phase of policy making even though economic orthodoxies may not have been completely dismantled but the nature of the political verdict also ensured a clear shift towards a fairer economic regime.
This paper compares the development regimes of Brazil and India during the neoliberal era. In the case of Brazil labour market interventions minimum wages, employment creation in the formal sector etc.
In the case of India, the developmental approach has promoted an exclusionary form of growth where the very process of growth has become contingent on wage declines and low employment growth. In order to explain why the two countries have followed such distinct paths this paper analyzes some important differences between the two. The central argument that is made here is that in India neoliberalism was carried out gradually and sequentially. By the virtue of this gradualism, big capital- which was itself becoming increasingly transnational- was able to build a coalition of support which included, amongst others, the small, but vocal urban middle class and politically influential sectors of the land-owning peasantry.
The construction of a cohesive dominant bloc was aided by the rise of religious nationalist parties like the BJP who were successful in embedding pro-capital policies and fracturing political opposition. In contrast in Brazil, neoliberalism was undertaken within the context of a severe economic crisis. As a result during the post period controlling debt, reducing inflation and achieving macroeconomic stability assumed greater importance than economic growth.
Conservative economic policies adversely affected the poorer classes, local industrialists and the urban middle classes.