Compressed Capitalism and Development

Primitive Accumulation, Petty Commodity Production, and Capitalist Maturity in India and China

Author: Anthony P. D'Costa


The global capitalist system is at a particular historical juncture with a dilution of the capitalist core away from Western (and Japanese) centers of accumulation to China and India, among other countries. What is the nature of capitalism in these countries? Are China and India going along the same development trajectories that advanced capitalist countries followed earlier? Is their accumulation model the same as that of the OECD economies or is accumulation different under late capitalism? The author argues that capitalism in India and China is "compressed," meaning that the phases of capitalism do not follow one another in sequential order. Instead, some phases, such as primitive accumulation, may be delayed or be experienced at the same time as advanced accumulation under the corporate sector, thereby producing a mode of development that does not generate widespread employment. The author contends that capitalism in India and China is compressed and he demonstrates empirically that primitive accumulation, petty commodity producing sectors, and mature capitalism in late-industrializing countries reinforce each other, creating precarious forms of employment in the process.

Countries: China | India

Download complete article from Taylor & Francis Online

© ILO Photo/Crozet M.