A/Prof. David Hundt1, Dr Raman Apsingakar
1Deakin University, Burwood, Australia
David Harvey’s formulation of “Accumulation by Dispossession” (ABD) has been extensively used to understand how surplus global capital finds new outlets for its redeployment in developing societies. Usually ABD is analysed in top-down and macroscopic terms, but this paper adopts a “bottom-up” perspective, and emphasises the role of subnational politico-economic factors in dispossession. It takes the state of Andra Pradesh (AP) as a case study, during India’s gradual integration with global markets since the 1990s. The paper demonstrates how the synergy between the state and the capital, propelled by the business aspirations of people close to AP’s Chief Minister Yeduguri Sandinti Rajasekhara Reddy, caused the dispossession of farmers from their means of subsistence. The impetus to embrace SEZ-type development projects stemmed from Reddy’s attempt to cater to the economic and political interests of state-level political and business elites while retaining his electoral majority, rather than actualising the development goals enshrined in those projects. The state–business nexus nurtured by the business interests of the Reddy political dynasty and its allies resulted in “development deadlock”, which benefitted only these elites. The paper thereby shows how subnational-level leaders can use the ideology of development to promote their own interests in a democracy.
David Hundt is an Associate Professor in International Relations at Deakin University, Melbourne. His research interests include the political economy of East Asia (especially Korea), politics and foreign policy in the Asia–Pacific, and migration in Australia and Korea. Since 2018 he has been the Editor-in-Chief of Asian Studies Review.