Arpita Banerjee, visiting assistant professor of economics, gave an invited seminar at the Political Economy Workshop at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, on April 26. Her talk was titled “The Different Economy of Indian Self-Employed Sector.”
Banerjee spoke about the Indian self-employed sector, where 258.3 million Indians are engaged and showed how this sector has generated a novel way of maintaining their productive capacity defying the market principle. She found out the general characteristics of the production system of the self-employed sector, disentangling them from the web of complexity, subjectivity and irregularity that prevails in this sector.
Banerjee showed that, apart from the very important ethical question about whether a majority of the Indian population can be asked to wait till the 'growth-will-trickle-down' happens, the current growth process is negatively affecting the lives of the self-employed people. She contends that capitalist encroachment of the resources which the self-employed people use (not extract) is dispossessing people, creating huge surplus labor with little wage bargaining power and dismantling all the community ties that are crucial for the self-employed occupations. The growing resistance toward such dislocation of people is very important in this context.