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Dispossession without DevelopmentLand Grabs in Neoliberal India$
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Michael Levien

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190859152

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190859152.001.0001

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(p.81) 4 Dispossession
Dispossession without Development

Michael Levien

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the dispossession of Rajpura for the Mahindra World City. It shows, first, how the Rajasthan government used real estate to produce compliance to dispossession. It then examines the initial consequences of this dispossession for both the village and the SEZ’s investors. Dispossession enabled Mahindra to arbitrage on the discrepancy between the cost of dispossessed land and its ultimate value as residential and commercial real estate, and to establish a tax-free enclave for India’s already booming “knowledge economy.” Conversely, it generated a cascading disaccumulation of agrarian assets within Rajpura. Dispossession undermined direct access to means of production and subsistence, destroyed a remunerative livestock economy, worsened already acute water shortages, and imposed disproportionate costs on women. It was against these substantial losses that Rajpura’s villagers weighed any gains from the SEZ.

Keywords:   dispossession, Special Economic Zone, rate of accumulation by dispossession, real estate speculation, knowledge economy, disaccumulation, agrarian change, livestock, gender

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