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The Political Economy of Rural-Urban ConflictPredation, Production, and Peripheries$
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Topher L. McDougal

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198792598

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198792598.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 November 2020

Trade Networks and the Management of the Combat Frontier

Trade Networks and the Management of the Combat Frontier

(p.155) 7 Trade Networks and the Management of the Combat Frontier
The Political Economy of Rural-Urban Conflict

Topher L. McDougal

Oxford University Press

This chapter fleshes out the causal mechanisms motivating the results of Chapter 5 with interviews of traders who cross the Maoist territorial border. It contends the hierarchical form of the caste-based Indian society gives rise to trade networks in which a caste-based division of labor arises: lower-castes engage in local trade, higher-castes in long-distance trade. By enforcing the caste bar on tribal people in long-distance trade, long-distance traders ensure that trade taking place between Maoist-held hinterlands and government-controlled cities remains in the hands of an elite few. Those elite long-distance traders can then strike deals with Maoist cells for trade access, thereby incentivizing Maoists to firmly hold onto their own territory, while discouraging them from taking over such profitable towns. Moreover, this mechanism helps explain why well-connected towns are less violently targeted by rebels: they tend to have more upper-caste traders, limiting their bargaining power vis-à-vis Maoist cell leaders.

Keywords:   trade, predation, ethnicity, caste, elites, bargaining, Maoist rebels, India

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