This essay engages with the commodification of land in an urban periphery of India. It argues against the tendency to reduce commodification of land to “primitive accumulation” or “accumulation by dispossession.” It presents an ethnography of the process of the commodification of land under speculative conditions. The growing demand for land for urbanization and industrialization, along with the availability of speculative finance capital in the real estate market, has made land a scarce commodity. In this land market, local capitals piggyback on finance capital and bid up the prices exponentially in the micromarkets. Speculation makes it impossible for the state to match the market price, and its compensation for the land losers is always quite low, which the latter refuse to accept. The landowning farmers, on the other hand, have developed a capacity to adjust to the speculative conditions and to control the supply of land in the market. Even though they can receive a very good price for their land, they show no urgency to sell it. As a consequence, the state's plan to urbanize a given area, to create a stable arrangement of clear property titles, and to control land prices become uncertain.
Beyond Dispossession: The Politics of Commodification of Land under Speculative Conditions
Swagato Sarkar; Beyond Dispossession: The Politics of Commodification of Land under Speculative Conditions. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 December 2015; 35 (3): 438–450. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201X-3426289
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