ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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New Language of Economics

This is with reference to the EPW editorial (“An Economics That Demystifies Economics”, 21 September 2013). I agree with most of the arguments offered in the editorial. However, the main problem of the dominant paradigm of economics is its obsession with quantification. This is evident in the context of recent land acquisitions in India. The mainstream economists talk of compensation in financial terms and ignore the destruction of livelihoods, life-support systems and life worlds involved in the process of land acquisitions. The methodological individualism implicit in the foundation of the discipline of economics is unable to take care of the communitarian needs of the people.

If one is really interested in understanding the logic of the “accumulation by dispossession” taking place in India and elsewhere, one must go beyond the language of economics. It may be mentioned in this connection that some years back Pranab Bardhan and Isha Ray tried to initiate conversations between economists and anthropologists (The Contested Commons, Oxford University Press, 2008) in search of a different language of economics. Very recently, Felix Padel, an anthropologist, has offered an insightful critique of the discipline of economics from the perspective of ecology. We should give due importance to such noble ventures in our search for an alternative language of economics.

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