The papers in this volume, though covering a wide range of fields, from economic theory to economic history, the problems of socialist economies and the dynamics of Indian agriculture, have nonetheless a basic unity. This arises not only from the Marxist perspective underlying them but also from an attempt to engage with 'the present as history'. This 'present', above all, is marked by the phenomenon of imperialism whose conceptual presence permeates many of the essays. Its role in the development of capitalism in the advanced countries, its need and attempt to recolonize the third world, the contradictions arising from the unresolved agrarian question in third-world societies, and the minimum conditions for their completing 'the long transition' to emancipation: such are the issues which concern the author. The concepts of class and the mode of production are developed and used for exploring these issues.
Utsa Patnaik is Professor of Economics at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. She has written extensively on political economy, capitalism and the agrarian question. Her publications include The Agrarian Question and the Development of Capitalism in India (1986), Peasant Class Differentiation (1987), Agrarian Relations and Accumulation (editor, 1990), and Chains of Servitude: Bondage and Slavery in India (joint editor, 1985).