This book’s title raises two questions, about the meaning and significance of the words ‘modern’ and ‘political economy’. The word ‘modern’ limits the scope of the study to the twentieth century, with a greater emphasis on the more recent decades. The purpose of the study is to analyse social and economic change in Iran, to emphasise the role of those human and material forces, their relations, and their interactions, which — though not entirely unique to Iran — together give rise to the distinctly Iranian features of politiconomic development. It has been presented in a historical setting because those forces and relations — the techniques, values and institutions — are difficult to identify, and impossible to understand, unless their roots are discovered in their true locations. It is not an economic and political history of modern Iran, nor a historical study of the Iranian political economy; it is a study of Iranian politiconomic development with the same ‘practical’ and ‘operational’ claims as the orthodox studies of economic development.
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