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The Roots of Local Capitalism: Outlining and Understanding Global Connections

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Part of the Approaches to Social Inequality and Difference book series (ATSIAD)


This chapter deals with the nature of capital accumulation in Bangladesh that has been taking place historically. It is argued that capitalism is contextual as a bundle of social relationships of inequalities, having its specificities and dynamism. Therefore, one should look to the local history of capital accumulation beyond the grand scheme of the progressive replacement of unfree labor by free labor or the progressive proletarianization. The region now known as Bangladesh was part of a larger economic structure in the Mughal Empire and the British Colonial Empire. Later, as an independent state, Bangladesh emerged as one of the world’s largest exporters of garment products. It is argued that there was no major cut-off point marking the change toward capitalism, for it had been developing within and encompassing the local contexts and values.


  • Accumulation
  • Bangladesh
  • Capitalism
  • Global connections
  • Government policy
  • Proletarianization
  • Ready-made garment industry
  • Trade agreements

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-99902-5_2
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  1. 1.

    Emperor Akbar banned activities offensive to Hindus, such as cow-slaughter. He also abolished discriminatory taxes (such as those levied on Hindu pilgrims), admitted Hindu sages into his private audience and Rajput chieftains into his ruling class, ordered the translation of Hindu sacred texts into Persian, and celebrated Hindu festivals (see Raychaudhuri, 1982).

  2. 2.

    Traditional Kings.

  3. 3.

    There were two phases of zamindars. During the Mughal period, zamindars were the revenue collectors of the allotted land, not landowners themselves. A zamindar could be stripped of office if a governor/emperor so wished. During the British period, through the Permanent Settlement Act of 1793, zamindars became landowners subject to payment of revenue on time. Zamindari was sold in auction if a zamindar failed to pay the dues.

  4. 4.

    During the Mughal era, land was broadly classified as khalisa or jaigirs. From khalisa the emperor received revenue directly. On the other hand, jaigirdars were given rights over the revenue of the allotted jaigirs (land).

  5. 5.

    The right to collect revenue and to administer civil justice under the company rule of the East India Company.

  6. 6.

    While zamindars were landlords, ryots were tenants and cultivators. A ryot had a right to hold land for cultivation.

  7. 7.

    In relation to this idea, I will expand on the reconfiguration of values in Chaps. 4, 5, 6, and 7 that, respectively, deal with the subjectivities of the workers; the work process in the factories, blurring between discourse and practices; correspondent changes in the macro and micro aspects of the society; and aspirations for change toward anticipated futures.

  8. 8.

    The BGMEA has recently introduced the version 2.0 of their website. In the current version, factory information is not publicly available.

  9. 9.

    Wittfogel (1975 [1967]) came up with the term ‘Oriental despotism’ that emphasized the role of irrigation works, associated bureaucratic structures, and the consequent impacts of these on society. In his view, many societies in Asia relied on building extensive irrigation works, which enabled a system of bureaucratic despotism and eliminated any possibility of developing civil society. Thereby, the state would become despotic.


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Correspondence to Mohammad Tareq Hasan .

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Hasan, M.T. (2022). The Roots of Local Capitalism: Outlining and Understanding Global Connections. In: Everyday Life of Ready-made Garment Kormi in Bangladesh. Approaches to Social Inequality and Difference. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-99901-8

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-99902-5

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