The Persistence of Debt Bondage in South India: Market and Political Alliances
Drawing on India, Guérin, Venkatasubramanian, and Kumar explore the dynamics of debt, debt bondage, and unfree labour in the age of financialized capitalism. Debt has long contributed to the impoverishment and exploitation of the labouring poor, and it often takes on a variety of forms, from capitalist employers and local usurers, to private financial companies. Labourers have acquired greater agency and protest capacity through public social programmes, pressure from civil society, and growing exposure to new lifestyles. But capitalism, in turn, demonstrates a remarkable ability to reiterate its methods of controlling, disciplining, and exploiting manpower. More specifically, in India, alliances between private capital and the state are instrumental in the continuation of labour exploitation.