Capital Shortage: Credit and Indian Economic Development, 1920-1960

Maanik Nath

Omslag 'Capital Shortage' (2023)

Recently, Assitant Professor in Economic History Maanik Nath’s Capital Shortage: Credit and Indian Economic Development, 1920-1960 was published with Cambridge University Press.

A stubborn cycle of poverty

The great majority of the population in colonial and postcolonial India lived in the countryside and were poor. Many were unable to find gainful work outside agriculture and remained dependent on a livelihood that provided only subsistence, and a precarious one. Seeking the roots of persistent poverty, Maanik Nath finds that the pervasive high cost and shortage of capital affected the peasant’s ability to invest in land. The productivity of land, as a result, remained small and changed little.

Bridging economic theory and historical evidence, Capital Shortage shows that climate, law, policy design, and interactions between these factors, perpetuated a stubborn cycle of low investment and widespread deprivation over several decades. These findings can be tested against credit and development in preceding and succeeding periods as well as positioned in comparative global context.