Webinar with Dr. Maria Bach, Assistant Professor of Economics, The American University of Paris
In this talk, I argue that looking at lesser known intellectuals can help history of economics uncover news ways of seeing the world. My focus is the beginnings of “Indian Economics” and its conceptualization of development. The Indian economists, despite their elite status in India, were from an imperial context where they were never considered economists. Studies throughout the 20th century continued to treat them only as nationalists, rarely as contributors to economic knowledge. My research gives agency to these economists. I show how the position of Indian Economics from the margins of discursive space offered a unique perspective that enabled it to discursively innovate at the margins of development discourse. Indian Economics redefined the concept of universality in the existing 19th century idea of development by rejecting the widely accepted comparative advantage model and assertion that progress originated in Europe. Moreover, the economists pushed for universal industrialization, even for imperial territories, arguing that universal progress was beneficial to all.
Maria Bach is an historian of economics interested especially in nineteenth century Indian Economics. She completed her PhD in International Political Economy at King's College London. Her thesis analysed how Indian political economists constructed an idea of development at the turn of the nineteenth century. For more information: https://www.aup.edu/profile/mbach