Debjani Bhattacharyya on The Science of Planning: Notes from Indian Economic History at the HPPE Seminar, Episode 5

This episode features the Historical and Philosophical Perspectives on Economics (HPPE) seminar at LSE with Debjani Bhattacharyya on The Science of Planning: Notes from Indian Economic History that took place on 15 November 2017.

About the presenter:

Dr. Debjani Bhattacharyya is Assistant Professor of History at Drexel University and Research Fellow of International Institute of Asian Studies at Leiden University. Her research focuses on modern South Asian history, urban environmental history, legal history and history of economic thought. She has one book in progress and published journal articles on the history of colonial India. At the HPPE seminar she presented some of her latest work on the Science of Planning in colonial India at the beginning of the 20th century.

About the paper:

The paper traces the emergence of the theories of economic planning in colonial India in an attempt to historicize planning and its various instantiations from roughly the 1930s. By tracing a long genealogy of planning, the paper interrogates the competing ideas and methods of governance that were subsumed under the rubric of planning. What were the overlapping and diverging arenas of the politics and economics of planning? Did planning mean the same thing to the politicians and the economists? The crisis within the planning commission was a crisis of “planning” as an institution, a set of ideas and practices that sought to organize politics, governance and populations in India. Contrary to understanding planning as that technocratization of state administration, the paper concludes by unraveling the incommensurability between developmental planning and the electoral and patronage politics of governing the world’s largest democracy.

About HPPE:

The HPPE seminar series is organised by PhD students at the Economic History Department at LSE established by Gerardo Serra and Raphaelle Schwarzberg in 2012. The seminar brings together scholars from different disciplines to discuss the evolution of economic thinking and embraces topics from Ancient Greece to contemporary Africa. The seminar inquires how the theory and practice of economics changes with the historical and philosophical context. It aims to provide scholars at any stage of their career with an opportunity to discuss their work with a critical audience. For further information, please contact the current convener, Chung Tang Cheng.

Special thanks to both Debjani and Tang for making this episode possible!

The following people were heard during the Q&A session: Eleanor Newbigin, Mary Morgan, Hugo Evans, Maria Bach, Jim Thomas and Paul Hudson.

Please note that parts of the recording had to be cut due to poor sound quality and background noise. Rest assured that we are continuously working on making our recording practises better!

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