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By Rana Dasgupta

In Capital, Commonwealth Prize–winning writer Rana Dasgupta examines one of many nice tendencies of our time: the growth of the worldwide elite. Capital is an intimate portrait of the town of Delhi which bears witness to the intense transmogrification of India’s capital. however it additionally deals a glimpse of what capitalism becomes within the coming, post-Western global. the tale of Delhi is a parable for the place we're all headed.

The growth following the outlet up of India’s economic system plunged Delhi right into a tumult of destruction and production: slums and markets have been ripped down, and purchasing department shops and condominium blocks erupted from the ruins. Many fortunes have been made, and within the glassy shops nestled one of the new highways, shoppers paid for worldwide luxurious with luggage of money. however the transformation used to be stern, abrupt and wonderfully unequal, and it gave upward push to unusual and bewildering emotions. town brimmed with ambition and rage. Violent crimes stole the headlines.

In the fashion of V. S. Naipaul’s now vintage own trips, Dasgupta indicates us this urban during the eyes of its humans. With the lyricism and empathy of a novelist, Dasgupta takes us via a chain of encounters – with billionaires and bureaucrats, drug buyers and steel investors, slum dwellers and psychoanalysts – which plunge us into Delhi’s intoxicating, and infrequently terrifying, tale of capitalist transformation. jointly those humans include a new release at the cusp, like that of Gilded Age manhattan: who they're, and what they wish, says a massive quantity approximately what the realm will seem like within the remainder of the twenty-first century.

Interweaving over a century of historical past together with his own trip, Dasgupta provides us with the 1st literary portrait of 1 of the twenty-first century’s fastest-growing megalopolises – a gloomy and uncanny portrait that provides us insights, too, as to the character of our personal – everyone’s – shared, worldwide destiny.

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There is, he notes, a clear pattern in which periods of financialisation precede a shift in hegemony. g. g. the Netherlands, Britain and then the United States) political entities over time. Hegemony typically lies with that political entity within which ╇╇ 35 The Enigma of Capital much of the surplus is produced (or to which much of the surplus flows in the form of tribute or imperialist extractions). 9 trillion still made it the controlling shareholder in global capitalism, able to call the shots with respect to global policies (as it does in its role as the chief shareholder in international institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF).

That is a very tall order. Think of it this way. When capitalism was made up of activity within a fifty-mile radius around Manchester and Birmingham in England ╇╇ 27 Source The Enigma of Capital and a few other hotspots in 1750, then seemingly endless capital accumulation at a compound rate of 3 per cent posed no big problem. But right now think of endless compound growth in relation not only to everything that is going on in North America, Oceania and Europe, but also east and south-east Asia as well as much of India and the Middle East, Latin America and significant areas of Africa.

It led a global alliance to keep as much of the world as possible open for capital surplus ╇╇ 31 The Enigma of Capital absorption. It pursued its own agenda while seeming to act for the universal good. The support the US offered to stimulate the capitalist recovery in Europe and Japan immediately after the Second World War was an example of such a strategy. It ruled by a mix of coercion and consent. At the Bretton Woods conference of 1944, the British negotiator, the renowned economist John Maynard Keynes, had sought a global currency unit outside of any one nation’s control.

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