The point is that these transactions in land, labour and product markets are not simply voluntary exchanges between equivalent parties.
Instead, the game is played with dice that are heavily loaded in favour of capital, especially large capital, through various means: social institutions that allow for discriminatory labour market practices; legal and regulatory institutions that can be mobilised to enhance the bargaining power of capital; and political forces that actively engage in supporting all of these.
These are in turn associated with various other more economic patterns that pile on the imbalances: financial institutions input and product markets that do not provide reasonable credit access, and so on.
So it may not be surprising that private agents find little value in accumulation strategies that are designed to enable structural transformation. Indeed, such transformation may even be to the detriment of their short term interests, if it reduces their bargaining power. What this means is that the Indian growth story has been reliant on corruption. So reining this in will also rein in the extravagant growth that has become so necessary not just for the survival of the government but also for the self-image of Indian elites.
The only way Indian society can actually move out of this damaging and self-reinforcing nexus between capitalism and corruption is to shift gears and direction, to a strategy of economic development based on increasing workers' incomes and the provision of basic needs of all citizens. Maybe the social and political churning that we are witnessing is one step towards that broader realisation.
Image: Radia and her two biggest clients - Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani.
Image Courtesy: Business Standard
Other columns by Dr Jayati Ghosh:
World economy in 2011: Fragile and seeking miracles
Why India won't feel like celebrating this Independence Day
Global turmoil and the threats it holds for the Indian economy
The scariest thing about the world economy
Is Europe rushing headlong into economic destruction?
The finance minister has failed the common man