Once More on “The Humbug of Finance” Prabhat Patnaik

The renowned economist Joan Robinson had referred to the view that the government’s budget should always be balanced, as the “humbug of finance” (Robinson 1962), namely as a false proposition with no theoretical merit which was nonetheless promoted by finance capital. These days of course the insistence is not exactly on balancing the budget as was the case during the pre-second world war years. A certain amount of fiscal deficit relative to GDP, usually 3 percent, is considered “permissible”, though it is not clear what is so sacrosanct about the figure 3 and why 3 is better than zero. But…

The Post-Neoliberal Conjuncture Prabhat Patnaik

The question of an alternative to neo-liberalism has now come on to the agenda not just as a matter of speculation or as a mere abstract means of mobilizing people against neo-liberalism, but as an urgent practical issue. This is because, for reasons I shall discuss shortly, neo-liberalism as we have known it till now has reached a dead-end. Sections I and II below discuss these reasons. Section III examines the fall-out of the crisis of neo-liberalism. Section IV discusses critically the alternative to neo-liberalism being attempted by Donald Trump in the U.S., and Section V suggests the outline of…

The Terrible Simplifers: Common origins of financial crises and persistent poverty in economic theory and the new ‘1848 moment’ Erik S. Reinert

This paper argues that long periods of economic progress in the core countries lead to increasingly abstract and irrelevant economic theories, which leads to turning points towards more relevant economic theories, referred to as ‘1848 moments’. Terrible_Simplifers (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published under UN/DESA Working Papers series as DESA Working Paper No. 88)

New In-house Estimates of the Impact of the Basel Capital Framework Andrew Cornford

The state of play in the effort to achieve a final revised version of the Basel III capital framework for banks (now widely and understandably renamed Basel IV) is currently far from clear. The word from the Basel institutions themselves is that the goal is close to attainment. In mid-September the Group of Central Bank Governors and Heads of Supervision (GHOS), the oversight body of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), issued a statement endorsing the direction of Basel III. This was accompanied by a statement of the chairman of the BCBS that the long process of post-GFC reforms…

Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century: Criticisms and debates Kang-Kook LEE

The author in this article critically examines the most important criticisms of Piketty and debates about his study in mainstream economics and underscores that Piketty’s argument has limitations and we need to develop a study of inequality that takes the perspectives of political economy into account more seriously. Piketty_Capital (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in The Journal of Comparative Economic Studies, Vol.11, 2016, pp.151–170)

Finance Capital and the Nature of Capitalism in India Today C.P. Chandrasekhar

A distinctive feature of the current phase of capitalism is the growing role of finance capital as an instrument to establish capitalist hegemony and facilitate the appropriation of surplus. In the developed countries this transition towards financial hegemony was the result of the inflationary crisis and stagnation that affected the OECD countries after the late 1960s. The contractionary fiscal and monetary policy response to inflation intensified the deceleration in real growth. This together with the low real interest rates on bank deposits adversely affected banking business and profits. These developments triggered a process of deregulation and liberalisation in the financial…

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: Some Critical Concerns Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury

The TPP Agreement is mainly about imposing new rules favoured by large multinational corporations; so there are concerns that its provisions will serve to reduce the costs to and increase the earnings of multinational businesses, with little commensurate gain for host countries. tpp_canada_commons_select_committee  (Download the full text in PDF format)

Structural Change Servaas Storm

There has been a renewed interest in industrialization and structural change in the mainstream of development economics, which, however, doesn’t imply a rejection of the neoliberal approach to development; the default recommendation is still the market and static comparative advantage and the main task of governments is to impose institutional reforms and improve governance. structural_change (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in Development and Change, by International Institute of social Studies, The Hague)

Analysis of the Main Controversies on Domestic Agricultural Supports Jacques Berthelot

This paper tries to provide food for thought for the debate in analysing the main controversies around ten methodological issues of opposite concepts such as, agricultural supports vs agricultural subsidies; administered prices vs market prices etc. domestic_agricultural_supports (Download the full text in PDF format)    

CETA without Blinders: How cutting ‘trade costs and more’ will cause unemployment, inequality and welfare losses Pierre Kohler and Servaas Storm

Contrary to the positive outcomes as projected by the proponents of CETA, this paper shows that it will lead to intra-EU trade diversion and in the current context of tepid economic growth, competitive pressures induced by CETA will cause unemployment, inequality and welfare losses. ceta (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published as GDAE Working Paper No. 16-03.)