A Tale of Two Discourses Prabhat Patnaik

The Hindutva bubble has clearly burst. Not that efforts will not be made to form another bubble before the 2019 elections, but the one that had formed in the run-up to the 2014 elections and had carried the BJP to power is over. In the last few days, there have been mass demonstrations by peasants, traders, doctors, teachers, students and even school children. What is striking about these demonstrations is not just that the fear that had gripped people in the recent years is over and that they are willing to take to the streets to express their anger, but…

Plurality in Teaching Macroeconomics Rohit Azad

For economists, the Great Recession—the worst crisis the world has seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s - has highlighted the need for plurality in macroeconomics education. Ironically, however, there is a move towards greater insularity from alternative or contrasting points of view. Whereas, what is required for vibrant policymaking is an open-minded academic engagement between contesting viewpoints. In fact, there does not even exist a textbook that contrasts these contesting ideas in a tractable manner. This pedagogical paper is an attempt to plug that gap by presenting a comparative study across different traditions in macroeconomics in a unified…

The True Face of the Global Recovery C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

Optimistic assessments of the synchronised recovery across the world economy ignore the factors driving the weak upturn that make it fragile. True_Face_Global_Recovery  (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally posted in the Business Line on April 10, 2018.)

The Prospect of Food Shortage Prabhat Patnaik

Orthodox economics has for long been haunted by the prospect that the growth in foodgrains output in the world economy would not be sufficiently high to sustain the growing population of the world. Malthus was an early exponent of this fear. Keynes too subscribed to the view that unless the poor countries somehow ensured that their population growth was controlled, there would be a food shortage in the world economy, of which growing poverty would be a symptom. This view of course was the product of an intellectual ethos which saw poverty as a consequence of excessive breeding, rather than…

The imperial intentions of Trump’s trade war babble Andrew M. Fischer

Trump’s trade tirades are being vigorously disputed by liberal economists the world over, although the riposte is usually in defence of free trade and existing trade deals. However, many of these same economists have promulgated the underlying idea that US trade deficits are the result of some sort of disadvantage or decline. For instance, as I discussed in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, many prominent economists such as Paul Krugman argued then (and many still do now) that China’s undervalued currency gave it an unfair advantage, causing deficits and even financial bubbles in the US. Many economists on the left…

What’s different about Trump’s tariffs? Jomo Kwame Sundaram

At Davos in January, US President Donald Trump warned that the US "will no longer turn a blind eye to unfair economic practices" of others, interpreted by many as declaring world trade war. Before the US mid-term elections in November, Washington is expected to focus on others' alleged "massive intellectual property theft, industrial subsidies and pervasive state-led economic planning" pointing to China without always naming names. With the Republican Party already united behind his tax bill, Trump senses an opportunity to finally unite the party behind him and to continue his campaign for re-election in 2020. Since January, Trump has…

The real confusion over MSP C.P. Chandrasekhar

Speaking at the Krishi Unnati Mela 2018, Prime Minister Modi reportedly complained that confusion is being spread about the announcement on minimum support prices (MSPs) made in the Finance Minister’s 2018 budget speech. The speech had assured farmers that they would in future be able to sell the output of notified crops to the official procurement agencies at prices to be set at a minimum of 1.5 times the cost of production. The confusion being created according to the Prime Minister relates to how costs of production would be calculated. In an attempt to clarify, he stated that beside costs…

Doyen of ‘Dependency Theory’ Sunanda Sen

Theotonio dos Santos (1936–2018), who passed away on 27 February in Rio de Janeiro, has been one of the major proponents of dependecia or dependency theory, along with Andre Gunder Frank, Giovanni Arrighi, Samir Amin and, to some extent, Immanuel M Wallerstein. Continuing to provide inspiration to large sections of people, including social scientists and activists in different parts of the world, dependency theory has been important for those interpreting the growing disparities between the advanced and the developing world. Santos had a particularly marked presence in Latin America, both through his writings and in his active involvement in political struggles against…

Multilateralism redux and the Havana Charter Richard Kozul-Wright

President Donald Trump’s tariff tantrum has provoked a mixture of disbelief and loathing, none more than from economic pundits who have deemed it irrelevant (for reducing the trade deficit), irresponsible (in damaging job prospects) and irrational (by weakening the global value chains on which American business depends). Much of this criticism hits the mark. But it is worked in to a meta-narrative about the end of the post-war liberal order that not only presents a flawed interpretation of history but one that is unlikely to help advance a policy agenda that speaks to the anxiety and anger that President Trump…

How unequal are world incomes? C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

Global inequality has reduced as income growth shifts from the Northern countries to emerging markets like the BRICS. But this shift is quite limited and has not benefited the bulk of people in the developing world. Unequal_World_Incomes (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally posted in the Business Line on 27 March 2018.)