The Political Economy of Demonetising High Value Notes Jayati Ghosh

The Modi government is extremely adept at optics, at policy measures presented in a blaze of publicity that dazzles the public, rather than with the required attention to detail that might ensure their success. The latest announcement of the demonetisation of high value bank notes is of the “shock and awe” variety of measures. While presented as evidence of the government’s supposedly firm resolve to root out black money, in reality it will barely touch the problem of generation of black money, even as it is being implemented in a way that causes immense economic harm to ordinary people and…

Changing Determinants of Global Income Inequality Jomo Kwame Sundaram

Global income inequality among different regions began to increase about five centuries ago, before accelerating two centuries ago. The data suggest a brief reversal during the Golden Age quarter century after the Second World War, and in the last decade, with higher primary commodity prices once again, and protracted stagnation in much of the North following the 2008-2009 financial crisis. From class to geography Before the Industrial Revolution, between-country inequalities were relatively small, while within-country inequalities accounted for most global income inequality. Inter-country income inequalities now account for about two-thirds of world inequality, with intra-country inequality accounting for the remaining…

Demonetization of Currency Notes Prabhat Patnaik

Narendra Modi went on national television at 8 p.m. on November 8 to announce that from midnight of that very date, i.e. in a mere four hours’ time, 500 and 1000 rupee notes would cease to be legal-tender. The justification advanced for this bizarre move was that it would strike at “black money”. An additional argument was thrown in, to the effect that fake currency notes used by “terrorists” would now cease to be effective; and some particularly enthusiastic supporters of the government even went to the extent of calling it a “surgical strike against terrorism”. I shall come to…

Uncertain Media Future C. P. Chandrasekhar

In today’s troubled times, mega-mergers are the norm. Announcements of marriages like that between AB Inbev and SABMiller in the beer industry or Bayer and Monsanto in the agribusiness sector attract attention that soon fades, even as the difficult task of getting clearances from the regulators continues. But the just announced agreement to merge by AT&T and Time Warner, in a $85 billion deal, is likely to remain in public discussion for some time. If it does not, it should. This is a mega merger not just in any industry like the production of cigarettes or beer, but in the…

Colombia: The search for elusive peace Jayati Ghosh

They march in tens of thousands, every Wednesday, through the streets of central Bogota: young and old; students and teachers; well-paid professionals, trade unionists and informal workers; healthy and disabled; urban and rural residents; family members and friends of the countless numbers who have been killed or maimed or have simply disappeared during this apparently endless war. They march for peace, and for a renewed attempt to find an agreement to settle the decades-old war between named and unnamed protagonists. Ever since the peace agreement painfully negotiated between FARC (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the government was rejected…

The Spontaneity of Capitalism Prabhat Patnaik

  The post-war restructuring of capitalism involving decolonization, the introduction of Keynesian demand management, and the institution of democracy based on universal adult suffrage, represented concessions made by the system to ward off the Communist threat which the enhanced prestige of the Soviet Union, the march of the Red Army across Eastern Europe, the sacrifices made by the Communists in the anti-fascist struggle all over Europe, and the Chinese Revolution had brought to the fore. True, the Yalta agreement had bound the Soviet Union into not supporting Communist ascendancy in Western Europe, in countries like France, Italy and Greece, in…

Globalization and the Impasse of Capitalism Prabhat Patnaik

I feel greatly honoured that I have been asked to deliver the Harold Wolpe memorial lecture for the year 2016. Harold Wolpe was an outstanding thinker who combined political activism for the liberation of the South African people with deep insights into the economic basis of apartheid. I am indeed grateful for this opportunity to pay my tribute to this remarkable person who in my view constitutes a role model for anyone aspiring to be a social scientist. Since a good deal of Harold Wolpe’s theoretical work was concerned with the value of labour power, and hence by implication with…

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)

How is India Inc Doing? C.P. Chandrasekhar

Growth in India’s non-financial corporate sector shrank in 2015-16, after three consecutive years of “steep moderation” according to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). In its annual study of the Performance of the Corporate Business Sector, the RBI attributes this downturn to “lacklustre demand”, echoing the sentiments of many businessmen who have been unwilling to strongly articulate this perception in the face of the hype on growth fed by schemes like “Make in India” and “Start-up India”. But, actual trends in the economy do not seem to provide much ground for satisfaction, let alone celebration. One factor that tends to…