A Quiet Scholar Prabhat Patnaik

The name of Amitava Bose who passed away in Kolkata on January 13 may not be known to many people outside of a small circle of scholars, students, and friends, but he was in formal terms the finest macro-economist in the country, and among the best anywhere in the world. My colleagues at JNU tell me that he was also, in formal terms, the finest micro-economist in the country, and also the finest in every other branch of economic theory. I can well believe what they say, but my direct first-hand knowledge relates to his intellectual prowess in the realm…

US Trade Hawks and the China Bogey Jomo Kwame Sundaram

New US President Donald Trump has long insisted that its major trading partners having been taking advantage of it. Changing these trade terms and conditions will thus be top priority for his administration, and central to overall Trump economic strategy to ‘Make America Great Again'. Quit WTO solution Candidate Trump's trade policy paper was written by Peter Navarro and Wilbur Ross. Ross will now be Commerce Secretary while Navarro will head the National Trade Council. They view economic policy as integrated, including tax cuts, reduced regulations as well as policies to lower energy costs and cut the chronic US trade…

Power: The web of debt C. P. Chandrasekhar

The state of Jharkhand has reportedly stopped payments to the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) for the 700 MW of power the later supplies it every day. The evident reason is that it has not been able to cover payments for the power it acquires from the generators and supplies to its customers, resulting in deficits that are covered with debt that it is no longer able to service. A consequence of this would be an inability to purchase power from the generators, increasing their losses and affecting the debt they in turn owe the banks. With this debt being a…

A Universal Basic Income in India? Jayati Ghosh

There is a lot of buzz globally around the idea of a Universal Basic Income (or UBI). It is perceived as one way of coping with technology-induced unemployment that is projected to grow significantly in the near future, as well as reducing inequalities and increasing consumption demand in stagnant economies. Certainly there is much to be said for the idea, especially if it is to be achieved by taxing the rich and particularly those activities that are either socially less desirable or are generating larger surpluses because of technological changes. Indeed, that is precisely the proposal of the French Socialist…

A Disappointingly Ordinary Budget for Extraordinary Times Jayati Ghosh

The most striking thing about Arun Jaitley’s budget presentation for 2017-18 is just how unstriking it is. A lot of was expected from this Budget, and it is largely the Government’s own fault that the expectations were so many and so contradictory. In the event, the Finance Minister has presented a very “ordinary” Budget, which is unlikely to satisfy most people who recognise that these are definitely not “ordinary” economic times. First, this Budget comes directly in the wake of demonetisation followed by painfully slow and inadequate remonetisation, which has dealt a body blow to the informal sector as well…

Budget 2017 must Support those Worst Hit by Demonetisation Jayati Ghosh

How to mitigate and reverse the adverse impact of the demonetisation ought to be at the top of the Finance Minister’s agenda for the coming Budget. The effects of the ill-considered and even more poorly implemented scheme are still being felt across the country, in the form of reduced economic activity, job losses and reductions in income and consumption. Since remonetisation is still incomplete – and the government has already threatened not to replace the full value of the demonetised currency in a coercive push to digitisation – the impact on economic activity from that one source alone will continue…

Will We Miss the Budget Opportunity? Jayati Ghosh

This year’s Budget would never have been easy to present, with the economic uncertainty swirling around the globe and the demonetisation-induced domestic downturn still ongoing in the Indian economy. But the Modi government seems to be determined to make its own task harder. It has managed to generate expectations that will almost inevitably be unfulfilled, through a weird combination of denial of the manifold ill-effects of demonetisation, encouragement of all sorts of ideas around the universal basic income, and simultaneous acceptance of relatively rigid fiscal targets. But consider first the very timing of the Budget announcement, in the context of…

China’s Capital Flight Syndrome C.P. Chandrasekhar

China, now one of the world’s two largest nations measured by gross domestic product (GDP), is displa­ying a strange malady. A sudden and large outflow of capital from the country is resulting in a sharp fall in its reserves. Going by International Monetary Fund (IMF) statistics, between the quarter ending June 2014 and the one ending June 2016, China’s foreign exchange reserves fell by $752 billion, from $4.1 trillion to $3.3 trillion. According to recent reports, reserves had fallen further to $3.1 trillion by the end of October 2016. This collapse in reserves due to an outflow of capital is…

Neo-Liberal Capitalism and India’s Nationhood Prabhat Patnaik

India’s anti-colonial struggle was not just about getting independence from foreign rule. In fact, this struggle would not even have succeeded if it had been only about that. It was simultaneously, and indeed had to be, an effort to forge a new nation, of a sort that was not only unprecedented in modern world history (since the earlier emergence of nations in Europe had been part of an imperialist project which the anti-colonial struggle did not propose to emulate), but also represented, conceptually, a transformation of the country from a caste-ridden unequal society to one characterized by a fraternity of…

Call for papers for the conference on “Reincarnation or Death of Neoliberalism? The rise of market authoritarianism and its challenges for labour”, JNU, New Delhi, India, 4-6 October 2017

The Global Labour University announces a call for papers for the conference on “Reincarnation or Death of Neoliberalism? The rise of market authoritarianism and its challenges for labour”, to be held in JNU, New Delhi, India, from 4 to 6 October 2017. Deadline for submission of abstract: 28 February 2017 to jnugluconf2017@gmail.com Click to download details