NPAs: All talk and no action C. P. Chandrasekhar

The media are full of it. Viral Acharya, a recently inducted Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has declared publicly that resolving the problem of bank stress resulting from large non-performing assets (NPAs) on their balance sheets is the RBI’s priority, taking precedence over measures such as interest rate reduction to spur growth. The issue here is not just one of preventing bank insolvency, but of keeping the credit pipe open. Banks burdened with NPAs are likely to be less willing to expand their loan books, and if interest rates are too low, banks may be unwilling…

UN Analytical Leadership in Addressing Global Economic Challenges Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Jose Antonio Ocampo

The United Nations recently released the 70th anniversary issue of its flagship publication, the World Economic and Social Survey (WESS). First published in January 1948 as the World Economic Report, it is the oldest continuous publication analyzing international economic and social challenges. The 2017 issue reviews 70 years of WESS policy recommendations, many of which remain relevant today to address global challenges and to achieve the 2030 Agenda or Sustainable Development Goals. Created in 1945 to ensure world peace, the United Nations charter recognized that economic and social progress for all is fundamental for ensuring sustainable peace. The UN has…

Growth in the Time of a Credit Squeeze C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

GDP growth figures for the last few years have camouflaged a deceleration in credit growth that has affected all but the retail loans segment quite adversely. Credit_Squeeze (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Business Line on July 31, 2017.)

RCEP: Is the mega FTA leading us into non strategy? Smitha Francis

As the 19th Round of the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) negotiations winds up in Hyderabad, India, there are many grounds for being apprehensive about the direction in which it has moved. RCEP is one of the two proposed mega free trade agreements (FTAs) aiming at greater integration in the Asia-Pacific region, the other being the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Beginning in May 2013, the RCEP negotiations are being undertaken between the ten member countries of ASEAN and its six FTA partners Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. The initiative was launched to address concerns about the ‘noodle…

Alcoholism Cannot Explain Russian Mortality Spike Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Vladimir Popov

The steep upsurge in mortality and sudden fall in life expectancy in Russia in the early 1990s were the highest ever registered anywhere in recorded human history in the absence of catastrophes, such as wars, plague or famine. The shock economic reforms in the former Soviet economies after 1991 precipitated this unprecedented increase in mortality, shortening life expectancy, especially among middle-aged males. Shock therapy During 1987-1994, the Russian mortality rate increased by more than half, from 1.0% to 1.6%, as life expectancy fell from 70 to 64 years! Economic output fell by almost half during 1989-1998 as wealth and income…

Progressive Mobilization in Europe Jayati Ghosh

Meetings of global leaders – such as recently occurred in the G20 meeting at Hamburg – increasingly have a ring of farce about them. The inability to come to agreement on pretty much anything of significance is leavened only by sideshows and media obsession with which global leader met with whom for how long, who sat in for which President at the “high table”, and similar trivia. Meanwhile, there is abject failure on the part of these leaders to recognize the pressing need for urgent and co-ordinated global action to solve so many current problems, ranging from the terrible state…

Early Death in Russia Vladimir Popov and Jomo Kwame Sundaram

The transition to market economy and democracy in the Russian Federation in the early 1990s dramatically increased mortality and shortened life expectancy. The steep upsurge in mortality and the decline in life expectancy in Russia are the largest ever recorded anywhere in peacetime in the absence of catastrophes such as war, plague or famine. During 1987-1994, the Russian mortality rate increased by 60%, from 1.0% to 1.6%, while life expectancy went down from 70 to 64 years. Although life expectancy declined from 1987, when Mikhail Gorbachev was still in charge, its fall was sharpest during 1991-1994, i.e., during Boris Yeltsin’s…

Three Deaths Prabhat Patnaik

When one reaches a certain age, one has to steel oneself to the idea of hearing periodically the news of one’s friends passing away. But when the passing of several friends gets concentrated within a very short span of time, when each of them has been a brilliant person whose loss the country, not just one personally, can ill-afford, and when their deaths, by modern-day standards, are pre-mature, then such news become difficult to bear. Three such outstanding individuals passed away in the course of the last six or seven weeks. I received the news of each passing with a…

The Hamburg Fiasco C. P. Chandrasekhar

The summit of the leaders of G20 meetings that met in Hamburg early July was nothing short of a fiasco. Outside the meeting, the massive protest demonstration and the unwarranted aggression of a huge police force made clear that these leaders lacked legitimacy. Inside, all that could be achieved was a “unanimous” communique, in which in language rendered almost meaningless by diplomacy, the contrary opinions of the leaders, especially the differences between the US and the other 19, were spelt out. To the credit of the drafters of the declaration it must be said that they managed one half-truth at…

Demography and care in Europe: The impact of social relations C.P. Chandrashekhar and Jayati Ghosh

Trends in social relations are both affected by and impact upon economic changes. These in turn have an important bearing on desirable patterns of spending in the care economy, as suggested by an examination of recent marital trends in Europe. Demography_Europe (Download the full text in PDF format) ( This article was originally published in the Business Line on July 17, 2017.)