U.K. election: the Tories’ last gamble? Radhika Desai and Alan Freeman

Even in an age of political and electoral upsets, Thursday’s U.K. election contained so many shocks that commentators ran out of superlatives. Historic Conservative losses and Labour gains, the setback to Scottish independence, the demise of Hard Brexit and a triumphal result for Sinn Fein were topped off by the humiliating spectacle of a minority Conservative government relying on a bigoted Unionist rump in Northern Ireland. These outcomes are not random, but are the maturation of historic problems of the U.K. state. The key lies in the Tory party itself, whose vote share has been declining since the 1970s. For…

Call for Papers for Summer School – 2018 Theme: Global Agricultural Value Networks and Contract Farming in the Contemporary Global South

15 – 19 January 2018, Harare Introduction The main theme of the forthcoming Summer School 2018 extends the primary concerns of the Summer School 2017, which explored the diversity of labour questions in the Global South, to focus primarily on the countryside and, in particular, the functioning of corporate and contract farming, and the associated global agricultural value networks (GAVNs). There will also be a secondary focus on the extractive industries and associated value networks which often operate alongside agriculture. The ascendency of the so-called Global Commodity Chains (GCCs)/Global Value Chains (GVCs)/Global Supply Chains (GSCs)/Global Production Networks (GPNs) in the…

One Belt, One Road, One grand design? Jayati Ghosh

It is a truism of history that rising powers tend to be the ones valorising “free” trade and more open and integrated national economies, just as waning powers tend to turn inwards. So it is no surprise that over the past half year, as the United States elected a President with an avowedly protectionist agenda (even if relatively little has been acted upon so far), China’s President has become the chief advocate of globalisation and more extensive trade and investment links across countries. This drumbeat reached a crescendo in mid-May 2017, at a summit in Beijing to celebrate the official…

Post-Soviet Russian Economic Collapse Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Vladimir Popov

Wide-ranging economic reforms following the demise of the Soviet Union at the end of December 1991 mainly resulted in economic collapse in most successor states. By the mid-1990s, output had fallen by about half compared to 1989. Meanwhile, income inequalities rose sharply as real incomes declined dramatically for most, while death rates increased by over half as life expectancy declined dramatically. In Russia, output fell by 45% during 1989-1998, as death rates increased from 1% in the 1980s to over 1.5% in 1994, equivalent to over 700,000 additional deaths annually. In some former Soviet states embroiled in military conflicts, such…

The GDP elephant Jayati Ghosh

National income is hard to estimate in India where so much activity and employment is in the informal sector. Much of GDP calculation is not purely “technocratic” but relies on judgments and assumptions. As long as our system of national accounting does not clarify the real impact on the economy and the actual degree of deceleration of economic activity, we will remain in the dark. GDP_Elephant (Download the full text in PDF format) This article was originally published in Quatrz India: June 5, 2017.

Why International Financial Crises? Jomo Kwame Sundaram

International currency and financial crises have become more frequent since the 1990s, and with good reason. But the contributory factors are neither simple nor straightforward. Such financial crises have, in turn, contributed to more frequent economic difficulties for the economies affected, as evident following the 2008-2009 financial crisis and the ensuing Great Recession still evident almost a decade later. Why international coordination? Why is global co-ordination so necessary? There are two main reasons. One big problem before the Second World War was the contractionary macroeconomic consequences of the ‘gold standard'. In 1944, before the end of the Second World War,…

The illusion of an economic spring C. P. Chandrasekhar

While policy makers, analysts and observers paint a picture of an ongoing global economic recovery, the numbers seem to drag the optimists down. Barely days after IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, declared at the spring meetings of the World Banka and the IMF that, “Spring is in the air and spring is in the economy as well,” came bad news from the US. The advanced economy that was being looked to as the one that would pull the world system out of a decade long period of sluggish growth performed poorly in the first quarter of 2017, growing at an…

A Simple Arithmetic Prabhat Patnaik

The Modi government is completing three years in office amid much fanfare and propaganda about its achievements during this period. Aiding this propaganda is the advance estimate of GDP which projects a growth-rate of 7.11 percent for 2016-17, a shade lower than last year’s 7.93 percent, but apparently impressive nonetheless. Despite the fact that the Chief Statistician has clarified that these figures are based on data for only seven months (April-October) of the current fiscal year, and that the effects of demonetization are not captured by this figure the hype goes on undeterred. India’s statistical system has fallen on bad…

International Finance Governance Undemocratic Jomo Kwame Sundaram

Why is it so difficult to achieve meaningful coordination when everybody agrees that it is desirable, if not necessary? President Richard Nixon's withdrawal of the US from and hence termination of the Bretton Woods system in 1971 confirmed the end of the post-war Golden Age. This led to slower growth, greater volatility, more instability, and reduced progress in raising economic welfare, among other consequences. Multilateral governance compromised The Bretton Woods institutions (BWIs) -- World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) -- were initially conceived as part of a post-war system of multilateral governance to ensure the conditions for peace, growth,…