The Epidemic of Vigilantism Prabhat Patnaik

My wife and I retired seven years ago after teaching in Jawaharlal Nehru University for nearly four decades, and neither of us gets a pension.The interest on our joint lifetime savings largely sustains us. This entire amount had to be invested in my name because she was not allowed to do so, as her name on her PAN card was grossly mis-spelt owing to a clerical error by the concerned authority issuing the card, an error which has not been rectified by it despite decades of effort on our part (though interestingly her tax payments have never been refused for…

Downturn Blues C. P. Chandrasekhar

September did not begin well for the Narendra Modi government. As it prepared for a makeover in the form of a cabinet reshuffle with elections 2019 in sight, news came that India’s GDP growth had slowed significantly to 5.7 per cent during the quarter April-June. This deceleration comes in the wake of a fall in growth rates from close to 8 per cent a year earlier to 6.1 per cent during January to March this year. As is to be expected the government has chosen to attribute this trend to short term shocks, which will not dislodge the economy from…

Out of Africa: Understanding Economic Refugees Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury

Not a single month has passed without dreadful disasters triggering desperate migrants to seek refuge in Europe. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), at least 2,247 people have died or are missing after trying to enter Europe via Spain, Italy or Greece in the first half of this year. Last year, 5,096 deaths were recorded. The majority – including ‘economic migrants', victims of ‘people smugglers', and so on – were young Africans aged between 17 and 25. The former head of the British mission in Benghazi (Libya) claimed in April that as many as a million more were…

Foreign Investor Appetite C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

A brief decline in portfolio inflows into equity markets has raised the question whether foreign investment flows into India have peaked. The evidence of investments in debt markets suggest otherwise. That, however, need not be all good news. Foreign_Investor_Appetite (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally posted in the Business Line on September 11 2015)

Much more Climate Finance Now! Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury

Funding developing countries' climate change mitigation and adaption efforts was never going to be easy. But it has become more uncertain with President Trump's decision to leave the Paris Accord. As a candidate, he threatened not to fulfil the modest US pledge of US$3 billion towards the 2020 target of US$100 billion yearly for the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The GCF was formally established in December 2011 "to make a significant and ambitious contribution to the global efforts towards attaining the goals set by the international community to combat climate change". In the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, developed economies had promised…

Brexit and the Economics of Political Change in Developed Countries Jayati Ghosh

The economic forces underlying Brexit, and the election of Donald Trump in the US, are similar, but they are also well advanced in many European countries, where much of the population faces similar material insecurity and stagnation. These frustrations can easily be channelled by right-wing xenophobic forces. To combat this, the EU needs to undo some of its design flaws and particularly its adherence to fiscal austerity rules. Only a more progressive and more flexible union based on solidarity of peoples is likely to survive. Brexit_Economics (Download the full text in PDF format)

Sanitation workers in India Jayati Ghosh

How many deaths will it take till they know that too many people have died? In just 35 days between mid-July and mid-August this year, in the capital city of Delhi alone, ten sanitation workers died while they were engaged in the poorly paid and extremely hazardous task of manual scavenging. They were entering sewers to clean them, without adequate or even minimal precautions taken by the employers (like safety gear) that would allow these workers to deal with the noxious and even toxic gases, slippery floors, high walls and often very high temperatures in these sewers. Manual scavenging is…

Scaling up Development Finance Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury

The Business and Sustainable Development Commission has estimated that achievement of Agenda 2030 for the Sustainable Development Goals will require US$2-3 trillion of additional investments annually compared to current world income of around US$115 trillion. This is a conservative estimate; annual investments of up to US$2 trillion yearly will be needed to have a chance of keeping temperature rise below 1.5°C. The greatest challenge, especially for developing countries, is to mobilize needed investments which may not be profitable. The United Nations and others have revived the idea of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issuing Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to finance…

Problems with Neoclassical Economics Amiya Kumar Bagchi

While there are a few examples of successive use of mathematics in forming empirically tested mainstream theorems, excessive misuse of this tool in neoclassical economics leave little coherence between its “rational being” and realism. In fact, many examples prove that it fails to observe the tenets of its own canon, and people are compelled to consume beyond their need and capacity, even in the face of mounting unemployment. Problems_Neoclassical_Economics (Download the full text in PDF format)

Trade Finance: Effects Of The Basel Capital Framework and Other Regulatory Developments Andrew Cornford

The impact of the Basel III capital adequacy framework requires detailed analysis. Have the rules relating to trade finance slowed down world trade? What are the implications for money laundering, and changes in banks' operations in response to global environmental challenges? Trade_Finance (Download the full text in PDF format)