The Consequences of Legal Impunity Jayati Ghosh

There are many reasons to worry about and to be anguished by the communalisation of Indian politics and society that has proceeded apace over the last few decades. There is the general coarsening of the public discourse, which increasingly gets driven by prejudice and rumour rather than fact. There is the increase in both subtle and open forms of discrimination, typically directed by members of the majority community against the minority community, but often expressed against the “other” whenever that person or group is perceived as being weaker. There is the hardening of positions within communities, with hard-line stances in…

The Rise and Fall of South Korea’s Chaebols C. P. Chandrasekhar

No discussion of South Korea’s dramatic transition from a poor underdeveloped country to a developed country member of the OECD club of rich nations can ignore the role of the chaebols—its ‘clans of wealth’. Consisting of a large number of legally independent firms controlled by a single family dominated-decision making centre (very much like India business groups), these Korean conglomerates grew rapidly during the regime of General Park Chung-hee (1961-1979), and today the top 10 of them earn revenues that are equivalent in value to around 80 per cent of the country’s GDP. For long credited as having implemented the…

Bad Bank Proposal for India T Sabri Oncu

The author’s bad bank proposal for India would be capitalised with zero coupon perpetual bonds the government would issue and would give the country some breathing time so that she can attack and tackle all her other problems. Bad_Bank_Proposal (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. 52, Issue No. 10, 11 Mar, 2017.)

Most Financial Inflows Not Developmental Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury

Recent disturbing trends in international finance have particularly problematic implications, especially for developing countries. The recently released United Nations report, World Economic Situation and Prospects 2017 (WESP 2017) is the only recent report of a multilateral inter-governmental organization to recognize these problems, especially as they are relevant to the financing requirements for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Resource outflows rising Developing countries have long experienced net resource transfers abroad. Capital has flowed from developing to developed countries for many years, peaking at US$800 billion in 2008 when the financial crisis erupted. Net transfers from developing countries in 2016 came…

The Latest GDP Estimates Prabhat Patnaik

Perhaps no other public policy debate in post-independence India has seen as much of an “inversion of reason” on the part of the government as the demonetization debate. When critics were pointing, on the basis of government statistics themselves, to the palpable failure of the demonetization measure to achieve its purported objective, which was to cripple the black economy, the government kept harping, in its justification, on the extraordinary “boldness” of the move. Its position in effect amounted to saying that any move, no matter how irrational, is justified if it involves “courage”, i.e. invokes “shock and awe”, which was…

Another Somalian Famine Jomo Kwame Sundaram

Last month, the United Nations declared another famine threat in Somalia due to yet another drought in the Horn of Africa. Important lessons must be drawn from the Somalia famine of 2010-2012, which probably killed about 258,000 people, half of whom were under-five. This was the greatest tragedy in terms of famine deaths in the 21st century, and in recent decades since the Ethiopian famine of the late 1980s. A 2013 report, for the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS Net) and the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU), used a variety of sources to estimate the likely death…

Wicked Loans and Bad Banks C. P. Chandrasekhar

The crisis created by non-performing assets (NPAs) on the balance sheets of commercial banks, especially public sector (PSBs), does not go away. It only intensifies. An environment that triggered large inflows of foreign capital and a surge in credit after 2003 encouraged banks to explore new areas and terms of lending, which are responsible for the large exposures that are now turning bad. Having encouraged that environment with its policies, the government had been pretending that the problem is not serious enough to warrant emergency action. The reason was that it wanted to do the impossible: resolve a big problem…

Words and Music in the Romantic Imagination Jayati Ghosh

What makes for a “Romantic” sensibility? Not in the literal sense of being inclined to “romance”, but in the sense of the movement that subsequently became a tradition in 19th century literature and the arts in Europe, when this sensibility permeated much creative endeavour. Romanticism has generally been associated with an emphasis on emotion and a celebration of subjectivity in terms of the individual’s response to the world; a glorification of nature, as well as of the past; in many ways a cultural expression of the reaction to the standardisation and rule-bound socio-economic patterns created by the Industrial Revolution. But…

Interest Rates and the Use of Cash Prabhat Patnaik

Finance capital is always opposed to the use of fiscal measures for stimulating an economy. This is because any such fiscal stimulation undermines the social legitimacy of capitalism, and especially of that segment of it which constitutes the world of finance and which is peopled with “functionless investors” in Keynes’ words or of “coupon clippers” in Lenin’s words, i.e. of entities that play no role in the production process. If State intervention comes to be seen as necessary for stimulating the economy, then the question may arise in the public mind: why do we need all these entities? Why does…

Understanding Economic Development and Demolishing Neoliberal Development Myths Erik Reinert, Jayati Ghosh and Rainer Kattel

We have recently co-edited a book (The Handbook of Alternative Theories of Economic Development, Edward Elgar 2016, also available as an e-book on http://www.ebooks.com/95628740/handbook-of-alternative-theories-of-economic-development/reinert-erik-s-ghosh-jayati-kattel-rainer/) that seeks to bring back the richness of development economics through many different theories that have contributed over the ages to an understanding of material progress. The underlying approach is based on this quotation from nearly four centuries ago: “There is a startling difference between the life of men in the most civilised province of Europe, and in the wildest and most barbarous districts of New India. This difference comes not from the soil, not from…