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…

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)

America’s Turn Towards Fascism and Its Contradictions Prabhat Patnaik

The fact that fascist elements in the U.S. have started raising their sinister head and that Donald Trump has started showing his open sympathy for such elements is borne out by several recent incidents. On Saturday August 12, at a white supremacist and neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, peaceful anti-fascist protesters were attacked by the fascists; a man drove a truck into them killing civil rights activist Heather Heyer and injuring at least 19 others; and an African-American teacher DeAndre Harris was beaten mercilessly with a metal rod just a few yards from the Charlottesville police headquarters. Trump’s initial response…

The Truth About Demonetization Prabhat Patnaik

After months of dilly-dallying the Reserve Bank of India has finally come out with the figure that nearly 99 percent of the currency notes demonetized in November 2016, came back to the banking system. The total value of demonetized currency, in the form of Rs.500 and Rs.1000 notes, was Rs. 15.44 lakh crores, of which Rs.15.28 lakh crores came back to the banking system, which is 98.96 percent. Since a few small windows are still open for the return of demonetized currency, the final figure will certainly exceed 99 percent, which puts paid to the government’s claim that demonetization would…