China’s Capital Flight Syndrome C.P. Chandrasekhar

China, now one of the world’s two largest nations measured by gross domestic product (GDP), is displa­ying a strange malady. A sudden and large outflow of capital from the country is resulting in a sharp fall in its reserves. Going by International Monetary Fund (IMF) statistics, between the quarter ending June 2014 and the one ending June 2016, China’s foreign exchange reserves fell by $752 billion, from $4.1 trillion to $3.3 trillion. According to recent reports, reserves had fallen further to $3.1 trillion by the end of October 2016. This collapse in reserves due to an outflow of capital is…

Neo-Liberal Capitalism and India’s Nationhood Prabhat Patnaik

India’s anti-colonial struggle was not just about getting independence from foreign rule. In fact, this struggle would not even have succeeded if it had been only about that. It was simultaneously, and indeed had to be, an effort to forge a new nation, of a sort that was not only unprecedented in modern world history (since the earlier emergence of nations in Europe had been part of an imperialist project which the anti-colonial struggle did not propose to emulate), but also represented, conceptually, a transformation of the country from a caste-ridden unequal society to one characterized by a fraternity of…

Call for papers for the conference on “Reincarnation or Death of Neoliberalism? The rise of market authoritarianism and its challenges for labour”, JNU, New Delhi, India, 4-6 October 2017

The Global Labour University announces a call for papers for the conference on “Reincarnation or Death of Neoliberalism? The rise of market authoritarianism and its challenges for labour”, to be held in JNU, New Delhi, India, from 4 to 6 October 2017. Deadline for submission of abstract: 28 February 2017 to jnugluconf2017@gmail.com Click to download details

No Digital Base for a Cashless Economy C.P. Chandrasekhar

Prime Minister Modi is selling the idea that the engineered cash shortage that resulted from the disastrous demonetisation exercise is an opportunity to force-march India to being what is inelegantly termed a “less cash” society. In his view, that transition, if ensured, would for some inexplicable reason tame the rich and reward the poor. This new sloganeering of the Prime Minister and his government has given the “Digital India” mission a whole new dimension, with electronically-executed financial transactions and settlements becoming a means to realising larger economic and social objectives. Making this an immediate, or even medium term, objective is…

Trade War Threat Grows Jomo Kwame Sundaram

New American President Donald Trump has long insisted that the United States has been suffering from poor trade deals made by his predecessors. Renegotiating or withdrawing from these deals will be top priority for his administration which views trade policy as key to US economic revival under Trump. What will that mean? The new administration promises ‘tough and fair agreements' on trade, ostensibly to revive the US economy and to create millions of mainly manufacturing jobs. The POTUS is committed to renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed in 1994 by the United States, Canada and Mexico. And…

The Widening Gap between Rich and Poor Jayati Ghosh

We all know that the world is an unequal place, both across and within countries. We also know that across the world, people are expressing their anger and disgust at this inequality. This is increasingly revealed in extreme and often paradoxical political results. In the USA, a vote against the establishment has just delivered to power the ultimate crony capitalist, Donald Trump. In the United Kingdom people voted to leave the European Union in the false expectation that curbing migration will improve their own life chances. In India the poor, disgusted by a corrupt self-enriching elite, support a bizarre and…

Trump Trade Strategy Unclear Jomo Kwame Sundaram

US President-elect Donald Trump has announced that he will take the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement on the first day of his presidency in January 2017. Now, it is widely expected that Trump's presidency will increase US trade protectionism, and consequently by others in retaliation, possibly triggering serious trade conflicts with difficult to predict consequences. After decades of denial by ‘free trade' advocates, it is now widely agreed that many manufacturing jobs in the US have been lost to both automation and offshore relocation by US corporations. Free trade agreements (FTAs) are also being blamed for the…

The Terrible Simplifers: Common origins of financial crises and persistent poverty in economic theory and the new ‘1848 moment’ Erik S. Reinert

This paper argues that long periods of economic progress in the core countries lead to increasingly abstract and irrelevant economic theories, which leads to turning points towards more relevant economic theories, referred to as ‘1848 moments’. Terrible_Simplifers (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published under UN/DESA Working Papers series as DESA Working Paper No. 88)

Trump’s Protectionist Charade C. P. Chandrasekhar

As January 20th, the day Donald Trump assumes his Presidency nears, the fear that he would turn US trade policy in a protectionist direction appears to increase. Protection against import competition and an attack on global relocation and outsourcing by American firms that are seen as destroying jobs in the US and immigration that is viewed as depriving the American working class of available livelihoods were central elements of the populist rhetoric that swung the white working class in Trump’s favour. Key items in Trump’s election campaign promise list were policies to recapture American jobs by clamping down on the…

Buckling under Pressure Jayati Ghosh

Is there no one left in our important institutions who is still capable of speaking truth to power? The last year has seen a depressing – even frightening – erosion in the credibility of the major institutions that in different ways are vital for the functioning of our democracy. It is true that the Congress Party when in power has also not covered itself in glory in terms of respecting such institutions, except when forced to do so. But the current “low, dishonest” phase of history (in W.H. Auden’s apt phrase) that we are experiencing in India surely marks a…