Growing Inequality under Global Capitalism Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury

Income and wealth inequality has increased in recent decades, but recognition of the role of economic liberalization and globalization in exacerbating inequality has never been so widespread. The guardians of global capitalism are nervous, yet little has been done to check, let alone reverse the underlying forces. Global elite alarmed by growing inequality The World Economic Forum (WEF) has described severe income inequality as the biggest risk facing the world. WEF founder Klaus Schwab has observed, ‘We have too large a disparity in the world; we need more inclusiveness… If we continue to have un-inclusive growth and we continue with…

Ideological Struggles in Contemporary Capitalism Prabhat Patnaik

Globalization has brought acute distress to the working people all over the world. This distress is not confined only to the period of the post-housing-bubble crisis; nor is it confined only to the workers of the advanced capitalist countries. Joseph Stiglitz’s finding that the average real wage of a male American worker in 2011 was somewhat lower than in 1968 clearly suggests that this distress has had a long duration. Likewise the presumption that the distress afflicts only the advanced country workers whose job opportunities have shrunk because metropolitan capital has been relocating economic activity to low-wage third world countries,…

The Ways of the Judiciary Prabhat Patnaik

Last month the Supreme Court made two important pronouncements in the space of just a few days. One was on the question of who had ownership rights over the land at the Babri Masjid site; the other was on the location of bars or liquor shops within five hundred metres of highways. On the first of these the Supreme Court made only an oral observation: it suggested an out-of-court settlement, with the Chief Justice himself offering to act as an intermediary in the negotiations. On the second the Supreme Court passed an order that no bars or liquor shops could…

Industrial Growth and Demonetization Prabhat Patnaik

Some weeks ago when the official “quick estimates” of GDP for the third quarter of 2016-17 (October-December) had been released, putting the GDP growth in this quarter (over the corresponding quarter of 2015-16) at 7 percent, which broadly conformed to the CSO’s prediction before demonetization, a veritable chorus had gone up that the critics of demonetization had been proved wrong, that the measure did not have the recessionary effect they had claimed it would. The fact that this growth estimate was spurious, produced at the behest of the BJP government which specializes in “post-truths”, was pointed out by many (see…

Dispute Settlement Becomes Speculative Financial Asset Jomo Kwame Sundaram

Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and free trade agreements (FTAs) have effectively created a powerful and privileged system of protections for foreign investors that undermines national law and institutions. ISDS allows foreign corporations to sue host governments for supposedly causing them losses due to policy or regulatory changes that reduce the expected profitability of their investments. Very significantly, ISDS provisions have been and can be invoked, even when rules are non-discriminatory, or profits come from causing public harm. ISDS will thus strengthen perverse incentives for foreign investors at the expense of local businesses and the…

Imperialist Reconstruction or Depopulation in Syria and Iraq Ali Kadri

The recent reconstruction efforts of the Arab World further deconstructed the state and the unity arising from national identity around the state. In the Arab context, the reconstruction effort promoted the objectives of imperialism in setting the background for continued war. Imperialist_reconstruction  (Download the full text in PDF format)

Economic Recovery Crucial to Sustainable Development Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury

More than eight years after the global financial crisis exploded in late 2008, economic growth remains generally tepid, while ostensible recovery measures appear to have exacerbated income and other inequalities. Yet, despite the G-20 group of the world's largest economies raising the level, frequency and profile of its meetings, effective multilateral cooperation and coordination remains a distant dream. Little reason to cheer The United Nations' recent World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2017 offers little cause for comfort: the world economy has not yet emerged from the protracted slow growth following the 2008 financial crisis; significant uncertainties and risks weigh…

Communalism and Working Class Struggles Prabhat Patnaik

Comrade B.T. Ranadive used to reminisce that in pre-independence Bombay (as it was then called) there would occasionally be impressive workers’ strikes at the call of Communist-led trade unions which were powerful in the city at that time, at which Hindu and Muslim workers would stand shoulder to shoulder. Not surprisingly however, given the colonial context, these strikes were not always successful, and, when that happened, they would often be followed by communal riots. This cycle, of unity followed by horrendous disunity leading even to communal riots, was an expression of contending forms of consciousness among the workers: a budding…