UN Role in Reforming International Finance for Development Jomo Kwame Sundaram

Growing global interdependence poses greater challenges to policy makers on a wide range of issues and for countries at all levels of development. Yet, the new mechanisms and arrangements put in place over the past four decades have not been adequate to the growing challenges of coherence and coordination of global economic policy making. Recent financial crises have exposed some such gaps and weaknesses. Multilateral UN inclusive Although sometimes seemingly slow, the United Nations (UN) has long had a clear advantage in driving legitimate discussion on reform because of its more inclusive and open governance. Lop-sided influence in the current…

The Economy: 70 years after Independence C. P. Chandrasekhar

The defining feature of the economic programme of independent India’s first government was to accelerate the transition to a modern economy dominated by industry. Agriculture and related activities at that time accounted for around half of GDP and modern industry in the form of factory establishments for just above 6 per cent. Thus, colonial rule had made India the victim of the barriers to productivity increase typical of predominantly agrarian economies. These circumstances influenced the Nehruvian vision that made rapid diversification in favour of manufacturing the principal economic objective. The ‘big planners’ of that time did recognize that this will…

The Triple Talaq verdict: Victory in one battle in a much longer war C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

The Supreme Court’s welcome verdict in the Triple Talaq case should bring public attention to the problems and needs of separated and divorced women across all religious communities in India. Triple_Talaq (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Business Line on August 28, 2017.)

A Dangerous Analogy Prabhat Patnaik

Narendra Modi’s attempt to imitate Jawaharlal Nehru by giving a mid-night speech on July 1 at the Central Hall of parliament, while inaugurating the Goods and Services Tax, could perhaps be passed off as a merely laughable idiosyncrasy. His equating, or even putting on a parallel footing, a mere tax-reform with the grand historic event of India’s attaining independence, could perhaps be shrugged off as just harmless self-promotion by one who prides himself as the author of the tax-reform. But the speech he gave on this occasion invoked an analogy that is extremely dangerous and that cannot go unchallenged, for…

150 years of ‘Das Kapital’: How relevant is Marx today? Jayati Ghosh

It is quite amazing that Karl Marx's Capital has survived and been continuously in print for the past century and a half. After all, this big, unwieldy book (more than 2000 pages of small print in three fat volumes) still has sections that are evidently incomplete. Even in the best translations, the writing is dense and difficult, constantly veering off into tangential points and pedantic debates with now unknown writers. The ideas are complex and cannot be understood quickly. In any case, the book aims to describe economic and social reality in 19th-century northwestern Europe - surely a context very…

What is really happening in Indian Manufacturing? C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh

Data on organised manufacturing production do not really capture the impact of demonetisation and its effects on demand, but looking at some sub-sectors of consumer non-durable goods provides more insight. Indian_Manufacturing (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Business Line on August 14, 2017.)

Leadership Failure Perpetuates Stagnation Jomo Kwame Sundaram

What kind of leadership does the world need now? US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's leadership was undoubtedly extraordinary. His New Deal flew in the face of the contemporary economic orthodoxy, begun even before Keynes' General Theory was published in 1936. Roosevelt's legacy also includes creating the United Nations in 1945, after acknowledging the failure of the League of Nations to prevent the Second World War. He also insisted on ‘inclusive multilateralism' – which Churchill opposed, preferring a bilateral US-UK deal instead – by convening the 1944 United Nations Conference on Monetary and Financial Affairs at Bretton Woods with many developing…

Development for Whom? Jayati Ghosh

Calls for a new development paradigm grow louder each day, especially in rapidly growing countries like India. Award-winning development economist Jayati Ghosh explores prospects for such a new model of equitable and sustainable development with Allen White, Senior Fellow at the Tellus Institute. What drew you to the field of development economics? I was interested in how societies function and how social change occurs, so I began by studying sociology. But it seemed that this discipline just skimmed the surface, that deeper underlying economic contexts and processes were crucial for understanding social change, and that without such knowledge, much would…

International Finance Governance Undemocratic Jomo Kwame Sundaram

Why is it so difficult to achieve meaningful coordination when everybody agrees that it is desirable, if not necessary? President Richard Nixon's withdrawal of the US from and hence termination of the Bretton Woods system in 1971 confirmed the end of the post-war Golden Age. This led to slower growth, greater volatility, more instability, and reduced progress in raising economic welfare, among other consequences. Multilateral governance compromised The Bretton Woods institutions (BWIs) -- World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) -- were initially conceived as part of a post-war system of multilateral governance to ensure the conditions for peace, growth,…

Budget 2017-18: The Macroeconomic Perspective C. P. Chandrasekhar

Even for those sceptical about the government’s declared policy intentions—varying from cleaning the Ganga to doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022—the subdued and insubstantial Budget 2017-18 was a surprise. The circumstances in which the Budget was presented were exceptional. In the midst of a slowdown in growth with signs of the onset of deflation[i], the government had chosen to withdraw and declare worthless more than 80 per cent of the value of currency in circulation by demonetising “higher value” notes. But new notes to replace the ones withdrawn were slow in coming and had to be rationed, because the indefensible measure…