The Question Of Farm-Loan Waiver Prabhat Patnaik

The question of farm-loan waiver that is being demanded by the peasantry is much misunderstood. Such a waiver, it is argued by critics, would vitiate the credit-culture in the country: people would stop repaying loans henceforth in expectation of waivers on them. Since the UPA government had waived farm-loans a few years ago and now again there is a demand for a farm-loan waiver, peasants, they contend, are getting into a habit of not paying loans and demanding periodic waivers instead. Somebody, it is further added, has to bear the burden of the loan after all; and if the peasants…

Computer outages Jayati Ghosh

It is a truth that should now be universally acknowledged that, everywhere in the world, our lives are driven by computers – or more specifically, by the workings of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and therefore the internet. And our dependence on them is not just temporary or partial: it is continuous and overwhelming. It is not just people who actively use computers – whether on desktops or laptops or tablets or mobile telephones – whose lives are driven by them and by internet access. Increasingly, (and certainly in urban areas) almost all forms of transport, most forms of financial…

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…

East Asia’s real lessons Jomo Kwame Sundaram

International recognition of East Asia's rapid economic growth, structural change and industrialization grew from the 1980s. In Western media and academia, this was seen as a regional phenomenon, associated with some commonality, real or imagined, such as a supposed ‘yen bloc'. Others had a more mythic element, such as ‘flying geese', or ostensible bushido and Confucian ethics. Every purported miracle claims a mythic element, invariably fit for purpose. After all, miracles are typically attributed to supernatural forces, and hence, cannot be emulated by mere mortals. Hence, to better learn from ostensible miracles, it is necessary to demystify them. The World…

The Economy Under Modi Prabhat Patnaik

The Modi government’s record in tacitly supporting the actions of  a bunch of vigilante thugs who have been terrorizing the country, especially the Muslims and the dalits, in the guise of gaurakshaks, or opponents of love jihad, or “nationalists”, has been so outrageous that it has grabbed all the critical attention. In the process the government’s abysmal failures in other spheres has gone virtually unnoticed. One such sphere is the economy whose dismal state is sought to be camouflaged by hyped-up figures of growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In fact, GDP figures these days engage one like an…

Growing class Resistance Against “Globalization” Prabhat Patnaik

The term “globalization”, though much used, is extremely misleading, as is its presumed “other”, “nationalism”. This is because both terms are used as blanket terms without any reference to their class content, as if there can be only one kind of “globalization” and only one kind of “nationalism”. Using concepts detached from their class content is a favourite ploy of bourgeois ideology: what it amounts to is to confer universality on concepts that essentially belong only to the bourgeois discourse, as if this is the only universe of discourse possible and all choices are confined only to alternative trajectories within…

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 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 move from austerity to a more flexible union based on the solidarity of its people. Brexit (Download the full text in PDF format) ( This article was originally posted in the Taylor and Francis online on June 2, 2017.)

Imperialism Still Alive and Kicking: An Interview With Prabhat Patnaik

An interview by C. J. Polychroniou C. J. Polychroniou: From the 1980s onwards, with the process of economic globalization having picked up speed, the concept of Imperialism has been largely removed from the political lexicon of much of the Western Left, deemed essentially irrelevant for understanding and explaining the dynamics of contemporary capitalism. However, you beg to differ with this assessment, and have been vociferously arguing for the continuing relevance of imperialism. Firstly, how do you define imperialism and, secondly, what imperialist tendencies do you detect as inherent in the brutal expansion of the logic of capitalism in the neoliberal…

One Belt, One Road, One grand design? Jayati Ghosh

It is a truism of history that rising powers tend to be the ones valorising “free” trade and more open and integrated national economies, just as waning powers tend to turn inwards. So it is no surprise that over the past half year, as the United States elected a President with an avowedly protectionist agenda (even if relatively little has been acted upon so far), China’s President has become the chief advocate of globalisation and more extensive trade and investment links across countries. This drumbeat reached a crescendo in mid-May 2017, at a summit in Beijing to celebrate the official…

Post-Soviet Russian Economic Collapse Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Vladimir Popov

Wide-ranging economic reforms following the demise of the Soviet Union at the end of December 1991 mainly resulted in economic collapse in most successor states. By the mid-1990s, output had fallen by about half compared to 1989. Meanwhile, income inequalities rose sharply as real incomes declined dramatically for most, while death rates increased by over half as life expectancy declined dramatically. In Russia, output fell by 45% during 1989-1998, as death rates increased from 1% in the 1980s to over 1.5% in 1994, equivalent to over 700,000 additional deaths annually. In some former Soviet states embroiled in military conflicts, such…