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…

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…

The Nefarious Money Bills Prabhat Patnaik

True to form, the BJP government is all set to change the texture of the Indian State into a snooping and terrorising institution whose bonding with corporate capital will now get even closer and beyond any public scrutiny. And the content of the change it is unleashing is as damaging to democracy as the manner in which it is doing so. The manner of its doing so consists in introducing important legislation in the guise of “money bills”. Now, any important legislation has to be approved by both houses of parliament before it can become the law of the land,…

The End of Globalization? Prabhat Patnaik

Donald Trump’s recipe for reviving employment in the U.S. economy is to impose restrictions on imports from other countries. If at the same time he had taken steps to increase the level of aggregate demand in the U.S. in other ways, such as through increasing State expenditure financed by a fiscal deficit, then restricting imports from other countries would not lead to a reduction in the magnitude of such imports in absolute terms. It would not, in such a case, cause any unemployment in other countries for the sake of boosting employment in the U.S. Put differently, it would not…

Can the SDGs be financed? Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury

Investment in the least developed countries (LDCs) will need to rise by at least 11 per cent annually through 2030, a little more than the 8.9 per cent between 2010 and 2015, in order for them to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The United Nations' World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2017 focuses on the difficulties in securing sufficient financing for the SDGs given e global financial system and current economic environment. Big financing gaps The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)'s 2014 World Investment Report estimated that developing countries would need US$2.5 trillion annually until 2030…

The Persistence of Child Marriage Jayati Ghosh

It is commonplace to note that women tend to have low status and little autonomy over much of Indian society. This is reflected in many distressing features that have persisted and even intensified in recent years despite all the talk of modernisation: the low and falling rates of female participation in recognised employment; adverse child sex ratios that appear to be even worse among more well-off groups; increases in recorded cases of violence against women. But there is one very startling feature that gets relatively little attention: the continuing prevalence of child marriage across most parts of the country. According…

Sweetened Research, Sugared Recommendations Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Tan Zhai Gen

In 2015, Coca Cola's chief scientist was forced to resign after revelations that the company had funded researchers to present academic papers recommending exercise to address obesity and ill health, while marginalizing the role of dietary consumption. Coca-Cola, the world's largest producer of sugary beverages, had provided millions of dollars to fund researchers to downplay the links between sugar and obesity, tooth decay and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Corrupt research This was not new. In September 2016, a New York Times article highlighted a JAMA Internal Medicine research article showing that sugar industry interests had paid scientists in the 1960s to…