The Roots of the Agrarian Distress in India C.P. Chandrasekhar

The policy shifts of the reform era have not been in favor of agriculture. Trade liberalisation, deregulation and a greater role for market forces have not benefited the farmer, who is trapped in a persisting crisis. It is time for today’s policy makers to recognise their own disconnect, and learn from the evidence at hand. Agrarian_Distress (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the bloombergquint on June 27, 2017)

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…

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…

A Simple Arithmetic Prabhat Patnaik

The Modi government is completing three years in office amid much fanfare and propaganda about its achievements during this period. Aiding this propaganda is the advance estimate of GDP which projects a growth-rate of 7.11 percent for 2016-17, a shade lower than last year’s 7.93 percent, but apparently impressive nonetheless. Despite the fact that the Chief Statistician has clarified that these figures are based on data for only seven months (April-October) of the current fiscal year, and that the effects of demonetization are not captured by this figure the hype goes on undeterred. India’s statistical system has fallen on bad…

Structural Change Servaas Storm

There has been a renewed interest in industrialization and structural change in the mainstream of development economics, which, however, doesn’t imply a rejection of the neoliberal approach to development; the default recommendation is still the market and static comparative advantage and the main task of governments is to impose institutional reforms and improve governance. structural_change (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in Development and Change, by International Institute of social Studies, The Hague)

Analysis of the Main Controversies on Domestic Agricultural Supports Jacques Berthelot

This paper tries to provide food for thought for the debate in analysing the main controversies around ten methodological issues of opposite concepts such as, agricultural supports vs agricultural subsidies; administered prices vs market prices etc. domestic_agricultural_supports (Download the full text in PDF format)    

Agribusiness: Consolidating against the farmer C. P. Chandrasekhar

In an acceleration of a trend towards mega-mergers in the agribusiness area, German pharma and agrochemicals major Bayer has announced an all-cash $66 billion deal to take over American seed major Monsanto. To clinch the deal, Bayer raised its initial bid thrice from $122 to $128 a share, to touch a level that implies a 44 per cent premium over Monsanto’s early-May stock market price. On the surface, the deal seems to bring together firms with activities that complement each other. Monsanto is a controversial seed company producing genetically modified seeds for different crops, while Bayer is focused on agricultural…

Why the Fixed External Reference Price of 1986-88 should be Challenged Jacques Berthelot

The author argues that there is no reason to differentiate between the administered prices paid to farmers in developing countries and the so-called market prices paid in developed countries as the latter, being heavily subsidized, are not actual market prices. External_Reference_Price (Download the full text in PDF format)

Emulating the US Opposed by the US Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Vikas Rawal

The US once led the post-war global effort against hunger and food insecurity, but corporate influence on government trade negotiators now seek to prevent other countries from using some of the very measures it pioneered. Seven decades ago, the US led international initiatives to eradicate hunger. This was the intention of the Roosevelts when they initiated the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as World War Two drew to a close. Three decades later, the same spirit ensured bipartisan support for the 1974 World Food Summit. India’s food security and stockholding programs use the same…

Should the World Emulate US Crop Insurance? Jomo Kwame Sundaram

ROME – With the increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events adversely affecting agricultural outputs and farmers’ incomes, commercial crop insurance has been touted as the solution for vulnerable farmers all over the world. Financial and farm interests have been promoting US crop insurance as the solution. It is instructive to consider lessons from the 2012 drought. Driven by the expectation of high maize prices, owing to the maize bio-ethanol mandate introduced almost a decade ago, US farmers planted a record 96.4 million acres in the spring of 2012 – even planting on previously fallow and marginal fields. Farmers…