Who’s manipulating China’s exchange rate? C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

A favourite trope of Northern economic policy makers – especially those in the United States – is that China systematically manipulates the exchange rate of the RenMinBi to ensure greater external competitiveness, and that this amounts to an unfair trade practice. While this has been a complaint of the US government for some years now, President Trump of the US has become a particularly strong advocate of this theory. Most recently, the recent (slight) depreciation of the Chinese RenMinBi (RMB or Yuan) relative to the US dollar has been met with howls of protest from Mr Trump and his trade…

Women’s work in India Jayati Ghosh

One of the difficulties with discussions on employment in India is the tendency to conflate employment and work. But employment is only that part of work that is remunerated, and in India a vast amount of work is actually unpaid and often not even socially recognised. Once we recognise that, a lot of what appears to be inexplicable about Indian employment trends becomes easier to understand. This is especially true of women’s work. There has been much discussion on the evidence from recent NSS large sample surveys on employment, of the significant decline in women’s workforce participation rates. The work…

Emergency 2.0 Jayati Ghosh

For many Indians, the period of the Emergency in the mid 1970s represents the blackest period for Indian democracy since Independence. As a student at University during that time, seeing the repression and fear all around and knowing some of the people who were imprisoned or otherwise persecuted for their views, I too shared that view – until very recently. Because what is happening now in India is in many ways is just as bad, and in some respects significantly worse. Just as during the Emergency, we have the arms of the state and its security powers used to intimidate…

Changes in the Structure of Employment in India Yoshifumi Usami and Vikas Rawal

Slow growth of employment has been a remarkable feature of economic change in India during the post-liberalisation period. Economic growth over this period has been highly uneven across different sectors and regions. The rate of growth of agriculture and manufacturing sectors has been sluggish for most part of the postliberalisation period. Growth, even in periods during which it increased, was driven primarily by the service sector. It has been primarily located in urban, particularly metropolitan, areas. Trade and foreign investment have played only a marginal role as drivers of economic expansion. Benefits of economic growth have accrued differently across classes,…

Begging and Criminality Prabhat Patnaik

On Wednesday August 8, the Delhi High Court decriminalized begging in the capital. In the course of its hearing it had raised the question how begging could be an offence in a country where the government was unable to provide food and jobs; its final verdict is in line with this thinking. Of course there was no central legislation, or legislation relating specifically to Delhi, that had criminalized begging earlier; but the capital region like several other states had simply used the provisions of the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act to treat begging as a criminal activity. India’s record in…

Ranking Universities Prabhat Patnaik

The proposal to eliminate the University Grants Commission and to tighten political control over the higher education system in India, has been mooted at the behest of Narendra Modi who is apparently concerned about the dearth of Indian names among the top-ranked universities in the world. This concern is not confined to Modi alone; it is shared by large numbers of persons in the country’s political establishment, and by many in the general public. This concern is, to an extent, understandable: it is akin to the concern over the lack of medals for India at the Olympic games; but at…

Capitalism’s Discourse on “Development” Prabhat Patnaik

Capitalism’s discourse on “development” which has become quite influential all over the third world in the neo-liberal period proceeds as follows: (i) “development” must consist in shifting the work-force from the traditional (petty production) sector which is overcrowded with low labour productivity, and hence constitutes a repository of poverty,  to the modern (capitalist) sector which has much higher labour productivity. (ii) For this shift to occur, the modern (capitalist sector) must be allowed to grow as rapidly as possible, for which all impediments to capital accumulation must be removed. (iii) Even if, in the process of the modern (capitalist) sector’s…

Has there been an MSP hike for Kharif Crops? Prabhat Patnaik

Much has been written by now exposing the fraudulence of the government’s claims of a “historic” rise in the Minimum Support Price for kharif crops. It has been pointed out for instance that while the Swaminathan Committee had recommended that the MSP should be fixed at 50 percent above the cost of production C2 which includes rental on own land, a recommendation that the BJP in its 2014 election manifesto had promised to implement, the current MSP still falls way below that level.The claim that the government has fulfilled its campaign promise,made by the BJP and its subservient media, is…

The Proposed Abolition of the UGC Prabhat Patnaik

The Modi government is bringing in legislation in the coming Monsoon session of the Parliament to abolish the University Grants Commission. The UGC has two important roles at present. One is the distribution of funds to colleges and universities; this will now be handled by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The other role is a regulatory one, which will now be taken over by a Higher Education Commission of India (HECI). This Commission however will have no funds to distribute. The proposed set-up will immensely increase political control over the academia. The fact that the distribution of funds will…

It is imperative to reconstruct the Internationale of workers and peoples Samir Amin

For the last thirty years the world system has undergone an extreme centralization of power in all its dimensions, local and international, economic and military, social and cultural. Some thousand giant corporations and some hundreds of financial institutions that have formed cartels among themselves, have reduced national and globalized production systems to the status of sub-contractors.  In this way the financial oligarchies appropriate a growing share of the profits from labour and from companies that have been transformed into rent producers for their exclusive benefit. Having domesticated the main right-wing and left-wing parties the unions and the organizations of the…