Imperialist Reconstruction or Depopulation in Syria and Iraq Ali Kadri

The recent reconstruction efforts of the Arab World further deconstructed the state and the unity arising from national identity around the state. In the Arab context, the reconstruction effort promoted the objectives of imperialism in setting the background for continued war. Imperialist_reconstruction  (Download the full text in PDF format)

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…

In the 2017 Budget, the Government has Compounded its Folly Prabhat Patnaik

The Budget estimates, which have generally become somewhat suspect of late, are particularly meaningless in the case of the 2017-18 Budget for two obvious reasons: first, the early presentation of the Budget means the availability of that much less information for the current year, upon which the Budget is based; and second, the draconian demonetisation that has occurred, while certain to pull down the GDP growth rate (even the Economic Survey concedes that), makes any precise prediction impossible. Let us therefore look at the broad strategy of the Budget rather going into its numbers in any detail. One obvious thing that…

A Universal Basic Income in India? Jayati Ghosh

There is a lot of buzz globally around the idea of a Universal Basic Income (or UBI). It is perceived as one way of coping with technology-induced unemployment that is projected to grow significantly in the near future, as well as reducing inequalities and increasing consumption demand in stagnant economies. Certainly there is much to be said for the idea, especially if it is to be achieved by taxing the rich and particularly those activities that are either socially less desirable or are generating larger surpluses because of technological changes. Indeed, that is precisely the proposal of the French Socialist…

A Disappointingly Ordinary Budget for Extraordinary Times Jayati Ghosh

The most striking thing about Arun Jaitley’s budget presentation for 2017-18 is just how unstriking it is. A lot of was expected from this Budget, and it is largely the Government’s own fault that the expectations were so many and so contradictory. In the event, the Finance Minister has presented a very “ordinary” Budget, which is unlikely to satisfy most people who recognise that these are definitely not “ordinary” economic times. First, this Budget comes directly in the wake of demonetisation followed by painfully slow and inadequate remonetisation, which has dealt a body blow to the informal sector as well…

Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century: Criticisms and debates Kang-Kook LEE

The author in this article critically examines the most important criticisms of Piketty and debates about his study in mainstream economics and underscores that Piketty’s argument has limitations and we need to develop a study of inequality that takes the perspectives of political economy into account more seriously. Piketty_Capital (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in The Journal of Comparative Economic Studies, Vol.11, 2016, pp.151–170)

Understanding the American Right Jayati Ghosh

A visit to the USA at the height of the Presidential election season, in a nation obsessed with polls that are just a few weeks away, creates simultaneous sensations of fascination, dismay and even horror. Even from a distance, the entire world has been watching this hugely significant election turn into an ever more sordid and distressing spectacle, with vitriolic lows in the campaign discussion that are perhaps unparalleled in any other election through time and across countries. The personal failings of both candidates are now only too well known, and are effectively blocking out all serious consideration of the…

The Growing Resistance against Globalization Prabhat Patnaik

All across the world, from the United States to Britain to Europe to China, a huge resistance is building up against globalization. True, this resistance is not self-consciously aimed against globalization per se; in different countries it focuses on different issues. But since each of these issues arises as a fall-out of globalization, not to see the interconnectedness of this resistance, as one that essentially and implicitly targets globalization, is to miss the wood for the trees. What is also remarkable is that this resistance, contrary to what one might expect from the fact that its source lies everywhere in…

We Can Eliminate Hunger and Poverty Quickly with Greater Commitment Jomo Kwame Sundaram

Why do people go hungry? Mainly because they do not have the means to get enough food, whether by producing it themselves or by purchasing it. There is more than enough food to feed the world. All those who currently go hungry can be adequately fed with about two percent of current food production, much more of which is wasted or lost. The main problem is one of distribution or access, rather than production or availability. Inequality and poverty, and increasingly, ‘natural disasters' and armed conflict in the world are at the core of the problem of world hunger. While…

Pensions for All Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Rob Vos

October 1st is the International Day of Older Persons. Just another day? Perhaps, but it should remind us that the world’s population is ageing, brought about by the combined effects of declining mortality and fertility rates and longer longevity. By mid-century, one out of five people will be over 65 compared to over one in ten now. This is dramatic enough. What is equally compelling is that eighty per cent of older persons in the world will be living in developing countries by then – within two generations. This ageing of the world’s population is one of humanity’s major achievements.…