The Current Upsurge of Fascism Prabhat Patnaik

There is at present an upsurge of fascism all over the world, though it is often described as “nationalism” or “Right-wing populism”. Such terms however are misleading, and reflect a neo-liberal mindset. The pejorative use of the term “nationalism” serves implicitly to laud neo-liberal globalization as its contrast; it is also misleading because it does not distinguish between the “nationalism” of a Gandhi and the “nationalism” of a Hitler. Likewise, the term “populism” is used these days to characterize all redistributive or Welfare State measures, contrasting them unfavourably with neo-liberal measures of “development”; to apply it to the current fascist…

The de-digitisation of India Jayati Ghosh

So it’s official: cash use is back in almost full force in the Indian economy. Cash withdrawals from ATM machines – a reasonable if incomplete proxy for the use of cash in the economy – are nearly back to the level of just before the demonetisation shock of 8 November 2016. RBI data on use of debit and credit cards to withdraw money from ATMs show that such withdrawals, which had collapsed to only Rs 850 billion in December 2016 largely because of the sheer unavailability of cash with such machines, amounted to Rs 2.27 trillion in July 2017, only…

The Growing Income Inequality Prabhat Patnaik

Thomas Piketty and Lucas Chancel have just written a paper as part of their work for the World Inequality Report discussing the movement of income inequality in India. And their conclusion is that the extent of income inequality in India at present is greater than it has ever been at any time in the last one hundred years. Their estimates go back to 1922 when the Income Tax Act became operational in India. The share of the top 1 percent of the population in total income at that date was around 13 percent. It increased to 21 percent by the…

Winner-take-all Political Funding Jayati Ghosh

It’s true: there’s a lot to be outraged about in India these days. The proliferation of heinous occurrences and very problematic policy choices is alarming, and the misinformation spread through official and unofficial media often makes things worse. All this can induce protest-fatigue and exhaustion from having to comprehend and then confront so many causes for concern and anguish on multiple fronts. This may be why there has (thus far at least) not been enough public outcry about something that will touch at the very core of our electoral democracy and erode it to the point where it could be…

Deras and Evangelicals Jayati Ghosh

At first sight, it seems completely inexplicable: a man convicted of rape of his own young followers in at least two cases and believed to have committed many more; also accused of murder in a case yet to be decided and forced castration of 400 men; who openly flaunts incredible wealth and shamelessly promotes his own family; a tech-savvy “rock star baba” with a penchant for wearing outlandish costumes and heavy jewellery, who is the multi-role hero of several films he has produced—this man presents himself as the religious and spiritual leader of tens of millions. And the bulk of…

The Epidemic of Vigilantism Prabhat Patnaik

My wife and I retired seven years ago after teaching in Jawaharlal Nehru University for nearly four decades, and neither of us gets a pension.The interest on our joint lifetime savings largely sustains us. This entire amount had to be invested in my name because she was not allowed to do so, as her name on her PAN card was grossly mis-spelt owing to a clerical error by the concerned authority issuing the card, an error which has not been rectified by it despite decades of effort on our part (though interestingly her tax payments have never been refused for…

Sanitation workers in India Jayati Ghosh

How many deaths will it take till they know that too many people have died? In just 35 days between mid-July and mid-August this year, in the capital city of Delhi alone, ten sanitation workers died while they were engaged in the poorly paid and extremely hazardous task of manual scavenging. They were entering sewers to clean them, without adequate or even minimal precautions taken by the employers (like safety gear) that would allow these workers to deal with the noxious and even toxic gases, slippery floors, high walls and often very high temperatures in these sewers. Manual scavenging is…

Problems with Neoclassical Economics Amiya Kumar Bagchi

While there are a few examples of successive use of mathematics in forming empirically tested mainstream theorems, excessive misuse of this tool in neoclassical economics leave little coherence between its “rational being” and realism. In fact, many examples prove that it fails to observe the tenets of its own canon, and people are compelled to consume beyond their need and capacity, even in the face of mounting unemployment. Problems_Neoclassical_Economics (Download the full text in PDF format)

America’s Turn Towards Fascism and Its Contradictions Prabhat Patnaik

The fact that fascist elements in the U.S. have started raising their sinister head and that Donald Trump has started showing his open sympathy for such elements is borne out by several recent incidents. On Saturday August 12, at a white supremacist and neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, peaceful anti-fascist protesters were attacked by the fascists; a man drove a truck into them killing civil rights activist Heather Heyer and injuring at least 19 others; and an African-American teacher DeAndre Harris was beaten mercilessly with a metal rod just a few yards from the Charlottesville police headquarters. Trump’s initial response…