Resources for Welfare Expenditure Prabhat Patnaik

The basic income scheme that is in the air these days, which amounts to handing over a certain sum of money to every household to ensure that it reaches a threshold cash income, is an extremely flawed scheme. Instead of enjoining upon the state the obligation to provide essential goods and services like food, education, and health, to its citizens, it absolves the State of all such responsibility, once it has handed over a certain amount of money, an amount moreover which is not truly indexed to prices and whose transfer is usually accompanied by a withdrawal of existing subsidies…

Social Responsibility of Intellectuals in Building Counter‐Hegemonies Issa Shivji

Intellectuals pride themselves as producers of knowledge.  They  are  also articulators  of  ideologies,  a role  they  do  not  normally  acknowledge. Respectable universities worth the name call themselves sites of knowledge production. I say “respectable”  because  these  days  many  neo‐liberalised universities  have abandoned  the  role  of  knowledge  production  in  favour  of packaging  disparate information  and  branding  their  “products”  (students)  to make  them saleable  on the  market.  That is a story for another day.  Today I don’t want to talk about packaging factories.    Today  I  want  to  address those  intellectuals  who  still consider  themselves  producers  of  knowledge rather  than  assembly  line supervisors…

Budget (Interim or Otherwise) 2019 and the Employment Crisis Jayati Ghosh

Unbelievable but true: there is nothing – repeat, nothing at all – in the Budget to deal with the job crisis. This is crazy, since lack of employment (especially for the young) and the problems in agriculture have emerged as the biggest two problems in the Indian economy and society today. It is also politically tone-deaf, since the government should really have been on the back foot on this one, as its suppression of official jobs data (the NSSO Survey of 2017-18) cleared by the National Statistical Commission, had just been exposed. In the circumstances, it was only to be…

On the Proposal for A Universal Basic Income Prabhat Patnaik

With Rahul Gandhi’s announcement recently at Raipur that his Party had taken a “historic decision” to introduce an income guarantee scheme for the poor, and with the general anticipation that the Modi government’s last budget will also announce an income support scheme in some form, at least for the “farmers”, the idea of a “universal basic income” for the Indian population is once more in the air. This idea was mooted two years ago in the Government of India’s Economic Survey, though it was meant only for discussion and represented the views not of the government itself but rather of…

Here’s what Modi’s 2019 budget can – but won’t – do about India’s jobs crisis Jayati Ghosh

The Brahmastra, or ultimate weapon, of 10% reservation in government employment for economically weaker sections (EWS) has been cynically deployed already, but even that does not seem to be delivering the desired public approval. Perhaps the general public has wised up to the fact that central government jobs have in fact declined over the past four years (by more than 75,000 since 2014) and so a small reserved portion of a shrinking pie does not seem all that attractive. However, even in the limited time available, there is much a committed government can do to tackle unemployment. And these could…

The failed promise of employment C. P. Chandrasekhar

As election 2019 approaches, the Modi government, damaged by agrarian distress, is also being challenged by evidence that its record on employment generation has been extremely poor. To recall, in its campaign during the 2014 election which brought it back to power, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) promised to create 10 million jobs every year. The best source of information on employment we currently have is the privately conducted (and heavily priced) Consumer Pyramids Household Survey undertaken by the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE). These figures are available from 2016 from a sample of more than 170,000…

A Misleading Debate Prabhat Patnaik

For some time now there has been a debate in the country that is as esoteric as it is misleading, namely whether the Reserve Bank of India’s reserves should be drawn down by the government to finance its expenditure. On the one side, the argument is that if the government has to undertake extra expenditure, then, other things remaining unchanged, it would increase the fiscal deficit, while financing expenditure by running down the RBI’s reserves entails no such increase in fiscal deficit; since an increase in fiscal deficit is supposed to be bad for the economy, it follows that financing…

External Balance Sheets of Emerging Economies: Low-Yielding Assets, High-Yielding Liabilities Yilmaz Akyuz

The new millennium has witnessed a rapid expansion of external balance sheets and significant changes in the capital, currency and sectoral compositions of foreign assets and liabilities of emerging economies. While foreign lending and investment in these economies have reached unprecedented levels, even deficit emerging economies have acquired sizeable amounts of foreign assets thanks to large inflows of capital. These changes in the size, composition and leverage of external balance sheets have created new channels of transmission of global financial shocks through their effects on international capital flows. They have also amplified the susceptibility of outstanding stocks of foreign assets…

To be Bravely Critical of Reality: An interview with Tamás Szentes

Tamás Szentes, Professor Emeritus of the Corvinus University of Budapest (the former Karl Marx University), elected full member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, is ‘one of the grand old men of development economics.’[1] His first celebrated book in English, The Political Economy of Underdevelopment (published first in 1971, republished in nine languages and ten different countries, totalling altogether 16 editions in the first fifteen years of publication) was praised in ROAPE in 1974 as ‘a serious and comprehensive attempt at providing a true political economy of underdevelopment.’ For a while he was one of the contributing editors of ROAPE, and between 1967 and 1971…

Tackling the Crisis of Conformity in Economic Thinking Henry Leveson-Gower

The conformity in economics teaching in many ways is the most damaging aspect of our current economics discipline. Thousands of graduates all round the world enter work each year with the impression that there is only one way of thinking about organising our economies. These are of course the people who dominate the likes of the World Bank, IMF and the Treasuries in countries around the world.  Innovative and critical thinking is crushed just when we need it most given our current social, environmental and economic crises. We believe we can’t wait for the mainstream to change. We want to…