A Heart-Rending Episode Prabhat Patnaik

This year marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Bengal famine of 1943, a heart-rending episode in which 3 million persons died, and which epitomized the callousness of imperialism. The scale of devastation can be understood if we remember that in the United Kingdom, taking civilian and military casualties together, the total loss of life during the entire Second World War was just 0.45 million and in the U.S. 0.42 million. In Germany itself the loss has been estimated as anywhere between 6.6 and 8.8 million and in the Soviet Union which suffered the most at around 24 million. To say…

The Modi Government’s spat with The RBI Prabhat Patnaik

The Modi government’s spat with the Reserve Bank of India, like its sudden resurrection of the Ram temple project, indicates the desperation it feels at its dwindling electoral appeal. Having dealt a huge blow to the small-scale sector through its measures like demonetization and the GST, having aggravated through its inaction the impact on the Indian economy of the world capitalist crisis, and of Trump’s protectionism that has followed, it is now quite desperate to salvage some support for itself as the Lok Sabha elections approach. Since mere grandiose announcements such as Ayushman Bharat or doubling agricultural incomes can no…

The Fall Of The Rupee Prabhat Patnaik

The rupee’s current tendency to fall is hardly surprising. India’s growth experience, unlike China’s, was built on the quicksand of a more or less persistent trade and current account deficit on the balance of payments. But there was always enough financial inflow not just to cover the current account deficit but even to add to our foreign exchange reserves. Initially this inflow was stimulated by the sheer fact of the economy’s being opened up to such flows: wealth-holders abroad got a chance to diversify their portfolios by buying into hitherto- unavailable Indian assets. Later, the higher interest rates in India…

Global Instability and the Development Project: Is the Twenty-First Century different? Jayati Ghosh

GLOBAL CAPITALISM TODAY: UNSTABLE, MORIBUND, OR JUST RESTING? Ever since the global financial crisis of 2008–2009, the trajectory of the world economy has been hesitant, unstable and prone to many risks. Output recovery has been limited and fragile; and, more significantly, even in the more dynamic economies, it has not increased good-quality employment or reduced inequality and material insecurity. Global capitalism as an economic regime is increasingly unable to deliver on its own promise of continuous expansion within a largely stable society. Even so, discussions of the ‘end’ of capitalism still typically seem overstated and futile, not least because those…

Another Global Financial Crisis for Developing Countries? Anis Chowdhury and Jomo Kwame Sundaram

George Soros, Bill Gates and other pundits have been predicting another financial crisis. In their recent book, Revolution Required: The Ticking Bombs of the G7 Model, Peter Dittus and Herve Hamoun, former senior officials of the Bank of International Settlements, warned of ‘ticking time bombs' in the global financial system waiting to explode, mainly due to the policies of major developed countries. Recent events vindicate such fears. Many emerging market currencies have come under considerable pressure, with the Indonesian rupiah, Indian rupee and South African rand all struggling since early this year. Brazil's real fell sharply in June, and Argentina…

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…

Finance versus The People Prabhat Patnaik

Sometimes even a tiny news-item can reveal volumes about capitalism. The Indian stock market, as is well-known, is booming at present: the 30-share Sensex closed at a new high of 38,278.75 on Monday the 20th of August, and the broader-based Nifty crossed the 11500 mark for the first time on the same day. One of the financial sector executives explained the reason behind this boom as follows (The Hindu, Aug.21): “The only difference between now (versus a few months back) is that politics looks more stable---prospects of an Opposition coalition are looking a little shaky”. These financial sector executives know…

Institutional Investors and Indian Markets C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

These are uncertain times for emerging market economies (EMEs) like India. They have been important destinations for investments financed by the cheap liquidity that was pushed into the financial system by developed country central banks attempting to address the financial crisis of 2008 and after. The result has been the accumulation of large sums of portfolio investments in their equity and debt markets. This has generated fears that, as central banks in the US, EU and elsewhere unwind their easy money policies and raise interest rates from their historic lows, this capital will exit the emerging markets. Once access to…

The State of The Economy Prabhat Patnaik

Newspaper headlines over the last few days have highlighted three facts which point to the current abysmal state of the Indian economy. The first relates to inflation, where the June 2018 wholesale price index was 5.77 percent above that of June last year; this is the highest inflation rate witnessed since December 2013. The second is a burgeoning trade deficit: the trade deficit in June, at $ 16.6 billion, was again the highest for any month in the last five years. The third relates to the industrial stagnation that has set in: the growth in factory output in May (the…

Did developing countries really recover from the Global Crisis? C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

We are nearing the tenth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers in the United States that sparked a Global Financial Crisis,affecting every economy in significant ways. That crisis generated extraordinary monetary policy responses in the advanced economies, with low interest rates and unprecedented expansion of liquidity, in an effort largely driven by central banks to keep their economies afloat. By contrast, expansionary fiscal policy was barely used after the first initial stimulus. In the event, even with these incredibly loose monetary policies, the advanced economies have generally spluttered along, with periodic hopes of recovery dashed by repeated slowdowns –…