State or Market? : India’s telecom wars C.P. Chandrasekhar

As the shakeout in the Indian mobile telephony market continues, price wars are being complemented by verbal wars. The most recent spat involves the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India as well. Its latest revised tariff order has been attacked by Airtel and Vodafone (and by the Cellular Operators Association of India, or COAI) for favouring Reliance Jio, the aggressive new entrant that is seeking to get ahead of the other two, in what is clearly becoming a three-horse race in the industry. The “split” within the COAI, with long-time members and a new entrant on opposite sides, is indicative of…

The Aging of a Growth Engine C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

With the dollar value of exports declining, India’s software sector faces a historical crisis which may worsen, given the protectionist trends in the US and other uncertainties. Aging_Growth_Engine  (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Business Line on February 13, 2018)

The Airtel-Aadhaar Fix C. P. Chandrasekhar

Despite its clear violation of the law, telecom major Airtel appears to have been let off lightly by the government. And that story, though reported, has neither led to adequate punishment nor has it received the extent of media attention it deserves. The story is that Airtel used its position as a dominant mobile services provider to strengthen its new role as a “payments bank” by exploiting a loophole in a system created through the decisions of multiple agencies. The company not only opened a large number of payments bank accounts in the names of its mobile subscribers without their…

The Saudi palace coup, the oil market, China and the US Ali Kadri

Trouble has been brewing in Saudi Arabia, the jewel of the US empire, under the very eyes of the imperialists. Since circa 1980, the socially stabilising economic redistribution mechanisms, the objective pillars holding society together, were neoliberally eroded. As for the subjective grounds, or the political US-backing that the Saudi monarchy enjoys, it so happens that until about 2011, the timing of the Arab Spring, the Saudi-comprador class’ surreal social and political practice received low-key criticism. Oil_Market (Download the full text in PDF format)    

Indian IT hits a Speed Dump C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

A sharp deceleration in growth and restricted employment expansion in the IT sector, India’s post-liberalisation showpiece, has implications beyond the industry’s boundaries. Indian_IT_Speedbump (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally posted in the Business Line on November 20, 2017.)

GE’s Switch Stephen Maher

The resignation of General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt last month is the latest sign of the broad restructuring of political and economic power currently underway in the United States. His departure, and John Flannery’s arrival, reveals a lot about the new phase of financialization that has emerged from the Great Financial Crisis. As financial markets and institutions became a more important part of the economy in recent decades, so too did they take on a larger role within corporations themselves, even ostensibly nonfinancial enterprises. This fundamental reorganization of corporate power eroded the institutional foundations of the New Deal’s so-called corporate…

What is really happening in Indian Manufacturing? C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh

Data on organised manufacturing production do not really capture the impact of demonetisation and its effects on demand, but looking at some sub-sectors of consumer non-durable goods provides more insight. Indian_Manufacturing (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Business Line on August 14, 2017.)

Beyond Fantasies of Industry 4.0, Where Global Capital Has No Answers Erinç Yeldan

Together with the collapse of the Soviet system, China’s and India’s opening up to the global markets have added 1.5 billion new workers to the world’s economically active supply of wage-labor.  This meant almost a doubling of the global labor force and a reduction of the global capital-labor ratio by half.  With intensified pressures of unemployment looming everywhere, wage earners had witnessed a race to the bottom not only of their wage remunerations, but also of their social rights and work conditions. Complemented with the neoliberal policies invoking flexibility and privatization, global wage-labor had suffered serious informalization and vulnerability, consequent…

Power: The web of debt C. P. Chandrasekhar

The state of Jharkhand has reportedly stopped payments to the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) for the 700 MW of power the later supplies it every day. The evident reason is that it has not been able to cover payments for the power it acquires from the generators and supplies to its customers, resulting in deficits that are covered with debt that it is no longer able to service. A consequence of this would be an inability to purchase power from the generators, increasing their losses and affecting the debt they in turn owe the banks. With this debt being a…

Demonetisation and India Inc C. P. Chandrasekhar

In Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s pre-Budget meeting with members of India’s Chambers of Commerce and Industry and other special category capitalists like exporters, the latter reportedly told him that while demonetisation is a welcome move, the government must “offset the immediate downturn that industry will go through”. This was accompanied by a range of demands varying from reduced corporate taxes to special export incentives and accelerated privatisation. In sum, India Inc had its own ideas of how the short term pain of demonetisation could be converted into long term gains for itself, though the policies recommended to ensure the realization of…