The Question Of Farm-Loan Waiver Prabhat Patnaik

The question of farm-loan waiver that is being demanded by the peasantry is much misunderstood. Such a waiver, it is argued by critics, would vitiate the credit-culture in the country: people would stop repaying loans henceforth in expectation of waivers on them. Since the UPA government had waived farm-loans a few years ago and now again there is a demand for a farm-loan waiver, peasants, they contend, are getting into a habit of not paying loans and demanding periodic waivers instead. Somebody, it is further added, has to bear the burden of the loan after all; and if the peasants…

The Economy Under Modi Prabhat Patnaik

The Modi government’s record in tacitly supporting the actions of  a bunch of vigilante thugs who have been terrorizing the country, especially the Muslims and the dalits, in the guise of gaurakshaks, or opponents of love jihad, or “nationalists”, has been so outrageous that it has grabbed all the critical attention. In the process the government’s abysmal failures in other spheres has gone virtually unnoticed. One such sphere is the economy whose dismal state is sought to be camouflaged by hyped-up figures of growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In fact, GDP figures these days engage one like an…

Brexit and the Economics of Political Change in Developed Countries Jayati Ghosh

The economic forces underlying Brexit—and the election of Donald Trump in the US—are similar, but also well advanced in many European countries, where much of the population faces similar material insecurity and stagnation. These frustrations can easily be channelled by right-wing xenophobic forces. To combat this, the EU needs to undo some of its design flaws and move from austerity to a more flexible union based on the solidarity of its people. Brexit (Download the full text in PDF format) ( This article was originally posted in the Taylor and Francis online on June 2, 2017.)

The GDP elephant Jayati Ghosh

National income is hard to estimate in India where so much activity and employment is in the informal sector. Much of GDP calculation is not purely “technocratic” but relies on judgments and assumptions. As long as our system of national accounting does not clarify the real impact on the economy and the actual degree of deceleration of economic activity, we will remain in the dark. GDP_Elephant (Download the full text in PDF format) This article was originally published in Quatrz India: June 5, 2017.

A Simple Arithmetic Prabhat Patnaik

The Modi government is completing three years in office amid much fanfare and propaganda about its achievements during this period. Aiding this propaganda is the advance estimate of GDP which projects a growth-rate of 7.11 percent for 2016-17, a shade lower than last year’s 7.93 percent, but apparently impressive nonetheless. Despite the fact that the Chief Statistician has clarified that these figures are based on data for only seven months (April-October) of the current fiscal year, and that the effects of demonetization are not captured by this figure the hype goes on undeterred. India’s statistical system has fallen on bad…

The New Normal Servaas Storm

The U.S. economy is suffering from two interrelated diseases: secular stagnation rather than growth, and polarization of jobs and incomes. The two disorders have a common root in the demand shortfall, originating from the ‘unbalanced’ growth between technologically ‘dynamic’ and ‘stagnant’ sectors. In this context, to assume that potential output growth is determined by exogenous factors of ‘technology’ and ‘demography’, while demand growth is simply irrelevant in the long run, can be a mistake. Click to read the full article

Negative Interest Rates: A symptom of the crisis or instrument for recovery C.P. Chandrasekhar

The failure of the macroeconomic stance of shifting away from fiscal policy to an almost exclusive reliance on monetary policy has led to the phenomenon of negative rates in countries other than the United States, and the first sign of even a partial recovery in that country has been enough to set off a reversal. negative_interest_rates (Download the full text in PDF format) This article was originally published in the Economic & Political Weekly, March 25, 2017 vol. LII no. 12

Once More on “The Humbug of Finance” Prabhat Patnaik

The renowned economist Joan Robinson had referred to the view that the government’s budget should always be balanced, as the “humbug of finance” (Robinson 1962), namely as a false proposition with no theoretical merit which was nonetheless promoted by finance capital. These days of course the insistence is not exactly on balancing the budget as was the case during the pre-second world war years. A certain amount of fiscal deficit relative to GDP, usually 3 percent, is considered “permissible”, though it is not clear what is so sacrosanct about the figure 3 and why 3 is better than zero. But…