The UGC Directive on Autonomous Colleges Prabhat Patnaik

Higher education in India is facing a twin danger today. One is its commoditization, by which is meant not just the fact that higher education itself is becoming a commodity but also that the products of higher education, i.e. those in whom higher education is “embodied”, are also becoming commodities, in the sense of simply having their worth assessed both by themselves and by others in terms equivalence to a certain sum of money, the amount that they can command on the market. Commoditization makes the products of higher education self-centred individuals without any social sensitivity, and prepares them only…

The Tripura Election Verdict Prabhat Patnaik

Two clear conclusions emerge from the Tripura election verdict. First, it is exceedingly difficult for an opposition party that has an incumbent government in any state to withstand the onslaught of the BJP. This party brings to the electoral arena the might of its Central government to buttress its own well-financed electoral effort. True, the Manik Sarkar government had been crippled in its last term in office by a financial squeeze which had doubtless affected its performance, but this squeeze itself had been the result as much of the recommendations of successive Finance Commissions that had been grossly unfair to…

The Destruction of a University Jayati Ghosh

For more than two years now, Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi has been in a state of turmoil. There is reason to conclude that this turmoil is no accident: it is the result of a set of decisions imposed from above that appear to be aimed at undermining the fundamental nature of this university and all that it has stood for. The fact that these decisions and actions are being adopted by those supposedly in charge of protecting and nurturing this institution - the Vice Chancellor since January 2016 and the administration that he has appointed - is particularly alarming.…

A Dangerous Period Prabhat Patnaik

For over half a century after the second world war, fascism had ceased to be a serious political force anywhere. There were no doubt many authoritarian, even murderous, regimes, and military dictatorships, especially in the third world, often installed through CIA-backed coups against progressive nationalist governments, and enjoying the tacit support of the U.S. But these must be distinguished from fascist regimes, which rely on mass political mobilization by arousing hatred against some hapless minority. For people of my generation, and several succeeding ones, the main contest appeared to be between liberalism and socialism. There were I believe, two major…

The Problem with the Indian Left Prabhat Patnaik

The current problem with the Indian Left, and in this term I include all sections of the Left, from the so-called “parliamentary Left” to the so-called “revolutionary Left”, is in my view, its lack of appreciation of the dialectics between “reform” and “revolution”. There have been many critiques of the Indian Left, but none to my knowledge has made this point; and their not making this point is perhaps indicative of the fact that the critics themselves suffer as much from this lack of appreciation of the dialectics between “reform” and “revolution” as the Left that they are critiquing. Before…

The Obscenity of Hunger Deaths Jayati Ghosh

There is no doubt that human life is cheap in India, perhaps more so now than ever before. The attacks, atrocities and killings of people from minorities and marginalised groups that have now become so common are particularly appalling because they reflect a culture of impunity. Indeed, the lack of punishment does more than embolden the perpetrators and those who would imitate them: it also points to a deadening of sensibilities not just among those in power but in society as a whole. The murder of innocents is no longer even a cause for much outrage; the horrifying proliferation of…

Palestine or How the Market fails without a State Heiner Flassbeck

Palestine is economically extremely dependent on Israel. Reducing this dependency must be the ultimate goal of the political effort to implement a two-state solution. However, in order for the Palestinian government to use its political power for the good, it is essential to understand the proper role of the state in the development process. Last week, I spent four days in Palestine. I was invited by the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute (MAS) to deliver the ninth annual development lecture in memory of a pioneer of Palestinian political economy, Prof. Yusif Sayigh. The series aims at prompting a critical, heterodox…

The Gujarat Model’s Failure explains why the Economy has become such a significant Factor in the coming State Elections Jayati Ghosh

By now, almost everyone in the country knows that – whatever else they may or may not be able to do – one thing Narendra Modi and the team around him excel in is the art of public relations and media management. This is the reason that “the Gujarat model” of handling a state’s economy became such a major talking point in the run-up to the 2014 general elections. This model was widely projected across major media as a huge success in delivering both growth and development, even though Gujarat’s performance was at best middling among all states and in…

Neo-liberalism has been a Disaster for Nepal An Interview with Prof. C.P. Chandrasekhar

Why is neoliberalism bad for India and Nepal? What are its major flaws? Mahabir Paudyal and Prashant Lamichhane from myRepublica caught up with Professor C.P. Chandrasekhar when he was in Kathmandu last week to discuss the impact of neo-liberal economic order in the two countries, and the prospects of a socialist-oriented economy in Nepal. Nepal and India adopted liberalization almost at the same time during the 1990s. Thirty years on, what kind of impact has it had in the two countries? You need to look at liberalization at two levels. Cross-country liberalization, which is a set or package of policies implemented…

Not with a Bang but with a (prolonged) whimper Jayati Ghosh

It is probably obvious to everyone that global capitalism is in dire straits, notwithstanding the brave talking up of output recovery that now characterises almost every meeting of the international governing elite. Even so, discussions of the end of capitalism still typically seem overstated and futile, not least because those hoping and mobilising for bringing in an alternative system are everywhere so scattered, weak and demoralised. In effect, capitalism is the only game in town, which is why even in its current debilitated and even decrepit state, it fears no rivals. But maybe that is really not the point. Maybe…