The Roots of the Agrarian Distress in India C.P. Chandrasekhar

The policy shifts of the reform era have not been in favor of agriculture. Trade liberalisation, deregulation and a greater role for market forces have not benefited the farmer, who is trapped in a persisting crisis. It is time for today’s policy makers to recognise their own disconnect, and learn from the evidence at hand. Agrarian_Distress (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the bloombergquint on June 27, 2017)

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…

Imperialism Still Alive and Kicking: An interview with Prabhat Patnaik

An interview by C. J. Polychroniou C. J. Polychroniou: From the 1980s onwards, with the process of economic globalization having picked up speed, the concept of Imperialism has been largely removed from the political lexicon of much of the Western Left, deemed essentially irrelevant for understanding and explaining the dynamics of contemporary capitalism. However, you beg to differ with this assessment, and have been vociferously arguing for the continuing relevance of imperialism. Firstly, how do you define imperialism and, secondly, what imperialist tendencies do you detect as inherent in the brutal expansion of the logic of capitalism in the neoliberal…

The Continuing Debt Problem in Asia C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

Private household debt is going to be a major concern for many Asian economies as excessive household debt and falling realty prices combine to create a potentially potent mix. Continuing_Debt_Problem (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Business Line print edition dated December 8, 2015)

The Offensive against Transfers to the Poor Prabhat Patnaik

The corporate magnates who have financed Narendra Modi’s election campaign (the money spent by him on media promotion alone is estimated to be Rs.5000 crores) are now getting ready to claim their booty. This consists not only in the direct gains they demand, but also additionally in the rolling back of the few relief measures for the poor, such as the MGNREGS, which had been implemented especially during the UPA-I under Left pressure, and which cannot compensate in any case for the damage done to their living conditions by the current inflationary recession. An intellectual climate is being created in…

Why has this Recession not Produced a Price Deflation? Prabhat Patnaik

A striking difference between the Great Depression of the 1930s and the current world recession is that unlike then there has been no absolute price-fall this time, which is significant because such a price deflation makes recovery difficult. There are two reasons why this is so. First, a price deflation raises the real interest rate above the nominal interest rate, i.e. the rate in money terms. If the latter is 2 percent and prices are falling at 3 percent, then the real interest rate is 5 percent. Since recovery from a recession requires a revival of investment, which depends on…

The Political Economy of Indian Food Exports C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

The article discusses the political economy configurations that permit rising grain exports from India, even as domestic food prices spiral out of the reach of ordinary people. Food_Exports (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Business Line, April 1, 2013)

The Coming Food Crisis C.P. Chandrasekhar

For the third time in five years the world is braced for another food crisis. Bad weather conditions are leading to projections of major production shortfalls in some the world’s leading food suppliers. Substantially reduced access and sharp price increases are, therefore, expected to keep food out of the reach of a larger proportion of the world’s population. The last two crises, in 2007-08 and 2011, led to food riots in many countries. So it is not just high food prices, increased hunger, localised famines and widespread increase in deprivation that are possibilities. Given the fact that the current food…

Macroeconomic Impacts of Commodity Price Volatility: G20 report Aldo Caliari

The G20 has recently come up with a report on the macroeconomic impacts of excessive commodity price volatility on growth. This study has concluded that excessive volatility creates uncertainty over future price levels, and complicates long-term planning and investment which leads to producers and consumers of commodities underinvesting in physical assets that support growth. This commentary highlights the key features and important findings of this report. G20_Report (Download the full text in PDF format)