Electronic Commerce and the WTO: The Changing Contours of Engagement Biswajit Dhar

Electronic Commerce (e-commerce) has emerged as a key issue in the run-up to the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to be held in Buenos Aires in December 2017. A number of countries across the development spectrum have backed inclusion of e-commerce in the WTO. Although the nature of disciplines that these countries favour is not entirely clear, yet the proposals strongly suggest that they would prefer using e-commerce as a vehicle for trade liberalisation in goods and services. Electronic_Commerce _WTO  (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally posted in Madhyam.org.in on November…

Making Merry on Bitcoin C.P. Chandrasekhar

Bitcoin has left the world of finance gasping. Though the total market value of all of that cryptocurrency in circulation is only a fraction of the value of the world’s financial assets, the rapid rise in the value of the currency has made it the most wanted of those assets. On January 1, 2017, the currency was trading at between $972 to $990 a unit. By December 7 that range had risen to $14,063 to $17,363. According to a calculation by Reuters, an investment of $1000 in bitcoins at the beginning of 2013 would be worth around $1.2 million now.…

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)    

Banks and Non-performing Assets Prabhat Patnaik

What exactly constitutes a non-performing asset (NPA) of a bank is not easy to determine. Since banks tend to roll over credit to borrowers, whether the request for such a roll over arises in the normal course of business or owing to a fundamental inability to pay back the loan, is difficult to decide. The tendency of late therefore has been to see NPAs as an extreme case of a wider category called “stressed assets” which are defined according to certain criteria. The problem of NPAs has arisen in a serious form in recent times because of the change in…

How China is Managing Capital Flows – and why Jayati Ghosh

The global financial media are always on the lookout for signs of an impending financial crisis in China – and the dark prognostications about the future made by several external observers relate to both internal and external financial flows. But there are reasons to believe that both concerns may be overplayed, and that what is occurring especially with respect to cross-border flows is a much more complex process reflecting a medium-term plan of the Chinese state, in accordance with its much more assertive role in the global scene. There has been much discussion on rising internal debt levels, with analysts…

Trumping the NAFTA renegotiation: An alternative policy framework for Mexican-US cooperation and economic convergence Robert A. Blecker, Juan Carlos Moreno-Brid and Isabel Salat

NAFTA has utterly failed from a development standpoint and Mexico and US both need a new policy regime to reverse that rising inequality, secular stagnation, and regional divergences. If done with a cooperative spirit, the renegotiation of NAFTA can be a win-win for both, but a hasty US withdrawal from it would not work in favour of the average US and Mexican citizens. NAFTA_Renegotiation (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the World Economics Association)

Neo-Liberal Capitalism and its Crisis Prabhat Patnaik

“Neo-liberal capitalism” is the term used to describe the phase of capitalism where restrictions on the global flows of commodities and capital, including capital in the form of finance, have been substantially removed. Since such removal happens under pressure from globally-mobile (or international) finance capital, neo-liberal capitalism is characterized by the hegemony of international finance capital, with which the big capitals in particular countries get integrated, and which ensures that a common set of “neo-liberal” policies are pursued by all countries across the globe. The emergence of such international finance capital is itself the outcome of the process of centralization…

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 they are 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 particularly its adherence to fiscal austerity rules. Only a more progressive and more flexible union based on solidarity of peoples is likely to survive. Brexit_Economics (Download the full text in PDF format)

Trade Finance: Effects Of The Basel Capital Framework and Other Regulatory Developments Andrew Cornford

The impact of the Basel III capital adequacy framework requires detailed analysis. Have the rules relating to trade finance slowed down world trade? What are the implications for money laundering, and changes in banks' operations in response to global environmental challenges? Trade_Finance (Download the full text in PDF format)