Budget 2017-18: Social spending Jayati Ghosh

The Modi government over the past three years has not been noted for its generosity towards the social sector and spending to meet goals of improving human development. Indeed, if the past were any guide, there would be little reason to expect much increase in social sector budgetary outlays on the part of the central government. However, this year, for various reasons, analysts were led to expect that there would be at least some change from the fiscal disdain the government has shown in the past to this area. After all, the failed demonetisation has severely dented living standards of…

“Government by Discussion” Prabhat Patnaik

Professor Amartya Sen in his new book Collective Choice and Social Welfare which is a considerably expanded and updated version of his 1970 book with the same title, emphasizes that democracy must be understood as “government by discussion”. The idea of democracy being “government by discussion” really belongs to John Stuart Mill, though this particular phrase was coined by Walter Bagehot. The appeal of the idea lies in the fact that if government decisions are taken after public deliberations, then their opaqueness disappears; associated with it is a narrowing of the gap between those who “govern” and those who are…

Budget 2017-18: Blinded by neoliberalism C. P. Chandrasekhar

In an insipid speech that was repeatedly misread, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented on 1 February the contours of a budget that was shockingly short of substance. It left disappointed those who expected that policies to compensate sections hurt by the demonetisation experiment would be included and those who were looking for some measures to counter the demand slump afflicting the economy that had been aggravated by the demonetisation. It also surprised those who thought that the budget would be forced to expand aggregate expenditure and social spending to win voter support in the elections to the five assembly elections…

Free trade agreements, Trade Policy and Multilateralism

  The rapid, if sometimes unsteady expansion of international trade from the late 1980s came to an abrupt end from 2009[1] as many large developed economies adopted more ‘protectionist’ policies to address balance of payments problems exacerbated by the 2008-2009financial crisis. This U-turn brought a halt to an extraordinary period of rapid trade expansion due to much greater international specialization, especially with the spread of ‘international value chains’ in production.   Free trade agreements Freetrade agreements (FTAs) are generally presumed to promote trade liberalization. While FTAs typically reduce some barriers to the international trade in goods and services, various provisions…

Euroland: Will the Netherlands be the next domino to fall? Servaas Storm

The Dutch go the polls on March 15, a few weeks ahead of the French vote to choose the successor to Président François Hollande and well before Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel seeks a fourth term in September. The Dutch vote takes on a wider European significance, however, because Dutch voters — who rebelled against a EU ‘constitution’ in 2005 and last year rejected the association treaty between the EU and Ukraine in a referendum — have in the past proved to be a good gauge of European sentiment. Click to read the full article

Revolutions conference organised by the Geopolitical Economy Research Group, September 29-October 1, 2017, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. Keynote Speakers, journal publication, supporting organizations and bursaries

The conference will feature keynote addresses from four very accomplished speakers whose work is representative of the diverse features and geographies of revolutions past and present: Julia Buxton of the Central European University; Ruslan Dzarasov of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Domenico Losurdo of the Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo, and Gong Yun of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The conference will benefit greatly from the contributions of these scholars, as well as from the generous support of the following journals (to publish conference papers) and institutions: Capital and Class; Capitalism Socialism Nature; International Critical Thought; Marxism 21; Research in Political Economy; Review of African Political Economy; Third World Quarterly; World Review…

Call for Papers for the 65th Annual Conference of the Japan Society of Political Economy (JSPE), October 28-29, 2017, Chuo University,Tokyo Japan.

This year marks 150 years since the publication of Marx’s Capital and 100 years since the publication of Lenin’s Imperialism. Both books have played essential roles in advancing knowledge of capitalism both theoretically and historically.Yet, intense controversy has swirled around the legacies of each.However,the most precise understanding to date is that we should analyse the deep structural operating system of capitalism grounded in Marx’s Capital as the basic theory of capitalism. Lenin’s Imperialism is best apprehended as the pioneering attempt to build a stage theory of capitalist development. In the 65th annual conference of the JSPE we will discuss the…

Washington Rules Change, Again Jomo Kwame Sundaram

Over the last four decades, the Washington Consensus, promoting economic liberalization, globalization and privatization, reversed four decades of an earlier period of active state intervention to accelerate and stabilize more inclusive economic growth, associated with Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John Maynard Keynes. The Golden Age The US Wall Street Crash of 1929 led to the Great Depression, which in turn engendered two important policy responses in 1933 with lasting consequences for generations to come: US President Roosevelt’s New Deal and the 1933 Glass-Steagal Act. While massive spending following American entry into the Second World War was clearly decisive in ending…

Differing Concepts of Populism Prabhat Patnaik

The same term is often employed by different people with different meanings, and this can be a source of immense confusion. The World Bank has done this to good effect in the past, taking over terms that are being used in a particular sense, especially by the Left, and using them in a very different sense, in order to create deliberate confusion and exploit in some way the sympathetic feeling that the term had attracted from people in its initial usage. “Structural adjustment” is a prime example of such appropriation by the World Bank. In its initial usage it had…