International conference on ”The Crisis of Neo-liberalism in India: Challenges and Alternatives” Organised by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai and International Development Economics Associates (IDEAs), 13 -15, March 2009.

Programme Schedule (click to download)

Introduction: The context

The current global economic crisis – reflected in stock market crashes, growth slowdowns, banking crises, capital flights and large job losses – has indeed halted the march of neo-liberalism as the dominant ideology of our times. It marks the end of a phase in which finance enjoyed historically unprecedented rights and privileges in deciding economic policy. The crisis has forced Western governments to intervene, regulate, and even nationalise financial institutions.

Though the process of financial liberalisation began much later in Asia than it did in Latin America, recent decades had witnessed rapid liberalisation leading to a restructuring of financial sectors in the region. The first indication that this can have adverse macroeconomic and welfare effects came with the severe financial crises that afflicted several South-East Asian countries in 1997. While these countries have substantially recovered ground since then, that experience did not slow the pace of subsequent financial liberalisation. As a result, financial volatility has been a persisting phenomenon and has finally culminated in the global financial crisis, triggered by the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the United States.

While much has been written on the financial crisis per se, its effects on the real economy and the mechanisms-international and domestic-through which those effects are transmitted are only now being understood. Analysing these processes and outcomes is, needless to say, crucial to the formulation of appropriate responses to the crisis globally and individual countries.

In India, financial liberalisation was the centrepiece of the larger programme of ”economic reform.” Much of the prescriptions of the WC found their echo in the post-1991 economic reform programme in India. The programme began with a radical programme of stabilization and structural adjustment, assisted by the World Bank and the IMF. Immediate measures of macroeconomic stabilization, fiscal correction, exchange rate adjustment, monetary targets and inflation controls were announced. These stabilization measures were to be supplemented by structural reform measures, which included industrial deregulation, liberalisation of foreign direct investment, trade liberalisation, overhauling of public enterprises and financial sector reforms. In the initial period, the liberalization of the agricultural sector proceeded only slowly. However, over the years, the pace of reforms in the agricultural sector was also accelerated.

The onset of the global financial crisis provides an ideal opportunity to discuss the effects of the new economic regime, with financial liberalisation at its core, on the real economy, with special focus on the living and working conditions of the Indian people. The proposed conference has been conceptualised with this broad objective in mind.

List of Papers presented in the Conference (Click the title to download)

  1. Jomo K. Sundaram, “The Global Crisis” (Presentation)
  2. Sanjay G. Reddy, – Paper not received –