The de-digitisation of India Jayati Ghosh

So it’s official: cash use is back in almost full force in the Indian economy. Cash withdrawals from ATM machines – a reasonable if incomplete proxy for the use of cash in the economy – are nearly back to the level of just before the demonetisation shock of 8 November 2016. RBI data on use of debit and credit cards to withdraw money from ATMs show that such withdrawals, which had collapsed to only Rs 850 billion in December 2016 largely because of the sheer unavailability of cash with such machines, amounted to Rs 2.27 trillion in July 2017, only…

Widowhood in India C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

Public policy has largely ignored specific problems of widows in India. And given their numbers, this exclusion can prove costly for society in general. Widowhood_India (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Business Line on October 9, 2017.)

Winner-take-all Political Funding Jayati Ghosh

It’s true: there’s a lot to be outraged about in India these days. The proliferation of heinous occurrences and very problematic policy choices is alarming, and the misinformation spread through official and unofficial media often makes things worse. All this can induce protest-fatigue and exhaustion from having to comprehend and then confront so many causes for concern and anguish on multiple fronts. This may be why there has (thus far at least) not been enough public outcry about something that will touch at the very core of our electoral democracy and erode it to the point where it could be…

Deras and Evangelicals Jayati Ghosh

At first sight, it seems completely inexplicable: a man convicted of rape of his own young followers in at least two cases and believed to have committed many more; also accused of murder in a case yet to be decided and forced castration of 400 men; who openly flaunts incredible wealth and shamelessly promotes his own family; a tech-savvy “rock star baba” with a penchant for wearing outlandish costumes and heavy jewellery, who is the multi-role hero of several films he has produced—this man presents himself as the religious and spiritual leader of tens of millions. And the bulk of…

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)

Sanitation workers in India Jayati Ghosh

How many deaths will it take till they know that too many people have died? In just 35 days between mid-July and mid-August this year, in the capital city of Delhi alone, ten sanitation workers died while they were engaged in the poorly paid and extremely hazardous task of manual scavenging. They were entering sewers to clean them, without adequate or even minimal precautions taken by the employers (like safety gear) that would allow these workers to deal with the noxious and even toxic gases, slippery floors, high walls and often very high temperatures in these sewers. Manual scavenging is…

The Triple Talaq verdict: Victory in one battle in a much longer war C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

The Supreme Court’s welcome verdict in the Triple Talaq case should bring public attention to the problems and needs of separated and divorced women across all religious communities in India. Triple_Talaq (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Business Line on August 28, 2017.)

150 years of ‘Das Kapital’: How relevant is Marx today? Jayati Ghosh

It is quite amazing that Karl Marx's Capital has survived and been continuously in print for the past century and a half. After all, this big, unwieldy book (more than 2000 pages of small print in three fat volumes) still has sections that are evidently incomplete. Even in the best translations, the writing is dense and difficult, constantly veering off into tangential points and pedantic debates with now unknown writers. The ideas are complex and cannot be understood quickly. In any case, the book aims to describe economic and social reality in 19th-century northwestern Europe - surely a context very…

What is really happening in Indian Manufacturing? C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh

Data on organised manufacturing production do not really capture the impact of demonetisation and its effects on demand, but looking at some sub-sectors of consumer non-durable goods provides more insight. Indian_Manufacturing (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Business Line on August 14, 2017.)

After Neoliberalism, what Next? Jayati Ghosh

We may be living through one of those moments in history that future historians will look back on as a watershed, a period of flux that marked a transition to quite different economic and social arrangements. Unfortunately, in human history a ‘moment’ can be a very long time, so long that it could be decades before the final shape of the new arrangements are even evident; and in the interim, there could be many ‘dead cat bounces’ of the current system. What is clear is that the established order – broadly defined as neoliberal globalised finance capitalism – is no…