Can the RBI’s open market operations help the rupee? C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

The recent depreciation of the rupee has created consternation among those who need to buy foreign exchange. It has also caused panic in the stock markets, whose decline partly reflects the exit of foreign investors, which contributes to the rupee’s fall. It spells further trouble for companies that borrowed heavily in foreign currency, encouraged by lower interest rates abroad. It adds to domestic inflationary pressures that were already rising with higher global oil prices, which have been mostly passed on to domestic consumers. While the recent slide in the rupee’s value is particularly steep, it is part of a longer…

Understanding Farmers’ Rage Jayati Ghosh

The eruption of farmers’ agitations across India is beyond anything that has been seen in India since the late 1980s. At that time, such outrage presaged a change of government, with the rise to power of a coalition of parties with some more identified with farmers’ interests. Then, for around two decades, cultivators somehow lost their voice in national politics, even as neoliberal policy reforms made their situation more vulnerable. The agrarian crisis that festered from the late 1990s and then exploded in the mid 2000s had its origins in the combination of trade liberalisation (which exposed Indian cultivators to…

India’s External Vulnerability C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

The government’s confused policy response to the rupee’s decline signals its growing concern about India’s external payments position in general, and the deteriorating current account balance, in particular. The rupee’s recent depreciation had initially been dismissed as reflecting global developments that affected all emerging markets, and not just India. In this view, expectations that developed country central banks would accelerate the process of unwinding their easy money policies and raising interest rates from near-zero levels were resulting in the exit of portfolio investors from emerging markets. Combined with increased demand for dollars to finance much more expensive oil imports, this…

Global Instability and the Development Project: Is the Twenty-First Century different? Jayati Ghosh

GLOBAL CAPITALISM TODAY: UNSTABLE, MORIBUND, OR JUST RESTING? Ever since the global financial crisis of 2008–2009, the trajectory of the world economy has been hesitant, unstable and prone to many risks. Output recovery has been limited and fragile; and, more significantly, even in the more dynamic economies, it has not increased good-quality employment or reduced inequality and material insecurity. Global capitalism as an economic regime is increasingly unable to deliver on its own promise of continuous expansion within a largely stable society. Even so, discussions of the ‘end’ of capitalism still typically seem overstated and futile, not least because those…

The State of the Indian Economy Jayati Ghosh

Only the blind or the foolhardy would claim that the Indian economy is in good shape. Despite the government’s obsession with high GDP growth – according to which the Indian economy is doing not just reasonably well but is among the best performers in the world – the fault lines are now only too evident: the external fragilities, the internal imbalances, the crisis in agriculture, the lack of employment opportunities, the rising inequality and the growing insecurity of material life for the majority of the population. Indeed, these problems are now so intense that they are clearly evident in plain…

The Real Problem with Free Trade Jayati Ghosh

Even if free trade is ultimately broadly beneficial, the fact remains that as trade has become freer, inequality has worsened. One major reason for this is that current global trade rules have enabled a few large firms to capture an ever-larger share of value-added, at a massive cost to economies, workers, and the environment. For full article click here (This article was originally published in the Project Syndicate on September 10, 2018)

Who’s manipulating China’s exchange rate? C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

A favourite trope of Northern economic policy makers – especially those in the United States – is that China systematically manipulates the exchange rate of the RenMinBi to ensure greater external competitiveness, and that this amounts to an unfair trade practice. While this has been a complaint of the US government for some years now, President Trump of the US has become a particularly strong advocate of this theory. Most recently, the recent (slight) depreciation of the Chinese RenMinBi (RMB or Yuan) relative to the US dollar has been met with howls of protest from Mr Trump and his trade…

Women’s work in India Jayati Ghosh

One of the difficulties with discussions on employment in India is the tendency to conflate employment and work. But employment is only that part of work that is remunerated, and in India a vast amount of work is actually unpaid and often not even socially recognised. Once we recognise that, a lot of what appears to be inexplicable about Indian employment trends becomes easier to understand. This is especially true of women’s work. There has been much discussion on the evidence from recent NSS large sample surveys on employment, of the significant decline in women’s workforce participation rates. The work…

Emergency 2.0 Jayati Ghosh

For many Indians, the period of the Emergency in the mid 1970s represents the blackest period for Indian democracy since Independence. As a student at University during that time, seeing the repression and fear all around and knowing some of the people who were imprisoned or otherwise persecuted for their views, I too shared that view – until very recently. Because what is happening now in India is in many ways is just as bad, and in some respects significantly worse. Just as during the Emergency, we have the arms of the state and its security powers used to intimidate…

Factory workers in India C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

Recent data from the Annual Survey of Industries, covering up to 2015-16, provide some interesting insights into the changing nature of industrial employment in India. In the decade up to 2015-16, there was a significant increase in the number of factory workers, by around 40 per cent. This expansion can be dated from around 2005-06 onwards and especially up to 2011-12. This is to be expected, given that that was the period of India’s economic boom, in which both construction and manufacturing industry showed higher rates of investment and output growth. While the aggregate numbers still remain low for an…