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…

Did developing countries really recover from the Global Crisis? C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

We are nearing the tenth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers in the United States that sparked a Global Financial Crisis,affecting every economy in significant ways. That crisis generated extraordinary monetary policy responses in the advanced economies, with low interest rates and unprecedented expansion of liquidity, in an effort largely driven by central banks to keep their economies afloat. By contrast, expansionary fiscal policy was barely used after the first initial stimulus. In the event, even with these incredibly loose monetary policies, the advanced economies have generally spluttered along, with periodic hopes of recovery dashed by repeated slowdowns –…

Has Donald Trump Already Changed US Trade? C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

There is no doubt that President Trump is upending global trade. He has unleashed a trade war with China as well as with some of the US’ s purported allies, using grounds of “threats to national security” to impose tariffs on many US imports. The likely retaliation will obviously affect some US exports in turn. The trajectory of world trade suddenly looks quite uncertain – and this will also depress investment across the trading world. So the Trump effect on world trade is clearly just beginning. But the naked self-interest of Trump’s moves, the “America first” orientation declared by the…

The Misplaced Growth Discourse C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

With the GDP estimates for the fourth quarter of 2017-18 placing growth relative to the corresponding quarter of the previous year at 7.7 per cent, talk of India being the world’s fastest growing economy has revived. Moreover, since the year-on-year quarterly growth rates have risen from 5.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2017-18 to 6.3, 7.0 and 7.7 per cent in the subsequent three-quarters, there is talk that India is once more on a trajectory of accelerating growth (Chart 1). However, the story emerging from the provisional annual figures (which are also now available) is at variance with…

Once again, the Oil Price Scare C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

The news last week that prices of Brent Crude oil (which is used as a global benchmark) had crossed $80 a barrel in some markets must have created shock waves in policy circles of many countries, especially India. Many oil-importing countries had grown comfortable with – and even complacent about – the relatively low oil prices that persisted after their precipitous drop in the middle of 2014. As Chart 1 shows, average oil prices feel very sharply after June 2014, falling by 56 per cent just in the months until January 2015, and by more than 70 per cent from…

Ashok Mitra, a Man who was Equally Committed Politically and Personally Jayati Ghosh

For those who were victimised or isolated for dissident views, of whatever description, there was a special place in Ashok Mitra's heart. (The Bengali version of this article is being published in Arek Rakam, a journal that Ashok Mitra helped set up as its first editor.) It is a privilege to be able to write about Ashok Mitra in the journal that was probably the last love of his life. In a way, the very existence of Arek Rakam describes much about the man himself and his extraordinary capacities. Think of someone already into his ninth decade, having the enthusiasm and energy to…

A Singular Person Jayati Ghosh

There are some people who are hard to classify, in terms of achievement or contribution to society or personality, and Ashok Mitra is one of them. Economist, policymaker, writer, organic intellectual, politician, litterateur, legislator: he has been all of these at different times, and often several of them together. In a remarkable life spanning nearly nine decades, he has also shown an amazing ability to integrate the personal and the political, the individual and the social, and the emotional and the rational in ways that express both the contradictions and the sublimity of being truly human. But even among these…

Former Bengal Finance Minister was a polymath member of significant groups Jayati Ghosh

Ashok Mitra was one of the most remarkable personalities of Independent India. A polymath who spanned technical economics, literature, policy and politics, he brought to all of these his distinctive flair, razor-sharp intelligence, and enormous energy and passion. His death — in Kolkata on Tuesday after almost a month’s stay in hospital for diarrhoea and later respiratory problems — marks the end of multiple eras, as he was the last surviving member of several significant groups: the influential progressive economists who in the 1950s laid the groundwork for economic strategies of the subsequent decades; the founder trustees of the Economic Weekly (later Economic…