Focus on Inequality Prabhat Patnaik

The World Bank and the IMF have started a new trend of late, of taking “progressive” positions in their publications even while insisting on the same old “conditionalities” in policy negotiations with particular countries. In accordance with this new trend these institutions have now got concerned with issues of poverty and inequality; and the World Bank has just brought out what is supposed to be the first of a series of annual publications tracking progress towards poverty removal and curtailment of inequality. This publication is called Poverty and Shared Prosperity. While I do not wish to review this publication here,…

Marxist Theory and the October Revolution Prabhat Patnaik

Marx’s theory when it was first presented had a far more profound impact on intellectual life in Russia than anywhere else. True, in Germany the entire working class movement, far stronger than elsewhere (the German Social Democrats used to bring out as many as 86 daily newspapers in that country on the eve of the first world war), was directly influenced by Marx, but this is quite different from influencing intellectual life in general. By Marx’s own admission one of the most perceptive reviews of Capital had appeared in Russia; and Lenin attests to the fact that in the Russia…

The Leninist Conjuncture Prabhat Patnaik

The basic theoretical presumption underlying the October Revolution was that because inter-imperialist rivalry had unleashed an epoch of wars that forced workers of different imperialist countries to kill each other across the trenches, capitalism had reached a climacteric. It had become historically “moribund”, ushering in an era of social revolutions, which would not just be confined to the advanced capitalist countries but would also encompass the oppressed countries whose peoples too got dragged into these wars as “canon-fodder”. What could hold back such revolutions was vacillation on the part of some sections of the working class deriving from the pusillanimity…

The TPP and U.S.Politics Prabhat Patnaik

A peculiar charade is being played out during the current U.S. election campaign. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which is an economic agreement between the U.S. and several Asian countries has been under negotiation for almost eight years now. For four of these eight years Hilary Clinton was the Secretary of State and hence directly supervising these negotiations; and even after she quit that job she has remained a prominent figure around the Obama administration, even if not part of it. And yet both the presidential candidates, not just Donald Trump but even Hilary Clinton, have disowned the TPP during their…

Minimum Wage and the Poverty Line Prabhat Patnaik

The criteria for determining the minimum wage have evolved in India over a long period of time. The basic guidelines set at the Indian Labour Conference have been subsequently improved upon by the Supreme Court in the early 1990s. As of now, the principles for setting the minimum wage after all these modifications stand as follows. The basic family unit for which the calculation is made is supposed to consist of four persons, a husband, wife and two children. These two children together constitute one consuming unit, so that one can say that the family has three consuming units altogether.…