A Year of Wilful Economic Disaster Prabhat Patnaik

The uniqueness of 2017 lies in the fact that never before has the country seen a government-caused economic crisis as serious as was witnessed in this year. There have certainly been worse years for the people, such as 1965-66, 1966-67, and 1973-74, each of which saw massive inflation. But these were years when economic hardships occurred for reasons that had nothing to do proximately with government policy. 1965-66 and 1966-67 when the “Bihar famine” had occurred, had seen a sharp drop in food grains output, a drop that had lasted two years. The probability of such an event, statisticians told…

The Hamburg Fiasco C. P. Chandrasekhar

The summit of the leaders of G20 meetings that met in Hamburg early July was nothing short of a fiasco. Outside the meeting, the massive protest demonstration and the unwarranted aggression of a huge police force made clear that these leaders lacked legitimacy. Inside, all that could be achieved was a “unanimous” communique, in which in language rendered almost meaningless by diplomacy, the contrary opinions of the leaders, especially the differences between the US and the other 19, were spelt out. To the credit of the drafters of the declaration it must be said that they managed one half-truth at…

Misconceptions about Neo-Liberalism Prabhat Patnaik

Neo-liberalism is often seen only as an economic policy. This per se might not matter, since a specific set of economic measures do, no doubt, fall under the rubric of neo-liberalism. But by reducing neo-liberalism only to a set of economic measures, a misleading impression is often conveyed that this set of measures are a matter of choice on the part of the ruling bourgeois political formation, i.e. that a “non-neo-liberal” set of measures could also be followed, even in conditions of contemporary capitalism, if only the bourgeois political formation ensconced in government had decided to do so. Reducing neo-liberalism…

Spain: Shaken by crisis Jayati Ghosh

Barcelona is an extraordinary city. It is obviously memorable for its fantastic architecture, dominated by the impressive, quirky, imaginative and joyful creations of Antonio Gaudi and other architects of the “modernista” tradition of the early 20th century. It was home to some of the most interesting artistic innovators of the twentieth century – from the artists Picasso and Joan Miro to the musicians Isaac Albeniz and Enrique Granados. It has amazing food, in which the glories of being near to the sea are adequately reflected, and it is clear that in this city the manifold pleasures of eating and drinking…

Appreciating Argentina Jayati Ghosh

It used to be called the "Paris of the South" – and there is no doubt that Buenos Aires is a beautiful city with a very European feel. To the outside observer, it does not even appear to be in a developing country, not least because the resident population is almost completely dominated by relatively recent European migrants of the past century and a half. Indeed, Argentina is still much richer and more developed than most countries in the world, and in Buenos Aires the evidence of past splendour still dominates in the wide boulevards and imposing classical architecture that…

Argentine President Bows to IMF and Banks

On May 30, 2002, the Argentine senate voted to repeal the 1974 economic subversion law criminalising bad business decisions and capital flight in an effort to meet conditions set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for issuing new loans to the debt-ridden nation. Senate President Juan Carlos Maqueda broke a 34-34 tie to pass the repeal after weeks of procrastination. Charges pending under the law against several bankers – including one currently in jail – will now be dropped. Those in support of the removal of the law said other existing laws were adequate to protect the bankrupt country against…