A Dangerous Period Prabhat Patnaik

For over half a century after the second world war, fascism had ceased to be a serious political force anywhere. There were no doubt many authoritarian, even murderous, regimes, and military dictatorships, especially in the third world, often installed through CIA-backed coups against progressive nationalist governments, and enjoying the tacit support of the U.S. But these must be distinguished from fascist regimes, which rely on mass political mobilization by arousing hatred against some hapless minority. For people of my generation, and several succeeding ones, the main contest appeared to be between liberalism and socialism. There were I believe, two major…

Moody’s Upgrade Prabhat Patnaik

Credit-rating agencies, discredited by the collapse of the housing bubble in the United States when they had blithely endorsed all so-called “sub-prime lending”, are now crawling out of the woodwork, and the Indian establishment is predictably impressed by the sight. Moody’s have just upgraded India’s credit rating marginally and the BJP is beside itself with joy. Surprisingly, much of the media too have flashed the story of the upgrade as if India’s status being raised from Baa3 to Baa2 is a matter that calls for great jubilation. Now, the criteria used by finance capital for judging the performance of a…

Beyond Fantasies of Industry 4.0, Where Global Capital Has No Answers Erinç Yeldan

Together with the collapse of the Soviet system, China’s and India’s opening up to the global markets have added 1.5 billion new workers to the world’s economically active supply of wage-labor.  This meant almost a doubling of the global labor force and a reduction of the global capital-labor ratio by half.  With intensified pressures of unemployment looming everywhere, wage earners had witnessed a race to the bottom not only of their wage remunerations, but also of their social rights and work conditions. Complemented with the neoliberal policies invoking flexibility and privatization, global wage-labor had suffered serious informalization and vulnerability, consequent…

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…

Twenty Years after The Asian Financial Crisis Prabhat Patnaik

Exactly twenty years ago, a major financial crisis had hit the countries of East and South East Asia in July 1997. This crisis was a watershed in the history of third world development, in the sense that these “tiger economies” which had seen extraordinarily high growth rates until that time, remained permanently crippled thereafter. Just around the time that they were shaking off the effects of the 1997 crisis on their respective economies, the collapse of the “housing bubble” in the United States plunged the entire world capitalist system into a crisis which also affected them, so that they could…

Growing class Resistance Against “Globalization” Prabhat Patnaik

The term “globalization”, though much used, is extremely misleading, as is its presumed “other”, “nationalism”. This is because both terms are used as blanket terms without any reference to their class content, as if there can be only one kind of “globalization” and only one kind of “nationalism”. Using concepts detached from their class content is a favourite ploy of bourgeois ideology: what it amounts to is to confer universality on concepts that essentially belong only to the bourgeois discourse, as if this is the only universe of discourse possible and all choices are confined only to alternative trajectories within…

Why workers lose C.P. Chandrasekhar

A long-acknowledged feature of global development since the 1970s is that in many countries—advanced and poor—those at the bottom of the income pyramid have benefited little, if at all, from whatever growth has occurred. One empirical outcome of that tendency has been a decline in the shares of labour in national income over time. While this has been noted earlier, it has become the focus of attention recently because of evidence of a popular backlash against globalisation as reflected in the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, the Donald Trump victory in the United States, and the rise of Far-Right…

Ideological Struggles in Contemporary Capitalism Prabhat Patnaik

Globalization has brought acute distress to the working people all over the world. This distress is not confined only to the period of the post-housing-bubble crisis; nor is it confined only to the workers of the advanced capitalist countries. Joseph Stiglitz’s finding that the average real wage of a male American worker in 2011 was somewhat lower than in 1968 clearly suggests that this distress has had a long duration. Likewise the presumption that the distress afflicts only the advanced country workers whose job opportunities have shrunk because metropolitan capital has been relocating economic activity to low-wage third world countries,…

The End of Globalization? Prabhat Patnaik

Donald Trump’s recipe for reviving employment in the U.S. economy is to impose restrictions on imports from other countries. If at the same time he had taken steps to increase the level of aggregate demand in the U.S. in other ways, such as through increasing State expenditure financed by a fiscal deficit, then restricting imports from other countries would not lead to a reduction in the magnitude of such imports in absolute terms. It would not, in such a case, cause any unemployment in other countries for the sake of boosting employment in the U.S. Put differently, it would not…

Once More on “The Humbug of Finance” Prabhat Patnaik

The renowned economist Joan Robinson had referred to the view that the government’s budget should always be balanced, as the “humbug of finance” (Robinson 1962), namely as a false proposition with no theoretical merit which was nonetheless promoted by finance capital. These days of course the insistence is not exactly on balancing the budget as was the case during the pre-second world war years. A certain amount of fiscal deficit relative to GDP, usually 3 percent, is considered “permissible”, though it is not clear what is so sacrosanct about the figure 3 and why 3 is better than zero. But…