Doyen of ‘Dependency Theory’ Sunanda Sen

Theotonio dos Santos (1936–2018), who passed away on 27 February in Rio de Janeiro, has been one of the major proponents of dependecia or dependency theory, along with Andre Gunder Frank, Giovanni Arrighi, Samir Amin and, to some extent, Immanuel M Wallerstein. Continuing to provide inspiration to large sections of people, including social scientists and activists in different parts of the world, dependency theory has been important for those interpreting the growing disparities between the advanced and the developing world. Santos had a particularly marked presence in Latin America, both through his writings and in his active involvement in political struggles against…

Multilateralism redux and the Havana Charter Richard Kozul-Wright

President Donald Trump’s tariff tantrum has provoked a mixture of disbelief and loathing, none more than from economic pundits who have deemed it irrelevant (for reducing the trade deficit), irresponsible (in damaging job prospects) and irrational (by weakening the global value chains on which American business depends). Much of this criticism hits the mark. But it is worked in to a meta-narrative about the end of the post-war liberal order that not only presents a flawed interpretation of history but one that is unlikely to help advance a policy agenda that speaks to the anxiety and anger that President Trump…

Trump’s Protectionism Prabhat Patnaik

On March 8 Donald Trump made an announcement which according to many has the potential of starting a global trade war. He announced that the U.S. would be raising tariffs on imported steel by 25 percent and tariffs on imported aluminium by 10 percent. Now, the WTO allows tariffs under certain circumstances, against for instance some country that is “unfairly” subsidizing its exports, or is dumping its goods, which means charging higher prices on the domestic market for the same goods that are sold cheap in the export market. It also allows tariffs under a “safeguard” clause whereby a country…

Not with a Bang but with a (prolonged) whimper Jayati Ghosh

It is probably obvious to everyone that global capitalism is in dire straits, notwithstanding the brave talking up of output recovery that now characterises almost every meeting of the international governing elite. Even so, discussions of the end of capitalism still typically seem overstated and futile, not least because those hoping and mobilising for bringing in an alternative system are everywhere so scattered, weak and demoralised. In effect, capitalism is the only game in town, which is why even in its current debilitated and even decrepit state, it fears no rivals. But maybe that is really not the point. Maybe…

To Eliminate Poverty, Better Understanding Needed Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury

As the United Nations' Second Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017) comes to an end, more self-congratulation is likely. Claims of victory in the war against poverty will be backed by recently released poverty estimates from the World Bank, entrusted by the UN system to monitor poverty. Mismeasuring Poverty The latest Bank data on global poverty suggests that 767 million people, or 10.7% of the world's population, live in extreme poverty, compared to some 42% of the world's population in 1981. Earlier figures suggested that most progress was due to East Asia, especially China. The Bank's international poverty line…

The Current Upsurge of Fascism Prabhat Patnaik

There is at present an upsurge of fascism all over the world, though it is often described as “nationalism” or “Right-wing populism”. Such terms however are misleading, and reflect a neo-liberal mindset. The pejorative use of the term “nationalism” serves implicitly to laud neo-liberal globalization as its contrast; it is also misleading because it does not distinguish between the “nationalism” of a Gandhi and the “nationalism” of a Hitler. Likewise, the term “populism” is used these days to characterize all redistributive or Welfare State measures, contrasting them unfavourably with neo-liberal measures of “development”; to apply it to the current fascist…

Jayati Ghosh speaks on ‘The complexities of success: Globalisation, inequality and economic insecurity in China and India’

Despite being the biggest beneficiaries of the recent phase of globalisation, India and China show rising inequalities, greater fragility and insecurity of material life for a significant section of the population. As well as environmental crises, insufficient employment generation and looming demographic challenges. Growth trajectories that have increased and relied upon inequalities of different kinds breed the invisible discontents of globalization.

One Belt, One Road, One Grand Design? Jayati Ghosh

It is a truism of history that rising powers tend to be the ones valorising “free” trade and more open and integrated national economies, just as waning powers tend to turn inwards. So it is no surprise that over the past half year, as the United States elected a President with an avowedly protectionist agenda (even if relatively little has been acted upon so far), China’s President has become the chief advocate of globalisation and more extensive trade and investment links across countries. This drumbeat reached a crescendo in mid-May 2017, at a summit in Beijing to celebrate the official…

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,…