East Asian Miracle Myth Making Jomo Kwame Sundaram

Even before the term ‘Washington Consensus’ (WC) was popularized, it was already coming under great criticism despite the ‘counter-revolutions’ against ‘development economics’ and Keynesian economics associated with Thatcherism and Reaganomics. At the World Bank, the Japanese Executive Director argued that the WC menu of policy advice and conditionalities had resulted in the 1980s’ ‘lost decade’ in Latin America and Africa. In contrast, the East Asian region had seen rapid growth and industrialization. At Japanese government expense, the Bank published the East Asian Miracle (EAM) volume in 1993. But instead of recognizing that the WC was in fact the problem, the volume contributed…

Demonetization as the Basis for a Fiscal Stimulus Prabhat Patnaik

A bizarre argument is doing the rounds these days. It states that the cash which gets disabled in the “black economy” because of the government’s demonetization measure, would enable the government to undertake an equivalent amount of expenditure with impunity; it can therefore spend more on infrastructure and other essential areas, or simply provide cash transfers to the people. BJP spokespersons who have been putting forward this argument, are promising transfers to everyone, in a manner reminiscent of Modi before the Lok Sabha elections, when he had promised that “black money” from Swiss Banks would be brought into the country…

Developing “Infrastructure” Prabhat Patnaik

The term “infrastructure” covers all sorts of things, from ports to roads to canals to bridges to building railway lines. Because it covers such a range of things, many of which appear to be useful, most people look upon “infrastructure” development as an indubitably desirable thing under all circumstances. Questions are scarcely asked about its worthwhileness when the government allocates larger resources for the “infrastructure” sector, or when it instructs public sector banks to give larger loans for “infrastructure” development. This way of looking at “infrastructure” however is grossly misleading. What is covered by the term “infrastructure” typically varies with…

Reeling under the Relief Measures Jayati Ghosh

Already some aspects of the post-tsunami relief measures in some of the worst affected areas like Aceh in Indonesia are adding to the continuing nightmare of local residents. The ability of international elites to turn every situation, no matter how tragic or desperate, to their own advantage, is of course legendary. Nevertheless, it still manages to shock and surprise when man-made or natural disasters quickly become arenas for reaping superprofits for international business, and are used to penetrate markets when they are particularly weakened. The newest name of the game is of course “reconstruction”, that useful all-encompassing term that covers…