Commoditization and The Public Sphere Prabhat Patnaik

Central to liberalism is a distinction between two spheres, the sphere of the market (or more generally of the economy) where individuals and firms interact to exchange their wares; and the sphere of public discourse where individuals interact as citizens of a polity to debate and determine the actions of the State. The importance that liberals attach to this second sphere was underscored by Walter Bagehot, the nineteenth century British essayist of liberal persuasion, who had lauded democracy as “government by discussion”. He had thereby emphasized two basic liberal political tenets, namely the role of public discourse and need for…

Public Banks: Dressing up for the market C. P. Chandrasekhar

When the government presented its third supplementary demand for grants to the winter session of parliament, the list of expenditures included Rs. 80,000 crore for a first tranche investment in equity of the public sector banks to recapitalize them. This was a clear declaration that the government intended to go through with its plan to provide as much Rs. 1.35 lakh crore from its budget to recapitalize banks that are recording losses, as they recognize and provide for non-performing assets accumulated substantially from debt provided to a few large corporates. The recapitalisation plan announced in October 2017 promises to infuse…

Foreign Investor Appetite C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

A brief decline in portfolio inflows into equity markets has raised the question whether foreign investment flows into India have peaked. The evidence of investments in debt markets suggest otherwise. That, however, need not be all good news. Foreign_Investor_Appetite (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally posted in the Business Line on September 11 2015)

Leadership Failure Perpetuates Stagnation Jomo Kwame Sundaram

What kind of leadership does the world need now? US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's leadership was undoubtedly extraordinary. His New Deal flew in the face of the contemporary economic orthodoxy, begun even before Keynes' General Theory was published in 1936. Roosevelt's legacy also includes creating the United Nations in 1945, after acknowledging the failure of the League of Nations to prevent the Second World War. He also insisted on ‘inclusive multilateralism' – which Churchill opposed, preferring a bilateral US-UK deal instead – by convening the 1944 United Nations Conference on Monetary and Financial Affairs at Bretton Woods with many developing…

Economics and the Assault on the Market Luiz Carlos Bresser-Pereira

State and market are institutions of society – its instruments for collective action, the main tools each society has to attain its objectives. The state is the fundamental instrument; and the market, socially constructed and politically regulated, is its complement. While liberalism emerged in the 18th century to fight an autocratic state, neoliberalism mounted a political assault against the state in the name of the market, and eventually also attacked the market. Neoclassical macroeconomics and public choice theory were the meta-ideologies that gave to this assault a “scientific” and mathematical allure. economics_assault (Download the full text in PDF format)

China’s African Hinterland C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

China’s growing presence in Africa has led to arguments that the country is seeking to meet its growing requirements of primary products, including oil, by building a relationship reminiscent of a colonial past with many African countries. In this article, the authors examine what the evidence reveals about this relationship. China_Hinterland (Download the full text in PDF format)

“Reclaiming Policy Space for Equitable Economic Development” Kari Polanyi Levitt

This paper argues that a revaluation of the three themes of development economics in terms of the relationships between the market and the state, trade and development, and growth and equity, points to a reversal of priorities prevailing in the past 20 years under the Washington Consensus. But the recent emphasis on economic growth must be replaced with an emphasis on the quality of life of the people. reclaiming_policy_space (Download the full text in PDF format)

New Man at the World Bank Arthur Macewan

Widely known as the architect of one of the most controversial U.S. wars, he became a symbol of an aggressive military approach to foreign affairs. Against widespread international opposition, he pushed ahead with an essentially unilateral U.S. military action in the name of "promoting democracy." Perhaps his most lasting legacy will be the perverted concept of destroying a country in order to save it. After his stint at the Department of Defense, he was selected by the U.S. president to head the World Bank. On the surface at least, it seemed a strange appointment. Here was a man thoroughly identified…

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…

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