The Emerging International Regime Prabhat Patnaik

Third world economies are now facing a reduced export demand for their goods and services for two distinct reasons. One is the world capitalist crisis which entails a reduced aggregate demand in the world economy and hence reduced aggregate exports for all countries taken together; the other is the protectionism of the U.S., which, by garnering for that country a larger share than it would have otherwise had of this reduced world market, leaves correspondingly less for others. Since the imports of several of these third world countries are more sluggish to change, these countries face an enlarged trade deficit,…

Contemporary Capitalism and The World Of Work Prabhat Patnaik

The most significant feature of contemporary capitalism which is of relevance to the world of work is its inability to provide work to a substantial proportion of persons looking for it. This is not just a matter of economic denial, which itself can have important implications for such phenomena as hunger and crime; it also has deep socio-psychological implications of which at least two must be noted. One is the loss of self-esteem among the unemployed which leads inter alia to drug and alcohol abuse and high mortality rates as a consequence. This has been noticed even in an advanced…

Vilifying the Intelligentsia Prabhat Patnaik

Narendra  Modi said the other day, rather disparagingly, that the “Urban Naxals” live in air-conditioned comfort. Since all who speak or write in public upholding the right to dissent from the Hindutva positions, including even known critics of the Left, which means virtually all members of the intelligentsia who display any integrity, have been dubbed “Urban Naxals” by his government, his remark in effect amounts to targeting the entire intelligentsia. His remark constitutes an utterly crude attempt to delegitimise any intellectual position that is unpalatable for the government, by suggesting that those who hold such positions live in comfort and…

Neo-liberalism and the Diffusion of Development

The level of economic activity under capitalism is subject to prolonged ebbs and flows. When the economy is on an upswing, this very fact acts as an elixir that emboldens capitalists, who begin to expect that the “good times” are going to continue; this makes them less worried about taking risks, more “adventurous”, and hence more prone to taking “bolder” decisions in their asset preference. And because of this they also undertake investment in physical assets like construction, equipment and machinery which makes the boom continue, and thereby justifies their euphoria. The opposite happens when there is a downturn. It…

A Heart-Rending Episode Prabhat Patnaik

This year marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Bengal famine of 1943, a heart-rending episode in which 3 million persons died, and which epitomized the callousness of imperialism. The scale of devastation can be understood if we remember that in the United Kingdom, taking civilian and military casualties together, the total loss of life during the entire Second World War was just 0.45 million and in the U.S. 0.42 million. In Germany itself the loss has been estimated as anywhere between 6.6 and 8.8 million and in the Soviet Union which suffered the most at around 24 million. To say…

The Modi Government’s spat with The RBI Prabhat Patnaik

The Modi government’s spat with the Reserve Bank of India, like its sudden resurrection of the Ram temple project, indicates the desperation it feels at its dwindling electoral appeal. Having dealt a huge blow to the small-scale sector through its measures like demonetization and the GST, having aggravated through its inaction the impact on the Indian economy of the world capitalist crisis, and of Trump’s protectionism that has followed, it is now quite desperate to salvage some support for itself as the Lok Sabha elections approach. Since mere grandiose announcements such as Ayushman Bharat or doubling agricultural incomes can no…

The Government-RBI Stand-Off Prabhat Patnaik

The stand-off between the Modi government and the Reserve Bank of India has generated a false discourse on the one hand and an illusion on the other. In this discourse the RBI’s position, articulated  by its Deputy Governor, is that central bank policy has to be guided by financial markets rather than by a government headed by politicians with electoral compulsions and “populist” agendas. This is obviously an  undemocratic position, for it amounts to saying that crucial decisions affecting people’s lives should be outside their sphere of intervention through the electoral process. It is also a dangerous position, since financial…

The Left and Opposition Unity Prabhat Patnaik

The real obstacle to understanding, or even recognizing, contemporary fascism alas is the memory of the 1930s. The fact that we have fascists in power in India, at the helm of a liberal bourgeois State, is indubitable: the RSS, which they belong to and swear by, has made no secret of its admiration for classical fascism. But we do not have a classical fascist State, and are not moving towards it at break-neck speed, as the Nazis in power had effected. This is what makes many people question whether we are at all confronting fascism. From the prism of the…

The Time is ripe for Unity Prabhat Patnaik

On September 5 an event of great significance occurred in the capital: more than 1.5 lakh workers, peasants and agricultural labourers staged a rally on Parliament Street. The capital has certainly seen much bigger rallies in the past, but not in the recent past. In fact, one had almost forgotten the Boat Club rallies of yore, and come to believe that a new era had come when, notwithstanding great hardships, people were reluctant to hold mass demonstrations, at least along class lines. The September 5 rally was significant not just for removing this impression; it brought together for the first…

Ayushman Bharat Prabhat Patnaik

The fraudulence of the claim made by the Modi government with regard to the “Ayushman Bharat” scheme launched recently surpasses all its previous efforts. This is hardly surprising for a government for which what matters is not what it actually does but how it creates perceptions about what it is doing. The Ayushman Bharat scheme consists of two separate parts. One is the creation of 150000 “Health and Wellness Centres” which are simply the old primary health centres given a new fancy name, and for each of which the 2018-19 Union budget allocates a mere Rs.80000. This obviously cannot even…