Did the FM deliver for Farmers? Jayati Ghosh

For those with short memories, let’s remind ourselves that Arun Jaitley has been promising “top priority to farmers” for a while now. Indeed, this government came to power in 2014 promising to double farmers’ incomes in five years. Four years later, that goal post has been shifted, with all official documents now declaring that farmers’ incomes will be doubled by 2022, as per a “clarion call” given by Prime Minister Modi supposedly in 2017.  In fact, in Budget 2016-17, the Finance Minister had already announced a slew of measures that were supposed to double farmers’ incomes in five years, to…

The Budget and the Farmers: The government’s dilemma in 2018 Jayati Ghosh

It is widely expected that this Budget is going to be oriented towards farmers, at least in declared intent. The Finance Minister has already declared this – and even if he had not, the political pressures for it are now obvious. Persistent agricultural distress has been intensified by demonetisation; farmers have been openly protesting in various parts of the country; and the number of farm suicides has started climbing once again. But for this government, all that was not seen as much of a problem when elections were not around the corner. Now that there is a real chance that…

More Public Spending, Not Tax Cuts, for Sustainable, Inclusive Growth Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury

The Trump administration's promise to increase infrastructure spending should break the straightjacket the Republicans imposed on the Obama administration after capturing the US Congress in 2010. However, in proportionate terms, it falls far short of Roosevelt's New Deal effort to revive the US economy in the 1930s. To make matters worse, reducing budget deficits remains the main economic policy goal of all too many OECD governments. Governments tend to cut social spending if they can get away with it without paying too high a political price. But OECD governments' belief that social spending -- on health, education, childcare, etc. --…

A Universal Basic Income in India? Jayati Ghosh

There is a lot of buzz globally around the idea of a Universal Basic Income (or UBI). It is perceived as one way of coping with technology-induced unemployment that is projected to grow significantly in the near future, as well as reducing inequalities and increasing consumption demand in stagnant economies. Certainly there is much to be said for the idea, especially if it is to be achieved by taxing the rich and particularly those activities that are either socially less desirable or are generating larger surpluses because of technological changes. Indeed, that is precisely the proposal of the French Socialist…

Anti-national Economics Jayati Ghosh

As the air in India grows thick with accusations of being “anti-national”, it is worth taking a step back to consider what this means in political economy terms. After all, to characterise someone as “anti-national” you must first define what a nation is. Doing so in any meaningful way makes it clear that a nation is much more than territorially defined: a nation is ultimately its people. The nation remains the terrain on which rights of citizens can be demanded of the state, even though obviously the notion of universal human rights extends much beyond national boundaries. And the construction…

Tottering on the Brink Jayati Ghosh

What is it with women and high heeled shoes? Such shoes are known to be uncomfortable, unhealthy and even dangerous for those wearing them. Not only do they force the wearer's feet and body into unnatural positions, they are hard to stand or walk around in for any extended time, and prolonged use can lead to damage of internal reproductive organs. Despite what appear to be these rather obvious drawbacks, they still dominate in high-fashion female footwear – to the point where the higher the heels, the more expensive and fashionable the shoes are likely to be. They remain popular…

Recycling Global Imbalances Korkut Ertürk

Is the United States at long last getting serious about global imbalances, or are we risking currency wars that can end in unmitigated disaster for all? No one knows, though tension is on the rise with China. This much is certain: any advantage from a lower currency is a zero-sum gain for the world economy as a whole. At best, it is about how to distribute the pie, not about growing it. Until recently, many economists were not sure if global imbalances were something to be worried about at all. If markets always worked efficiently as most economists had accepted…

Surely Not the IMF Again? Jayati Ghosh

It has been some time now since the IMF lost its intellectual credibility, especially in the developing world. Its policy prescriptions were widely perceived to be rigid and unimaginative, applying a uniform approach to very different economies and contexts. They were also completely outdated even in theoretical terms, based on economic models and principles that have been refuted not only by more sophisticated heterodox analyses but also by further developments within neoclassical theory. What may have been more damning was how out of sync the policies proposed by the IMF have also been with the reality of economic processes in…

US Economic Recovery and the Unemployment Drag Sukanya Bose

The recent recession in the US economy has produced one of the longest lasting declines in employment growth.  The paper examines why the substantial increases in government military spending have been insufficient in stimulating a revival of employment. The reasons for the low responsiveness of private business spending and hence employment are then explored. US_Economic_Recovery (Download the full text in PDF format)