Is shadow banking a serious threat in emerging markets? C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

Everyone seems to have woken up to the fact that global debt levels are too high and portent difficulties ahead. As Figure 1 indicates, the levels of credit to GDP, which were so high as to be unsustainable and resulted in the big crisis of 2008, have increased even more since then. There was a phase of deleveraging in the advanced economies until around 2014, and in developing countries and emerging markets until 2011, but since then, credit/debt has been expanding again. So much so that the credit GDP levels in 2017 were 15 per cent higher than in 2008…

The Indiscreet Aggression of the Bourgeoisie C. P. Chandrasekhar

Neoliberal economic policy—the framework of measures that preaches market fundamentalism but uses the state to engineer a redistribution of income and assets in favour of finance capital and big business—has lost its legitimacy. A huge financial crisis and a decade of recession or low growth, that have hurt most sections except the elite 1 per cent, have convinced the majority in many countries that neoliberalism is no alternative. That change in mood was revealed by the Brexit vote and the Trump victory among other developments. However, this has not setback but unleashed a new aggression on the part of the…

Engineering a New Crisis to resolve an Old One C.P. Chandasekhar

News that the US economy grew at 3 per cent during the hurricane-blighted third quarter of 2017, close to the 3.1 per cent recorded in the previous quarter, has once more revived claims that the world economy has left the Great Recession behind. There is one reason to discount this claim. Back to back 3 per cent annualized rates of growth in consecutive quarters has been observed more than once since the 2008 crisis. In fact, as recently as the second and third quarters of 2014, rates of GDP growth in the US stood at 4.6 and 5.2 per cent…

Debts that cannot be paid will not be Sabri Oncu

Total global debt has increased, growth has been slowing down since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2007 and has been rapidly decelerating after 2012. This may be a sign that the world has arrived at its debt carrying capacity or has even crossed it, meaning that capitalism is probably already insolvent. Debts_that_cannot_be_paid (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally posted in the Economic & Political Weekly on July 15, 2017.)

Negative Interest Rates: A symptom of the crisis or instrument for recovery C.P. Chandrasekhar

The failure of the macroeconomic stance of shifting away from fiscal policy to an almost exclusive reliance on monetary policy has led to the phenomenon of negative rates in countries other than the United States, and the first sign of even a partial recovery in that country has been enough to set off a reversal. negative_interest_rates (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Economic & Political Weekly, March 25, 2017 vol. LII no. 12)

Age of Uncertainty C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

With the US Federal Reserve deciding to exit the era of low interest rates even when growth in the rest of the world economy falters or remains sluggish, economic uncertainty intensifies. Age_Uncertainty (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Business Line on December 19, 2016)

Growing Inequality: Cause and Consequence of Financial Crisis Mah-Hui Lim

Rising inequality is among the root causes of the recent global financial crisis; and quantitative easing, the pill that was supposed to be the cure, has not only been ineffective but also has produced unintended consequences of rising inequality. growing_inequality (Download the full text in PDF format) (Mah-Hui Lim was formerly a post-doctoral fellow at Duke University and Assistant Professor at Temple University in the US, and an international banker. He serves as a city councillor in Penang island, Malaysia.)  

Poverty Cut by Growth Despite Policy Failure Jomo Kwame Sundaram

At the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000, world leaders committed to halve the share of people living on less than a dollar a day by 2015. The World Bank’s poverty line, set at $1/day in 1985, was adjusted to $1.25/day in 2005, an increase of 25% after two decades. This was then re-adjusted to $1.90/day in 2011/2012, an increase by half over 7 years! As these upward adjustments are supposed to reflect changes in the cost of living, but do not seem to parallel inflation or other related measures, they have raised more doubts about poverty line adjustments. The…

Poverty, Vulnerability and Social Protection Jomo Kwame Sundaram

According to the World Bank, the MDG target of halving the share of the poor was achieved by 2008, well in advance of 2015, the target year. However, increased unemployment and lower incomes in recent times remind us that poverty is not an unchanging attribute of a shrinking group, but rather, a condition that billions of vulnerable persons risk experiencing. Despite the various shortcomings of money measures of poverty, they nevertheless reflect the extent of vulnerability. For example, the estimated number of poor globally in 2012 more than doubles from 902 million to 2.1 billion when one raises the poverty…

Economic Recovery Needed To Enhance Food Security Jomo Kwame Sundaram

After a half century of decline, agricultural commodity prices rose with oil prices in the 1970s, and again for a decade until 2014. Food prices rose sharply from the middle of the last decade, but have been declining since 2012, and especially since last year, triggering concerns of declining investments by farmers. Earlier predictions of permanently high food prices have thus become less credible. Higher prices were said to reflect slowing supply growth as demand continues to grow with rising food needs for humans and livestock, and bio-fuel mandates introduced a decade ago on both sides of the North Atlantic.…