A Misleading Debate
Jan 10th 2019, Prabhat Patnaik

The government's desire to use RBI’s reserve is based on the erroneous theoretical understanding. This faulty formulation results from the need to avoid upsetting global finance.

The Furore over Farm Debt
Jan 4th 2019, C.P. Chandrasekhar

Agrarian crisis is a direct result of the neo-liberal fiscal regime, which advocates tax incentives for finance, the corporate sector, and the rich in general, and tight control over government borrowing; all this has resulted in long-term neglect of agriculture. Now the measures to provide relief to farmers are being opposed by neo-liberal advocates on the grounds that it will violate fiscal prudence and yet not resolve the problem created by neo liberal fiscal regime in the first place.

Do 'Markets' talk Sense?
Dec 20th 2018, C.P. Chandrasekhar

Markets never were nor can be “rational”, they cannot be sensible enough to discipline governments and central banks to do the right thing. Rather, they have in recent decades forced central banks to adopt measures that fuel speculation, and are therefore patently wrong.

"Wageless Growth" not "Jobless Growth" the new conundrum
Dec 17th 2018, C.P. Chandrasekhar

The 'synchronised recovery' that global policy makers are periodically referring to has bypassed much of the world’s working people. If growth is improving and unemployment is on the decline, then one should expect that wage growth would improve. The fact that it is falling poses a conundrum.

The Yellow Vest Movement
Dec 17th 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
Nothing shows the crisis of neo-liberal capitalism more clearly than the popular uprising in France that is occurring under the banner of the “Yellow Vest” movement. The movement might have started as a protest against diesel price-hikes, but is now drawing huge support from the people as it takes on a more general character.
The Modi Government, the RBI Governor and the Mess that is the Indian Economy
Dec 11th 2018, Jayati Ghosh

The resignation of Urjit Patel from the governorship of RBI raises questions about what could have possibly caused such a drastic step. While the tussle between the central bank and the government provides an immediate context, there is a need to look at the depth of the mess that the Indian economy finds itself in.

On taking Sides in the RBI-government Stand-off
Nov 27th 2018, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The government has crossed the red line in recent times, influenced in part by the mess its policies have created and substantially by the need to win voter support in the impending elections. This clearly is an area where the RBIs willingness to stand up to the government's demands needs appreciation, But these gestures should not be treated as a spat in which the RBI is free of blame and only the government is remiss. The central bank too needs to shed its biased neoliberal perspective and admit to responsibility for its past acts of commission and omission that have also contributed to the current mess in the economy.
Vilifying the Intelligentsia
Nov 26th 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
Government's debunking of intellectuals who are not with them amounts in effect to running down all intellectuals: all intellectuals are perceived by them to be actual or potential threats in varying degrees. In short they oppose the very activity of intellection.
Who Should Control India’s Central Bank?
Nov 15th 2018, Jayati Ghosh
The standoff between India's government and the Reserve Bank of India isn't problematic because of the risk of infringing on central-bank independence. It is problematic because, rather than fighting to protect the public interest, the government's goal is to revive irresponsible bank lending, protect its cronies, and win votes.
The Modi Government’s Spat with the RBI
Nov 12th 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
The Modi government's spat with the RBI is rooted in the structural characteristic of neo-liberalism. This entire debate has arisen as a fall-out of neo-liberalism, of the contradictions that inevitably arise in a neo-liberal economy between the compulsion on the part of the government to please international finance and its need to win elections. Expenditures have to be stepped up for the latter, while international finance disapproves of such stepping up.
The Government-RBI Stand-off
Nov 6th 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
The current discourse around government-RBI relations suggests as if there are only two choices, one where market determines RBI policy and the other where government determines RBI policy. However, the root of the problem lies in the structure of the neo-liberal regime itself, which allows too few policy instruments to achieve a number of objectives.
India's Central Bank and Finance Ministry Must Introspect Before Rushing to Battle
Nov 5th 2018, Sunanda Sen
The conflict represents the need for an honest attempt to identify lapses in financial governance and remedies that do not encroach on each other's responsibilities as well as rights.
The Tumbling Rupee
Nov 1st 2018, Prasenjit Bose and Zico Dasgupta
Unless policy measures address the structural problems underlying India's current account imbalance, piecemeal steps like tariff hikes would fail to stall the tumbling rupee. There is an urgent need to bring down the import intensity of the growth process it, besides gradually moving away from high fossil fuel dependence over the longer term. It is high time to impose some curbs on volatile capital flows, which aids and abets bubble-building only to inflict currency meltdowns in future.
Modicare: A revolutionary step or a 'giant leap backwards'?
Oct 18th 2018, Rohit Azad and Subhanil Chowdhury
A comparison between Modi Government's Ayushman Bharat Programme and Obamacare in terms of coverage and budgetary allocation shows that the prior does not come close to Obamacare, especially with regard to effective coverage. The question of whether insurance-based healthcare system is better than public provisioning of healthcare stands at the heart of an analysis of the scheme in India.
External Commercial Borrowings: Difficult times ahead
Oct 12th 2018, Parthapratim Pal and Ahana Bose
The rise in the short term benchmark interest rates by the Federal Reserve of United States may lead to higher capital outflows for India. This would result in increased downward pressure on the rupee, and with the oil prices rising in light of the sanctions on oil exports from Iran, international borrowing is becoming costlier, and will become even more so in the short to medium term.
Understanding Farmers' Rage
Oct 3rd 2018, Jayati Ghosh
The recent eruption of farmers’ agitations across India is another case in the current phase of rural discontent. While the anger of the cultivators is being expressed in local, regional and national agitations, the much-hyped official attempts to placate farmers have turned out to be only more jumlas.
The Time is Ripe for Unity
Oct 3rd 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
Over 1.5 lakh farm and industrial workers walked together in Delhi on September 5, not because no one thought of it sooner, but because the conditions have now been created to prompt it.
Ostrich-like in Peacock Nation
Oct 1st 2018, C.P. Chandrasekhar
In the midst of a crisis reflected in a collapsing rupee, India's BJP government is acting ostrich-like, burying its head in the ground. Nothing illustrates this better than its much-delayed response to the collapse of the rupee with a set of measures that are the opposite of what is needed.
Whither Indian Economy?
Sep 24th 2018, Sunanda Sen
While there are ongoing discussions on rupee depreciation amidst an atmosphere of apprehension about the economy and polity of the country, official sources have continued to deny any possible threat to the economy. The defensive position advanced from the official quarters do not, however, stand scrutiny if one recognises the fact that none of those indicators of a robust economy will be sustainable in the face of slippages running through the economy.
Emergency 2.0
Aug 30th 2018, Jayati Ghosh
Given the background of failure of the ruling party to fulfil any of its important electoral promises, the recent arrests of lawyers, scholars and human right activists represent the desperate measures by the ruling party to stifle, suppress, and divert all voices of criticism, opposition and dissent.
Pakistan: Who needs a crisis?
Aug 29th 2018, C.P. Chandrasekhar
As Pakistan's new Prime Minister, Imran Khan faces the current balance of payments, its important to look at Pakistan’s debt history, especially in light of its association with China's Belt and Road Initiative. With IMF's support to Pakistan in the past, it is to be seen how a proxy stand-off between a retreating power and a rising one plays out.
Begging and Criminality
Aug 13th 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
The recent decriminalization of begging in New Delhi by the Delhi High Court invites a comparative look at the prevalence of begging in India today and at seventeenth century England post the "Enclosure Movement". The reactions towards the destitute today do not come from a place of assisting this part of the population but from an attempt to clean up our cities.
Ranking Universities
Aug 6th 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
Ranking universities amounts to detaching them from their social contexts and hence denies the social role of education.
Crop Insurance: Another dressed up scheme
Aug 2nd 2018, C.P. Chandrasekhar
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) launched in 2016 which is supplemented with Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS), have failed to deliver what it had promised. The number of farmers insured under this scheme has fallen and the claims paid to farmers has fallen from 98% to 61%. The scheme seems to be benefitting the insurance companies as there has been rise in gross premiums paid to these companies by government.
Capitalism's Discourse on "Development"
Jul 30th 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
Capitalism cannot overcome unemployment and poverty in the third world countries because of its inherent tendency to generate greater technological progress, which increases labor productivity and thereby slows down the employment generation process. Because of growing labor reserves, real wages remain at subsistence level, but since labor productivity would be growing, the share of surplus would be increasing. Therefore capitalism produces growth at one pole and aggravates poverty at another.
The State of the Economy
Jul 23rd 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
The Indian Economy is facing remarkable combination of stagnation, inflation and a burgeoning trade deficit which has been erroneously attributed to the rise in oil prices alone.
Empty Promises
Jul 18th 2018, C.P. Chandrasekhar
Together with measures like loan write-offs offered by some BJP States and an ostensibly much-improved crop insurance scheme (PMFBY), this hike in MSPs is seen to have confirmed the pro-farmer tilt of the Narendra Modi government. The timing of the Modi government's MSP hike for kharif crops leads to the question of whether it is backed by the financial allocations needed to deliver on them.
Has There Been an MSP Hike for Kharif Crops?
Jul 16th 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
The government’s MSP hike is just a cynical ploy, there has been no hike in real terms for major crops compared to the base year and the government not cognizing C2 in its MSP fixing while taking (A2+FL) is fundamentally erroneous and has no rationale as it leaves out the poorest landless farmers.
The Proposed Abolition of the UGC
Jul 9th 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
The Modi government is bringing in legislation to abolish the University Grants Commission and replace it with Higher Education Commission of India. The composition of the HECI and the advisory council along with the fact that funds will be provided by the HRD ministry is a strong indicator of political interference in the country’s academic life.
The Indiscreet Aggression of the Bourgeoisie
Jul 4th 2018, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The financial crisis and a subsequent period of recession affecting the majority population in economies points to the fact that neoliberal economic policy might have lost its legitimacy. On the contrast, a change in mood with Brexit and Trump's victory might not be subsequent setbacks with a new aggression on part of the neoliberal elite. Today, across the world, big business is attempting to influence economic decision-making in ways that can save the neoliberal project from collapse.
Why didn't Socialism have Over-production Crises?
Jul 2nd 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
The period after 2008 has witnessed prolonged overproduction crisis which was not seen in the old socialist economies. A market driven capitalist economy that has its foundations on the principle of antagonism is the source of this glut.
Keynes or New-Keynesian: Why not Teach Both?
Jun 27th 2018, Rohit Azad
There is a need for plurality in macroeconomic education now than ever before for vibrant policymaking and open minded academic engagements. The difference between Keynes and New-Keynesian is not only in their policy prescription but their understanding of capitalism is completely at odds with each other.
George Soros on the Current Conjuncture
Jun 25th 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
Factors like the U.S. sucking out finance capital from the rest of the world; the appreciating dollar; the looming crisis for the third world; the refugee problem for Europe are together pushing world capitalism into a serious crisis as put by George Soros. A Marshall plan may save the system but the basic foundations of capitalism are against this proposal.
The Government is lying to you about the Reasons behind High Cost of Diesel & Petrol
Jun 20th 2018, Rohit Azad
With the comical cuts in oil prices in India, an international comparison with neighbouring countries shows that the petrol and diesel prices in India are the highest in the region. While a rise in crude oil prices is borne by the consumers, the benefit of a fall doesn't follow the same route. A break up of oil prices and taxation throws light at the picture.
The Invisible Class
Jun 20th 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
The peasantry has been dubbed as the 'invisible class' for the simple reason that it has been outrightly ignored. A basic comparison of the per capita GDP of this invisible class across two years using the Economic Survey 2017-18 gives veracity to these claims.
Shadow Cast by the Rupee
Jun 7th 2018, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The rupee has sharply depreciated in the recent weeks giving reason for concern. The external events of rise in oil prices and rate of interest in advanced economies has led to a surge in the current account deficit and capital outflows respectively. The success of 'the liberalization reforms' lies in the huge capital inflows and thus, has enhanced the periodic bouts of the rupee, hinting to symptoms of a bubble economy.
The Modi Government's "Achievement"
Jun 4th 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
Even as the Modi government tries hard to camouflage India's statistical data, the conclusion that at the end of its four years the bulk of the people in the country, belonging to the agricultural sector and its allied activities, have witnessed an absolute decline in their per capita living standard compared to what it was when they took over, is quite indisputable.
Walmart's Gamble and what it means for India
May 29th 2018, C.P. Chandrasekhar
By taking the majority stake in Flipkart, Walmart has committed itself to bearing losses in the medium term in a desperate gamble to thwart Amazon's rise in India. The casualty will be the small retail business sector, which supports a large volume of self-employed and low-paid workers.
The Gathering Storm Clouds
May 28th 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
The Indian Economy has all along been critically dependent upon the inflow of speculative finance to sustain its balance of payment. It now faces threatening prospects of a spiral as international crude oil prices and U.S. interest rates, that kept its import bill restricted, are on the rise.
The So-called "Consumers' Interest"
May 21st 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
The argument in the wake of the Walmart-Flipkart deal, that having large multinationals in the sphere serves consumers' interest not only ignores the plight of local producers but is also analytically unsound. "Consumers" are not an entity distinct from the displaced producers and will get affected adversely over time.
The Return of the Oil Threat
May 11th 2018, C.P. Chandrasekhar
As oil-producing countries, especially Saudi Arabia and Russia, stick to their reduced outputs and as Trump threatens to isolate Iran with sanctions once again, the spectre of high oil prices and the accompanying inflation seem very real.
Leapfrogging into Services
Apr 26th 2018, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The argument that services reflect a new dynamism in India and the IMF’s prescription that the sector can be a driver of growth and development are far-fetched.
Trump's Trade War
Apr 24th 2018, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The trade sanctions on China and other protectionist measures announced by the Trump administration will not only not serve the cause of the U.S.' trade deficit but could also spark off a trade war, resulting in an overall shrinkage of world trade.
A Tale of Two Discourses
Apr 19th 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
The Hindutva bubble has clearly burst. Mass demonstrations by peasants, traders, doctors, teachers, students and even school children in the past few days have shown that not only the fear gripping the people is over but also the Indian political discourse is shifting towards material-practical matters, again acquiring a resemblance to what it had been in the pre-Modi years.
The Prospect of Food Shortage
Apr 9th 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
Contrary to the fears of orthodox economics, persistent and even growing hunger in the world today arises not due to "excessive population" but due to the social arrangement; not because there is too little output relative to population but because there is too little demand relative to output.
The Real Confusion over MSP
Apr 4th 2018, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The government ought to have specified its definition of cost of crop production in the Budget to prevent any confusion in the minds of people on minimum support prices.
Doyen of 'Dependency Theory'
Apr 3rd 2018, Sunanda Sen
Theotonio dos Santos (1936–2018), who passed away on 27th February in Rio de Janeiro, was a major proponent of dependecia or dependency theory, important for those interpreting the growing disparities between the advanced and the developing world. Time will bear testimony to his contributions, as a scholar, a theoretician, and an activist who spent his life in spelling out the injustices in globalization.
Commoditization and the Public Sphere
Apr 2nd 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
The distinction between the sphere of market and the sphere of public discourse remains central to liberalism. But under capitalism, the public sphere becomes untenable due its "spontaneous" destruction by the markets’ immanent tendency towards commoditization, as we are witnessing everywhere today. In such a world, a fight towards democracy is itself a means of advancing the struggle for socialism.
Trump's Protectionism
Mar 26th 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
Trumps' announcement of tariff hike tantamounts to a beggar-thy-neighbour policy that would inevitably attract retaliation. But these current protectionist measures on capital-in-production do not in any way restrict capital-as-finance. They are just desperate and counter-productive attempts at coping with a crisis, which is itself an outcome of the process of globalization of finance.
Technological Change and Impoverishment
Mar 19th 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
Socio-economic effects of technological change depend upon the property relations within the system they occur. While in socialism higher labour productivity can improve the conditions of workers, in capitalism, the same has lead to growing relative labour reserves, and hence impoverishment.
The Importance of Dissatisfaction
Mar 17th 2018, Prabhat Patnaik
The first step to overthrowing an oppressive system is "epistemic exteriority" or visualizing an alternative system outside of the existing one. But neo-liberal capitalism has been remarkably successful in thwarting such visualization, by proposing "epistemic closure" as an essential component of development.
State or Market?: India's telecom wars
Mar 17th 2018, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The entry of Reliance Jio in the telecom industry has unleashed an aggressive price war, resulting in takeovers, mergers and closures owing to large debts, spectrum charge dues and falling revenues.
The UGC Directive on Autonomous Colleges
Mar 12th 2018, Prabhat Patnaik