ECONOMIC NOTES

The TPP and US Politics

A PECULIAR charade is being played out during the current US election campaign. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which is an economic agreement between the US and several Asian countries has been under negotiation for almost eight years now. For four of these eight years, Hillary Clinton was the secretary of state and hence directly supervising these negotiations; and even after she quit that job she has remained a prominent figure around the Obama administration, even if not part of it.

Minimum Wage and the Poverty Line

The criteria for determining the minimum wage have evolved in India over a long period of time. The basic guidelines set at the Indian Labour Conference have been subsequently improved upon by the Supreme Court in the early 1990s. As of now, the principles for setting the minimum wage after all these modifications stand as follows.

The Surge in Inflation

Inflation in India, as measured by the Consumer Price Index has been accelerating in the current financial year. While the inflation rate in March 2016 compared to March 2015 was 4.83 percent (which itself was a significant rate), it increased to 5.47 percent, 5.76 percent, and 5.77 percent respectively in the subsequent three months, and to 6.07 percent in July, the highest rate for any month (over the corresponding month in the previous year) since August 2014.

The Subversion of Concepts

Consider two statements: “Petty production is being squeezed out by the encroachment of capital”, and “Petty production is being squeezed out by the encroachment of multinational corporations”. Many would consider the two statements to be more or less identical, the second being only a more specific form of expressing the first. But they are wrong: there is a world of difference between these two statements.

The Logic of Neo-Liberal Capitalism

CAPITALISM is a “spontaneous” system in the sense that its dynamic is characterised by the unfolding of certain immanent tendencies, such as the commoditisation of every object, the destruction of pre-capitalist production, and the process of centralisation of capital. The question arises: what is the role of the State in this spontaneous dynamic of capitalism? In general the State in a capitalist society aids this dynamic, removing hurdles to, and accelerating the operation of, its immanent tendencies.

Brexit: A Revolt against the Hegemony of Globalised Finance

ALMOST all commentators on the British electorate’s vote to leave the European Union, whether from the Right or the Left, have missed the main point of it, namely that it is a massive revolt against the hegemony of globalised finance. Indeed, the fact that they have missed this point is itself indicative of the ubiquity of this hegemony among the literati, from which the British electorate, interestingly, appears substantially to have freed itself.

Rajan’s Exit

AN absurd debate has been going on for some time in India. On the one side are those who blame Raghuram Rajan, the governor of the Reserve Bank who has just decided not to seek an extension of his term, for keeping interest rates high and thereby pushing the economy into stagnation (and they embellish their argument by invoking images of the sufferings of the unemployed); on the other side are those who applaud his courage for keeping interest rates high and thereby keeping at bay the scourge of inflation in the country.

 

ABSURD

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