ECONOMIC NOTES

Education as a Tradable Service

UNDER the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), education is to become a tradable service. In August 2005, India had made a market access offer in the sphere of higher education under the GATS; this offer will become a firm commitment later this month at the Nairobi ministerial meeting, which is set to bring the Doha Round of WTO negotiations to a final conclusion, unless India withdraws from it.

The Seventh Pay Commission Report

THE central government sets up a Pay Commission about once every ten years to recommend what the structure of salaries, allowances and pensions for its current and retired employees should be. The seventh Pay Commission had been set up accordingly by the UPA government before it left office and it submitted its report to the finance minister on November 19, with the suggestion that its recommendations should be implemented with effect from January 1, 2016.

The Inversion of Reason

IN the era of finance capital, the familiar distortion of reality which lies in thinking that society is flourishing when the financial markets are on an uptrend, has its logical obverse in the equally familiar thought that the economic malaise in society arises exclusively because of some malfunctioning in the world of finance; and such malfunctioning in turn is attributed not to any intrinsic problems associated with this world of finance itself but to the unwise interference on the part of some external entity, notably the State, due to its having abandoned the principles of “sound finan

Towards Global Corporate Rule

THE United States is putting in place a new architecture of global corporate rule through a series of investment treaties which it is negotiating with several countries at present. When all these treaties come into effect, the extent of their jurisdiction will cover as much as 80 percent of the global GDP, ie, virtually the entire world economy. These treaties include a set of Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The Structure of the World Labour Force

THE International Labour Organisation (ILO) provides useful data on the world labour force. The concept of “labour force” includes both the employed and the unemployed. The employed part of the labour force consists of: wage and salaried workers (who are called “employees”); the self-employed workers with “employees” (who are called “employers”); and the self-employed workers without “employees” (among whom are “own account workers”, unpaid family workers, and members of producers’ cooperatives).

Once More on Poverty Estimates

A REPORT in The Hindu (October 6) quotes a World Bank paper to the effect that the head-count poverty ratio has declined for the world as a whole from 14.2 percent of the global population in 2011 to 12.8 percent in 2012, which presumably also implies a decline for India. (In fact the report in The Hindu is headlined “World Bank Estimates Show Fall in India’s Poverty Rate”).

Interest Rate Cut A Matter of Interest

RESERVE Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan has surprised all by a “bold” 50 basis points (or half a percentage point) reduction in policy (interest) rates. The interest rate payable on borrowing by banks from the RBI (or the repo rate) has been brought down to 6.75 percent and the interest rate banks get when they hold deposits with the RBI (or the reverse repo rate) has been reduced to 5.75 percent. The idea is not merely to reduce interest rates charged to borrowers, but to push banks into lending more rather than holding large cash reserves.

“The Refugee Crisis”

WHAT is new about the “refugee crisis” which appears to have engulfed Europe is that for the first time in history the consequences of the tragedies inflicted by imperialism upon the people in the “outlying regions” are visiting the metropolis itself in the guise of “refugees”.

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