ECONOMIC NOTES

A Dangerous Red Herring

IN its systematic attempt to vilify the farmers’ movement against the three infamous agriculture bills that open peasant agriculture to corporate take-over, the government keeps using the argument that the opposition to these bills is confined to farmers only from a couple of states, that farmers from other states are happy with the bills.

Engels on the Peasant War in Germany

AT a time when peasant masses in the country are engaged in a valiant struggle for the repeal of the central government’s three infamous laws, and have laid peaceful siege to Delhi, braving rains and bitter cold, it is worth recalling Friedrich Engels’ study of the peasant war in Germany in 1525, that also celebrated its outstanding leader Thomas Muenzer. Such a recall becomes necessary for another reason.

A Matter of Survival of the Peasantry

THE kisans gathered around the Delhi border have unerringly put their fingers on the real issue confronting them, namely their very survival as peasants. Till now there was an arrangement in the country which, though crumbling under the impact of neo-liberalism, still kept the peasantry alive. The three laws brought in by the Modi government are meant to remove this life-line altogether. These three laws thus carry the neo-liberal agenda in this sphere to its limit.

Misconceptions about the Food Economy

THE Indian intelligentsia has an incredible propensity to swallow the self-serving arguments of metropolitan capitalism that are typically supposed to constitute ‘economic wisdom’; and nowhere is this more evident than in the case of India’s food economy. There are a plethora of centre-page articles in newspapers these days suggesting that Indian kisans should move away from producing foodgrains towards other crops, which is actually a demand that metropolitan countries have been making for quite some time.

Countering the Corporate-Hindutva Narrative on the Nation

THE kisan agitation has become more than simply a fight for MSP or against the corporatisation of agriculture. Through its practice, it is recovering a narrative that is opposed to the hegemonic narrative promoted under neo-liberalism. And as the Modi government’s skulduggery for breaking the movement intensifies in the coming days, this recovery will become more and more comprehensive, clear-cut, and oppositional. Let me illustrate the point by referring to the narrative about the ‘nation’.

Agriculture and the Free Market

IN the context of the on-going country-wide kisan movement for repealing Modi’s three agriculture bills, while an overwhelming majority of commentators have stood with the position taken by the kisans, a few, though not necessarily agreeing with Modi, have raised the question: why shouldn’t agriculture operate within a free market? It is worth recapitulating here the answer to this question which is well-known but can bear repetition.

What the Second Quarter GDP Estimates Reveal

IT is ironic that government spokespersons should exhibit so much euphoria over the second quarter (July-September) Gross Domestic Product estimate, which shows a drop “only” of 7.5 per cent compared to second quarter 2019-20. The expectation had been that the drop would be larger, about 8 to 9 per cent; and as the first quarter drop had been 23.9 per cent, the talk has been of a “stronger recovery” than anticipated.The irony however is that on closer look the recovery appears both dubious, as well as immiserizing and hence fragile.

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