MAINSTREAM bourgeois economics which is what occupies a hegemonic position in the academic world today is often criticized for being “unreal”, for proceeding on the basis of assumptions that obviously do not correspond to reality. This criticism however, though valid, does not capture its real intent, which is to serve as a means of camouflaging imperialism.
AnchorIT is heartening to see that several intellectual critiques of Hindutva on epistemic grounds are beginning to appear now – one has come across a few online in recent weeks. The immediate shock of seeing the intellectual discourse in the country being swept aside by sheer brute force had a numbing effect; this effect is finally wearing off.
WHAT is happening in Venezuela today provides an object lesson on the nature of imperialist intervention in third world countries in the era of neoliberalism. Imperialism has of late intervened along similar lines in other Latin American countries, notably Brazil; but Venezuela, precisely because of the strong resistance it has put up, shows the techniques of imperialism in sharper relief.
THE basic income scheme that is in the air these days, which amounts to handing over a certain sum of money to every household to ensure that it reaches a threshold cash income, is an extremely flawed scheme.
TIME was when the annual budget of the central government used to be a serious affair. It reflected no doubt the government’s class bias, but how exactly this class bias was expressed through the various budgetary proposals had to be established by scrutinising budgetary figures, which did signify something. There was always of course some window-dressing, but only at the fringes; the core of the budget was a matter for serious scrutiny. Such is no longer the case under the Modi government. Little credence can now be attached even to the most significant budget proposals.
WITH Rahul Gandhi’s announcement recently at Raipur that his Party had taken a “historic decision” to introduce an income guarantee scheme for the poor, and with the general anticipation that the Modi government’s last budget will also announce an income support scheme in some form, at least for the “farmers”, the idea of a “universal basic income” for the Indian population is once more in the air.
AT first sight it appears to be an enigma. India has been recording, according to official statistics, one of the highest GDP growth rates among all the countries of the world, so much so that epithets like “emerging economic superpower” and “a global powerhouse of growth”, have been freely used to describe India’s achievement. Bourgeois commentators display much pride over the fact that India is in the process of surpassing even China in terms of its growth-rate. The IMF is now talking of India leading the world in 2019 in GDP growth.
THE National Rural Employment Guarantee Act that brought the MGNREGS into being was a unique piece of legislation in the history of independent India. It stipulated that employment was to be made available on demand, within a fortnight of being asked for, failing which an unemployment allowance had to be paid. True, its scope was confined only to rural areas, and it promised employment only upto 100 days per household per year; but it made employment a right.
ENTRAPPING all intellectual discussion within a particular discourse is the commonest method that neo-liberalism uses for establishing its hegemony. There was for instance the debate recently on the question of the “autonomy” of the Reserve Bank, where one side wanted control over the RBI by the government and its coterie of “crony capitalists” while the other wanted an RBI catering to the whims and caprices of globalized finance. The question of popular or parliamentary control over the institution was simply never raised.