The Household and the State

SIMPLE analogies can be deceptive, even dangerous. An example is the analogy often drawn between the household and the State. Just as a household cannot “live beyond its means” for ever, and sooner or later its creditors not only stop giving loans but take away the assets of the household for defaulting on loan repayment, likewise, the State cannot “live beyond its means” for ever and go on borrowing ad infinitum; sooner or later its creditors stop giving loans and even attach its assets.

Equality and Scarcity

MANY would remember that the Soviet Union and other Eastern European socialist countries used to be characterized by long queues of consumers for several commodities. This was a source of much derision in the West and was attributed to the inefficiency of the socialist system of production, compared to capitalism where one just had to walk into a supermarket and buy whatever one wanted to.

Three Decades of Economic Liberalisation

IT is thirty years since India adopted neoliberal policies in 1991, though some would date their introduction even earlier to 1985. Newspapers are full of assessments of the impact of these policies on the economy, and liberalisers from Manmohan Singh downwards, have suddenly become visible, lauding their handiwork, while lamenting at best that the benefits of liberalisation have been unevenly distributed.

The Nationalisation of Banks in 1969

ON July 19, 1969, 14 major banks were nationalised in the country. Today, after 52 years there is some talk again of privatising the nationalised banks, which naturally raises the question: why were banks nationalised at all? The answer to this question is usually given in terms of the specific advantages of bank nationalisation; this is correct and appropriate, but what needs also to be kept in mind is the overall perspective underlying bank nationalisation.

Profiting from Debt

IN a stealthy game played over two decades, corporate India is walking away with huge wealth transfers, largely from the public banking system. After much delay, the halting process of settling the bad debt of defaulting corporates using the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) is being completed in a rising number of cases.

Is Socialisation of Investment Enough?

JOHN Maynard Keynes was by far the most insightful bourgeois economist of the twentieth century. He could not afford to be a mere apologist of the system, since he was writing in the midst of the Great Depression and in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution. To pretend at such a time that everything was fine with the capitalist system would have been the biggest disservice he could have rendered to that system which he so dearly loved. So, the best hope for saving the system for him was to be honest about its flaws and to try and patch them up.

A Crumb from the G-7 Table

THE G-7 meeting that has just concluded has promised to donate one billion doses of anti-Covid vaccine to the rest of the world, consisting primarily of the so-called “developing” countries. The US has promised 500 million doses, Britain 100 million doses; the other G-7 countries, Italy, Japan, France, Germany and Canada are supposed to make up the rest.

Property Rights and Pandemic Deaths

A SPADE must be called a spade. The biggest ally of the coronavirus today as it decimates mankind is the institution of capitalist property rights. The Economist estimates that the actual death-toll across the world from the virus so far is not  three million as officially claimed but 10 million; and the virus is far from finished. The only way that its march can be checked is through universal vaccination of the entire population of the world.